While on Mayne, I went to see one of the famous cob houses on the island. My friend Caitlin’s mother owns this one, which is a hybrid of cob and cedar, with post and beam framing. They started building back in 2002, kicked off by a two week on-site workshop by Cobworks. You can see photos of the build here and the finished product here. I first came across Cobworks when we were researching the natural building method in advance of creating our own cob garden shed at City Farmer. We wound up going with a local expert who had trained with Cobworks. Cob is made from clay, sand and straw which you mix up with your bare feet. Then you form balls and begin to sculpt your dwelling. Although there is usually no framing, the buildings are strong, perfect for earthquake country. Cob houses are cool in summer, warm in winter. You can build other structures too. We built an oven alongside our garden shed; Caitlin’s mom added a lovely cob wall. You can see more of the many cob houses built by Cobworks on their website. My dream would be to live in a cob hotel on Mayne Island, reading, writing and concierge-ing.