“Can you build houses out of wheat?”

This post is late for several reasons. Let’s count them:

  1. It was supposed to appear yesterday, but I was working to meet a deadline in another part of my life and didn’t have time to blog.
  2. The Eight-Year-Old actually asked this question back in 2011, when she was merely The Four-Year-Old. It’s been cooling its heels in my 287-question strong backlog ever since.
  3. … um?

Ok. So this post is only late for two reasons. But one of those reasons has been aging for four long years, so that’s pretty egregious. I think Reason #2 is so ripe it should count as two whole reasons all by itself, thereby single-handedly justifying my use of the word “several” in this context.


Disappointing. Let’s just answer the question, then.

The (then) Four-Year-Old, after reading The Three Little Pigs for the first time: “Can you build houses out of wheat?”

Straw bale home in Colorado. (Photo: Catherine Wanek)

Straw bale home in Colorado. (Photo: Catherine Wanek)

Sort of. Builders don’t use the wheat itself because that would attract mice. Like the Three Little Pigs, home builders use the straw (the stalk the wheat grows on).

To build a straw bale house these days, you gather dry straw, compress it into rectangular bales, stack the bales, and coat the whole thing with plaster, fully encasing the straw. When built properly, straw bale houses apparently pose less of a fire, pest, and mold risk than you might think.

You can read more about them here.

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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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