Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
April 24, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 24, 1997

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:l Bonded The straw bale house by Patti Babcock "We are probably out working on the first little pigs house," Rosie Ratcliff informs unsuccessful callers on her recorded phone message. Like the story tale house, the Ratcliff home is made of straw. Unlike the fabled house, it isn't likely to collapse even with the huffing and puffing of Pahrump's powerful winds. Ratcliff first became interested in straw bale houses in 1995 when she saw an article in Sunset Magazine. In 1996, when she was selling real estate, she met a client who said he wanted to buy property and build a straw house. Ratcliff's interest was renewed. She bought a book detailing building the straw house and also purchased a"how to" video. The more she learned about the merits of building with straw, the more excited she became. She and hus- band Jim had enough room on their property in north- west Pahrump to build a second structure. They de- cided to build the house of straw although Jim insists it was really Rosie's idea. The energy efficiency of straw attracted Ratcliff. The straw outer walls will have an R55 insult rating. The innovative builder says the ceiling will have an R60 rating with double bats of R30 insulation. Ratcliff doesn't plan to install a heat- ing system. High south fac- ing windows will gather solar hear during the win- ter. She says a swamp cooler and existing large trees will provide adequate summer cooling. The straw will also pro- vide sound proofing. In ad- dition, construction time is cut and the straw is less ex- pensive than traditional building materials. Where do you get straw in the desert? Ratcliff had a creative recycling solution. She arranged the purchase of 197 bales of straw from "The Pumpkin Patch" Halloween centers in Las Vegas. The first week of November 1996 the straw vas.transported to Pahrump. Another 34 bales has to be purchased to provide the 231 bales used to construct the 1786 square foot house. Post and beam construction was the Ratcliff's choice of several methods to con- struct a straw house. The house has a wood frame with roof trusses and a floor. The straw walls are not load bearing in this de- sign although they can be in small structures. Recently, Ratcliff at- tended a portion of Liz Hansen's local seminar on "How to Build a Straw Bale House." She said she need to see how to put the wire on the outside facing bales to prepare them for their stucco covering. The inside of por- tion of the bales will be- come plaster walls. Interior dividing walls will be tradi- tional wood frame with wall board. The roof will be cov- ered with fiberglass shingles. The straw house is as fireproof and weather resis- tant as traditional structures and better than most if the walls are covered properly proponents say. Ratcliff, Jim and Ratcliff's stepfather Frank Maples have built most of the house. They had help with the floor and the ceil- ing trusses. Maples, a re- cent widower and retired oil field worker, has done more work than anyone Ratcliff says. He says she has. The video shows a straw house from start to finish in two months or less with friends forming work crews. The Ratcliff's started construction in November and hope to be able to occupy their straw house by July. Building hours are limited as Jim commutes to Las Vegas to work, and Rosie travels to the Nevada Test Site. Maples works on the structure most days. Ratcliff says its taking a little longer than anticipated, but she is still excited about the project. The only negative thing she could name about a straw house is the width of the bales reduces interior room. Ratcliff says its an easy trade-off for the tremendous energy savings. w,. sahetti Sz. 99 Breakfast 5 days, i 7-11am This Weekend Weekend Steak Specials [ "JOEY"Idl/ 14oz. Porterhouse $7.95 8oz./1Y or T-Bone $5.95 I PHOENIX RISING "Look for our Mother's Day Sliei" Fri, & Sat, Live Ene ai,men 9,;m. 2am Sunday Jam Session 3.Spm Country Fun Corral Fun for the entire famJ!y No,'. back to school hours Go-Karts - tVliniature Golf - Arcade 727-7300 Every Thursday Tacos 50 $1 Margaritas 3prn till 7prn "Karaoke Kountry" Tueay Thursday 7pm-11pm ...--el. 1 WIN GREAT PRIZES Drawings for full house or better (Maximum coins in) June 13th Hammock* June 14th Gas Barbeque grill June 15th 6 piece Patio set (must be present to win) Teen Dance Every Friday St'tinz May 2nd. 9pm - MidnigllL At our Amphi-theater. Price $$.00 per person. No Alcoholic Beverages. Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, April 24, 1997 13 Attention All Pahrumpians Inclu Realtors, Mfg Home Dealers, Etc. Do you need help Hea, o Duty or Light House k.eeping? Calll 1. Clean 727-1623 Reasonable Rates Free Estimates Licensed & Bonded Pahrump Housesitting Services We provide housesitting services while you are away from your home, We: A. Check your house j Feed your animals Water your plants Vacation7 Business Trips? Your House is in good hands 7 Days A i o Give us a Call 751-2159 Chinese Health Balls A perfect gift of well being. 11 Anckmt MandKk krd that Chh Heahh k womote well being of body and serenity of the qirit. Orclor today by sending check or Money Ofclcr for $10 with your name & Address to Mandarin Imports 2167 N. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89108 Pahramp Valley Insurance Life. Group Medical 727-5700 Phone & Fax Roger W. Burnley C.L.U. Is Your Business Lost In Cybempace? The Intemet can work for you when you know HOW to use it. Ph. (702) 751-0865 Fax (702) 727-1606 24 Hour Mini, Mart Q ra00rm00 n Shell 727 -