WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — When you think of building a house or a shed, you probably think about using a hammer, nails, wood, metal, and other expensive items, and you probably wouldn’t think of mud and straw.
Cob buildings or sheds have become more and more popular over the years, and provide several mental health benefits, something that Airman, Ryan Friedman knows all too well. Because of his love of yoga, meditation, and the added mental health benefits.
Friedman is just a few weeks away from completing his own cob hut.
When you were little chances are you played in the mud a lot, something that Ryan Friedman did as a kid, and well, as an adult too.
“If you’re not familiar with what cob is, it’s a mixture of clay, or really soil with clay in it, sand, straw, and water, and we kind of mashed it all up similar to making wine and you have a whole lot of fun doing it,” Friedman said.
Once you have the right consistency, well that’s when the playing starts, smearing the mixture onto the walls of the shed layer by layer, something he learned through Cat and Margaret Taylor with Cob Hill Natural Building School workshops, a process that Founder of Natural Building Org, Cat Taylor said can be transformative.
“Usually about day four it’s amazing to watch just grown-up people,” said Taylor. “All of a sudden there’s a light in their eyes they’re hopping around like little kids and I think that when they leave, they leave with an entirely new look on life.”
Something that Friedman has seen firsthand with his father.
“We had been talking about it on the phone for the last year and there was that hesitation about is this physically possible, how can you build out of clay, and he came here for three days he helped out tremendously and we had a great time together and he left literally like buzzing with excitement,” Friedman said.
A similar situation for Taylor and her late disabled veteran husband happened, which sparked a big idea for Taylor.
“Even though he was 100% disabled and couldn’t do much but just getting out there sitting in a chair making balls of cob and tossing them to me just feeling like he was a part of something and powered to do something like that, it was a game changer for him and I thought man this could help a lot of veterans,” Taylor said.
That’s where Cob Hill Natural Buildings come into play.
“So I’ve created this program to not only have a place where they can come for therapy, retreat, peace, quiet but to also just educate them and give them the ability to do this for themselves,” Taylor said.
Each year, Taylor picks one of the members going through her program and builds them a new home, completely free of charge, and while Taylor is hard at work helping to change lives, she knows her late husband is there helping her along the way.
“When he was helping before he passed he started laughing one day and he said man if my dad was still alive and could see me now he would laugh his butt off because he had to beat me to get me to work when I was a kid and now I’m over here just playing in the mud,” Taylor said.
Mud that Taylor said will last a lifetime, just like the memories made while playing in the mud.
Cob Hill Natural Buildings, is always taking donations as well as always looking for volunteers.