WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — When you think of building a house or shed, you probably think of using a hammer, nails, wood, metal and other expensive items, and you probably won’t think of the mud and straw.
Cob buildings or hangars have become increasingly popular over the years and offer several mental health benefits that Airman Ryan Friedman knows all too well. Because of her love of yoga, meditation, and added mental health benefits.
Friedman is only weeks away from completing his own cob cabin.
When you were unlikely, you played in the mud a lot, something Ryan Friedman did as a kid, 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, sand, straw, and water, and we kind of smashed it all up like making wine and you have a whole lot of fun doing it,” Friedman said.
Once you have the right consistency, that’s where the fun begins, spreading the mixture onto the shed walls layer by layer, something he learned from Cat and Margaret Taylor’s workshops with the workshops from the Cob Hill Natural Building School, a process that the Natural Building Org founder, according to Cat Taylor, can be transformative.
“Usually around day four it’s amazing to see only adults,” Taylor said. “All of a sudden there’s a light in their eyes, they’re jumping around like little kids and I think when they leave they come away with a whole new outlook on life.”
Something Friedman saw firsthand with his father.
“We had been talking about it on the phone for last year and there was this hesitation about is it physically possible, how can you build in clay, and he came here for three days, he helped tremendously and we had a great time together and he literally left buzzing with excitement,” Friedman said.
A similar situation for Taylor and her late disabled veteran husband occurred, which sparked a big idea for Taylor.
“Even though he was 100% disabled and couldn’t do much, just go out and sit in a chair doing cob balls and throwing them at me feeling like he’s part of something and to be able to do something like that was a game-changer for him and I thought that could help a lot of veterans,” Taylor said.
This is where Cob Hill Natural Buildings comes in.
“So I created this program not only to have a place where they can come for therapy, retreat, peace, quiet, but also to educate them and give them the opportunity to do it on their own,” Taylor said.
Each year, Taylor chooses one of the members who go through her program and builds them a new home, completely free of charge, and while Taylor works hard to help change lives, she knows her late husband is there to help her with everything. along the way.
“When he was helping out before he died he started laughing one day and he said man if my dad was still alive and could see me now he would be laughing out loud cause he had to beat me to make me work when I was a kid and now I’m here just playing in the mud,” Taylor said.
The mud that Taylor says will last a lifetime, just like the memories created while playing in the mud.
Cob Hill Natural Buildings is always accepting donations and is always looking for volunteers.