Building out of the Woods


According to the 2015 U.S. Housing Census the number of building permits pulled for the construction of single-family residences was approx. 6,311,000 (compared to 2004 16,314,000). According to Federal Reserve board director, Elizabeth Duke, the nation currently boasts around 14 million vacant homes.  Ironically, some of the areas that are showing the most population growth (and the most construction) also have a disproportionately high vacancy rate of homes and condos. California is third in the nation for most vacant homes (following Florida at number one and Illinois at number two) and Las Vegas, a city that has been steadily growing for the last five decades ( (let’s not even touch the water issues here!) has over 40,000 vacant homes in the while the construction industry continues to grow.


Despite the down turn in the construction industry, the timber industry is mounting pressure to increase the volume of timber extracted from public lands, increasing pressure to privatize public lands, while at the same time our timber exports to China are plummeting and the timber industry is flat lining at job creation.

With 315 million of us living in the states, and over 600,000 people documented by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development as homeless in 2012, perhaps the vacant housing could be offered up to the homeless as they have been doing in Salt Lake City (New Yorker Sept. James Surowiecki ‘ Home Free’) with the same positive effect. Two birds, one seed to make a cliché a little more positive.


Perhaps the designers, urban planners and architects of the states and towns experiencing lots of growth could do their part to influence construction that are less detrimental to our forests. The current statistics on the quantities of wood that go in to conventional construction are staggering:  and estimated 16,000 board feet for framing and 17,000 for wood products like plywood, OSB (oriented strand board), MDF (Medium Density Fiber Board) etc (ie the sheathing, flooring and cabinets). That is roughly 9 truck-loads of wood for you AVERAGE house.  Nine truck- loads of wood (we are talking tractor trailer here, not ford pick up) may or may not sound like a lot, but depending on the forest it came from it could represent anywhere from 6 – 25 acres of logged land. The wood itself also only represents a small percentage of a building package and the facet of home construction with the least embodies energy in most homes. In the U.S., we represent only 5% of the global population, yet we use 27% of the world’s industrial wood products (Mark Pipekorn – Greensource). The silver lining (if you want to call it that) is that more than three -quarters of that amount is extracted from our own forests. That roughly translates into us having a little more say in the how and where that timber is extracted, as opposed to timber imports which we have little to no say as consumers other than not purchasing it.

As a builder, teacher, mother and hiking boot (read ‘arm chair’) ecologist I struggle with finding the right path when confronted with the chronic juxtaposition of economy and ecology. In an attempt to get those two concepts to mesh I stress smaller buildings and less wood intensive construction techniques (chiefly straw bale, straw clay and earthen wall systems) with the people that I work with and for, I still find that we all get wrapped up in mire of time, cost and legality. There are a lot of choices people want to make but they are not legally recognized within current building codes: composting toilets, cob structural wall systems, grey water systems, even rain water catchment to name a few! There are even more choices people want to make, but access to materials is limited. Finding ethically harvested wood in urban areas is only as available as the arborists/ fellers who can provide those services and if you combine a tight budget and short time line in there then a significant portion of the choices a person would like to make are limited.

I am fortunate to live close to a lot of building materials, a small scale mill and my neighbors all share a similar set of watershed loving ideals. I do find that even on projects with a feel good name-tag, but top dollar price tag, like large permitted custom residential straw bale structures that they are, with frequency, over built to the point of compromising the insulative integrity of the straw bale walls they boast.

Often I think ‘we should just stop building’ as it feels impossible to not start compromising ecological integrity in its silence as we make ‘consumer choices’ , but that is an extreme answer and ultimately building shelter is an opportunity for us to push towards different economic structures that can work with in the context of the greater ecological ones.

I wake up every morning and take my dog for a walk in the woods. It’s church, it’s therapy, it’s grounding and inspiring. I love the forests around me. They provide more than just timber: water, food, bird song and wonder. In my love of the forest is a deep love of working with wood, just as much as I love working with straw and clay. Wood is so versatile and beautiful and satisfying to work with.  I have the priviledge of working with wood that I know the place where it came from and who milled it with frequency. I don’t have the priveledge of that on every job, as I take work to pay the bills and sometimes it comes from Home Depot at worst, the bigger mill 45 minutes away at not the worst. I find that I am just as guilty of participating in that battle of economy over ecology. It breaks my heart even further as I fully recognize that this economy is a down right fiction, so drilled into us that the concept of ‘jobs’ takes precedent over all else. I am on the game board too, with a child and a car and bills. It’s all a strange, strange dance in this odd little human dominated epoch.




There are so many layers in need of change, it makes me take this life time seriously, if my daughter is going to have a chance at a decent life. From the big picture of public lands for private profit, to the on the ground over use to lumber on over-sided homes ( I have been to housing developments with a 5000sqft MINIMUM!)to the big industry making 2x4s insanely cheap with one hand will squashing labor unions and laying people off with the other, it feels overwhelming.  The timber industry and the construction industry are just two small facets on a multifaceted attack on ecological health. Tho we have been relegated to seeing our personal power via our consumerism we can use that as a tool to demand better forest practices and quality over quantity in housing, but beyond that diminished bit of contrived power we are given by ‘producers’, it is up to use to keep our public lands in our hands, to demand that the common wealth is protected: water, land, air and fauna.

Simple clay paint: Aliz

For those of you who want a quick, easy, wall finish, here it is!
Basic Aliz mix:
1 Part clay (kaolin or other light colored or desired colored clay)
1 part wheat paste
1 part silica sand (70 mesh or finer)
pigment for color

To make wheat paste:
1 cup of wheat flour in to 1 cup of cold water
whisk together or blend in a blender
Boil 5 cups of water
When boiling slowly pour in wheat and water mixture while stirring
mix and send through a fine screen

To apply:
use a brush or flexible trowel or apply by hand

Interview with Carey Lien of Athena Construction

Interview with Carey Lien of Athena Construction 2/13/14
What’s the name of your business and can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?
CL: Well, (laughs) I was talking with my therapist and I was trying to think of a name for my construction company and it used to be ‘Hammer in Her Hand’ and it seemed just a little too violent, like people would see me coming after them with an acutal hammer in my hand. So, I decided to use the name of a goddess as the name because Athena is a woman who goes to war WITH the men and plays in their world. And I thought that was really a good name for a construction company as I mostly work with men and I want to be at the same level as them and want the same level of equality.
LD: Nice, so in a way your company’s name is a metaphor for equality?
CL: Yes.
She is also always seen in armor and ready for battle which I also thought was interesting.
LD: How long have you been a builder?
CL: 10 years.
LD: How did you get started?
CL: How did I get started… I was an environmental studies major and when I finished college I really wanted to be good at all the basic things you need to survive. I was a cook for 6 months and then got offered a job to be a builder and I really wanted to build my own house someday. So that was my big drive. I really wanted to both build my own house and be sustainable.
LD: Given that there is conventional building and Natural Building, what attracted you to Natural Building?
CL: I was working in Minnesota for a conventional builder and I really didn’t like the materials that we were using and that we were really just building houses for very wealthy people and it wasn’t really having a positive impact on the world other than making some person more wealthy. It just didn’t feel good to me. I remember I would go to the library in Ely before I had a computer and I researched natural building and found that it was more aligned with my…I don’t want to use the word idealism, but it was more aligned with what I felt was important in the world like social justice and doing what was environmentally friendly.
I felt that Natural building was the best way to use resources wisely and still provide necessary shelter.
LD: What was your first Natural Building project?
CL: I showed up at Coenraad Rogmans house and took his apprenticeship. I got there early and mixed my first batch of cob and I was in love with mixing mud with my feet for the first time!
LD: What made you fall in love with it?
CL: For one, I was on the West coast for the first time and everyone seemed really happy and it was also the first time I was in a culture with people where people shared my ideals.
LD it was the culture more than the mud?
CL: It was the culture, the people, what they belived in, how they were living their life. They were truly living a life as sustainable as you can be living in the North America.
LD: would you say the cob was symbolic of this or was it something about the material it’s self?
CL: It was that and the material. How amazing is it to be building and not being wearing shoes like you are doing something really good for your body while you are building as opposed to conventional construction which can feel like you are abusing your body. It just really shifted the conventional paradigm of building on its head for me and showed me a completely different way of building from what I had learned. It felt really good instead of feeling like I was going against something in side myself. Conventional construction always felt difficult and this just felt good.
It also challenged that notion of being exploited while working on a conventional job. In Minnesota I knew that someone was making money off of my labor and with cob I did not feel like that.
The other thing about conventional is that people where building things without any foresight. For example, I was building log cabins in Minnesota which is a super cold climate and these buildings weren’t very insulative. They just weren’t thinking long term and on another level the people who were buying the houses didn’t have to because they were very wealthy. There was this big disconnect.
They were more concerned with what looked good or made them look good, they weren’t looking at the whole picture they were more focused on they’re individual comforts and the conventional buildings were more a reflection of this. Cob and Natural Building was just the opposite.

LD : What was one of your favorite projects to work on?
CL: In the past 10 years? There’s too many!
LD: How about the top 3!
CL: The first that comes to mind is during the VBC. The Sabin Green project was one of my favorites because it was working in a community context to build a quest house that I knew people would really be staying in. Iwas a whimsical design that had a lot of creative carpentry aspects to it and it was during the VBC so I got to meet a lot of people and introduce them to natural building techniques. It was really fun and sometimes you cob in your underwear or dresses and you don’t see that on a conventional job site very often!
LD Just on the calendars! Was that project your favorite style of building too?
CL Yes. my favorite is Light straw clay, because it mixes carpentry and natural building.
I really like it with just standard framing. I really like framing. Light straw clay is great because more people can be involved and its light, unlike cob which is really heavy. More people can be involved because you can mix it standing at a table instead of being hunched or bent over a tarp. So people with back problems or people who aren’t in good health can still engage in the building process. Straw clay mixes my two favorite things carpentry and NB
LD: What project was the most challenging for you?
CL ;(Laughs)
LD: Or maybe what challenges you the most in building?
CL: ( more laughter) Are we doing therapy here? The thing about NB or each project is there is always something about each one that is challenging. Actually, when I think about there are only a handful of days where I thought to myself “That went really well!” Something always happens to change the plans. You never really know what you are getting in to. It is really dynamic. It’s a constant challenge because you generally get jobs that are just above your level so you are always learning. Which is great to be learning, but it is also difficult at times. So, even after 10 years of experience I am constantly exposed to new challenges. I think the first two years of building were the most challenging. Not one project in particular.
LD: Any other challenging aspects?
CL: The projects that are the hardest are the ones that are really long. 9 month long projects are so long, they are like giving birth! I don’t know what it is about those!
LD: it sounds like they all have a challenging aspect or two or twenty!
CL: That’s the thing! In order to be a builder you have to like being challenged or being challenged. You have to like puzzles as it’s just one puzzle after another in building.
LD: Well said! Has it been a challenge for you being a woman in construction?
CL: How do I say this? First of all we live in a patriarchy. Men are instantly given more power on a jobsite even if they don’t know anything or have less experience than a woman. That’s the first challenge that generally exists on every single job.
However there are some good things: my presence as a woman on a jobsite is helpful as it is calming for people. In some ways it is reverse sexism as people like having a woman working on their house. One situation where being a woman was an asset was being placed on a job where there was a real hot head on the job and he routinely yelled at other people (all men), but in my presence he was totally different. I was a woman and didn’t want to offend me. He told me he wished there were more women on jobsites.
The down sides are: the people hitting on me. But the biggest is that generally women have a harder time asking for what they are worth and receiving it. I have been too giving of my own time and my ability. In the trades you really have to stick up for yourself and ask for what you need. Because of the way the system works employers are always looking for cheaper labor. It’s kinda like the Wild West if you are not a union worker. It’s just a free for all with wages.
Its’ really hard as a woman to negotiate wages given the over arching patriarchal influences. I just had the experience of getting paid $4 less an hour than someone I was supposed to be the supervisor of!
LD: WOW that is a stark contrast! With that being said, what advice do you have for aspiring builders?
CL: The one thing that is really coming up for me lately is about ‘being nice’. I am from Minnesota and I was raised to not ruffle feathers, but I feel like I would have gotten further if I had kept asking question even though it takes time away from other people in stead of just doing what you are told. Just really asking questions and learning more would be something to challenge yourself with. Ask lots of questions! And do NOT let anybody take a tool out of your hand. I have had this happen recently when there is a time crunch and the person I am working with wants to just do a particular part that I would benefit learning how to do. I had to stand up for myself and justify that if I learn it now then we are both better off. The thing with construction is there is always pressure to go fast and it might seem faster in the moment to let someone do something because they are faster but if you don’t take the opportunity to learn it you wont have a chance to get good at it.
LD: Good advice!
CL: Since you are teaching and there is the upcoming workshop: what do you enjoy most about teaching?
CL I really enjoy teaching because the underlying reason I am a builder is that I really want to help other women feel empowered in whatever way I can help. Teaching women to learn how to use power tools and do carpentry is just another avenue for women being self empowered and having more confidence to do what ever they want to do in the world!!!!

So you want to be a Natural Builder!

So you want to be a Natural Builder!
Looking forward to glorious days of stacking golden bales with throngs of happy workshop participants, up to your elbows in delicious sun warmed beautiful mud plaster, standing back and admiring another artful edifice made of all local materials?
There is an ever growing group of individuals who want to start a career in ‘Natural Building’ and I get a lot of inquiries as to the best place for someone to start out.
Here’s the advice that i might think in my head, but wouldn’t say: ‘I hope you are prepared to work excruciating hours, have folks expect you to work for free, and witness your tools get destroyed by dirt and volunteers and somehow you want to do it all again the next day’. That’s the half joking, half jaded response two natural builders would say to each other because it’s part of the truth of being a natural builder.
Really, getting in to natural building involves a great deal of commitment, study and sacrifice. True of any career. It’s not like conventional construction where you are likely to show up on a job with no skills and are put to work for pay. The best advice I can give is to gain some conventional construction skills. Learn carpentry. Acquire tools and the skills to really use them. This can begin in a workshop, but takes years of application. Taking a workshop, even a multiweek apprenticeship does not make you a ‘builder’. Years of experience and surviving the responsibilities of building for other people make you a builder. Understanding the interfaces and relationships between all the various trades involved in making a building work makes you a builder. Even after nearly 16 years of experience I am still actively learning.
Work with as many different people as possible, conventional and natural. Do you best to see as many projects through from beginning to end, not just of the wall systems, but from foundation to finish details. OR- pick the facet of natural building that fascinates you, be it plasters, floors, thatch roofing etc. and make it your focus. It will limit you in some ways as to how much work will be available to you in the beginning, but it may be very worth it in the long run.
To become a successful builder you have to understand the enormous amount of coordination and planning that goes into making a good building. There are all the systems that need to be integrated into a building, and integrated well, for a building to function well. It’s our responsibility as builders to create spaces that function and last. It is our mission as natural builders to make them ‘appropriate’ for people, place and planet.
Learn to be a good worker. Learn to be efficient in your work and pleasant to work with. Treat tools with respect. Someone who comes to work for me and they treat their tools poorly is not someone I want handling my tools!
I did a lot of volunteering when I first got started. Although it didn’t pay the bills I gained amazing amounts of experience, and the hours put in payed off when I would get asked to stay on for pay, or who I volunteered for gave glowing recommendations for other paying jobs.
Read, read and read, but don’t expect to learn everything from books.
Make plenty of mistakes. Make nice big juicy ones! Those you will learn the most from. We all mess up. Being a good builder translates to being able to gracefully repair your mistakes. I have some serious dear-god-i-am-not-crying-on-the-job sized mistakes, but they have made me a better, if not more humble builder and person.
Don’t expect it all to happen at once. It takes a long time before you skills are at a comfortable point where you no longer notice that you are concentrating or trying. It’s a lovely day when you look back and realize how far you have come and you are no longer doubtful, or stressed about doing the right thing on the job.
Oh, and last but not least, take some small business classes. Being a good builder is one thing, not bankrupting your self to be one is another.
Best of luck and Happy Building!

Built By Animals

I am currently reading an excellent book by Mike Hansell called ‘ Built by Animals’. Just the table of contents alone inspires me:
Chapter 1. The Builders.
Chapter 2. Builders Change the World.
Chapter 3. You Don’t Need Brains to be a Builder.
Chapter 4. Who’s in Charge Round Here?
Chapter 5. From one Nest to Another.
Chapter 6. Two Routes Lead to Trap Building.
Chapter 7. The Magic of the Tool Users
Chapter 8. Beautiful Bowers?

Love it. It sums up so much of the realm of human building in a nut shell. This book thrills me partly because I draw so much inspiration from the creatures around us that build such beautiful structures (starting with the innate abilities of spiders fresh from an egg sac spinning perfect webs from silk right from their bodies, to tiny termites making climate controlled ‘sky scrapers’ out of their saliva and mud, down to the tiniest of amoebas that can make an amazing artistic shell out of grains of sand to the ever creative orioles that I have seen make nests of our own detritus: fishing line and cigarette butts) and also because the chapter titles really exemplify how I feel about building and what motivates me as a builder.
Chapter 1. The Builders.
All I can see is the stereotyped image of a builder: brawny fellow with shirt sleeves rolled up and 5 o’clock shadow. When I first started in construction I was on a mission to find other women builders to learn from. I was living in Hawaii and went around calling all the construction companies in Honolulu. I got some hilarious responses to the question “ Do you know of any women carpenters?”. I was laughed at, accused of prank calling, scoffed at for my apparent sexually oriented questions (!?!?) and hung up on…Needless to say, I did not find any women in the phone book who worked in construction! In searching the internet 14 some years ago if you searched ‘Women’ anything, porn popped up. Today, a search for’ women in construction’ actually gives you images of real women in construction! Not the sexualized Makita babes of product pushing calendar fame. It seems that in this generation, not only are our images of what gender is associated with building, but also to spectrum is broadening to acknowledge the wonders of the rest of the animal world.
Just so you know, there is now a construction company called Wahine Builders. ‘Wahine’ means woman in Hawaiian.

Chapter 2. Builders Change the World.
Why, yes they do! In the book it is illustrated the interface between animal builders and their relationship to ecology and place. All you have to do is see a beaver dam to see how building can impact place. If only us humans could have the same info so readily available and instinctual! Honestly, in my own life, currently living at the end of the road- the further you are from a store by which to purchase building materials the more likely you are to fashion your own materials from what you have at hand. Lazy? Cheap? Ecological? Vernacular? Place Based? Label it what you will, but distance to materials makes a difference as does (speaking for the humans here) available materials. The straw bale movement started with the existence and access to baled straw. I change the forest I inhabit by using it as a building material. I can see the effects of my actions; it only costs me time and energy. The stuff I get from the store has no story other than what I make up and I have no idea what its impact is other than what I guess, but I can guess its not great even if it is come from the eco-groovy building supply store. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and in this age of globalism (or neo colonialism- pick your descriptor!) I am finding it harder and harder to be as local as possible when money is a a part of the equation. Long story short: unless you have a solid and long term relationship with where your materials are coming from you are less and less informed as to the great story of money and material you are participating in. Like Lorenz’s butterfly effect, all our actions, choices, purchases (as our power has been supposedly reduced to financial!) ripple out in to a metaphorically meteorological maelstrom of unpredictable consequence or just the opposite. Whoo wee- just think of your self as a big frigg’n butterfly and consider how potent you are in your choices and actions. Something to think about!

Chapter 3. You Don’t Need Brains to be a Builder.
Hilarious! True! Worse still is the truth that you don’t even have to care about what you do, to be a builder! Oh, the tainted construction industry culture! In the book, it’s an examination of creatures without even a brainstem that can construct beautiful and effective structure and how in the world something like this evolves. Start thinking about it too much and the brain you do have might just explode! Luckily, this chapter provides plenty of evidence that you can still keep your day job, post explosion.
Case in point is Difflugia coronata, a single celled amoeba that constructs a rocket ship looking shell out of sand particles (it sort of looks like a Flinstones diatom). It takes them it to its cytoplasm and makes a shell out of it to make a long mysterious story short. No other amoeba does this.
For as ironic as the chapter title is, construction truly is just inherent in so many creatures, humans especially. Just the description that so many of us builders have chosen for ourselves as ‘Natural Builders’, it says so much. Yes we use ‘natural materials’, but perhaps a larger more subliminal part of that is our possibly genetic inclination to create from the materials at hand to take care of our most basic needs. I can’t think of a single human culture that didn’t alter its environment to create shelter. This is the beauty of what so many of us occupy our time with, doing what’s been in our cells for hundreds of thousands of years regardless of gender, age and economic status.

Chapter 4. Who’s in Charge Here?
Who IS in charge? When you break it down to decision makers we can keep looking up the pyramid of power. In our so called ‘democracy’, the folks who make the vast majority of decisions that fundamentally shape the patterns of our lives are: city planners, architects and engineers to name a few. How traffic flows, where food markets are located and what they are made out of, as well as residences and their required maximum and minimum sizes are not necessarily voted on by the people to be affected by them. It becomes instituted and then enculturated. The grid of the cityscape, the freeway system, ‘universal’ building codes, these are all top down decisions that affect our daily lives and shape our daily patterns. The places we may have the economic privilege to visit for a cultural experience are woven out of a history of ever evolving democratic social architecture. The Taos pueblo, the Mesa Verda cliff dwellings, mud villages of Mali, to stone villages of the Celts, these are all sustaining examples of place based democratic building.

Chapter 5. From One Nest to Another.
The average American moves every 2 to 7 years. As an army brat, I can attest to this! We live in a highly mobile culture and with it comes the ecological and social consequences of constant consumptive mobility. From the conventional standpoint of someone who makes their living building houses- this is great for an economy that requires constant growth. While inner cities crumble and suburbs sprawl, the construction industry can act like a piston in the every churning economic engine of growth. Obviously, this has consequences. If the warbler nesting on our electrical building was to emulate our pattern it would be living in a nest made of foreign and energy intensive, non-biodegradable materials that is thousands of times larger than its needs. It would spend the vast majority of its time gathering resources to maintain that nest’s over extended energy requirements. It would likely not really own the nest, nor have built it! Its babies would likely be under nourished in competition with the nests energy needs and it seems likely that all would perish, or the warbler might consider the benefits of down sizing to a smaller nest of maybe it would quit making payments on the house in order to survive. Sound familiar?
We are the only creatures who have distanced our selves from the realities of nature in our abilities to store energy in forms other than cached food or body fat. Without those tricks we’ve learned we are in the same seamless boat of finite energy.

Chapter 6. Two Routes Lead to Trap Building
In the book Hansell is illustrating the tools and techniques that some species use to capture prey (which at times involve constructing traps out of various materials, either to lure or to disguise the predator) and the art of trap building by various insects to capture prey. It seems to me that this title is analogous to the various ways folks end up interested in natural building; survivalist, minimalist, ecologist, feminist, anarchist, etc..Or I could change the chapter to read: Two Routes Lead to Crap Building and that would be financial stinginess or bottom line building and/or disrespect for the inhabitants which are sadly the two basic premises that seem to permeate the conventional construction realm as we know it.

Chapter 7. The Magic of Tool Users.
Tools are magic. Magic from the construction perspective in that they allow us to do more and open up worlds to us. Just the axe alone is capable of making so much possible! Try making cob with out a wheel barrow, a shovel or a tarp! The magic of being a tool user is the ability to transform the world with their skills! Be those tools the simplest of hands and feet constructing mud structures of various gorgeous sizes and shapes across the globe, to the skilled and well tooled wood and stone workers who craft beauty in to buildings and visa versa. Then there is the magic of learning to use tools, from teaching children building skills be they cob or carpentry and having an adult world open up to them, to teaching women how to use power tools and see the confidence change and the once closed field of construction open up to them with these new keys of ability. More than magic is the access to possibility tools provide.

Chapter 8. Beautiful Bowers?
Oh the beautiful Bower bird, who builds an alluring and highly decorated stage in which to allure a mate. Of all the descriptions of how life operates to conserve energy, these birds are off the charts in what they do that would be considered ‘excess’ by evolutionary energy conservation standards. I love the phrase ‘Beauty is a Duty’ (despite its original intention as coined by the less than savory, Art Linkletter), as it inspires my work to be beyond just functional or a reflection of the materials at hand. This concept of beauty is a trait inherent in humans and possibly all sensory creatures to be mesmerized and awestruck by objects, moments, and exhibitors of beauty for what ever that might be to which ever individual. Seduction and attraction are such motivators in nature it makes sense that they are defining aspects of how we desire to shape worlds we inhabit. It is an ever evolving aspect of our role as natural builders to incorporate this unequivocal piece in our work, ideally, never at the expense of the ecological web, but as a tribute to it.

Thank you Mike Hansell for writing such a facinating book! It is work like that that makes me fall in love with the heaven that is earth over and over again and inspires me to learn from my fellow non homo sapiens builders what it really means to be a natural builder.

Welcome to the new site!