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Up go the straw bales. Sucker rods, one-inch high-grade steel recycled from the natural gas industry, are set at four-foot centers into the stem wall. Each bale was lifted ten feet and impaled as necessary on the sucker rod. My brother Ron and I devised a tripod with block and tackle to lift the bales. One-inch conduit was driven through the bale at the proper spot in order to thread the bale onto the sucker rod. Remember, building the straw bale walls (including foundation, footer and infrastucture) is about a quarter of the time, skills and money you'll need to finish your house.

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