Strawfeathers!

Mattresses are expensive, and oh-so-toxic with all of their chemicals, and just unclean– dust mites and their feces and dead skin cells and all… and no real, good way to wash it– EEEEW!!!

When we moved out of the toxic house, we had to get rid of about 3/4 of everything we owned, and that included all of our mattresses, except for the camping air mattress, which we hosed off and used. That fall, we bought air mattresses for all the kids, which lasted about 6 months. Nana bought replacements for those, which lasted another 6 months…  In between there, somewhere, our mattress died, too… and when I say that these things died, I mean they lost a chamber in the middle, where you can’t get to it to patch it– this is AFTER we’d been patching the holes we could get to on the OUTSIDE for a while… airbeds just were not designed to keep up with daily life in our world. So by this time, between Nana and ourselves, we’ve spent a few hundred dollars (that’s HUGE in our world!!!) on mattresses, and we’re pretty miffed at having knelt to the petroleum gods.

We started out thinking we’d build a bed frame from some salvaged cedar Hubby had picked up… which worked fine 🙂

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We didn’t quite have enough to build it with solid walls all the way around, so we did kind of an open-random type thing. 1 AM, and nothing super-fancy, but it’s a bed frame, built in one night, out of lumber that didn’t cost us anything, and it works. 🙂

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Looks real purdy, don’t it? Notnin’ cuter than ‘yer very own Hubby buildin’ ‘yer very own bed… especially when it’s been a while since you had one LOL!

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We thought we’d fill it with some clean cardboard we got– leftover from an organic manufacturer in the next town.  UM… yeah, that didn’t work so fine. Cardboard is AWESOME insulation– very warm and toasty, that bed was… but harder than the floor itself!!! So we tried padding it with various fabricky things… and still woke up sore and miserable 😦

So we came up with an idea. While we were in that toxic house, we read the entire Little House series– you know, Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, The Long Hard Winter, etc, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Seems folks have been sleeping on mattresses since before toxic chemicals and petroleum / oil gods existed 🙂 I’m thinkin’ that maybe sleep deprivation had caused us a slight memory lapse on what Laura would have done LOL! So we woke up one morning, and remembered what those Independent And Ingenious Folks On The Prairie did 🙂 (no, Hubby didn’t shoot a swan, and no, we didn’t stuff it with feathers)

We were given a duvet cover by one of Hubby’s clients… in my least-favorite color, but it’s going to be a mattress, covered up by other bedding– voila! No more offensive color, and it’s useful 🙂 Hubby comes home that night with a bale of straw*, and we stuffed said duvet cover, pulled about 8 inches of cardboard out of that bed frame, and replaced it with our official, Prairie-Style Straw Tick Mattress, and we’re sleepin’ OH-SO-GOOD!!!

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So good, in fact, that we thought we’d share the wealth, and use some cotton canvas we had to build mattress covers for the kids!

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Three giant canvas bags, and a LOT of dust later, and we have straw tick mattresses for all but one of us! One kiddo is allergic to hay, not straw, but we figure we’ll play it safe, and stuff his with pine wood chips in stead– just to be sure 🙂 LOL– “Comes in our new-and-improved, hypo-allergenic model!” 😀

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There’s a peek at “my least-favorite color” mattress– the one we have on our bed. The great thing about these mattresses is that the stuffing becomes bedding for the chickens when we change the straw every 6 months. The bags are entirely machine-washable and dry-able. When the chickens are done with the straw, it goes into the compost to feed & bed the worms, which makes worm-castings for the garden, and food for the chickens 🙂 Zero waste; positive environmental impact!

…now to get land enough to grow the straw on LOL!

*should you decide to try this at home, make sure that your straw is VERY dry– wet straw bad. DRY straw good 🙂 We had one bale that came to us wet, and we had to take it back. The other 3 bales have all been fine and good and dry 🙂

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5 comments
  1. Leana said:

    Awesome! I will soon be making a straw tick for the baby crib, using old jeans to construct the cover.

    • So glad you enjoyed it! I’ve never tried it w/ a baby… with an infant, I’ve used folded towels, on a firm surface, though. I felt more comfortable, knowing they’d not get stuck face-down in anything they couldn’t get up from to breathe.
      How old is your baby? Congratulations! 🙂

      • Leana said:

        This’ll be baby #4 due in July. I mostly cosleep until 6 months. The straw mattress will be very firm and I’ll sew buttons every 12″ if necessary to keep it firm and flat.

      • Sounds like you’ve got it figured 🙂 Congrats on #4! Four is good here 🙂

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