MARATHON, TEXAS—Newspapers guests read at the Eve’s Garden Organic Bed & Breakfast and Ecology Resource Center will definitely get recycled. In fact, they may even end up in a wall or one of the many domed structures at the five-room inn here in Marathon, Texas. The owners—Kate Thayer and Clyde Curry—don’t like to waste anything. Bottles and cans are recycled, kitchen and yard waste are composted, and energy is saved when sheets and towels are hung out to dry on a clothesline.
When you put the words “organic” and “ecology” in your inn’s name, you are expected to deliver and that is what Thayer and Curry have done. They have run their inn in the high mountain desert of West Texas for five years now. Their inn is small but growing. Thayer says two rooms will be added to the property soon. The core of the inn complex is a main house that is more than 100 years old. It has since been added onto and surrounded by papercrete, a mixture of recycled paper and Portland cement.
Papercrete has also been used to construct some of the other structures at the inn. It is lightweight and obtains it insulating value because of the air pockets left inside the cement. Adobe style and strawbale construction techniques have also been employed. The Garden Room at the inn, for example, features classical vaults, arches and domes to create an old Mexico feel. It was made from strawbale and papercrete bricks. The Lotus Suite, also constructed with papercrete, features classical vaulted architecture, a domed ceiling and stained glass windows.
Energy Savings Are Significant
“The rooms are very quiet and require about one-fourth the energy compared to other rooms their size,” Thayer says. “With papercrete, there is no air leakage at all.”
To further conserve energy, compact fluorescents are used and excess thermal energy from the greenhouse is used to heat the water for the inn’s lap pool. Water is a luxury in a desert environment so greywater is used to help grow plants.
“My shower water helps to grow a tree and another greywater drain leads to a trough that feeds some roses,” Thayer says.
In the inn’s 4,000-square-foot greenhouse, organic vegetables and flowers are grown. Some of those vegetables end up in the gourmet dishes served during breakfast. The flowers decorate the inn and are used by Thayer for her “Flowers by Kate” business. A second greenhouse is planned.
Efforts to Buy Local Goods
Thayer says they try to buy local goods as much as possible but it can be a challenge in a town of just 600 people.
“We want to inspire people with the things we are doing,” she says. “We are trying to show people what they can do, too.”
The majority of the inn’s guests are from Texas and many of them have environmental interests. All of the inn’s guests experience an architectural style that is a mixture of old Mexico and the Middle East. There is also no shortage of color. In fact, rainbows have nothing on Eve’s Garden Organic Bed & Breakfast and Ecology Resource Center.
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Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.