About building: I built a small cabin and a couple of sheds by myself. I researched earthbags, cob, log and wattle and daub. In the end I went with the classic wood design because in US there is very little support and materials for alternative building style.
Maybe you can still do it but I have a full time job and I traded time for money (even though standard wood construction is not much more expensive)
I only have just one piece of advice - don't use fiberglass insulation. I used rockwool (available at Lowe's) is 10% more expensive but it has 20% more insulation, it does not produce lung destroying fibers and it works when wet.
About your second question: I am from Eastern Europe, from a place that only started "modernizing" after the fall of communism. As such I was lucky enough to see a lot of traditional practices.
For example houses were still built using wattle and daub or adobe, every home in the village was practicing permaculture and even people in the cities kept chickens, pigs and even cows (grazing on the side of the road).
I don't have a good link online - the people that practiced all these traditional methods have passed away or are too poor to have internet. There is a "back to the land" movement but weirdly but not surprisingly they prefer to copy the western models instead of asking their grandparents.
In terms of climate, it was continental so comparable to Eastern Washington. In terms of society, it was very different since most people cooked and other than bread they got the animals/vegetables from the backyard or directly from a farmer.
The weird thing is they are copying the west now (including all the problems like obesity and diabetes and stress) while here some of us are trying to move the opposite direction. So my hope is that PNW will become closer to what I have seen growing up