Serah spends the day away from the CR office and gets her hands dirty.

For only working until lunch, we got a ton of things done today. While professionals put trusses on the house, the CR crew built forms for adobe bricks (roughly 14″ x 10″ x 3.5″) and then headed down the road for a lesson from Board Member Michelle Wiley. We learned how to prepare the raw materials for the bricks and screened the rocks out of sand and clay with our awesome screened frames we made last week. We used a cement mixer to combine the ingredients and came away with wet adobe mud. What was most fun about this day was experimenting every step of the way. We mixed the adobe by hand first and with a mixer later which showed us the benefits of both ways – by hand you have a little more control over exactly how it feels, you can add small amounts of water, clay and straw until it feels perfectly right. However you’ll come away with a few scratches and mud up to your forearms, plus it takes three times as long. With the mixer, the batches are made a lot faster so production is more efficient, yet it’s a little more difficult to gauge the consistency.  We also experimented with a few different ratios for the bricks. Generally we mixed one shovelful of clay to 10 shovelfuls of sand to 1 gal of water to 2 1/2 shovelfuls of straw. We tried screened and unscreened sand, we tried adding more water and then more straw. By lunch time we had about 30 bricks of at least 4 different mixtures formed and drying. We’re eager to see which is the best mixture so we can get to making hundreds of them!

When we returned to the job site we were thrilled to see all but six trusses atop Laurel’s home. And it actually looked like a home. We are ready for the floor.

There is truly nothing more satisfying than creating something from beginning to end. Doing it with this team of people is the best way it can happen.

Left to Right: Eric, Alex (cross-country bike volunteer), Jerry, Lisa, Grant

Mini LaSal mountains sit in front of a house ready for trusses.

Jerry and Paige make forms for adobe bricks.

None uses paper on a job site. Usually, it can't be found even when you do want it.

There's also no dumping allowed on our site. Or shooting of guns at signs.

Laurel gets her hands dirty and makes some of the bricks we'll use for a bench in her dining nook

Grant: the best dressed adobe mixer this side of the LaSals.

Fun in the mud.

We spray the forms with water so it's easier to release the bricks. Forms and bricks are placed on resin-coated sheets of paper.

Forms with adobe mud drying.

Before and after.

More bricks drying. Trusty Big Blue waits for us in the background.


What a house.

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