Stomp, Trowel, & Howl

Learning to build straw bale homes has been hard work — blood, sweat, tears, and the like. Yet we’re making sure to keep it funky, too. This past Saturday, Community Rebuilds hosted the Floor Stomp of Fall 2018. This event stacked all kinds of functions. It served its primary purpose with flying colors, bringing the earthen floor of the company’s newest house up to the appropriate level. While hauling in wheelbarrow upon wheelbarrow of local subsoil, there was a dance party on top of this same dirt, methodically filling the perimeter cement foundation until it was level with our desired grade line. Simultaneously, the shindig acted as social lubricant — a very natural way of presenting the company’s new Fall interns to the Moab community at-large. We mixed, mingled, and stomped our way to new friendships. It was also a special way for the newest homeowners, Jessica and Thane, to show off their sweet new digs — huge congrats and shout out to them — and the Miller family — for their beautiful, new straw bale homes.

 

Work and play has its balance, though. For that, and other natural homebuilding reasons, we’ve followed up the Stomp with the plastering of the earthen floor. This meditative activity requires a bit more patience, such as carefully spot checking the entire home’s new floor for dips and bumps, levelling it all out, then carefully troweling the whole surface with a clay-sand mixture. We proceeded with the application of multiple layers of linseed oil over the earthen floor, a method chosen to harden the floor while bringing out a surprising luster. It was almost hard to believe the beauty that we were able to summon from this mere ‘reject sand’.

 

And then magic happened. A late-summer opportunity to witness the gorgeous full moon rise through Window Arch would not pass up this adventurous group. Arriving at the one-and-only Arches National Park an hour prior to sundown afforded us the chance to see a spectacular sunset. Yet this natural wonder was literally paled in comparison to the brilliance of the soon to rise full moon. And as my readers have surely experienced before, there was a certain tingle that permeated our bodies upon viewing the enormous orb hovering gently over the Mars-like Arches landscape. Would it surprise you that every member of the cohort, save no one, spontaneously & simultaneously began to howl at the moon — in an eerie, yet tantalizing unison? Stomp, trowel and howl — One of the best weekends of my life.

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