Cheese Curds and Desert Varnish

With the last of the lime plasters up on the bathroom walls on Monday and the exterior wrapped in a coat of blue lime on Tuesday, Ryan’s amazing, patient week of teaching was over. With all of the lime on the house finished, it seemed fitting to move away from our practical education in inorganic chemistry…

A Practical Lesson On The Lime Cycle

The first exterior lime coat went up at the beginning of this week. It definitely feels like a milestone to be using a new material, not to mention completely transforming the exterior of the building. I remember learning about the lime cycle at school, and specifically remember being told that it was used “in industry”….

The First Coat of Plaster

It is amazing how many things you can do with a bit of mud and straw. Sturdy, sculptured cob, well insulated light clay straw walls, tough earthen plasters, and beautiful finishes. Different ratios of materials, different applications, but the same basic ingredients.  It’s hardly alchemy, either, being only slightly more highly evolved than the mud…

Permaculture Workshop

After finishing installing the straw bales last Friday, it seemed like perfect timing to take a few days away from the build site this week for the permaculture workshop. It not only gave us a chance to finally get all of the straw out of our hair, but it was also a good point to…

Building Materials as Food (for Thought)

This week has been all about the details: gable siding, fascia, soffit, flashing. In some ways it has been quite satisfying, like putting sprinkles on a cupcake. Except these sprinkles need to be beveled at exactly 45 degrees, and weigh significantly more than objects that I normally like to hold above my head with one…

A Solid Foundation

On Friday afternoon we poured the concrete for the final section of the foundations. It was incredible to see the site transform over the course of the week; gradually shifting from an amorphous trench, to somewhere that looks like a house might want to sit someday. Eric’s original schedule had us finishing the foundations next…