Most cob builders use a form to make their arches perfect. We, as you can see, did not. The windows are wonky. We like wonky. (Yeah, one pane is broken due to construction mishap.)
The Thermal Battery building has begun! That is, the cob and “urbanite” (repurposed chunks of sidewalk etc.) bench and bed the exhaust pipe is buried in. It will hold the heat and slowly release it back into the room.
You’ll not find these beauties in the market. They grow in the shade of old red alder trees. They aren’t harvested like their blue siblings. They produce scattered bright red gems that birds love. The berries are tart and bright. It’s hard to gather enough for pie, but stepping outside to pick a handful for my breakfast or for a delightful snack is to accept gifts from the divine. And I am grateful.
What happens when you fling a pair of Carharts overalls over the cob wall in winter and leave them there until early summer?
Something find it cozy and starts a family. In this case, no baby robins, no nest of startling disease-carrying but totally adorable deer mice, no. We got Yellow Jackets.
I admire these brightly dressed and fierce carnivorous pollinators. From a distance.
Yesterday, upon removing the overalls from the wall, the wasps flew out, past Nathan (owner and disturber of Carharts) and unleashed their rage on our sweet bulldog, who had no idea where the attack came from and why.
Luckily, it was not a big, well-established nest (yet) and he escaped with just a few stings. But he cowered in the kitchen with the rest of us for what was left of the afternoon. Nathan was stung a couple of times. I ran at the first sign of buzzing.
Every time we opened the door, huge guard wasps would hurl themselves toward us, so we had to slam the door shut while they buzzed angrily against the glass.
We re-watched season one episodes of Game of Thrones, roasted coffee, made jam, then dinner, still the wasps stood guard. Finally, the rain fell harder, the sun moved off of the property and they settled… back into the wall. But they let us walk by (even the dogs) with just an increase in buzz volume and pitch as long as we keep walking.
We were hoping the disturbance would make them want to move away, But they seem perfectly happy in our cob wall. A whole matriarchal society that I have to slaughter. Sad, but we must finish the walls this summer, wasps or no.