What a busy and relaxing summer. The sun finally showed up to our little pocket of the coastal range. During the rainy month of June, we put the finishing touches on the foundation, found a cool dutch door (The Bargain Barn!), gathered materials, set up cobbing areas, leveled the floors, added road base, fixed trails and made test bricks of cob. When the sun hit We were ready to go.
We also made a model of the cob house.
She makes concrete look comfortable.
These pictures show how we step up the stones so the stem wall stays level. We are at level in the front, the back needs to be built up. But the progress is amazing. We are working slowly and carefully while still enjoying the summer.
The chunks of concrete we’re using for the foundation are from the very old school I teach for. The school is rich in history and is a current source of joy and inspiration.
We helped the school by carting away an eye-sore they would eventually have to remove. We helped our environment by saving it from the land fill. And we get a strong foundation with direct historic relevance (to me).
Second Course, same as the first!
This is the lowest section of the foundation. We will step it up as we make our way around.
We rethought the earthen mortar idea and took good advice from Ianto Evans at The Cob Cottage Company (The Hand-sculpted House, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2002) and using 9 parts sand, 1 part Portland cement. We’d love to stay away from cement altogether, but neither of us has built a house before, so we’ll go with the novice approach.
The foundation takes more planning than we thought. Good thing we like puzzles. Here are our piles of “urbanite” organized by thickness.
It’s like a paragraph in the books about cob. But if the site is not perfectly clear, this “clear and level the footprint of the house” takes chapters of time. But what are they going to say? Repeat ‘Keep Digging’ for pages and pages? It would at least give the real feel of the task. We are “getting there”, as they say, but we like to take breaks a lot. The root is is gruesome work. I wish I had a real, USFS quality Polaski.