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An Artful House

So much has happened since my last post. We were so excited about finishing the cellar that we just kept pushing to get more of the house done. Our summer was flooded with rain, so we lost a lot of building time. We picked one of the wettest seasons to build a cob house!

First things first! After the cellar we started on the dry stacked foundation.

Alexor working on the dry stacked foundation

Ready for cob!

With the foundation ready to go, we started cobbing and… covering the house and uncovering the house, cobbing and… covering the house…. and uncovering! Repeated over and over again!

Wheres the house?

 Amazingly we survived all the rain.

One of our visitors was an a incredible photographer. Don Orkoskey. Check out his photography and the rest of the pictures he took of the cob house at Don Orkoskey Photography.

Don stole my heart with this picture

If you look closely at the rock shelves you can see the lintel wrapped in chicken wire. I decided to do a lintel instead of an arch to accent the two square windows.

Another one of Dons shots

I love everything about this picture! It is chaotic and has so much meaning. The rain tarps are peaking over the wall just above hatch leading down the cellar. The ladder shoved in the corner because it was the only way it would fit until we have a door for the cellar and the straw bales are in just the perfect place to say “Hey! Don’t forget about me”! Thank you Don, for capturing the playfulness of my house!

Last week we had such beautiful weather and we took absolute advantage of it! We pushed and pushed to get a roof on our house before the next rain. I am 100% happy to tell you that we did it!

Everyone lifting the heavy beams onto the walls

After the support beams came the joists! Which I will admit was somewhat of a pain due to using round rafters and 2x8s together. A draw blade and shims came in handy!

Alexor putting in a joist

FLOOR BOARDS!!

I can honestly say with all the rain we had been getting this year that I didn’t think we would ever get to this point! BUT WE DID!!! WOOOO HOOOO!!! The floor is absolutely beautiful. We bought $0.40 sqft rough cut, kiln dried lumber from a local lumber yard. We are finally high enough to repoint the rest of the chimney. That will be a warmer winter day project.

We haven’t finished the whole floor yet but I am anxious to see what it will look like. I know it is going to blow us away.

I was pretty satisfied with getting a few floor boards on so I left Alexor to it and went to finish a few things I had been itching to do. A mislaid tarp allowed rain water to damage some outside niches that I had been working on and I had started another rock shelf that I wanted to work on.

My lantern, creeping plants, candle niche!

My new rock shelves!

After a long week and a half, Alexor and I sat down and just stared at the chimney in the living room.

It feels so cozy and romantic!

We just stared at it completely in awe. Completely stunned that we built this house… with our feet!

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As the walls go up…

So much has happened in the last two months. The most incredible part of building, to me, is picking out where you want a window, niche, or a rock shelf, ect, and then watching it being built up and around with your hands. While cob is sometimes very strenuous it is also ridiculously relaxing. You get into the zone and go into your own little world. Every thing you do just flows as you imagine what the wall will look like when it is done.

Through out this process I have learned so much, not only about natural building, but also about myself. You learn your strengths and use them to your advantage. You also learn your weaknesses and work on them. I am realizing more and more that cob is not only physical but it is mental as well. When you don’t see instant progress, sometimes that can feel overwhelming. “Maybe I won’t get my house done by winter.” Sometimes  you see so much progress in one day that it really uplifts your spirit. You just keep going, keep working and it begins to piece together like a big puzzle.  I love it 🙂

Every window on the house now has a hand print! My way of saying we built this with our hands.

We have been doing a lot of night cobbing thanks to John and Michelle Connor! They gifted us an absolutely amazing solar light system. We have been mixing and building at night!

We also just bought some scaffolding! Which will most definitely come in handy, as the walls are getting higher!

Luckily for me… pictures are worth a thousand words 🙂

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