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Posts Tagged ‘cob house’

The past week and a half the weather here has been crazy. I feel as if I have been living in a rain forest! The plants love it and so do I. The cob house however, does not! We had to keep the house covered for a few days so the walls weren’t able to dry as quickly. I don’t mind so much though because everything here is absolutely beautiful and in full bloom. It is inspiring to see everything growing while my house is too.

On the rainy days I read as much as I could. Researching everything from ancient cob to timber framing. While researching I found an old article talking about how in old cob houses they used “shillet”; small gravel sized pieces of shale. Then it hit me, substitute shillet instead of screenings. Luckily for us there is a shale pit right above the cabin.

Shillet 🙂

So we made a test batch. Two parts sub-soil, one part creek sand, and one part shillet. It turned out to be the best batch of cob we have made so far!

Incredibly… we have everything on the property that we need other than straw bales. We are actually waiting/looking for some right now. Then we can start building up the north walls!

Trevor and Alexor

We had a lot of help this past week. My cousin Jake stopped by and helped us finish some foundation work. Alexors brother Trevor came up and helped us get ready for straw bales on the north wall.

Alexors mother DMarie, his aunt Darlene, and his cousin Mitchell also came up and cobbed!

DMarie and Darlene mixing their first batch of cob

Darlene adding straw

My family was in town due to a new arrival! My younger sister Joslyn had a beautiful baby girl and my whole family got together for Memorial Day weekend. I have a really big family! 🙂 Alexor and I took a much needed break and hung out with everyone.

My mother Mitchelle, my dad John, my sister Audrey, and my two younger sisters Clare and Gracie, and my baby brother Jack came up to check out our new place. They helped us clean up/organize the site and cleared some invasive bushes away from our retaining wall.

The next day my sisters Emma, Myah, Clare, and Gracie came up and helped us gather materials and cob.

Alexor, Mitchell, Emma, Myah, Clare, and Gracie screening sand

After gathering two loads full of sand we all went up and started cobbing.

Emma and Myah seemed to enjoy mixing cob

Clare too! 🙂

I am pretty sure everyone did!

Because of all the help we have gotten lately we were able to build up our north walls and to put in our very first window!

First Window

Outside view of window

Thanks to everyone who has come out to help us so far. You all are greatly appreciated!

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In the past few weeks Alexor and I have been hard at work. Our main focus was the foundation. We walked up and down the creek bed looking for the flattest and strongest rocks. Carrying them up the steep bank was a job in itself! In two weeks we probably loaded and unloaded the jeep with a few tons of gorgeous stone.

After collecting as many stones as we could we started mortaring the foundation. Alexors brother Trevor, cousin Mitchell, and our friend Paul came out and helped us! None of us had ever done it before and were flying by the seat of our pants. I think we did pretty good for our first try.

We decided to use mortar. Finding hydraulic lime where we live is virtually impossible and expensive. For a 40lb bag it was $60 not including shipping. Unfortunately that isn’t in our budget!

Sophia checking out the foundation

Another project we have been slowly working on is re-pointing the chimney. Alexors Mother, DMarie came up and helped us. Whoever had built the chimney used clay to fill in between the stones, and over time weather and age took its toll.

Re-pointing the chimney

I also took a chisel and hammer to the front to remove the wall they had built to convert the fireplace into a wood stove exhaust. Only to find that after they built up the wall a little they poured concrete in and filled it to the top.

It was pretty scary looking up and wondering when the stones might move 🙂

Chimney so far

As tedious as mortaring is, all in all, it was a lot of fun.

We worked on a ton of small projects. Screening clay, digging a hole for our cellar and building a bird feeder kept our down time productive. We also started a medicinal herb garden, a vegetable garden and planted some tobacco. And… we got our new baby chickens!! 🙂 Sophi loves them more than we do.

Finally after all of that we were ready to start cobbing. Our local 84 Lumber started saving us their used wood tarps.  Thank you! After that everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place for cobbing.

Shake test

Screenings and sand from the creek

We are trying to use everything from our surroundings. We have screenings and sand down in the creek that are perfect for our cob mixture. There is clay right under the house where we want to build a cellar. For some reason, everything just seems to keep working out perfectly.

We started soaking lime

Alexor mixing our very first batch of cob

It was extremely enjoyable to start cobbing! It was immediately like second nature. My mom, Virginia, and my sisters Emma and Audrey came up to help us cob. We mixed 5 batches today!

My mom supervising my sisters

My family applying cob

My mom using a cobbers thumb

Our first spine and ribs

Today was a very rewarding day. Thank you to everyone who has helped us this far!

Our total cost for the house at this point is $129.95

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