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Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

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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The title says it all. With the help of Alexors  father, Stan, we were able to tear down the remaining walls. Clearing the way for us to start preparing for the fun part. Cobbing 🙂

Alexor and Stan

One wall down

The next wall was a little tricky. We had to cut through some of the cabin logs with a chainsaw so the porch wall wouldn’t fall with the chimney wall. We plan to keep the porch wall with the original logs and fill it in with cob. The top log of the porch wall was completely rotted and trees were growing out of it! Fortunately there are  salvaged logs in our wood pile that we can cut to size and place on top.

Porch wall meeting chimney wall

Before the fall

After the fall

Last wall down

While Stan had the Chainsaw out he started clearing the overgrown bushes away from the rock wall in the back of the house. It looks incredible. It is as if I am in a dream world when I am back there. Everything is so peaceful.

Rock wall

All that stands now is what we will be restoring with cob and salvaged wood.

The part of the cabin we will be restoring

Side view of wall we are trying to save

We are going to have to buy  cement, lime and sand for the  mortar  mixture to fix the chimney and the foundation.  Another cost will be the straw bales, and AFM Sealant. Other than that we can find everything we need from the earth. Cob is a mixture of clay, straw, sand, screenings (or in our case we will be using small stones from the creek beds), and water. Tomorrow we plan on cleaning up the site from todays deconstruction and to start gathering stones for the foundation. Hopefully we will start cobbing by the end of next week!

Day 2

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Today Alexor and I started cleaning up the site a bit. Before we got to work we took a leisurely walk down to the creek. It was the perfect weather to work. There was a slight drizzle all day, with a cool breeze, that allowed us to work harder without evidence. It was entirely too beautiful. The lighting was perfect, not too sunny, not too dark, and the birds were singing to us. We had a perfect “first day”.

The waterfall

This is my favorite spot along the creek. Right under that big rock in the middle is a nice little water hole about 4ft deep that I know will come in handy when summer finally reaches the valley. I can imagine just laying in the cool water after a hard days work in the hot sun.

We tore down one of the cabin walls!

After our walk, we got right to work. We tore down one of the cabin walls and carried all of the heavy beams to a pile. Some of the beams may be too weathered to use for construction but I am sure we will find some use for them.

The pile

We cleared out all of the wood and beams that were piled up in the foundation. Here is a before and after picture.

Before

After

After that we started cleaning around the rock wall. We removed some wood beams and a big black plastic tarp. We were lucky it wasn’t too hot or there might have been snakes under the tarp! We ran into a big black snake that was just hanging out in the tree next to the front of the house yesterday. Today we were moving some of the tin in the metal pile and we ran into him and a baby black snake with a yellow ring around the back of his head.

We decided that we needed a dry place to store tools and salvaged wood. Alexor removed all the nails from the wood and I organized the pile on the porch.

Porch

Today we also worked on cleaning up the small room that used to be the old kitchen.

The old kitchen

By the time we had finished cleaning out the kitchen it was 6pm and we were absolutely exhausted.

Day 1

 Pretty good for a days work 🙂

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