Monday, August 07, 2006

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
So, follow me, follow, down to the hollow,
And there let us wallow in glorious mud.

~Swann & Flanders

The clay arrived! Now I can get to some serious work. The walls need to have some holes filled and be evened a bit and for this I will use cob. The recipe for cob is simple and very flexible. Sort of like making bread, a lot of it is done by "feel". I will lay a tarp (like the blue one in the picture) over 4 bales arranged in a square to make a well in the center. This will be the "mixing bowl"; to that I will add clay, sand and some chopped straw sifted through a screen. This will then be mixed to incorporate the ingredients throughout. Then add water, take off my shoes and "
dance like no one is watching"!
Cob has been used to create shelter for centuries in many cultures. Two great books: Built by Hand and Home Work, have beautiful examples of people creating their own shelter from what they find around them. These range from the simplest mud hut to intricately embellished castles.

Speaking of embellishment-I'm going to the
Artistry in Clay and Lime workshop at Canelo the first week in October. Canelo is SE of Tucson in the hills. It's a bit cooler there and October will be beautiful. I'm so excited-I've wanted to do this for a couple of years and it's finally going to work out! The plaster work at Canelo is beautiful beyond description. I will come home chock full of ideas-but we only have a few walls, hmmmm maybe we could build...

These are 2 shots of the doors in place. These were taken on August 6 at approximately 10am and as you can see, the sun falls about 3 feet up on the south wall. Inside, the sun only hits about 6 inches inside the wall. Even with all the openings (front door not in, utility closet not closed in, the inside temperature is very comfortable.

This is the walkway going north, showing all the green after our summer rains.


Anonymous said...

Hi Judy - Great strawbale site - I am doing a lot of mudding around here right now.

Our earthship's inside walls are adobe and the outsides are stucco'd adobe. We have a garden house that we papercrete stucco'd - that was fun and inexpensive.

Also did a 5' wide 70' long apron in front of the south facing windows of the Earthship with a papercrete mix of newspaper, sand and 4 bags of Portland. It came out very nice.

Looking forward to photos of the mud parties.

John Calypso

Olga said...

Now I KNOW why we're buddies. I haven't met another non-family member who knows that hippopotamus song! Can I come play? That even sounds like something toddlers could do, maybe?

StrawBoss said...

Hi John, thanks for visiting! It's interesting that when I looked at the links on your site-I recognized some alternative building folks. Kelly Hart who produced a video several years ago that was an inspiration for us in our first endeavor. And Jim and Mindy-we attempted to go to their home on one of the alternative home tours-but it was Sat and they were only open on Sun-didn't complete the drive but followed their story via web.

StrawBoss said...

Hey Olga-anyone can dance! ~J