Natural Building, Day 4…Only the Beginning

The last day of class was great fun. I finally had to get my feet in the mud, the roof is installed, all but one wall is finished. We got creative with glass bottle inserts and some all-natural wall hooks for the humanure room. So much love goes into hand-built walls, that this little corner of Koinonia Farm is radiating with agape energy. Nicole is staying on for a couple of days to help us finish the last section of cob. There are plans in the works for a 2012 workshop, stay tuned for more details. Koinonia was a front-runner for affordable housing back in the 1970’s, perhaps we will have the chance to revolutionize the way Americans build in the 21st century? Who knows…for now, thanks to everyone for the best time I’ve had all year:

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This is where we left off the day before...

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Mike, Ryan and Sara, our artists from Baltimore

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By 3pm half of the cob was done. Glass bottle inserts in the earthbag wall will form the shape of a cross.

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Earthbag wall

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Slip straw + cob + bottles = highly functional art!

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Burlap sack lining before the metal roof was on

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Couldn't help but smile when Brendan and I were dancing to mix the cob

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Bare feet are the best tools for mixing clay, sand and straw

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Cliff and Barry nail the roof down tight

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So happy together!

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Our new friend Sage kept us stocked with snacks while we worked

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Christina gets out of the kitchen and into the clay

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Sand plaster applied to earthbag wall

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Entrance to new humanure toilet room

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Pretty colors

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Goat's horns embedded in the cob become hooks in the humanure room

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Brendan's cob-stained feet

I can honestly say that life will never be the same after this experience. As Nicole put it, it’s so empowering to know that we can build our own houses out of the freely-available materials provided to us by the Earth’s abundance. Can’t wait for the next earth-built blitz!

Natural Building, Day 3

Intensity was the name of the game today. From the early-morning cob-making, to noontime truss-setting, to a trio of techniques in the afternoon, to a spontaneous talent show/ drum circle. Yesterday’s persistence at the building framing paid off. Everyone’s energy level is high, and the rapid transformation is unbelievable. A week ago today, Cliff had not yet arrived at Koinonia and Wayne hadn’t yet begun the front yard swales. Tomorrow we will be putting the finishing touches on the building…but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

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Homeschool Cooperative students, getting in on the cob oven construction

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Cob is all about community...all ages and lots of fun!

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The first layer going around the oven sand form. Trinity and Ida showing Wayne how it's done

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Alex and Julie hard at work...nearly finished by lunchtime.

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Hey mom, look what we helped build!

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Ryan and Alex tamping down the central slip-straw wall, one section at a time

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Nicole and Ned moving right along...

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Barry takes it to the next level.

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Mike, Josh and Cliff filling the first earth bag for the base of the outer wall.

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Happy Brendan!

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Cliff, tamping the earth bags

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Nicole learning to mix earth plaster

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The "aha!" moment...getting the plaster just right

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Alex and Sunny applying earth plaster to bamboo lath

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David and Penryn filling the gaps with cob

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With all this activity, even the bunnies are tired.

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Plaster wall complete!

Grand finale coming tomorrow night!