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!

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Natural Building, Day 1

The first day of Koinonia Farm’s first Natural Building Workshop was tremendous. After learning more about Koinonia’s history and getting the basics in a variety of natural building modalities, the students were itching to get out in the sunshine and get to work. They spent the afternoon splitting bamboo to be used as lath for mud plaster, stripping cedar bark from the structural poles, preparing a drainage trench to redirect water away from the building, and supervising some hard-working kids.
Wayne Weisman of the Permaculture Project and Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture will spend the next few days sharing their natural building expertise and letting the creative energy of the students take hold. I’ll be posting our progress each day, to show you what our 13 students (plus some community members and homeschool cooperative kids) can accomplish in 4 days’ time!
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Wayne giving a breakdown of the building design.

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Brendan and Cliff, sharpening tools

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Juby with the split bamboo lath, Alex stripping bark from a cedar post

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Ryan and Michael, taking a break from digging the drainage trench

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Kellan, age 4, using a draw knife to strip cedar poles

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The first post is set! And Cliff and Nicole hanging the bamboo lath

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The Prendergast girls, hard at work! Ida, age 7, loves the patterns that insects created under the bark

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Happy students = happy teacher!

More to come…