Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back on the Cob

North Carolina is giving birth to another cob building!

My photo documentation has been lacking as much as my blog has been lifeless, but here is a quick visual update... (more to come by the end of the week)...

Removing the topsoil (after transplanting two large trees, a cherry and a maple).

There's definitely some clay in there, desiring an honorable, functional existence.

Excavating the site down to a level pad of subsoil.

Translating the design from graph paper onto the earth - staking out the lines of for the rubble trench foundation.

Digging the trench is a bittersweet process. The way the light plays over the shovels marks is so beautiful - it is an ephemeral beauty, as the following step is to fill the trench back in, forever hiding the shovel's artistry...

Tough digging through roots and bedrock.

Here is the general shape of the trench. The big island represents the main healing room, and the smaller island will be the mudroom.

I couldn't have done it so efficiently without my apprentice, Eric. He carries a mattock on his shoulder at all times.

And then *POOF* the trench is gone! It was filled with drainage rock, perforated drain pipe, covered with landscape cloth, and then topped with sand - ready for the stem-wall.

My nephew came to visit the site, and so I thought I'd take him for a swing on the hammock. As soon as I hoisted him into my arm, and then sat down, the world seemed to begin rapidly shifting. What was in fact happening was that the hammock was plummeting to the ground, and the tree was coming down for a murderous kiss. Luckily, it was a small tree and I reacted much like an Uncle should, blocking the trunk with my forearm, and saving the boy.

My truck has been a big help in gathering materials. Justin gets the credit for the new and highly appropriate bumper sticker above the toolbox.

The site, as it looks walking up from the road.

All of the stone was dry-stacked in 3 days, by a great crew. Mike came from Kentucky, and Danielle from Circle Acres, to help out Eric and I.

The entrance into the mudroom will be a cob archway.

We had fun today making a significant design change regarding the threshold into the main room (represented by the concrete block). Whereas before it was in line with the wall, we decided instead that it should be at a diagonal, to direct one into the center of the room, rather than the side. So we took off the cob, took down the stone corners, and relaid them in a curving fashion, to allow for this change.