We’re pushing hard to get ready for next Monday the 17th when a crew of friends begins work on the Rammed Earth wall.  It’s wet again this morning, though, allowing for  stay-at-home work. I can get a bit consumed by detail, in that I usually prefer the big picture stuff – designing and dreaming. I stress a bit when it looks like there are too many details for the time we have. Keeping it calm and fun at my core and with my beautiful work mates is key through this summer time window we’re given to romance our new home.

In case you want to see what the form-work looks like on the inside, with Jupiter waiting for the work to be done. We custom made rods and washers to hold the bottom of the form tight to the green board  – which is fastened to the foundation. Nothing’s moving down there. Then we plumb the uprights (called Strong Men) and brace them. Then the horizontal planks (called Whalers) are placed and leveled. And now we’re adding the plywood faces.

This is yesterday morning at the new house site. By the end of the day, most of the plywood (that’s just started here) should be on. The air hoses you see will drive the hand held tampers next week. When the sun shines into this bowl, we try to find the shadiest section to work on. Some days that pond is a great place to cool off. And, thank-you Jonah and Cal for all the spare hours you’re putting in to help get us to this stage.

After the next two or three weeks, we expect there to be a wall like this – only smoother, as we’re learning how to avoid the blemishes. It’s a lot of work to set this up and impact the walls, but when it’s done there are two great benefits, one, the wall is done. No painting or covering with paneling. We apply an oil to brighten it up, but that’s it. Two, this wall will absorb heat from the sun during the day and release it at night. We’re being assured we can go away from the house in winter, leave the drapes open, and the house will stay above freezing – for weeks or months on end.

This week saw the beginning of another phase in the building.

Our neighbour Sheldon has offered his workshop and tools to notch the timbers. Here he’s on the right showing Wes how to clean out a notch in one of the posts that’ll eventually hold up the roof. Let me know if you want to get in on this learning.

We’re in good shape in terms of helpers for the first week of the build, but could use a bit more help the second week – from 24 to 28 July – and the third if it goes that long. No matter when you want to come out, there’ll be stuff to see – and to do if you want to lend a hand. There’s some physical work in moving dirt, but the ramming itself I don’t find too demanding physically. And there are forms to keep adding as we move up and food to make. Which reminds me, my sister Vicki has been baking up a storm for us. And Teyana has been our garden-kitchen fairy – getting a crazy amount done amidst the flitting about. Thank-you, thank-you.