fortunately, I had just crossed the 65th birthday line and qualified to receive social security pension...So, I felt free like a bird!
of course I made plan after plan, drawing after drawing, small scale cob model after cob model …
but at last, while standing on the terrain at rancho El Mogor on the hill, I decided to simplify my vision and adopt the spontaneous, intuitive design taught by Ianto.
I traced two concentric circles of 17 and 21 feet in diameter and started digging foundations.
the wind that comes from the Pacific blows into the valley and creates a micro climate ideal for cultivating vineyards, olive trees, etc.
rain is scarce, and wells provide little water, so a large reserve of water is a must. thus, the first step was to build a 36 hundred gallon water tank. the bottom half of the water tank is under ground and I hoped the displaced earth would supply my needs for the cob construction.
in addition, I plan to collect water from rain and dew with a correctly oriented roof. Most of the water,any way,will come from the water truck.
step two, I started with a stone foundation done by the book.
april 1, my Swiss friends,Gladys,Rene, Anne Marie and Dick from Tucson gives me a very nice visit
I had previously bought low priced double glass windows, while visiting a “Restore” in Santa Ana, so I was able to integrate (4”x4”) wood frames
into the foundation.by april,
I had to install a 320 feet electric power line, from the post to the building area, for which I had found electric cable at a junkyard.
I hired a young fellow, Sergio, and his brother to help me with the cob so that I could take care of all the other aspects of the construction.
I had to wait until may to get fresh straw.
as soon as the straw was available, we started cobbing in tarp.
I added an organic shape to one side of the circle to have a separate room for the bathroom
the tests I did from the earth looked OK, but still felt a little too sandy,
to deal with this doubt I opted to look for clay nearby and found a pure red clay just 2 miles from the site.
so I brought over some of this clay.
the result was evident.
by adding 5 shovels of that clay to a wheelbarrow of my sandy earth,
the bare foot work in the tarp was becoming more enjoyable.
it was a good and sticky mud!