Saturday, January 27, 2007

My cob adventure,starting construction




This is the story of the construction of my cob cottage.


rancho El Mogor” is a dreamy place that belongs to my cousins Natalia and Toño, in the famous “valle de Guadalupe” in Mexico, near the city of Ensenada.

fortunately, I had just crossed the 65th birthday line and qualified to receive social security pension...So, I felt free like a bird!


I put together a little savings and drove down to mexico to the
rancho El Mogor
and started enjoying a wonderful and challenging life beyond my dreams.
























Thanks to the cobcottage company, and natural building construction workshop, in early 2003, and to Ianto and Linda, this dream was made possible. they have inspired me and have given me the strength to go cob.

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 “valle de Guadalupe ” is a green valley in the middle of a desert.
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.

after filling up the bottom floor of the cottage with stone from the river, and covering it with paper we started pouring the first layer of cob. thankfully, I had a good team and it went smoothly.

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!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Superbe construction. Bravo cà a l'air agréable à vivre.

Meilleures salutations. Dominique Géhin, CH-1860 Aigle

Christine Downs said...

Hey Aimee. Christine Downs here from the Cob workshop in Los Olivos. Just want to congratulate you on a job very well done. Those pictures are beautiful! I hope your days are as artful as your home. Peace!

mamma clau said...

Coucou Aimé, magnifique, à bientôt, ta cousine Claudine

ecoOliver said...

Hello Aime,

I would like to add your lovely home to the natural homes map (http://naturalhomes.org/homesmap.htm) so that more people find your work. Would that be OK?

Oliver

hector said...

Hello aimee this is hector piza jr. makes me very happy to see that the tootyfruit grape it's ready inside a bottle!!!
HOW DOES IT TASTE! WONDERFULL!!
I bet; I cant believe it has been almost two years since I was there,I had a wonderfull time enjoying your Hospitality " pizza and wine", and knowing your all friends.

About the Family everybody is o.k.
Say Hello and Happy Late New Years to Analila & the family.SEE U SOON I GOT TO TASTE THAT WINE!!

hector said...

Hello aimee this is hector piza jr. makes me very happy to see that the tootyfruit grape it's ready inside a bottle!!!
HOW DOES IT TASTE! WONDERFULL!!
I bet; I cant believe it has been almost two years since I was there,I had a wonderfull time enjoying your Hospitality " pizza and wine", and knowing your all friends.

About the Family everybody is o.k.
Say Hello and Happy Late New Years to Analila & the family.SEE U SOON I GOT TO TASTE THAT WINE!!

Rhonda said...

Consider adding ash, if readily available, to your mud. My tests have shown it to be more durable.

Rand

David Rivera Ospina said...

It is really a dream!
Congratulations, I am still years distance light.
Es realmente un sueño!
Felicitaciones, estoy años luz de distancia.

Bygningsentreprise said...

Magnifico!!! Your wonderful and great experience really great! I hope you share more of your wondrous experiences. Thanks for your excellent posting!