Bitter Sweet

David's picture

This weekend is another wash. We had high hopes of doing some more cobbing, and possibly even finishing it up. The weather forecast showed a sunny day on Saturday, and some rain on Sunday. So when the sun came up on Saturday morning, we were quick to jump on the day. With our pant legs rolled up we started to cob. With just a foot left to go on three walls, there isn't much left.

We mixed our first batch and tried to lay it in 1' lifts. It worked pretty well on the south wall. But unfortunately it didn't do so well on the east. This was probably because the deadmen and the loft poles helped hold it up. The cob only has itself to hold it up on the east wall, and it didn't fare so well. We decided to do our usual 6" lift on the east and west walls, and on the north wall we could do a single 1' lift. That was the plan anyway.

After our third batch the wind picked up and the clouds started rolling in. I checked the weather again online and didn't see any rain, so that was good. But even without the rain, the wind was bad enough. Patricia was having a very difficult time keeping the ends of the tarp off of her batch. It wasn't so bad at first, but by this time we had to think of a remedy. We decided to move the mixing tarp inside the building. Bringing the sand and clay would have been a slight struggle, but was worth the trouble to get out of the wind.

But first we had to clean up. The 'floor' was covered with bits of straw, dirt and remnants of cob that had fallen in as we laid it on the walls. Plus we had all sorts of lumber and stray stones as well. Now, it didn't take us long to clean up the area but it was long enough for the clouds to completely cover the sky. With the wind and now the cloud cover, the temperature dropped significantly. I hadn't noticed the difference but Phoenix sure did. She was shivering to the bone.

Well, we tried to get the cobbing done but alas we had to get indoors. I don't know how much longer we can hold out before having to retire from cobbing for the winter. Even now, the water coming out of the spigot is too cold for our feet. The last two times we cobbed we had to fill a few containers and set them out in the sun to warm up before pouring into our batch. We even had the spigot freeze up altogether one morning. This Thursday and Friday are showing sunny days, but the temperature needs to stay up if we are going to continue to cob.

On the brighter side, (I'll probably get lynched for this but) I'm glad winter is coming. It doesn't take long for me to get tired of the hot weather. I like the feeling of coming out of a warm house and feeling the chill cold air hit my skin and fill my lungs. We've also started lighting a fire at night too. The smell and sounds of a crackling fire is hard to beat. It was funny..., I think it was Thursday that we lit our first fire of the season and the smell of it made me crave a cup of tea. Sipping on a cup of hot tea beside the fire is something I did every evening last winter, and it appears it has become a ritual.

I don't know how much more we'll get done on the cob studio. I do hope we'll be able to finish it. But if not, winter brings many other joys to our lives that we love. At least for me anyways.


Rick's picture

Already that cold?'s still beastly hot out here.

Hopefully there is enough sunshine to finish the close to done. If you manage to get all the walls done, you think you will get the roof up in time also to enjoy the winter inside there?

By Rick
David's picture

Yeah, actually it was just a cold spell. A few nights of frost, but that was it. I thought it was going to be a permanent thing. The rain and wind are still hanging around though. Well, even if we get the walls done it won't be enough. The gables will be made with formed slipstraw, the stemwall will need to be grouted, and the floor needs to be filled up. All of them require drying. So we still have a ways to go, even with the roof on. Also, we have just submitted the the plans for the building permit and I'm not going to roof it until it gets approved. If it does get approved and the roof gets put on, we may have a chance, but it will be very slim.

By David