Slow to Grow

David's picture

Does anybody have any free time that we can take off their hands? Maybe I can start a kitty where people can toss in a few minutes or an hour of their time. All donations would go directly towards cobbing our walls. So if there is anyone out there that has said to themselves, "Wow, I have way too much time on my hands.", please feel free to donate that time into our kitty. Thank you.

Well, what can I say? The wall is growing, but it's definitely growing at a slow pace. I wish I can pinpoint the cause and rectify it, but it seems there are a number of factors playing against us. For starters, the weather hasn't really been good for cobbing. Thunderstorms and rain showers have been popping up ever since we started cobbing. And even when it's not actually raining I'm leery about cobbing. The sky is filled with clouds, and could rain at any moment. I'd hate to be ankle deep in cob when the clouds decide to let the rain loose.

Then there is the fact that I can't just drop everything else and put all my attention into cobbing. Meals need to be made, messes need to be picked up, and we are still changing clothes, so laundry needs to be washed. If I have to go out for groceries or anything else, forget cobbing. It takes some time to prep to cob, and then to clean up afterwards. It's not like, say dry stacking stone, where I can dust off my pants and then jump in the car. And cobbing requires water to be available. And guess who loves to play with water? I swear she can smell a bucket of water from across the property. Either that, or the water is calling her name, asking to play with her. And she can't just play with the water, no no no. She has to invite her friend 'Clay' to play along as well. The three of them are inseparable, ... literally.

Which brings me to my next anti-cobbing factor. Phoenix, although she likes playing, she want's papa to play along as well. And she's not a happy camper if papa is busy working and not playing. If I try and explain to her why I need to keep working, the only thing she gives me is the time that it took to do the explaining. So that buys me a few minutes. And all my efforts to try and persuade her to do other things has pretty much the same effect. The poor little thing. All she wants to do is spend some time with papa. How can I say no? So, I finish up what I'm doing, and begin cleaning up. With her little hand in mine, we leave the site. Before it even got started, the working day is over.

All this has been going on all week. It's difficult to get some solid time in for cobbing. Hopefully this weekend, with Patricia staying home, we can get more done. We can take turns cobbing while the other is spending time with our little darlin'. In the meantime, I need to try and come up with a solution to my weekday dilemma. If the only time we get to cob is on the weekends, the building will definitely not get built before winter.

I have been getting maybe one to two batches of cob done each day. I'd like to get at least five. With five I can complete one whole layer of cob around the building. With a layer of cob a day, that would make about 1' a week. Then on the weekend we can probably get an additional 1-2' more. The total height of the wall is 7', and I think we are about 2' right now, including the stone portion of the wall. When we get into putting in the windows, I'm not sure if it will take more time or less. There will be less cob to lay, but it might take longer setting the windows. Some detailing might be required. On top of that, there are the gable ends that need to continue past the 7' mark. We are still contemplating if we want to continue using cob or some other wall material. We are leaning towards maybe a formed slip straw wall.

So here we are today, another cloud filled sky. Thunderstorms are predicted throughout the day. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the rain. And I think everything else that depends on the rain agrees with me. But aparently the weather casters on the news don't feel the same way. Have you ever noticed that when it's going to be a rainy day, they never call it a good day? Oh, but put a little bright sun on the screen and it's a great day! It really erks me when they do that.

Anyway, off the soap box, the cobbing has to be set aside another day. Friday, and throughout the weekend is supposed to be clear and we hope to get a lot done during that time. I have streamlined the cobbing process a little already. I screened some clay to fill a 55 gallon drum. With it screened into small chunks, it breaks down faster, and only requires a few turns in the sand to break the rest down and mix together completely. The sand still needs to be screened, but the way I have it set up, it can be done rather quickly. I'll probably end up trimming the tarp for mixing. I'm not sure it's size, but I've been having to wrestle with it quite a bit. If I made it smaller I think I'd be happier with it.

I don't have any pictures to go along with this blog, but we'll be taking some over the weekend.


Rick's picture

This is why I get all my extra work done between 11pm and 3am! Only time Mari doesn't want to play.

By Rick
David's picture

Yeah, but it's so tempting to fall asleep when they do.

By David