Construction Earthbags

Summer Kitchen Renovation Part6: Cob Wall Moved

It hasn’t stopped raining since we took down the roof so we focused solely on completing the “wall moving”. Now that the roof was out of the way and we were moving up the wall we could tamp the earthbags from above, standing on the remaining walls and beams.

I had just removed the rain gutters and found Kiwi confused. She has a growing repertoire of Parkour moves and one of them was jumping from the tree to rain gutter and on to the roof. Here is she is deliberating what to do with the rain gutters gone:

she didn’t make the jump!

In this picture the “moving wall” is becoming increasingly clear. The wall in the foreground is shrinking while the one in the background is growing:

… and working under the tarps while it is raining (soon it is my turn to go out into the rain to tamp down those earthbags.

As we reached the top of the window frame it was about time to complete the window header. I went with a design of a reinforcing grid sandwiched between two layers of solid boards. The grid was already built but needed charring:

… and then packing the gaps with insulation:

… and installing it in place … gave the window more presence and wholeness … and started to feel more like a picture frame to the outside:

During one of the sunny spells Kiwi climbed up and parked herself in a folded tarp close to where we were working:

Watching her there reminded me of George Carlin’s line “why are we here? PLASTIC!”

When we finally arrived at the old door frame the feeling of “we moved the wall” became real:

We reached the top of the window. We installed the boards that completed the window header. We used cob-bricks we set aside from the “destruction” phase to rapidly fill the space above the window. We used cob to fill in the remaining spaces (when there was no more space to work with earthbags) … and the new wall was suddenly done:

In designing the window I was working with the “Window Place” family of patterns from Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language” … and even amidst the mess of construction, the window does indeed feel like a welcoming place:

.. and the old neighboring mullberry tree feels like a friendly neighbor:

We then had some “easy” earthbag work (compared to the constrictions we’d encountered in the window wall) rebuilding the base of the opening we took down during the “destruction” (where there was a traditional oven):

The window frame that goes into this opening is almost ready and we can fill this wall out.

.. and today we took delivery of almost 7 cubic meters of wood for beams, a 2nd story floor, stairs and roof framing. Just moving and organizing this was an equivalent of a work-day for us:

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