Building with earthbags is essentially building with adobe bricks without going through the lengthy process of making them. You take polypropylene sandbags, fill them with a moist mix of sand and clay, tamp them down hard and connect the layers with 4 point barbed wire. Then, you cover them over with an earthen plaster.

In reality, I didn't use polypropylene bags. Some Brasilians started a type of construction they call hyperadobe which uses mesh bags, or continuous tubing, made from the same material as the onion or potato bags in the grocery store. They don't require barbed wire, though otherwise the process is just about the same.

As I talk about in the blog posts, my design has been guided by simplicity and efficiency. More than anything, what's been most important to me is to live in a house that I myself, with no building experience whatsoever, can design, build and maintain. A natural extension of that has been the desire to live in a peaceful space. For me that means a home that's in tune with nature, thus limiting the use of imported materials for construction, in addition to those that will be needed later on, such as for heating. Please enjoy reading, ask me any questions, get inspired, and come help and learn!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So what am I doing in the meantime?

Here in Portland I will be locating, pricing and in some cases buying supplies. I'm going to check out the rebuild center on Mississippi St. and might end up buying the bulk of my fixtures here and transporting them out. That means I would rethink the detour stopover in California (it doesn't make any sense at all now that I think of it to go and get all my stuff and a cat for a house that doesn't exist yet), and drive straight out there from Portland with a truck full of windows etc. instead of books and dishes.

The things I'll hopefully be able to take care of from here are:

*Windows (if you have any sliding glass doors or approximately 3'x5' or 3'x4 or 2'x3' double paned windows you wanna give away let me know).
*Solar water heater panel.
*Sewing the mold for the Thai jars.
*Finding a cheap water heater.
*Making velcro plates for use in attaching things onto the bags.
*Going to plumbing stores and at least familiarizing myself with, and maybe buying, the supplies I'll need.
*Putting together some of the homemade tools I'll need for earthbag building.
*Pricing materials and identifying my eventual suppliers and the wait period from order to delivery. That's mostly a concern for the bigger pieces like the vigas, pumice and, of course, the earthbags.

I could also do nothing. But anything I do now means less planning and logistics for later, leaving me with more energy and time to just build once I finally get out there in April.

When I get out to NM I will still have to set myself up some to be able to work. I'm planning on finding a big army tent to live in and then buying a propane grill to cook with. I'll need a water tank--probably will buy a 500 or so gallon HDPE tank that will fit in my truck. Also, I'll have to build a simple composting toilet, and will set up a simple solar heated shower. So don't worry! When you come out it will be tent camping (underneath the most beautiful stars) but there will be food, water, a toilet and hot showers.

Once all that is taken care of I will go out and find scrap lumber for building the door and window forms as well as for some other purposes. There's also some other small junk and tools I'll want to locate before diving in. Once I have done all that, it will be time to have it excavated and building can begin.

Curious yet?

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