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!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sitting Around

The weather got beautiful yesterday and even nicer today. Night's are freezing (last night was in the 20's) but with my sleeping bag and comforter I'm as toasty as can be. The zipper on my tent continues to give me trouble. It might actually be permanently open and unrepairable. I'll work on it again later today.

We've been doing nothing. The guy who was supposed to backhoe simply didn't show up and won't answer or return my calls. I have found a very nice-sounding man, Joe, via Peter via Jeff who is set to come out tomorrow at 9am. $75 to bring the backhoe out, $75 /hour for work. Sounds reasonable and if he's actually reliable then he'll be a saint to me. Super-anxious to start working. Once excavation happens, we'll do a bunch of runs for scoria to put about 6 inches down everywhere, then we'll tamp the hell out of it. After that, bag stacking will begin. In reality, I also have to run some plumbing sleeves through before we throw scoria on, and start a layer of plastic above the scoria and below the bags. But it will start tomorrow (inshallah, no?)!

It sounds like I have a few errands to run while we're in town doing nothing so I can be a bit more prepped. Sacha comes in tonight so we'll have another helping hand to start the house. Hopefully I'll start being too busy to blog :-)

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