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, May 17, 2011

Bags Filling

First Course Fully Tamped
Mostly Untamped. Huge difference in size.

So my muscles are growing. Really. You should see my arms. Tamping is not for the faint of heart. Not having to transport dirt is such a blessing. I have been speeding up and my bags are looking good now that I'm half way through the second course. It takes fifty bags to go around the pinto bean plus four and two half bags for a buttress. I did just over thirty bags yesterday. Each bag takes 9 gallons of dirt which I have to take down into the pit. I am blogging because I needed to take the morning off. Think it's best not to drive myself to physical collapse but to let my body acclimate at its own pace.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bag Filling Pics

Mesh bag, small fill bucket and bag chute
The newly placed piles of dirt

Bag Filling

I've begun to lay down bags! I am a few bags short of the first course, which I will finish up tomorrow morning. I had a morning in town doing errands followed by a two hour tractor appointment with my neighbor (two tractor hours moving dirt=three days and a broken back of me doing it) so only got a couple hours in today before I had to flee the approaching rain and thunder storms.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's snowing again?

Humanure Compost

Sample Bags

Plastic for Moisture Protection

Well, barely. But still. And thunder storms today and tonight.

Progress so far:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gravel Progress

It's been hot! What a relief. 16 yards of gravel got delivered on Tuesday afternoon. Since then it has essentially been shoveling and leveling it. I needed a little more so went this morning to load my truck up (note: my car should not have a ton of weight in the back), and again this afternoon (3/4 ton is a bit better).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Excavation and More Snow

Excavation looking west. Note the huge difference in color between the topsoil (back) and subsoil (front). The former will be great for the garden, the latter for bags. Wooden stakes are the outline of the shape of my house.
Looking SW.
The Kitchen looking west. Usually the shade cloth is connected to the tent but I wanted to give it a break from the wind. Johnny's tent is in the background.
Looking NW.
The bathroom and shower looking SE. I like it as is but my brothers cite privacy issues. Nice, open view of the mountains.