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!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Life Changes

Things have been moving a bit more slowly around here. I haven't been getting as much done, and have felt the pressure building. The unexpected happened and I'm eleven weeks pregnant, and until Saturday night pretty low on energy and generally nauseous. At this point, I'm looking for someone that I can hire for the next month to help me plaster the rest of the house and do the floors, in addition to a few other things. I'd like to get the house "done" before I have the baby in February!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This post has been sitting as a draft for quite some time. Back before I insulated I had to mouse-proof the outside. The biggest problem I came up against was the propanel ridges--there's no way to close them off. A friend suggested steel wool--mice can't chew through it. So I stuffed all those cracks with a couple boxes of steel wool and threw some silicone sealant around for good measure. Time will tell.

Bedroom Plaster

I had my first work party to get mud my bedroom and it was a great success. Kerry and Richard, who I'd heard of but never met, showed up with their two kids on Saturday. Also that day, David and Simone came over. They were all a huge help, especially David and Simone who returned the next day when Susan and her daughter also came over. We got 99% of the first layer done and about 95% of the second layer of plaster and it looks great!


The stairs going into my house have been treacherous ever since I put them in last fall to avoid having to jump down three feet into the house. I had considered finishing them with mud, but a friend of mine suggested that I make them out of wood and hinge the stairs for storage space. Great idea! They're not finished because I think I might like to shorten their width so that there's more floor space on the left-hand side by those red bags. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to see before I make them permanent by sheathing the sides, bottom and back with wood. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

500 Lbs. of Wool in the Ceiling

Finally! The seemingly endless bags of wool that ruled my house have disappeared...they now live above plastic sheeting between my rafters, keeping my house cool underneath the beating sun. All the wool is gone, and in fact I'm 10-20 lbs. short. I'm going to find that in the next week or so, hopefully close by, and finish up the job.

Mud Party!

Next weekend on both Saturday and Sunday (14-15) I'm hosting a mud party to get my bedroom done! We will be plastering the wall, working on a cob-bottle wall and doing an adobe floor. How much we get done depends on how many people show up. I'll have snacks and lunch. If you're interested in participating, email me or write a comment with your email and I'll get back to you. Thanks!