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!

This also means I've had to make some modifications to my plans. While I would love to build a stone bath tub and a rocket stove with heated bench, I don't really have the time. There's always later anyways, like when the kid can be put to laboring. For now I have to content myself with a claw foot tub (poor me) and a wood cook stove--those cute old school things with a stove top, oven and water heater.


  1. Good news! It's funny that someone ages back talked about the size of your house and your 'unborn baby'... I wish you all the best and all the help you can get. :)

  2. I follow this blog in secret...but felt like commenting. I'm glad to read you plan to continue on w/the house in light of your new circumstances-maybe at different pace and adjusted expectations...so be it. Talk to real owner builders(not those that just point and pay)and I think you'll find many say the house is never done. Rocket stoves can be a pain when they take forever to heat up the mass folks put w/them-a nice iron stove is so nice to sit next to. Enjoy the adventure-dave

    1. Thanks you guys. It's difficult at times just because it's easy to get overwhelmed when you're pregnant and trying to finish a house alone at the same time. But it is an adventure and I get to enjoy it at times. I'm excited about the cookstove! Gonna look at one next week.

  3. Hey aly,
    Nice work on the build, it is looking great.
    Email me for some plaster help: Petrichor.downpour at gmail

  4. Holy cow! Amazing news Alyssa! So excited for you on many levels. oxox Claire