Thursday, June 16, 2016

28th Posting - The Cabin Warming (and a furnished interior!)

It is unbelievable to walk into the cabin now and see what we (lots of people helped me along the way) have actually accomplished with this Earthbag Cabin Project!
Saturday, June 11 we had a cabin warming, and my sisters decided to combine it with a 60th birthday party, even though that event doesn't occur until September.
Nevertheless, about 50 people came for the day, many of them from out of state, as far away as Florida, Maine, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, and Idaho.
What a great time we had.
Several friends came a few days early in order to get everything spic and span.
A few cabin gifts just perfected the decor of the cabin and now it's almost a masterpiece!
We had a beautiful day with enough clouds to allow us to be outside.
By late afternoon, 18 of us were still at the cabin when it started to rain..... and rain..... and rain!
The road is pretty impassable when wet so we waited until almost dark and then took the 3 biggest four-wheel-drive vehicles and made a slippery run for it. It was precarious, but we all managed to stay on the road and get back to the pavement. Sunday we went back and rescued the other 3 vehicles we had to leave behind. A fitting adventure to close out the celebration!

Valeta (Indiana) helps me put up signs directing people to the cabin.

Shelley (Washington) makes a fruit salad while Sherry and Pat supervise.

Gaylene decorated with the help of Valeta, Wes, and Ruth.

Andy grills burgers and brats for the crowd.

Rachel and Gaylene serve the birthday cake.

The 4 Floridians enjoy the meal.
Jan & Hal Drake and Jeanne & Art Veldman.

Mother loved watching all the activity - here with Shelley, Maxine, and Vaughn.

Cousins Cindy, Pat, Maxine, Shirley, and Sherry enjoy visiting.

The weather was comfortable for spreading out in front of the cabin.

Carol (one of the original Lettuce Ladies from my cruise ship days) came from Illinois, as well as our friend Libby from Tennessee. Rod from Maine looks on.

Vaughn, Gaylene, and Rod (Maine) take a break as rain starts late in the afternoon.

And then it poured!!

The cabin (with the wood stove blazing) was comfortable for waiting out the rain.

Valeta stands in front of the now-drenched cabin.

Sunday was a beautiful day. Here the owl house stands above the ridge.

My piano and various furnishings.

The back wall with the Swiss Alps and red buttress (to hold the back wall in place against the hill).

The wood stove, sofa, and new handcrafted side door.

The little wood stove is the perfect size for the cabin!

The ceiling reflects a lot of light. The brown trim gives a Swiss feel.

Mom in the big chair, under the western painting.

Mother enjoys the cabin. Now it's all furnished and cleaned up!
Home Sweet Home!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

27th Posting - The Transformation!

Wow! It is finally all coming together. This spring I was able to spend quite a bit of time working on the cabin. Once we got the floors down, I turned my attention to painting. Since the walls are adobe (mud!) I had to figure out a way to secure them. I decided to go with KILZ2 as the primer, because it creates a good surface bond and solidifies the wall. Just the first coat in my 16x24 cabin took SEVENTEEN GALLONS of primer!! But it was worth it. The second coat took only 6 gallons and by then the wall had a nice feel to it. It was fun experimenting with colors while doing the primer, but in the end I settled for a cream/rose color for all four walls, and a bright 'in-your-face' red delicious for just the back buttress.
The floor was painted dark brown like the trim in the cabin and that matched nicely. 
We put down about 120 square feet of white patterned tile in the 'kitchen' area.
Then I put down a bunch of area rugs, moved in a sofa, big stuffed chair, and my PIANO!
 A wood stove and a few paintings on the wall, and VOILA! Home Sweet Home!
Saturday June 11 is a cabin-warming and BBQ at the cabin and we are expecting 40 to 50 guests to come help celebrate this amazing project!
Many thanks to all who helped along the way.

Lots of rain this spring left the cabin in a beautiful green setting.
The walls and buttress are painted. Ruth works on the floor.

Here's the tri-color - cream, red, and dark brown.

Ruth helps on the tile floor in the 'kitchen' area.

Valerie is on the roof, working on the hole for the chimney.

Gaylene admires the little wood stove on its black pad. 

The piano is in! It sits on its own little area rug.

Interior overview looking southeast. Piano, buttress, and stuffed chair.

Overview looking northeast. Sofa, chair, wood stove, and buttress.

Monday, March 21, 2016

26th Posting - Big Progress on the Interior

During the winter I didn't make a lot of progress on the cabin, obviously, but one bright January day several of us did go out to check on things. We had more snow out there in December than I had seen since buying the property back in 2006. But the cabin was perfectly cozy, snuggled in the snow, and comfortable inside.
In March the work got more serious. My cousin Leora and friend Shelley came for a weekend and we started to work on the floor. I had gone round and round with ideas for the floor, but in the end decided to just go with wood. Since it is so dry in the hill, we just put down a sheet of plastic for a vapor barrier and then put 4x8 sheets of OSB down one way, and then a second layer perpendicular to the first layer with no seams overlapping. We screwed it together tight and that made a pretty solid floor. However, when it comes to sealing the edges, even a little give in the floor would make it tricky. So I used cans of gap-filler insulation all around the edge of the floor. The effect of that was to seal the boards in place so they couldn't move once the foam hardened. Then I went back to adobe and connected the walls and the floor with a rounded coat of adobe.
Then it was time for the walls and I started with a heavy coat of KILZ for a primer. Most people don't attempt to paint adobe, but I wanted a sealed surface with a good surface bond, and KILZ was the way to go. It worked great, but took 17 GALLONS of KILZ for just the first coat!!!
The fun thing about the primer was being able to tint it different colors to experiment. I put on a nice peach color which I've considered doing as an accent on one short wall, but in the end I've decided to do all the walls a cream color with (very) slight rose tint.

Twila, Valeta, and Vaughn head up the lane on a bright January day.

The cabin is nestled in the trees.

Leora starts the process of cleaning and then leveling for the wooden floor.

Vaughn, Gaylene, and Shelley work on the floor. Mother and Leora look on from the corner.

Even OSB doesn't look too bad when it's put down.
(Even if it is made in Canada from imported materials!)

Gaylene puts in screws as Mother looks on.

I enjoy a few minutes in the chair, enjoying a view of the distant mountains.

Twila gets a well-deserved cup of coffee after putting a lot of screws in the floor.

Foam insulation (Gap Filler) beaded around the edge of the floor solidifies it in place.

Close-up of the foam bead after it dries.

Then I used adobe with a little mortar mix in it to 'connect' the walls to the floor.
It won't be long before I move in my piano, wood stove, and sofa, etc.!!

Then the window and door trim in the cabin were all painted dark brown.

Colors after the first coat of KILZ. Far left is an adobe pink, center is peach, buttress is cream, and the gray on the right is the original adobe color.

After all that it looks like the paint is going to be a subtler cream color with a slight tint of rose.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

25th Posting - Working on the Adobe

This summer I've been doing some work on the adobe, which doesn't give much to show for it in photos for the blog. However, now there are at least 2 coats of adobe on all the inside walls.
One thing I've learned is that lots of straw is good. I wish I had used more straw on the earlier coats. The adobe with lots of straw is much more stable and makes a much stronger wall. On one wall I've made my own style of stucco/adobe, using mud and a fair bit of  mortar mix, and brushed it on the north wall. On another wall, I just put a 3rd coat of adobe with lots of straw on the wall, to see if it dries smooth enough to not have to put stucco on it. As of this posting, the adobe walls weren't quite dry, but it looks encouraging.

The stucco is dry and Valeta shows the 'finished' look.

The back wall has an extra coat of straw-heavy adobe on it and seems to be drying pretty evenly without the big cracks of earlier coats.

A close-up of the adobe/stucco wall. It looks like I'll be able to even paint this.

Vaughn admires the final coat on the outside buttress.

Valeta helps fill the bird feeders. Watching the birds is a side benefit of being out at the cabin!

We plant a couple bushes to enhance the yard.