Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9th Posting - The walls continue to rise

This is obviously going to be a long-term project and I don't expect to get the walls done before winter, but they keep going up. My friend Ruth from Indiana came out for 5 days of good work and we got the walls up to the 8th and 9th layers. My sister Val made a 'box' to go in the root cellar opening and Ruth and I had to force it into place with sledge hammer and brute force - those bags are solid!! My friend Nathan helped me build a frame for the 3 X 5 'kitchen' window which Ruth and I put into place and got one row of bags up on either side of it.
Notice the splotchy green color spraypainted on the door and window frames. This is to camouflage it from the road half a mile away. It works. Ruth still can't pick out the cabin from the road!
After a garage sale a week ago there was a pile of 'free' stuff in the alley. There was a bucket of wire insulation attachments and I've been using them to further attach the bags to each on the corners and buttresses. I straighten the curved end and make a hook to match the other end and pound both ends into the bags solidly. The photo shows one of them just lying on the bag to show what the original wire looks like and also a couple of them pounded in to the bags.
Another photo shows Ruth at the picnic table where we have lunch, and yet another frames Ruth in the 'kitchen' window on the south wall.
Sunday we took a break and went up to Palisade Falls south of Bozeman. It was beautiful and Ruth just wanted to stay there. (Why would she go back to Indiana!?)
Tamping the walls is by far the hardest work in the project. Now that the walls are higher it's too difficult to raise the tamper above my head, so for now it's easier to walk on the walls to tamp. Probably a scaffold will be in the near future out there!
The last photo in this posting is the sunset facing directly west from the picture window frame. That will be a nice feature of the cabin. The Tobacco Root Mountains are off to the southwest and the Big Belt Mountains are to the north. The site is just surrounded by great views.
Saturday I have to take off on two tours back to back, but hope to work on the cabin the last two weeks of October before leaving for South Africa the first of November! Any volunteers to help with the cabin are welcome!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

8th Posting - Building resumes after week of rain and mud

Nearly a week of rain (and snow over the mountains) slowed the work schedule, but we used time indoors to build frames for the big picture window and two smaller windows. Rachel hosted the construction in her garage. Rachel, Valerie, Austin and I went to my land Tuesday, but muddy, soupy roads made us walk the last quarter mile. At least we got some work done. Thursday Austin and I went out and installed the frame for the big picture window and filled more bags.
We now have most of the bags covered with tarps. Water doesn't hurt them in the least (on the contrary, it just makes the bags set up harder!), but sunlight will disintegrate the bags after about three months of exposure. So unless the cobb (adobe) is going on soon, bags need to be protected from the UV rays.
Next photo - Austin levels the picture window frame and then pounds the dirt into the bags. Now both doors and the picture window frames are in place and the walls are continuing to rise slowly. The last picture shows the view I'll have through the front window!