School holidays are here again, so it’s time to attack some of those projects that go on hold while I try to master (or better yet…mistress) the delicate art of teaching. I have managed to become very busy this holidays; taking loads of junk to the dump and working on projects at school, so have not had any time to work on my earthbag walls. This morning I managed to finish half a round (with the reluctant help of my daughter) in an hour.
My mostly mythical partner was home for a day last weekend and knocked together some ‘velcro plates’ or cleats, which hold little pieces of wood in the walls to facilitate attachment of door and window frames (or shelves later on). Velcro plates are made by attaching a piece of wood (3 x 1 1/2 inch is good) to a piece of sturdy ply wood about 30 x 30 cm in size and putting nails through the ply plate in both directions. When these are embedded in the wall between earth bags they provide a solid piece of wood in the wall to which frames and stuff can be screwed at a later date.
A velcro plate. You can’t see it but there are nails going down into the bag below too.
A velcro plate for the door frame between two layers of bags.
I have discovered that placing the barbed wire between the layers of bags is a two person job (after flicking myself near the eye with barbed wire) and requires a lot of weights to hold it down while bags are filled for the next layer. The actual bag filling and placing goes very quickly though, and it is not hard work at all. The heat at the moment means that we can only do a few hours of work on the project in the morning and/or afternoon, so it will not be a quick build (damn it).
The barbed wire on the first round of bags, weighed down by whatever was at hand.
A round of bags all tamped down.
While I am trying to build, life goes on around us. Two days ago one of the chooks hatched some babies. She took one look at them and decided they must be daemon spawn because there was nothing chook about them. Luckily my daughter heard them squeaking and rescued them. We are now the proud foster parents of three ducklings. I must say I am a little disappointed in the narrow-minded attitude of the hen to mixed species families.