Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Muddy Holes and Baggy Buildings

It´s butterfly time again, and they are delighting us with their spontaneous wind dances and quick licks and kisses! Of course, they also want to kiss us as caterpillars, which is much less pleasant...
So. Just so that no one gets the wrong idea from the last blog entry, that all we do is eat cake and make moonshine, here are some photos of our real hard work-learning.

The cottage is in full bloom-- here we are Earth-bagging the foundation stem wall (a mix of Earth, rocks and lime) while reinforcing the posts for our roof, which are only partly in the ground since we are building on top of bedrock. Don't worry-- they are extra braced at the base with wood and na¡ls.

We dug a giant hole, used part of the dirt and rocks for the Earthbags, and the other part was sifted and poured back into the hole with sand, (composted) cow manure, and woodash. This is an experiment (based on local indigenous methods) with a fermented Earth mix for the Wattle-and-Cob technique we will be using on the wall construction.
After stomp-dancing the hole, we added cut-up and de-spined cactus to help the ferment and stickiness. Lucky for us, a storm broke down a few cacti and we were able to put them to good use just in time.
The roof framing team just after all the tedious cuts were made and squared and almost-perfect corners done just right.

All in the hole for prepping the mix!
Sometimes the work is a little dirty.

We mostly speak English in this course, but there are occasional Spanish classes at the river for deep study...
One of our neighbors came down to take us on a medicinal plant walk in the forest. Here he is blowing through a type of fibrous bamboo which can be used to clean wounds if ever you get stranded in the jungle with deep gashes that won't stop bleeding. Hmmm... not that that happens often, but good to know.

And Marcelo, when he is not framing the roof, is usually suspended in the Mulberry tree behind the house. He says he just has to climb up often to beat the birds to the fruit...

Our Halloween Mexican-Food Fiesta Full Moon Costume-Contest Party...

Bonus photo... Mamas and babies everywhere.

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