April 22nd was Joah’s first birthday and what better way to spend Earth Day than getting your hands dirty building an earth-friendly home?? In preparation for the work party we had two big loads delivered: a huge pile of wood chips, and a dump truck full of sloppy clay- the skimmings from the ponds of a local gravel pit. Dan had rigged up a huge tarp and plywood-lined pit and apparently when it was dumped it was like a tidal wave of sludge which nearly overwhelmed the container. The kids had a hey-day getting into the clay bath and we had quite the cleanup that evening!
But getting the materials was just the first step; we also had to finish framing, strengthen the frames, and build forms not to mention organize the homestead, clean up, cook, and prepare ourselves. That week of preparation still didn’t prepare us for the masses that descended ON TIME at 10am…we were still running around setting up and getting the site ready to do light-clay.
Thankfully, many people who came were skilled carpenters and so jumped in helping build forms for the packing, while Pat started up the mixer. It was quite the scene! We had so many people, we even had folks cobbing- (the cob wall has sat unfinished all winter). What a thrill it was to see those light-clay walls packed so quickly: by the end of the day we had completed two-thirds of our total! Such a difference from cob, which plods along so slowly.
Everyone enjoyed a hearty chili lunch, carrot cake for Joah, and tea and coffee. The weather was also the nicest it had been all spring, although some clouds threatened briefly in the afternoon. The kids were happy jetting around on bikes, scrounging for nature’s beauties with a scavenger hunt and kicking around the soccer ball.
As usual with such events, I feel such a huge sense of gratitude for the community of friends and family that comes out in droves to support us, celebrate with us and put their love and energy into our house. It is one of the things that is going to make this house truly special.