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! the first wofati - allerton abbey- version 0.7

 
Lab Ant
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Tim Skufca wrote:I believe you are a bit off if you think these bales will be out of moisture hazards. Just being under the "umbrella" doesn't keep blowing snow and rain away. I would build up a stone and gravel base under the bales to give added security. Straw bales and cob have zero tolerance for moisture.



This has all been discussed, but being the mad scientist that he is, Paul is intent on putting them on the dirt. There are 5 foot eves protecting the walls, so that helps. I imagine after Paul and Ernie have a discussion about it the whole plan will change, so I am just doing other parts of the project until then. I have been thinking something along the lines of a gravel foundation, but the important part is that the insulation layer of the straw bale needs to tie into the insulation layer in the umbrella, with no gaps for heat to escape through.

This afternoon we did a little work on the outside wing walls. They were never insulated, so we are stuffing wool in between and behind the logs to add some insulation after the fact, and then this will be covered by cob. I have been using a narrow stick to shove the wool into the cracks. It is surprising how much wool these cracks will gobble up. Also, I now smell like a sheep.

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wooly wood working
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a fluffy wall
 
Jesse Grimes
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Yesterday Ernie and Erica got here, and we're able to have a long *ahem* discussion about putting the bales on the dirt. The result was a compromise in which we will lay down two tamarack logs with wool stuffed between them, and then dead men buried beneath all of this to wire the straw bales to. I took a long walk with Ernie yesterday looking for the right tamaracks, and he explained how all of the 100 year old houses around here are all built of tamarack. This is because it is more rot resistant than the other local woods and it also shrinks less while drying. He also explained a lot about proper forest management and selecting for stronger, healthier trees. I am really thankful to be able to learn from such knowledgeable people as Ernie and Erica.

Brian came by Allerton Abbey and we also discussed how to properly mount the super large and heavy door that he is building. There will be a lot of shock force when that door is closed, so we have to account for that. There is also very limited space between the 40" door and 48" window for all the framing and straw bale, so it will be interesting. I'm sure we will learn a lot from this wall, which will help on the next 3 sections of wall we need to build on the uphill side.

Right now I gotta go dig up some dirt for cob mixing, which Carol-Anne is helping to facilitate. I can't post any pictures as I am out on the lab, but I will get some up when I am at basecamp next.
 
Jesse Grimes
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Wow! What a day. I've been running around almost non stop gathering up materials and tools to get everyone going. I loaded a few yards of "ready mix" cob material into the dump trailer in the morning. It turned out to not be a great mix but it should be adequate for the rough cob work, filling in the cracks. Then it was time to grab a couple sections of the Tamarack trees I felled yesterday evening. Curtis and the tractor helped a lot with that. Then it was off to the lumber yard to pick up some dimensional lumber for the door framing. Now I'm back at basecamp picking up some tools to build the frame. Somewhere in there I managed to dig 4 holes with a post hole digger to set the dead men into to secure the wall, including one 5 foot deep hole to receive the door frame post with a dead man beneath it.
While I was running around, back at Allerton abbey, Erica and the crew were mixing up a bunch of batches of cob, stuff g a ton of wool into the wing walls, and putting the first bit of cob over the cracks to see how it will do.

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Burr and Raul stomping out some cob.
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Fred stuffing wool into the wall for insulation.
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Curtis bringing in the foundation logs.
 
Jesse Grimes
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We got a lot of work done today. It's good to see it progressing. I started out the morning by carving a tennon into the top beam, where the door catch beam will slide into to provide a sturdy connection. Then i put together an I beam which will serve as the catch for the door. The cob crew started out by sifting shit! Cow shit that is. Old and dried out, then soaked overnight, it makes a great fiber for the cob mix. Once the beam was done, I used a draw knife to carve a sil into one of the Tamarack logs we prepared yesterday. This will sit on the outside at the bottom of the straw bale wall, so the silver will direct water away from the wall. Ive never used a draw knife for anything but peeling bark, but I found it very efficient for planing off strips of the wood. Next I cut round notches in the front foundation log so it will sit tight against the posts. This was another first for me, cutting round notches, it was fun to try but I'm certainly not going to build a log cabin anytime soon. Thankfully the spacing worked out that only one of the foundation logs needed to be notched. While Carol-Anne worked late into the day applying more cob to the cracks, I hammered a ton of nails into some small tamarack logs to serve as dead men which will tie the foundation and straw bales to the ground. As the light was fading I was pounding the last dead man into his final resting place.

Pictures aren't uploading right now, so I'll get them up tomorrow.
 
gardener
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hi Jesse

"The cob crew started out by sifting shit! Cow shit that is. Old and dried out"

well for relaxation and entertainment
something like this then is not too far fetched...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dung-spitting-contest-northern-ireland_55ae6aebe4b0a9b9485290c1

Dung Spitting Competition Is A Crappy Way To Prove Yourself

............

"Visitors to Irvinestown's 37th annual Lady of the Lake festival last week in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, were treated to a new event: a dung-spitting competition.

It was exactly what it sounds like. Participants took sheep excrement into their mouths and tried to spit it farther than their opponents."


 
Mother Tree
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I've taken far too many photographs of Allerton Abbey over the last few days and my mind is on overload, so I'm going to do a bit of a photo-dump here and probably come back over the next few days and add comments and explanations as needed. And maybe put them in the right order, too, as they seem to have got themselves a bit jumbled up...


























































 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Day 1 at Allerton Abbey





















































































































 
Jesse Grimes
Lab Ant
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Pictures from yesterday.
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Shit siftin'
 
Jesse Grimes
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More pics
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Notch cutin'
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Dean man nailin'
 
Jesse Grimes
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Today was a good day. A bunch of people showed up last night, including Cassie and some of the permies.com staff, and Zach Weiss. In the morning we got the door catch beam set into the ground, which involved hitting a bunch of nails into the bottom of it and digging a ditch out from the post hole, so that the beam could be swung into place and up into the tennon joint. Zach came just in time to help us get the beam in place, then we filled the hole and ditch with a mud plug, which will dry into a big hard mass and hold the beam in place at the bottom. Then Zach helped me get the bottom logs in place and leveled, it was great to have Zach around with all of his building experience. Once the beam was set in place and squared, we realized there wasn't enough room to fit the window in between the beam and the existing post. So Zach carved a but more space out of the post using a nifty tool called a lancelot something, which is basically a chainsaw chain on a grinding wheel, or a wood grinder.
There was still more accomplished today while I was giving a tour of the lab which was scheduled weeks ago. Ernie made it back out to the site to check out the new carpentry, and he directed everyone to fill in between the bottom logs with wool and a layer of cob on each side. The cob will prevent rodents from burrowing in between the straw and the plaster layer. They also fit a third small section of log into the doorway to help support the lintel, and flattened that off with the use of 2 hatches and 3 timber framers. Finally, Ernie talked to everyone a little bit about the construction of straw bales and how we will be coin about creating the shapes we need to fit around all the framing. He made it clear that this is not a regular straw bale workshop, as we are skipping all the basics and moving into advanced techniques to fit the space we are working with.
After that, I had a lovely dinner at Paul's with all the permies staff and guests, followed by a meeting with Ernie and Erica in which we talked over what we will be doing tomorrow and the specifics of certain tasks. Finally, I headed down to the shop to fabricate a couple more bale needles out of metal. I kind of felt like I was making swords as I sharpened the tips on the grinder. I even got a bit of welding in.

Wow, after typing all that I realize it has been a very long day and we made a whole heap of progress. Pictures tomorow, now off to bed.
 
Beware the other head of science - it bites! Nibble on this message:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
https://permies.com/t/119676/permaculture-projects/Dave-Burton-Boot-Adventures-Wheaton
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