I live in a part of interior Alaska that has very little top soil (3-6 inches) and no clay. It is all gravel under us for yards (maybe more?). I do not want to have to drive hundreds of miles to bring back all that clay if I even can find a place some one will let me dig it on their property. So I was hoping someone could point me to an alternative and some pointers. I am glad for any help.
The whole point of cob...and adobe....and permaculture in general, is to work with what's beneath your feet. If what's under your feet is gravel, maybe you have to work with that. When people settled Georgia and the Carolinas, they wanted something local that was a little faster and less labor intensive than fired bricks -- so they turned to tabby.
How much of the gravel under your feet is limestone or marble? If you can find a good local source of calcium carbonate, in the form of marble, limestone, or shells, maybe that same trick will work for you.
Not going to do the whole bench in cob, but you could make enough to make mortar to seal things up.
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J. Wilkins : Ianto Evans' has a famous story about finding clay in his book 'Rocket Mass Heaters ', My version is promising a friend we could find clay in the banks of a local river,
The bank was a little slippery and now my friend and I have slightly different versions of who pulled who in. But for a second there both of our feet were moving like we were
competing in a log rolling contest, we found all the clay he needed and didn't get the inside of the canoe wet ! (WELL mostly !)
I would also check with your Highway Department, they will know of any road cuts where the side of the cut slumps after a good Frog Strangling Rain, because they have to dig-out
the roadside ditch or repair a washout ! Hope this was timely and it helps
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