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A Cob Wall Totem-like Display  RSS feed

 
Penny Dumelie
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Posts: 323
Location: AB, Canada (Zone 4a - Canadian Badlands)
52
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I have been planning an idea in my head for a long while that is basically a permaculture farm/community/market/education center.

A little corner of this idea includes a row of cob walls.

The walls are included for four reasons. One is promotion, another is education, a third is tradition, and the last one is... a feeling. That feeling of accomplishment and of being part of something and leaving behind your mark.

Promotion - The farm is going to be active in the local community and there will be many activities for people to participate in/benefit from.
I want locals to look at their guest across the table and suggest they drive out to look at the cob walls and check the market (or other features, but yeah, the walls).
It will be like the front face of the property.

Education - The walls will be used to show students how to mix and build with cob.
They will start with assembling their own base and adding the first layer of cob.
From there they will work on another wall and/or finish off a wall that was completed by a workshop held previous to the current one. I think this will cut down on the time since the group won't have to wait for drying.
It will end with the students decorating and designing a cob wall completed by a previous group with a variety of methods that could include shaping, coloring, glass or tiles or stones decorating, basic handprints, or whatever they come up with. Each group will contribute their unique "totem" wall section - in sections for wildlife movement. I don't want to block wildlife. (scary paint picture 1)

The tradition and feeling is tied into the education part. The walls will be a reminder of the people we meet and it will be something they create that will last a long time (in theory).

So now the problem becomes what to use for a wall "hat"

I was thinking behind the walls could be a trellis type deal with a solid. slanted overhang that would hang over the walls. (scary paint picture 2 - side view). The trellis could be used for grapes or berries or something.
Maybe beans the first year so it fills in fast.
Leave about 4 feet between the trellis and the cob wall so either side of the trellis can be accessed comfortably.




Harsh prairie weather is the main concern.

Does this idea have any possibility or not a chance? I'm open to suggestions and polite criticism.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6678
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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A high, dry foundation and a generous roof overhang are essential. If you can't afford a roof, there's no point in building anything from cob unless you are in a desert.

Only one of the 40 or so cob structures that I've seen, were built to last. Water has been the culprit every time. Demonstration projects often become cautionary tales. I have repaired two where this is the case. Both will be demolished within two years.
 
Penny Dumelie
gardener
Posts: 323
Location: AB, Canada (Zone 4a - Canadian Badlands)
52
bee chicken forest garden fungi rabbit trees
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That's a disheartening thing. Work put in that won't last.

I'm worried about snow. The trellis like above will probably cause drifts and without a protective barrier (maybe a hedge?) there will definitely be drifts against the wall.
I have no plans to shovel miles of cob walls.

I've seen pictures of cob hot tubs. Do they use something special to seal the tubs? It seems like the water should erode the cob.
 
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