So it's Wednesday, and I arrived on Sunday afternoon. It's been a little bit of a whirlwind. Everyone is preparing for the PDC, so I haven't really pushed myself into base camp life. I am very glad I pushed it a bit and arrived a week early! I've been settling in and getting the kids used to camping again, talking to Jesse about plans for the plot and potential projects, meeting people and getting a feel for the place.
The first project I'm doing to help improve the plot is a cob-mortared stone rocket stove across from Jesse's timber framed kitchen. So far I have the hearth laid and a test base assembled.
The kids are adapting too. Justin has been able to help Ben and Kai with work in addition to helping Jesse. Makes a mom proud :'-) Ahava, who is 3, keeps everyone on their toes with what she says. Today as I was walking her to the outhouse, we had this exchange:
Me: "I wish you had gone with Naomi when she went, baby."
Ava: "No, I gotta go wif you, because you are da mom and you will protek' me from da dinosaurs."
Today I didn't work on the rocket stove because I took the boys out on an excursion to acquire pine straw. Jesse plans to use this as insulation, and he needs a lot. Justin tore into the assignment, and Ezra (almost 5) did pretty well, probably filling 2 or 3 totes' worth himself. Together we filled the truck bed. I expect we will have to go out again, but this should go pretty far. We went around the ant village harvesting needles from downed ponderosa tops.
We worked on important concepts while we were out, like teamwork, and gaining rewards from your work. Ezra is still in the headspace where he is deciding whether work can be enjoyable for its own sake, and he is learning about the satisfaction of accomplishment. Justin just wanted to conquer the pine needles.
After that the small ones napped, and I did dishes. Off grid campfire carry-your-water dishes. I don't like doing dishes. I did not take any pictures of that.
Today was a pretty good day. We went over to Steve's plot in the morning and talked about his cob oven-in-process, then got to talking about sourdough. Can't wait until that oven is done.
We tried to help Jesse with building the house today, but I don't think there is much we can do besides support work. Toward that goal I soaked clay for slip and made campfire chili, and Justin did some holding of boards.
It turns out that the clay in at least one section of the plot is absolutely perfect for pottery. I processed a hunk of it and made a test vessel. I don't know what to call it. A chalice, maybe? It's drying now, and in a couple of days I'm going to try campfire-coal firing. It will take a very big, very hot fire. I've seen it but I've never done it myself, so if it works, yay
Today I put the second window in the house! Jesse left it all framed and some of the slip straw insulation done, but I will have to either do or coordinate the rest of it. We still have to hang three doors and put in two more windows, but two of them are done. Next we will start on the slip straw for the lower walls.
I'm trying to get everything on the lower level closed in. I figure once that's done, we'll be better off in the house than in the tent, even if the upper level bottle cob isn't finished in the exterior walls. The roof is rock solid and it is much cooler inside the house during the day even with no doors or lower walls, what with the earth sheltered nature of the house.
Gary's here to be a gapper as of 3 days ago, and the man is a machine. So much is happening.
Things have been cleared, cleaned up and organized. The trash is all collected and sorted. The available building materials have been categorized. The loft floor has been finished, the wood stove rescued from under a Ponderosa and test fired, and the slats for the insulation straw have been applied to the walls all the way up to the point where we plan to commence the bottle cob. The floor of the house and both the front and rear door yards have been graded smooth and the front has been terraced. We even had dinner with Ben and Steve. Welcome home Ben
So now that the house is in capable hands, I can concentrate on projects like my STOVE! And my water harvesters and dew collector and air well! And my plants!
It's bake day! The cob oven on Steve's place has been up and running for a week or two now, and I have done a couple of test bakes to get a feel for this individual oven. It seems to absorb more heat than the one I built several years ago, so I've had to adjust my normal bake times a little. Today is production day. I made several loaves of wheat sourdough for spreading around. The oven is Evan and Kai's work and I feel fortunate to have the ability to use one again.