Monday, August 19, 2013


Plastering has begun in earnest. This is going to be a multi-layer process; the first layer is a mud slip the function of which is to get mud keyed into the straw so that the plaster can be applied and will stick. The second and third layers will be plaster; mud with sand, straw and horse manure. These three layers should end up being at least 1 1/2 to 2" thick and will protect the bales from weather. My mud mix has already been weather tested and it looks like it's going to hold up very well. The last layer will be - well we haven't decided yet but it will be some sort of sealing layer; mud and sand with lime or wheat paste added. This layer won't have to be done until spring so we have time to research and make up our minds.
I have been working in sections just in case we have rain. The prep work has taken the most time. I take off a section of plastic, straighten the bales as best I can, fill holes and cover all exposed wood and metal with mudded burlap.

Wood with burlap and cob (mud and straw) stuffed in the cavity above.

More cob.

There was a cavity that I couldn't get to from inside that ran all around the house. This had to be filled with cob as well.

One thing I've learned: the better and straighter the bales are stacked, the less prep work. That is easier said than done! Because the house was completely covered with plastic we could not see the other side to see how well we were fitting the bales and how straight we were getting them so we're having to do all that work now. Every hole has to be filled with straw and/or cob. BUT, once this first coat is done, the rest will go a lot faster!

Our friend Beth, came by to help!
Our friend Jo, came by as well, but my hands were too covered with mud to get a picture of her. Next time!

Here's the wall with the olive oil bottles. I'm really happy with the way it's looking. I think it will be very nice when all the plaster is done and the bottles are cleaned.

With the monsoon rains came the flies! They have been terrible and they BITE! SOOO, I just said the heck with it and spread mud all over my legs - no flies!!

Our friend Carol helping

All the plastic is OFF! And most of the slip coat is DONE!
And it's starting to look like a house!

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