Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!!!!

I think everyone around the country will agree that the weather this summer has been - well - freaky! New Mexico has been (and continues to be) in a drought. Most of the summer has been very, very dry. When the monsoon rains did finally get here they were spotty at best for us. That all changed about two weeks ago. While we have been very lucky, at times the rain has been relentless. Needless to say, it has put a real damper on our plastering. When last I posted we were finishing up the first coat of plaster. It's pretty important that we get the next coat of plaster on before freezing weather comes but with all the rain we've been having, it's been hard to even get started on this coat.
Lake Youngsville! And this was before the real heavy rain started. Grading and drainage are in the plans, we just haven't had the time to get to it. The lake got bigger once the rain started in earnest!

Rick spent most of an afternoon - in the rain - digging trenches. They worked and most of the lake got drained off - thank goodness!

There was nothing to do but move inside to work. It was a good time to trim the straw walls and corners and stuff holes. We also needed to bull-nose all the window and door openings. After working some more with the burlap, I decided that reed mat fencing would work much better for this job.
Reed fencing - available at the local hardware store.

Step one was to remove one of the reeds at the width needed for the opening.

Once that was done, I could cut the wires . . . 

then twist them so that the mat would continue to hold together.
The piece was then stapled to the frame. The hardest part was filling in all the holes and spaces with straw so that once the mat was in place, it would be firm and give a good solid surface on which to plaster.

After the holes were filled and the mat pulled around the bales, landscape pins were used to hold it snuggly in place.  

Done. This looks really good and I think will make for a great surface on which to plaster.

Rick stuffing holes.

The corner by the front door really needed some work. The horizontal board we inserted to give us something to hang things from was not level. A wedge had to be inserted and hammered in to raise one end. This left gaps that needed to be filled with cob.

It took a lot of cob to fill these holes! (And of this writing, it's still not dry!!)

Reed mat in place. It looks much better and a lot more even!

I have managed - in between rainy days - to get a little of the second coat of plaster on.
The first application.

Yesterday our friend, Jan, came over to help. 
We got about 1/2 load of plaster applied before we had a sever storm with heavy, driving rain. This was the kind of rain we don't usually get but, I must say, it was a good test of the plaster!

As you can see, the rain left divots but, by and large, the plaster held up very well! At least I will be more comfortable through the winter once this second coat is done! (That is if it ever stops raining!)

The other good news is that through all this wet weather the inside of the house continues to be snug and dry!

The rain has brought wild flowers and today the sun is shining  - and the weather forecast is for more sun and dryer weather for the next week!  On with the plastering!!!


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