Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wood, Stone & Mud

Winter approaches and the days are cooler and shorter but work continues.


With a wood burning stove comes the need for wood. Out here in the wilds of northern New Mexico a wood gathering permit can be had for $20 which will allow you to cut 5 cords. Recovering city folk that we are, we had no idea where to go or how to go about getting the wood. Luckily we have friends who have been doing this for a few years. We joined up with them a month ago or so and spent the day cutting down-and-dead pine and aspen.  It's hard work made so much easier and more fun with a group of good friends! (We have since gotten another load for them.) Cutting and hauling are just the first two steps. It all has to be split! Here again, friends helped with the loan of a wood splitter. Rick spent a few afternoons splitting our 2.3 cords of wood.
Wood splitting

This is less than 1/3 of our total haul. We now have three racks just like this one full. It will be interesting to see how much we use this winter as the ceiling insulation is yet to be installed. So far, though, it is really helping to keep the house cozy - and helping to dry out the mud plaster.


Rick has always said he wanted flagstone for the floor in the sun space but we felt we just couldn't afford it. Then we heard of a couple of guys who work with our friend Pat who do really good work at a price we COULD afford! Bring it on!
First the floor needed to be cleared and leveled. They also wetted it down.

Then the flagstone arrived!

Miguel and his father-in-law Philipe - master stone masons at work.

This is quite a process. It's a lot like making a jig saw puzzle. Each piece had to be cut to fit and the pieces chosen so that the final would be beautiful to look at. Hard work but they were good at it!

Almost done with the cutting and fitting.

Now time for the mortar.

We are soooo pleased with the way this turned out! We can't stop looking at it.


With the outside plastered done enough for the winter it is now time to start on the inside mudding. There's a bit of a race against the weather here as once it starts snowing and the ground (and hose) freezes, all mudding will stop until spring so I have focused on getting a coat of slip on the top three courses. Somewhere in all my reading and researching I came across someone who recommended that the bales be completely covered. For us this means the top of the top course which will be behind the T & G. I took this to heart and have been madly mudding that top course. But as I mud it occurs to me that these bales will be totally covered with blown in cellulose which will have borax in it so I'm now questioning the wisdom of spending all this time mudding this course. Well, it's now done regardless. I'm not sure it's thick enough to actually do anything but it's all that's going to be done!
The wall above the bedroom between the house and garage.

Living room.


Now that the top courses are mudded we can start installing the T&G. We will probably have to go back and add cob at the edge where the T&G meets the wall before we blow in the insulation but that should be a relatively small job.

I have covered a large section of the yard where I am digging the dirt with plastic and will continue to mud as long as the ground - and the hose - stay unfrozen. T&G is coming today so work on the ceiling should start soon. Another big step!

Thanks again to all our friends who have helped us along this journey!

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