Sunday, May 4, 2014

Overdue Update

To say that spring weather in New Mexico can be schizophrenic is putting it mildly. One day it will be in the 60s and the next day it will be winter again. On May 1st, 2011 we had over 5" of snow! We didn't get the snow this year (sadly) but we have had wind and cold temperatures which have put a crimp in my work. It's very hard to think of putting my hands in wet mud when the wind is blowing outside and it's 40 degrees!

So we've been doing odds and ends.

We managed to get some drywall and blue board up in the bathroom.
The photo on the left shows the wall between the shower and the vanity area. Glass blocks will fill that vertical space. The photo on the right is the shower, which will be tiled.

I also installed the flagstone on the top of the adobe wall that's between the bedroom and the sun space. It was a little like putting together a jig saw puzzle - fun!
All the pieces in place.

Half done.


I've been spending warm days putting the fill coat of plaster on the bedroom and office walls. While plastering itself doesn't take all that long, the drying will - as will the drying of the floors - so I am trying to get as much on the walls now so that when the ceiling's done we can get to work on the floors.

On of the very few things I would do differently - were I to be crazy enough to ever build another straw bale house - would be to be more careful about stacking bales. I would take the time to make sure they were all trimmed to help minimize the amount of cob fill I'm having to do. Some of our walls are - well uneven to say the least which has made for very slow going. BUT two rooms have the fill coat done!!!
Coved window in the bedroom.

A bedroom before fill coat and after.

Adobe wall covered.

Detail of window sill in bedroom. This will be tiled.

Office looking East.

South wall of office.

Office walls done!

For the earthen plaster geeks among you, the plaster formula I'm using is one part dirt from the site to two parts sand with chopped straw. (I can manage 10 shovels of dirt, 20 shovels of sand and two very healthy handfuls of chopped straw which fills a large wheelbarrow.) I'm mixing it pretty stiff and I'm getting next to no cracking! We're not yet sure what we will be doing for a finish coat.

In preparation for finishing the ceiling plumbing vent stacks had to be finished.

Those done, we can now start sticking the vents through the roof.

We really can't start the floors in the main part of the house until the ceiling is done but we can get the floor in the bedroom poured - which will be my next project.
The first thing will be to lay the adobes in a grid and get them mortared in. There will be two pours for the floor and each will have to dry completely before going on to the last step which will be sealing with linseed oil. That whole process could take a month or more so you can see why I'm anxious to get to it!

Well - it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood so I'd better get off my duff and get to work!


  1. Looking great!! Glad to see it is progressing so well.
    Question: I'm curious on your plans for the floor. I presume the 'pour' is adobe mud? How do the adobe blocks fit in with this?
    Glad you finally have some warm weather. :)

    1. We are going to lay the adobe bricks in a grid and pour the mud in the cells created. Hopefully this will make pouring the floor (as it a BIG floor) a little easier as we can pour in sections as time and weather permit. I'll have pictures soon

    2. Sounds very efficient! Looking forward to seeing the photos and reading your account of the floor.