Our family has a dream of building with cob someday. Cob is an old english word meaning "loaf" and it refers to a building material composed of clay, sand, straw and water, and has been used for thousands of years in many different cultures to construct homes. We first heard about it when I was pregnant with Eliza and it quickly formed into one of those life-list items that we fantasize about, leading us to attend a three-week workshop at the North American School of Natural Building in Coquille, Oregon, when Eliza was two (click here to see the garden wall we helped build; a google search for "cob" is worth spending a few minutes on to see some of the gorgeous homes that have been built).
I was planning on attending my first permaculture guild work party this past weekend, by myself (!!), when I heard that one of the planned activities was building a cob, or earth, oven. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to mess around with cob as a family, so off we went all together!
Mixing equal parts clay and sand by rolling the tarp back and forth
The girls are using "cobbing thumbs", or in our case, pieces of wood that make good size holes in the pieces of cob already afixed to the wall. When you add a new layer, the thumb weaves or knits the cobs together.
Team cob uniform: overalls. (Yes, I had mine on too...)
It was a stunningly beautiful autumn day. We spied this banded garden spider in the long grass. Doesn't she look like she's wearing striped stockings?