Monday, October 11, 2010

Cob Dancing

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
Add some straw and some water, and the fun begins!! Take off your shoes and start dancing...
Once the materials are mixed and can be lumped together in balls, the cobs are formed and piled nearby for the building.
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?
Of course there was food involved - these are permaculture people, working on an earth oven, known for its ability to cook a perfect pizza...
This could not have been a more perfect afternoon for our family to share! New friends, beautiful day, hard work, community, good food, and messy messy feet. Hard to tell where the work ended and the playing began...

1 comment:

debbiedas said...

What a great day. You guys do the COOLEST things. Cob houses hold great appeal for me. Maybe someday...