Today is the eighteenth of September. Just back from the woods and am finishing up my packing for university. Have had a great set of final days. Had two friends down on Thursday and we got all of the sycamore thinning’s moved up to the site so they can be processed and milled into planks. Then Hannah and I put in a long work shift and finished up the final wall of the cabin. Stomping in mud and wattle below.
First job was to finish the weaving of willow into the upper courses of the wall. This had not been done earlier due to a shortage of willow and will power. Whilst Hannah collected and chopped the grass for the cob mix, I harvested the willow weavers from down by the river. After a short lunch break of stripping the branches of leaves and side branches, we wove the runners into the frame of the wall. This was difficult towards the end as getting your hands between the gaps became a challenge. However, through some motivation we managed to get the entire wall woven up to the eve log.
Next came the making of the cob. This has been covered many times in depth on this blog so if you want to find out more read back through the cabin journey. However, in basic cob is a mixture of clay, sand and a binding agent (in most cases at the cabin chainsaw sawdust or chopped grass). The mix is made by putting the materials (ratio of 2:1:1/2) onto a tarp and then stomping and mixing them until you get an even sticky mixture that holds it shape. The two of us spent about 20 minutes jumping up and down on the pile of mud making a right mess of both our feet and our clothes. Once the cob was mixed it was time to plaster the wall.
With the cob mixed we then spent time moving it into the cabin in the green trug and taking handfuls then pushing it into the frame. This is done by ensuring the mix is sticky and then pushing and smoothing the cob onto the frame until it holds itself there. This mix will dry slowly and go a light grey. It will also become extremely solid and the imprints of fingers and the hands that built it will remain. The prep work, weaving, cob mixing and plastering took us the best part of a full working day. This was considerably faster with two people then it was with just one. It was also far more enjoyable.
With all the plastering done the cabin felt so much more homely. With the woodstove cracking away and the candles throwing light around the place feels like a proper home now. With that final note of success it is time for me to leave. Trusting the care of the Den into Hannah’s capable hands. Blog updates will follow even whilst I am at uni. So from me it is goodbye to the Kingdom for the next few months. A thank you to all who read and good bye.