Cobbing my cottage

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Getting a morale boost

Last Saturday morning I wandered into the well hidden Meadow Orchard Project in North London and was greeted by a happy, smiling organiser Linda from Cob in the Community and a number of chirpy volunteers ready to take part in the eco-hut build. Chatting with people, many originally from other parts of the world, yet all excited about the same thing, the weather being so sunny and lovely, I couldn't help but smile most of the day while working on different things; mixing cob, making earth plaster and carrying straw bales.

Linda working with a volunteer.

I told Linda and the rest of the group about my own eco-build plans and she was really brilliant in answering all my questions about different issues and techniques I should be considering. That's all you sometimes need to get a real morale boost, a friendly face to talk to, whose heart is in the same place as yours! I will definitely be back in North London to watch the progress and take part in this wonderful project, as in my opinion learning is best by doing and even better when done with a lovely bunch of people all pulling together just for the love of it all! :)

Strangely enough the to-be Meadow Orchard meditation and community eco-hut is very similar in design to the one I am planning, so it will really help me to visualise my cottage and understand how to best tackle the building process. So excited about stumbling on this Meadow Orchard project - a truly lovely coincidence!

Working on the Meadow Orchard Eco-Hut

Adding Earth plaster/slip onto the strawbale wall

In about a week's time I am flying home to Finland and there is a lot of sketching, research and mental preparation to be done before then. I have bought and read few more books, including Tony Wrench's 'Building a Low Impact Roundhouse' and Nigel Dunnett's 'Small Green Roofs', as well as 'The Straw Bale House' by Athena Steen. All worth a read, but I would still say that there is one book above all others: 'The Hand-Sculpted House' by Ianto Evans, which I have found most useful and inspiring out of the many books I have bought on the subject. His is a truly wonderful book, which covers not only the technical aspects of cob building but also the spiritual side of it all, including how to best respect the land and environment as well as considering the natural cycles of the Earth, all things, which for me, as a learning, spiritual entity, are really important.

Sometimes the first snow falls quite early in Southern Finland, even as early as October, which for my inner child is lovely of course but for my soil testing purposes I am hoping for a mild, nice autumnal 'digging weather' for next week. I will report back here with photos and few video clips after I return on what my excavations into the land of my childhood reveal. Until then, sweet (day)dreams! :)

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