Sunday, May 20, 2012

New season, new crew!

Dear friends of Mudbandits,

Summer season has arrived along with our new, energetic crowd for sharing the joys of mudding around. Five new human and one doggie friend have joined this crew for the summer, generously spreading their spirits and talents on-site and between all of us. Welcome all: Greg, Jo, Joe, Taylor, and Paddy! With Paul and Pau included, we are now 7.

Our first and busy week included sculpting a new cob oven and a cozy sitting area nestled between the small cob cottage and the main building. We also prepared a basecoat plaster mix and used it for patching some cracks and shrinkage areas around the top of the walls, lintels and sills. This is prep work for plastering soon to follow. Some tasters from this opening of the season:

Greg and Taylor smoothing out the inner sand form for the cob oven
Fire cob mix is made with lots of sand and some fine potter's clay. Above Joe, below Paddy and Jo mixing in the polytunnel.
Fire cob is followed by a layer of straw to insulate oven space and keep the inside nice and hot during baking.
Joe, Paddy and Greg preparing the base for an outdoor Rumford fireplace at the future hangout spot 
for cozy summer evenings
Greg and Jo giving finishing touches to a communally created cob bench
Springtime has brought greenery on top of our building and it begins to melt into its surroundings

To finish this heads-up about our current activities, some notes about our early spring:

While blog has been quiet during the winter, things have been rolling along in the form of careful weeding and garden prep. Garden seedlings are planted and on the way - many have been planted and flourishing on the ground already: peas, beans, potatoes for summer and winter use, lettuces, herbs, carrots, parsnips, beets, cabbage and spring onions – even quinoa!

Early spring has been busy with insulation boards and underfloor heating pipes laid on the floors. Inside the insulation run electricity and water pipes in slots carved specifically for them. To cover the insulation we spread black plastic to accomodate underfloor heating pipes and thermal mass screed to be poured on top of it all. This will make our house a hybrid, showing that it is possible to combine elements of the traditional and conventional.

Above insulation boards, below underfloor heating pipes ready for screed to be laid

Spring has also brought us a new terraced orchard on the East side of the building site with over 30 fruit trees of different heirloom varieties. There, apple, plum, pear and cherry trees are planted along with a lower row of willow and alder, later to protect the orchard from the often heavy South-Westerly breezes. Calendula is blooming, giving us sun-ray-like stripes to our freshly picked salads and of course, a healing quality to inspire hand-made cremes and salves…

Above, the terraced orchard landscape. Below, the beginnings of a blooming glory in late April

Monday, May 14, 2012

Internship 2012

We would like to welcome our 2012 interns - Looking forward to working and learning with Joe, Taylor, Greg, Paddy and this space