The cob wall is growing day by day, despite tremendous recent rainstorms.
On Monday night, we suffered a huge storm, with 3.5″ of rain pouring down overnight, complete with blazing lightning and ground-shaking thunder. The following morning, a little flash flood passed through, dropping a whole additional inch of rain within a mere 20 minutes. The whole night and throughout the flood, I feared for the well-being of my house in progress, but the cob walls survived. The walls were covered in tarps (and not fantastically, might I add — there were many gaps/tears for water to enter), and the walls did get soaked, although there was nothing more than surface damage when all was said and done. The walls dried the next day, when the sun decided to come out.
Since that storm, I’ve been on an obsessive lookout for rain and trying to do a better job of tarping up the walls.
But anyway, progress has been brisk. Tom (a.k.a., Treetop), a friend from St. Louis came up on Tuesday night, and it’s been nice to have his extra help. Currently, the walls are sitting at a comfortable three feet in height most of the way around, perhaps even higher in some spots. We banged together and installed a window buck for a southeast-facing window at the beginning of the week, and yesterday, I starting cobbing the first shelf.
The make the shelf, I have been using “corbel cobs”, long, narrow, thin cobs packed with extra straw for tensile strength. These are laid on a level wall and then stitched together at the back, and pinched in the front. The first course hangs off the wall by about an inch, and the next corbel cob courses follow suit. A few more courses and the shelf will extend a good 6-7″ off the wall. This I intend to be a book shelf.
I estimate that the walls are about 1/3 of the way complete. The sand reserves are getting low, too — looks like I’ll need another nine ton delivery within a week or two!