The Year of Mud Top 10 News and Posts for 2011

by ziggy on December 30, 2011 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Pug Cone

Pug dons a dog cone in 2011... but that's not terribly related to the here and now...

2011 has presented us with a wide mix of events and emotions. It’s been everything from momentous, to extremely challenging, to gratifying, and everything in-between. Just like every other year, I suppose, right? Each year is not so different from the last, but at the same time, each year is full of its own unique experiences.

This was the year we experienced some significant health challenges, decided to build a new home, continued to do major renovations to Gobcobatron to correct some of its moisture and heat issues, made some advancements on our kitchen construction, hosted our first mini building workshop, began organzing two major natural building courses, got some rewarding nods in the media, and ultimately, just like last year, kept incredibly occupied.

Here I present the top 10 news and posts from The Year of Mud in 2011.

Mold Has Reared Its Ugly Head: Winter Moisture Issues

Last winter was the winter of wet. The walls, the floor, the air of Gobcobatron was rife with moisture, and that moisture evolved into some big problems. Mold, health problems, the works. It was not the kind of pleasant, relaxing, energizing winter I had hoped for — instead, April and I were forced to re-evaluate the house and determine our best course of action. This post garnered much in the way of reader discussion and set us on a course we hadn’t quite expected to take…

Cold Building is Not Appropriate for this Cold Climate

Not terribly long after our bout of moisture and mold in Gobcobatron, I wrote this piece about cob building in cold climates. My resolution was (and still is) this: cob building simply is not appropriate for cold climates. This piece details my experiences with trying to keep a cob house warm in a cold place. The conclusion: I simply can no longer justify cob building in this climate, in fact, I actually discourage it.

The Year of Mud: Building a Cob House Book Now Available

In April, I announced the publication of my book based on the stories contained within this blog: The Year of Mud. It was a rewarding winter project and the feedback has been nice.

The Wabi-Sabi Timber Framing Workshop Weekend

In May, my Dancing Rabbit sub-community hosted a mini timber framing workshop. It was great! Tom Cundiff, a highly skilled timber framer came out and got us on track with a lesson in timber framing tools and joinery. The experience was super valuable, and gave us a much needed boost.

New Lime Interior Plaster in Gobcobatronlime interior

This summer, we completed one of our first major renovations to Gobcobatron: re-finishing the lower interior walls with lime plaster. The results were great! The lime really brightened up the place, and hopefully it will provide a better surfacing if we ever find ourselves with mold on the bottom half of the wall again. The new look has caused me to think about lime in a different way than before.

My Cob House in Popular Mechanics Top Ten “Backyard Genius 2011”

One of the more interesting media outlets to cover this project was Popular Mechanics, who contacted me out of the blue this summer for a magazine feature. Popular Mechanics?!, I thought. Well, our little mud hut did indeed end up gracing one of the pages of the uber-glossy techy mag. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

bigbent-standing01Our Second BIG Timber Frame Bent Raising

One of the most personally gratifying experiences of the summer was raising the second HUGE timber frame bent of our new kitchen — by hand. This post shows how we did it.

Strawtron Drawings: Straw Bale Timber Frame House Sneak Peak

Another one of the most exciting developments of the year was getting our house drawings wrapped up, and our new home becoming much more of a reality. This post details the general design and plan for Strawtron — our straw bale timber frame that will be the focus of two major natural building workshops in 2012. Expect a LOT more about this project in 2012!

How To Install Terracotta Tile Floor in Cob House

Easily the most grueling project of the year was tearing out the earthen floor in Gobcobatron, and then replacing it with tile. I complained bitterly throughout (which maybe wasn’t totally apparent through my writing here), but at the end of it all, even I had to admit that the results were super gratifying. The warmth of the first image sums up the feeling for me.

tiny homes book - ziggy 1My Cob House in Lloyd Kahn’s Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter Book

This is easily the most recent news, and also one of the most exciting pieces of news for me, personally. As a big fan of Lloyd’s books, getting a nod in his most recent project was one of those “come full circle” sort of experiences!




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