Monday, April 30, 2007

straw bale + clay building party

this past saturday, i started helping friends, elanor and jeff of persephone farm, start a straw bale + clay wall in the upstairs of this building which will serve as living quarters for their seasonal interns. you can see the completed section thus far in the top righthand side. slow going, but hopefully we can complete it by the end of May.

the process sta
rts by finding soil with a high clay content. unfortunately, the best spot was across a small stream which required hand shoveling into a wheelbarrel, rather than just using the new tractor with front end loader...although we did use it for transport.

the clay was then placed into buckets, hauled upstairs, then mixed with water and borax (to prevent mold growth) into slip. all you potters out there know about this...

brooke loves getting muddy during the screening process, just before it's mixed with straw, then stored under plastic to keep it out of inevitable rain until placed into the wall.

finally, a 4" layer of the straw+clay mix is added to the wall formation and pounded down to a 1" layer. It takes two people about 15 minutes to compress a 10" wide x 4' long section, but obviously it's fun in the right company (note elanor's radiant smile!)

more to come in the near future....

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

ah, california

...such a lovely way to spend the vernal equinox.
Spring embraced us with her warm rays as we traveled south.

our first stop was Napa to visit the always fabulous, cousin Howard Lane.

our friend and Howard's roommate, Gerrich, took some time to
tour us around Anomaly... the winery he works for.

hopping back into the car, we headed further south....
....through the San Joaquin Valley
....past eerie fields & fields of grapes, pistachios & the ubiquitous almonds
....crossing over the synthetic California aqueduct multiple times

....and lush rolling hills topped with windmills, much to Sam's delight (though not reflected in this nose-dance photo)

Ten hours later, many of them spent in metro LA traffic, we arrived at Jeremy and Tricia's lovely abode in the groovy beach town of Encinitas. Towering bird of paradise, hibiscus, palms, portulaca, bromeliads and other tropical beauties, including the scrumptious loquat, adorned every inch of undeveloped earth.... it was heavenly.

September Birthdays

A belated posting....
Sam and I had a nice visit in Florida during the month of multiple birthdays (Sam, Becky, Josephine, Jack and Ezra... everyone but Lane!).

Here's my sweet Sicilian grammy at her 90th birthday bash...

Sam gave himself a mullet haircut in preparation for the trip to the South. He saw his first space shuttle launch & went on a boat ride in Homosassa Springs on his birthday.

Ez & his girlfriend, Heather.

Birthday Buddies.