We had our first of what might have to be many barn raisings for the mud hut today. At 10:00, Eric, an expert who makes straw bale houses, came with clay and incredible knowledge to help us build. First, Ms. Henighan’s class came out to help carry in loads of clay, separate it with the screens, weave more sticks into the frame, and mix shredded paper with straw.
We introduced a new type of clay to the process today. Eric calls it “ready mix” and told it it was the good stuff! Ms. Maatta, a fourth grade parent, generously brought wheelbarrows full of it from her garden. Rather than exhausting ourselves screening wet clay, we were able to push the dry clay through the screen, making a finer powder that was more easily mixed with the sand and fiber.
Our Pre-K friends jumped on board, too, spending an hour breaking apart the wet clay into small pieces so that we could more easily mix it with the fiber and sand.
Eventually, some Pre-K friends jumped into the mixing, breaking apart clay on the screen and making cob in the kiddie pool.
We jumped, danced, and hopped to mix the fiber, sand, and clay together.
To build the wall, we took two fistfuls of the cob mixture and slapped it together on the wall.
And at the end, Eric left his signature for us, teaching us to make little people from clay.
The hut building has been a community effort. Todya we even had help from some high school friends who came down with Mr. Beiler to break apart the clay and haul materials. Mrs. Chilbert has helped recruit clay donations and Ms. Spellacy packed her car with clay and kids on on a Saturday. Ms. Maatta brought in clay from her garden and Ms. Lauchlan brought in bamboo. We still have more work to do, so stay tuned for the date of our next barn raising day!