Check in - Let's take stock of how beautiful life is while we can!

in #build-it11 months ago

Greetings from our mountain stronghold. It has been many days of hard labor since I last was able to publish an update here. Recently a friend of mine's father passed away, a man I had met just this summer - and I think I have been just been thinking about life and pushing through the hard work.

For those of you that don't know, or only know what I have shared on STEEM, which is not much, we have been building a Dome-Shaped House for more than 3 years now. We are using a modified version of the technique developed by CalEarth. The process has not been freaking awesome, in fact, it has been quite nightmarish - but I believe the end is finally in sight.


One of the problems I have found with 'alternative' building styles is the lack of full transparency on a few issues, but specifically volunteering. In every eco-building documentary I have seen, a seeming horde of volunteers swarms all over the job site and....doesn't mess anything up!. Who trained this army of volunteers is always a mystery to me, and where they come from and whether or not the food for all those people is included in the budget for the house. These are the questions we now know to ask.

So that is how we, after being approached by an eager if novice engineer, embarked on a massive building project using a materials list as the budget for the entire building. Since no one showed up to work for free, we ran out of money pretty quick.

I pulled the plug on Christmas 2016, the engineer vanished, and I began the slow road to competency with an entirely new building method. Using nothing more than a 30 minute video, the Earthbag Book, incredible persistence and lots of money, we managed to continue construction and not let the whole project collapse in on itself.


This project has tested my relationship with depression, and has often seemed to be nothing more than a black hole in the middle of our farm.

As we analyze the important things in life, the people, the plants, the places and the processes that make life worthwhile - I think its important to make sure that we don't get too caught up in a black hole in our lives and forget to look up and see all the love that's all around us.

In loving memory:


Oh wow, I had no idea you were doing a superadobe construction! Had I known, I would totally have stopped by to help you pull it up, just the two of us! Hahaha, okay, there is a bit of a distance between us, so I guess I should not go all the way totally! But I do find it exciting, and I even if I didn't make it there in person, I would love to follow your build on steem, and support it with upvotes.

Yes, I know, working with volunteers can be tricky. So far I've mostly just experienced it from one side (that of the volunteers), but many hosts have shared their not-always-positive experiences in that regard.
Time and money, those two things that are never enough, no matter how well you budget them. The Earthship on Vancouver Island where I helped out with last, has already cost more in legal and other pencil-pushing fees than the entire material list, including the last door-knob. However, the owners are still happy to feed as many mouths as they can, even if they only come to work for two days, because, as they say, it is still much cheaper than offering it as a paid job. Of course there is a big difference between Canada and Colombia. Here in Mexico every single place I volunteered at asked me for a daily contribution of 50 pesos. Not exactly wwoofing standard, but that's just how things are here.

So many things to mention, so much to talk about! I would be psyched to see more posts on this build, addressing the many aspects of earthbag building. I think it has great potential, though I can understand that a black hole on the property is not exactly something to get you excited. For this reason, I hope you don't mind that I shared you in my Look What I Found! curation post. Best of luck with the project!

Thank you so much - for the comment, for the consideration, and the advice! I will begin to blog more about this, I have taken lots of pictures and we are actually making progress nearing completion now!

Breaking the ice with this post is a good psychological step for me - the cat is out of the bag now - and I want to share lots of lessons.

Yes, there is no place near us here that I know of that abides by wwoofing standards, we are much more marginal...I remember the first time I tried to have someone picking coffee to 'pay' for their room and board. They didn't harvest enough to pay for 20 minutes of a local worker 😂 Thankfully this life is a mostly enjoyable learning experience.

I hope u fill that black hole one day! I l know what uve been through, and working with interns is hard, but fun... one needs eyes in the back of ones head though as they often mess thing up unless someone is there watching like a hawk..

It looks like youre almost ready for the roof though, so that is something! The earthbag roof is amazing and performs so well, but u godda get it right of course.. thats one heavy roof overhead! Xx

Thank you for stopping in and commenting! I want to learn more and love these techniques, but there is just one thing in the way - finishing this first project 😅

I have learned and grown so much through this process, I have a few ideas where to put the earthship in a few years! But I'll definitely budget better.

Thank you for being honest about your natural building experience! Everyone always is telling me that I should do that because I'm poor, and I'm like - I'd love to, but how? With what help? I can't physically do it all myself, even if I was well, which I'm not. "Oh well there will be volunteers, ask your friends" is what I always hear in response. Again, my friends all have lives that keep them busy, have ailments they are dealing with of their own, and live far away ...where do you suppose I'll get a horde of volunteers? It's just not as easy and simple as some people claim! Maybe if you've got a gang of natural living, able-bodied friends, ok, but not everyone has that!
So I appreciate your forthrightness. :) I'm glad the end is near!

I hope things will get easier and happier for you soon, you have put a huge amount of effort in so far. Building is such an assault course , mentally, physically and financially but when one day you reach the end, you will be ecstatic!

This project sure seems like a big challenge, I hope you can finish it successfully.

good to see you are making progress

Len! Thank you for popping in, I owe you probably lots of emails I haven't gone in there in a while...🔕

But Inwant you to know that the information and pictures are great! I think some of the complexity of the rules will lessen with a good interface that makes it clear, for example, that you must pick a sleeping type before ending the turn.

The context is golden though!

thanks for your reply
i was trying to put pressure on you spending money oh health points and food over camping with out health points and food.

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