Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A penguin and a Rabbi walk into an earthbag shed....

Well actually, not yet but pretty soon they will....
First we have to build it. 

My plan for the Big Summer Project (BSP) was to build a 12x12 shed by the well head at the end of the driveway. This would be to provide storage over the months (OH god maybe even years??) while the house is built. Eventually the shed will become the well house and store all the equipment for the well pump, control box, etc.

The BSP was originally imagined (by me) as being a wood frame shed. Maybe even one of these pre-fab numbers that could go up really quick. Then I would have a place to store my generator and shovels and so on but most importantly I was excited about getting something BUILT. Bringing a 3 dimensional object into this world with my own 2 hands (and a few buddies) 

Then that voice popped up. The one thats always calling you out on your bullsh*t and it said, 
"hey man why aren't you building it with earthbags?" 
I didnt have a good answer for this question. I fumbled around with excuses like, "..oh..uh it will take too long, I didnt plan for this, who is going to help me? It would be so much work just for a little shed!"
 But the truth that I must confess is that I was scared. I was scared of all the work. I have never taken on a massive construction project before. There were some pretty fancy architectural miracles made out of leggos that I pulled off when i was about 10 but since then, not much has happened in my barn raising career. And even though this is a relatively small shed its might as well be the Sistine chapel for all I know. Almost everything I know about this building method I've learned from Youtube videos for chrissake.

This made me realize that if I couldn't commit to a measly little shed then I had no business planning for an entire house.
And for all of my bragging about how awesome earthbags are in every way why shouldnt I put my money where my mouth is and actually build something with them when the opportunity presented itself?

WELL OK THEN! Lets build something! Lets build it right.

And for that we are going to need a foundation.  

The plan is to fill the foundation using the rubble trench method. For wet regions like ours in the pacific northwest there is nothing better. If you are not familiar with what is involved in a rubble trench there is an excellent, easy to follow explanation here
And yes that foundation is round. Its actually shaped like a light bulb. In earth building there is a saying "round is sound". Round structures have very strong structural integrity and can more easily withstand side loads and seismic  forces. Building round means less need for other reinforcements like concrete and rebar and masonry mesh and so on and for a small project like this the idea is to keep it as simple as possible.

But most importantly they just look cool.
Here is a quick 3D rendering I did to show how it will look when finished

 Yes the roof has grass growing on it. I want to give the shed  a living roof. If you ever made a terrarium when you were a kid this is like that but awesome.

And this is Mike.........

Mike is a master with the backhoe.  If you ever need a trench dug in the Eatonville area let me know and Ill set you up. He spent 6 hours out there with one of the worst summer colds I have ever seen and he wouldnt take extar money from me for running late and making him wait!!
Thanks Mike!


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