A Note from OUR Building Team
BY PATRICK HENNEBERY
What a whirlwind summer–the days just seemed to fly by. I arrived home from Mexico on the 26th of April and started at the Village on the 29th. There was a last minute design change and Rob stepped up to draw a new set of plans. In very short order, Chad, Rob and I chose the site for the house and the backhoe arrived the on the same day as our 9 new interns who would stay with us for the next 16 weeks. After a 3-day orientation our interns were anxious to start building. My co-instructors were Laura and Logan and they were a tremendous help in facilitating the program. Rob (assisted by Jeff) planned and built the timber frame structure for the house and taught all of the interns how to work with chisels and handsaws. They also led the framing of roof rafters and sheathing.
Our first task was to lay out the drainage pipe and a 2’x2′ rubble trench with a concrete footing around the entire foundation. On top of this we placed an urbanite stem wall (broken chunks of discarded concrete) that the cob would be built on. Because of the slope of the building site, the back stem wall was 4′ high.
The sand and clay came from a pit less than 2 miles away. The urbanite was gathered locally and the straw came from the Cowichan Valley. All of the timber and lumber was milled last summer on site from donated logs.
The “Cob Cupid” paid a visit to the Ecovillage this summer and two of our participants met and fell in love. They also became HearthKeeper Shareholders at OUR Ecovillage and will live in the house that so many hands helped build. How magic is that? Halfway through the course, another 8 interns arrived for the final 2 months. Our interns also had the opportunity to participate in a 2 week Permaculture Design Certificate course and a week long Social Permaculture course. Ayla Challenger came in a couple of times to lead a brown coat, earthen plaster, and Tadelakt (a Moroccan technique of burnishing lime plaster to a waterproof finish) workshop.
I would like to thank Chad for his ability to ‘get things done’ and for teaching us the infrastructure of the Village–he knows where everything is! I’d also like to thank Rob for the design, changing and drawing the plans, ordering materials, and instructing the group in the fine art of timber frame. I am grateful to Rob for taking on these tasks that I shy away from. Laura was amazing to have teach by my side. I felt that she really complimented my teaching style. It was very comforting to have Logan and Spoons (Matt) in the background. I enjoyed their quiet gentle manner of getting the job done. The kitchen staff were truly amazing preparing all the meals; Everyone knows that the food is the single most important aspect of a workshop. And last but not least, Brandy, for the vision and drive to make this all possible.