Sunday, November 21, 2010

Building the Magnificent Cat Dancing Creations Vendor Booth! Part 5

Plugging along with the booth construction. I thought I would post a few pics of the straw/mud process, as well as where we're at, now that the blog is finally up to date. 
 Here's the back wall with bamboo up several more feet and the wall filled about halfway up the doorway.
 The South end wall, about half done.
 Inside, looking out through the front door and windows. Wall is filled up to the porch roof level. You can see that the upper part is still damp.

Outside view of the front wall. See the booth number?

Looking up at the South end back corner. The triangular space will be a window. Staining is not quite done. Still have some bamboo to finish it out as well.
 The North end wall. Some of the rock stem wall is visible here as well.
 A close-up of some of the joinery of yours truly. Leaves make some of it look a bit strange.

 A shot from inside the rear wall. You'll see Cat stuffing some of it in a bit. The 2X4s serve a dual purpose, or maybe triple. They will be supports to hang art from on the finished wall. They also give points to tie the bamboo too, as well as lateral stabilization for the walls.

 Another close look at the inside of the South end wall. The front of the booth is to the left of the picture.
 A closer look at the wall. Kind of hairy looking, isn't it?

An even closer look at the packed straw/clay mixture.We're even getting a few green sprouts.

Here's the good stuff!

And here's where it starts. As mentioned before, the clay is mixed with water. We use both a garden fork and a paddle till it reaches this consistency, a bit like a not too thick chocolate shake.

Silas row the boat ashore! However, shore never seems to get any closer!

 Loosened straw is mixed in and left to soak for forty-five minutes or so.
There it is. Al dente! Sort of.

 The fork transfers the mix to the wheelbarrow.
Wheel it where it is needed, grab a handful.

Stuff it in the forms. Muddy hands are GOOD for you!

 Keep going till the forms are full. If you look closely you can see the bamboo sitting on the nails that hold the bases in place. A vertical 16d nail serves to hold them in place, while smaller nails are used to attach them to the horizontals and top pieces.
Holes and depressions are inevitable. You can go back and fill them in as you go. The clay also shrinks a bit, it pulls away from the wood above it and to the side, so that needs filling later as well.

 Back to tools. Here are our professional looking mixing barrels.

 These are the buckets we soak extra clay in for mixing. Also professional. Can you tell what they held originally?
 The screen. Made from half inch hardware cloth and 2x4s. At times a finer one would help, quarter inch, perhaps.
Wheelbarrows and, hey, remember that Flintstone roller? The iron barrow at bottom is the really old one. The narrow steel wheel is a problem sometimes, but it is never flat! It also doesn't flex like the plastic barrow.

 Another fun part of the project is the flower spiral garden out front by the ramp.

 A lavender plant tops the spiral, the rest is planted with snapdragons, dianthus, and alyssum. Most of the plants came from the nice folks at Bastrop Organic Gardens, along with good advice on planting. The spiral was planted on the day before the full moon while the moon was in Scorpio. We got Microbial Extract and Castings from Microbial Earth to fertilize it and get it started right. 

There it is! The spiral garden, more specifically used as an herb spiral, was a concept I learned in my Permaculture Design class. 

Work continues!

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