Friday, August 24, 2012

Mud, Glorious Mud

I know, It just looks like a heap of mud.  Well, it is!  Now I'm building a gutter around it, near the top, to take rainwater away from the back of the building.  It is so nice to work with.  Also doing the finishing touches, to smooth out the dips and humps a bit.  Then, the lime render.  More mixing in the wheel barrow.  Sigh.

I have been to the beach, with Laura, Isabella and Monica and Simone.  Had a lovely morning
swimming and playing in the cool air down by the sea.  When we left at one-ish we could feel the heat as we left the beach.  Phew.  It is very relaxing just to be at sea level and watch people and tide lines.

R has gone to UK. He left this morning.

It was Laura's birthday today.  She came in to my house wearing the dress Isabella and Nuno had bought for her, and her new shoes, looking like a fashion model.  Later we all went out to eat in the local restaurant and I brought the cake I'd made earlier (peaches and cream) which we shared with the folk at the other table and the family in the kitchen. Happy birthday, darling daughter. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I slept with a tree frog

.  The other night I stayed in the new, improved, bender, with Ginger (my dear old dog).  As I was getting ready to tuck myself into the mosquito net I found a sweet green tree frog sitting on the curtain.  They are so beautiful.  The way their legs tuck into the sides of their body. It jumped onto a frying pan hanging by the cooker and stayed there while I took flash photos of it.  Didn't even blink.  What a cool character.  Who needs a prince when you can have this for company?
  I also found a huge rubbery spider, but I chose to put him out, although I'm sure he made his way back in later.
  I have had a few days off the cobbing as I am getting a bit sick of it.  Well, not the putting on, but the mixing of the stuff.  It is hard work!  And in this heat.  No fun.  But I am very nearly finished.  Next is to cover the dome in a lime render.
 Me being a builder

 My frog prince
 A typical country view

  Laura and Nuno and Isabella had a great party to celebrate their engagement.  We could hear music and drumming after we went home, across the road, late into the night!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Most sensible folk take August Off!

Yup, it's just too darn hot.  We got up early this morning and it was delightfully cool and fresh for an hour.  Then the blazing heat made us sweat our shirts off.  The mud is going on well.  Nearly done.  It's too hot for me to go and get the camera to upload some photos.  Sorry.  But believe me it looks great - Like some weird lumpy haystack!
It's even too hot on the beach, but in the late afternoon it is deliscious.  The other day we went and watched the moon rise on Malhao beach.  Just ourselves on the big stretch of sand.  The tide was so low it was scary.  We drank a beer and listened to the sea as it began to make it's way up the beach.  Cool .
Here's the weird and wonderful spider bender I'm building.. using rebar, chickenwire and cob.  It needs reinforcement so I've put it on hold until I've finished the earthbag dome.
Last weekend we had 'Tasquinas' in Sao Luis.  This is an annual three day event up by the junta, where restaurants and bars set up outdoor kitchens and the whole area is laid out with long tables and chairs and the people from all over come and eat and drink and talk and dance in the cool night air.  A lovely atmosphere and good food and yummy sangria.
 Here are Lura and Isabella making a tree trunk for Isa's ballet show.
Yoga... I need to get back into yoga.  I've been telling myself that I work so physically at the moment that I don't need it, but I do.  I miss it so.  It's more than a physical thing.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cob. marvelous Cob!

It really is marvelous.  It dries to a hard surface and looks and feels like a luscious biscuit.  I think it's great.  It feels lovely to work with, also.  I have covered half of the earthbag dome.  The hard work is in digging up the earth and sieving it, as the earth is very stoney.  Schist-like stones that cut the hand when you smooth the stuff over the dome. Ouch! Oh, and also mixing it in the wheel barrow with the enxada (hoe-type tool used for everything).  I'm not mixing it with my feet cos I'm doing it in small batches.  Maybe I should have a go, though...
The intense heat has abated somewhat. Now it is a balmy 30 degrees with a fresh breeze. Very pleasant to work most of the time.  The interior of the dome stays cool during the day.  Now it is beginning to look like a strange haystack.  The builders who are doing up the windmill above us are very curious as to what it is we are making???
Some sheep have been making night raids to the garden.  The swiss chard and the cabbages and the sweetcorn have been muched down to the ground.  Grrr.  Looks like we may have to fence in the garden area, but I'm reluctant to do so because ... well, because I guess I don't want to feel that that's just where the garden is. 
So I hope to finish the dome soon and I will post pictures of it soon.
 The lovely Laura on the beach

 beginning the cob

This is my failed cob bender.  It is beautiful, like a bouncy spider with a crusty cob top!

Meanwhile, we enjoy the lovely warm summer evenings, with children playing in the street and windows open wide and chilled fizzy white wine... Ah, the good life.