Monday, February 29, 2016

Fiddling with fire

These dear donkeys sunbathing

We've been having really cold wet and windy weather during February. I have been working on improving the fireplace in the studio, after having wwoofers smoke themselves to death and then the walls went yellow... :(

So I knocked most of it down and with 'The  Forgotten Art of Building a Good Fireplace' open on the right pages, tried to make sense of diagrams and figures (not my strong point, numbers...) and rebuild it using the same earth, just made wet again but with a larger open bit and a larger smoke box. I love doing stuff like this. Even more fun is the finishing bits. I used just earth sieved and sand, no straw, as it makes a smoother finish.

It still smoked!

I have decided that the main problem is the size of the chimney. It is 140cm diameter and should be much more.

Any way the long and the short of it is that I have put in the old cast iron stove we used to have up in the shack. Guess what? No smoke!!! Yes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Good bye Old Smokey

Well I was so proud of my fireplace in the studio. I refused to believe that it smoked. It was perfect. But it only seemed to work for me.

Two wwoofers later, I have decided to dismantle it and rebuild it being much more conscious of measurements.

It is a very hard thing to do, taking apart something that you love. But, like knitting, if you quickly unravel it then the fun can begin all over again. And the mud is all re-usable! I have the chimney soaking in a bucket and the rest will be remoulded into the outside bits where it's all right to use straw.

I think I will take it down to the ground and start at zero. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gloomy Days But Good Intentions

 Finally, some photos. Very little sun these last few weeks so everything looks a little dreary. The green paintwork on the studio looks nice.
Barbora has been wwoofing and we painted the outside using a mixture of liquid clay and cal (lime) - equal amounts of similar textured slurry). It went on well and dried quickly into a protective shell. And it's a nice colour.

Billy's house is coming along well, too. The walls in the main room are nearly complete. The plaster is made from the earth from the floor and fine sand. It feels lovely and looks like chocolate!

I have nearly completed the extension exterior walls. It has been very wet so not a huge amount of work has been done. I have been making bottle niches in the bathroom and am longing to get plastering as that really transforms the lumpy mud into proper walls!

 A bit of plastering on the outside, just because I couldn't resist seeing how it will look.
This little carpet is made from six cotton tee shirts and a skirt. (Things to do while it's raining!) The photo is rather dreary due to bad light, but the carpet actually looks quite nice.