Wednesday, June 06, 2007

10,886 to go

Ruidoso Downs, 5/28-6/4

At the intersection of playing in the mud and sustainable building, just off Hwy 70, lies the base of a compressed-earth-block shop. In India, Habitat for Humanity uses a manual press to form the bricks. Here, Luther's used a mechanized version, built by a conservitive father-son team and powered by a bio-diesel tractor, to form over 3,000 block so far. Brad and Luther set the first line of bricks, 114. When all is said and done, the truces will be hoisted onto the 11,000 brick structure.

Surprisingly, Aslin didn’t opt for a swim in the Rio Ruidoso. Luther and Amanda have a great little spot along the river. If the neighbor kids don’t chop any more willow, I’m predicting a hammock sanctuary by fall.

Lesson of the week- Basil germinates with a satisfying quickness. The pollinator blend from Seeds of Change may take a little longer. Ideally, the borage, millet and butterfly weed will ease the hummingbird’s nectar habit. Extra bonus if the seeds step into a cover crop role, defending young apple trees from horehound and the ever pesky thistle. Safe from deer and dogs, the radishes are raising themselves from the ground. A dense patch of baby cabbage makes a strong case against planting in strong New Mexico winds. Walls of water shield a tomato crop sure to encourage more of Luther’s hand made ravioli. There’s a good chance we’ll meet this garden again, in a few years when the asparagus has settled in.

It’s a little overcast. Nothing ominous like yesterday’s break from 80-degree weather that delivered hail to the fragile celery starts, but the blue sky is broken, shading sections of the hills on either side of us. So ends our week at Ruidoso Downs’ Blue Tube Farm and (recently fenced!) dog park. Or as we like to call it, our second Craig’s List Miracle.

Many thanks to Luther, Amanda and the animals for agreeing to host us months later than expected!


Anonymous said...

Hi Kids!
I'm downstairs, which is the only place I can leave a comment on your blog (my computer is STILL not fixed!) I have 3 sleepy kitties for company down here. They refuse to stay in "their room" anymore, and follow me wherever I go. Diane is outside, thoroughly pissed, but she can't be in when they're out. An when Sid saw them he growled! David is insisting I put an ad on Craig's list for them, but I'm trying to find less random homes (and, like an idiot, would probably keep them all if I had a choice!)
Anyway, just saying a quick hi and we miss you!

owlhouse said...

Oh... kittens! You know Chris, random Craig's List connections can go quite well!

We're outside of Santa Fe- preparing to camp in the midst of a wind storm.

Love to you all!

Anonymous said...

so i got the job i applied for finally. i suppose i could've emailed you, but this was easier.

owlhouse said...

Brad was going to write that he loves when anonymous people tell of their job success- then he figured it was you.


ps- we survived the crazy, state-wide wind storm. talk about the wild west.

Anonymous said...

Brad--how much pressure(pounds her square inch?) is used to compress the bricks? Is anything added to the native soil to foster and maintain formation of the brick? How big are the bricks? What is used for mortar? Please tell Nora that I am very curious about the truces that will be placed atop the brick walls!!! [:) << smiley face] Love, Sharon

Anonymous said...

So some of us are in the dark regardeing the identity of the job seeker. Congrats whoever you are! Sharon (Nora's Mom)

dawn postwork hc said...

I just left a comment in the booklist post, but I had to come back to tell you about this site: I don't know how to link it otherwise, unless I sent a personal email-and god knows I never write, or email. Anyway, it's wicked funny, factual and succinct. There's one for every year, the 2005 one was my first. Check it out! Is there concrete in the bricks? Can we build a stawbale/mixed material house when you all get back?

Brad said...

Chris - I would give $100 for one of your margaritas right now!

Brad said...

Hi Sharon! I don't know how many PSI. (Luther?) It's a pretty stout hydraulic press thingy. Concrete is added to the first row of blocks. We made some blocks with sand added and also some kind of natural enzyme that makes the blocks compress tighter. I don't remember the exact size of the blocks - maybe 14" x 8" x 8"? Very heavy. The mortar was pretty standard stuff, sand mixed with water and lime I think. The trusses are regular wooden thangs.

Brad said...

Hey Dawn! Like I said above, concrete was added only to the first row of blocks.And yes! I would love to build a green hippy house when we get back. You find a place for it. Just pick any vacant lot in Seattle and we'll throw down.