Natural building techniques and reclaimed materials
The road that follows the dry-river bed was a goldmine discovery for me. I am weaving the food tunnel whilst the abundance continues, and am now considering making teepees in matted cane. On a more permanent basis the barranco near the quarry offers silt and sand deposits which, mixed with clay or lime, and the needles of pine trees, could make a perfect cob plaster. I would need to experiment a little more.
The first pictures now show the new house location using adobe or barro mixed with rocks for a house foundation. The mud naturally collected on the driveway and lower end of the land when it rained, and so it flooded. Clay filters to the top and sets into tyre ruts. Hard as rock when dry I used it to cement the foundations for the new house. Rocks carried over from repairing dry-stone walls were then put into the holes of the driveway to create drainage. Of recent I have started cutting the local pine trees, debarking them, and then binding them into the new house, charring the ends to prevent rotting. The discovery of a block and tackle made raising the trees much easier. The next photos show flower spikes of the agave cactus that can be used for temporary shelters, sweat lodges, and extended storage areas. They grow to about 10 meters on the larger plants within a very short period of time. Here you can see a recycled yurt being put to use with them. Later, this outdoor kitchen will have woven cana or reeds, and windows. The vision is to create a family-orientated setting where the outdoors can be appreciated and worked with volunteers who create the structures they need. Likewise, the cistern we are building here is absolutely essential and makes use of the massive availability of rocks. Constructed as two dry-stone walls the cavity will be in-filled with waterproof concrete and the interior shaped into an egg. The final render will give a smooth finish but from the outside it will maintain its authentic look as a high dry-stone wall. Doubling up as a swimming pool it will also become a biological pond providing the irrigation (80,000+ltr) for the rest of the finca. Where this water will come from is variable and not conclusive yet. See the sketches too.