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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.

The first pictures now show the outdoor kitchen location using adobe or barro mixed with rocks for a wall 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 walls. They now have a double row of tyres in-filled with rocks, whilst a drainage run will ensure that any flooding is abated in the future. 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 structure, charring the ends to prevent rotting. The discovery of a block and tackle made raising the trunks 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 voluteer shelter will have woven cane or reeds, and entrances with a simple roof over the top. 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 is in-filled with concrete and the interior shaped into an egg. The final inside 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 dipping pond it will also become a biodiverse ecology providing the irrigation (100,000+ltr) for the rest of the finca. Where this water will come from is variable and not conclusive yet. See the sketches too.

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