The Story of Last Saturday…

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Morning: Hello all! Today is a good day to say the least, positive vibes and a particularly reinforced drive towards the project. Yesterday, was the first day of using the new method of mixing cob using the JCB, as Toni, Jed and Rene, looked into other more efficient ways of mixing cob and producing a higher volume. Thus, as I mentioned in a previous blog about an English man building a gargantuan home, with walls that are a quarter of a mile long and 3 stories high in such a short period of time. He used a JCB to mix the cob and created several tonnes with each mix. Using his method we started yesterday, though the mixture wasn’t to the highest of standards, the method worked, bar a few variables which affected the quality. To be perfectly honest, it is an experiment and with all experiments we didn’t expect it to go perfectly the first time, trial and error as they say….

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We found that each batch produced 1cubic meter in a couple of hours, and that’s at least 1 or 2 days manual work using the old technique with the feet. This has been a vast improvement on the efficiency of the wall building work. We produced 2 cubic meters yesterday. Today is much more streamlined in the mixing, as all the tests were collated and calculated yesterday by the ever so efficient Toni and Rene. The JCB came at 8am sharp to start the mixing, so we had the cob mix, and could get straight to wall building after breakfast without delay. We put together 3 teams to build the walls in a micro-teamwork way, where each team had a section of the wall to build; this created a continuous work flow and no-one was short of work. Once the sections of the wall were finished, it was straight onto using the rest of the cob (as there is a large amount of cob being made now). This we agreed was a practical and another efficient way of wall building and keeps the workflow at a good pace.

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Afternoon: With the second batch of cob ready, it’s straight down to business. There is a team of material collectors, who are dedicated to keeping supplies in stock (sand, rocks etc). This ensures that the teams working on the wall are not distracted, or caught short while building and the JCB is used to its full capacity. Scaffolding is being moved from where the verandas are, so the remaining two verandas are back filled, compressed and ready. Much progress is being made and the JCB is being used in a highly productive way, so basically, killing two birds with one stone.

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With the progress of the wall, cob mixing and various other tasks to keep the workflow up, the output of work has grown. The exploration, testing, teamwork and everyone having the opportunity to share ideas, really does reflect the importance of challenging the status quo. By being open to new ideas, it encourages more people to bring their ideas to the table and there’s no such thing as a bad idea, just an opportunity for development and improvement.

-Wendy

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