Posts Tagged ‘cob’

Earthen floor for the bathroom

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

The last major job outstanding on the cob bathroom is now complete. The floor. It’s been a slow process, finishing it off between major renovation works on the other two buildings, but slow progress is still progress.

Cob bathroom with its green roof


Cob and earthen plaster recipes

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

There are a lot of projects underway simultaneously at the moment, but two of them have involved clay plastering. There is the cob bathroom, now well and truly dry and ready for plastering inside and out. And there is the interior of the upper room of the smallest of the two dry-stone schist animal houses on the quinta, the ‘wee house’.

Sieving clay for earthen plaster

Rather than include the recipes in posts about the buildings, I’m describing them here separately for ease of reference.


Cob bathroom – finally the cob!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The one thing with a back-to-front build like this, building the walls last, is that it’s a long time before the building starts to feel like a real building. It’s been worth the wait though. A month ago, we finally started to build the cob walls.



Cob bathroom build – the plumbing and electrics

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

It seems crazy that 2 months have gone by since I last posted about the cob bathroom we’re building here. Facebook followers will know where we are with it, but the blog is long overdue an update.

The bailarina's firebox - our 150-litre Portuguese-made wood-fired water heater



Saturday, October 27th, 2012

No vindima in Portugal is complete without the last part of the process of wine production. Once the wine has been separated from the skins and pips and put to ferment in casks or bottles, the remaining must is distilled to produce aguardente.

It was never my intention to get into distilling – I rarely drink spirits – but while discussing matters spiritual with two of the area’s greatest exponents in the village above us, it emerged there was a surplus alambique in the village which the scrap man had his eyes on. With what seemed ridiculous haste, I found myself a short while later the owner of a venerable 80-litre copper alembic or pot still, scratching my head over what I was going to do with it, but somehow certain it was a Good Idea to have rescued it from certain meltdown. If nothing else, I was thinking biofuels …

A copper alembic or alambique


Cob bathroom continued

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

We’ve been moving on with the cob bathroom. See the previous post in this series for the first part of the build.

Having successfully established the principle of putting the roof on first in case it rains (maybe I never got over Enid Blyton’s Big-Ears scoffing at Noddy’s impeccable logic?) we’ve carried on with fittings, electrics and plumbing so all can be thoroughly checked and tested before being built into the walls.

Back wall

First, there was the back wall to complete. This is how the original wall ended. Whether it was roughly built this way or at some stage was partially destroyed by the growing oak tree is difficult to determine, but at any rate it had to be closed off before the cob walls were built.

The rear wall at the base of the oak tree before construction


Cob bathroom

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

This is one of those projects which suddenly materialised out of nowhere.

It’s not as if we didn’t have enough to be getting on with already. The last few months have been so busy, I’ve barely had a chance to photograph it all, let alone write blog posts about it. Then on top of that, both the computer and backup external hard drive chose the same moment to fail – what are the chances of that?! – and getting access to email accounts and websites again is requiring a fair few extra online hours to fit into the daily schedule. So it seems more than a little crazy to be adding to the project list. But with Liam, our ferrocement water tank specialist, going back to the UK for a few months and Wayne doing the same, work on the rainwater harvesting system came to a natural pause and this project sort of tumbled into the gap.


Fridge, part 1

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

SPOILER … This experiment didn’t work! See the Comments section.

With summer temperatures looming, so have thoughts about refrigeration. We don’t have any sort of fridge. For most of the year – autumn, winter and spring – this is much less of a problem than it might at first appear. Most dairy products last well enough at yurt temperature that they’re eaten before they go off. Milk that does turn can be turned into cheese and when we occasionally buy meat it’s eaten right away. But summer? Well that’s a different matter.