Just a quick update, as much to cover the drunken rant of my last post as anything. I'll have a more thorough cobbing project post with photos soon. We're finally moved (mostly) to the new homestead in the mountains, unpacked (mostly) and in working order (mostly), and even have our first cob workshop successfully in the bag (completely!). Josh and James from Kennesaw came out to lend a hand and talk permaculture this past Saturday, and James entertained us for a bit with Ella's ukelele. I can tell you that instrument has never been played that well before. We painstakingly dug our chicken coop foundation, piled in about a foot of gravel, then tried our hands at laying a gravel bag plinth wall mortared with barbed wire. I was amazed at how firm the barbed wire made the poly feed sacks filled with gravel when they were stacked up three courses deep. And all that thermal mass! I think I'm already hooked on this cobbing thing, and I haven't even mixed up the first tarp full of mud. I'd say we have about 15 man hours in at this point, and at least 3 tons of material set in place - that's a ton apiece for us, after all the digging. And digging up here in the stony clay hills is nothing at all like digging in sandy south Georgia. It takes some dedication...and some solid hand tools. We busted out a pick that I inherited (by default probably) from my great aunt when she passed last year, that probably hadn't been used since my family were gold miners in Dawson County, before we were ever farmers in Paulding County, or even heard of Tift County in flat and gnat-ridden south Georgia. That gold-mining pick isn't too far from home now, I would guess. Funny to think that the hickory handle might have come from woods very similar to mine and not far away. I already feel more connection to the place than I ever felt down south. Farther back in my lineage, these hills are part of the same mountain chain, separated by eons of techtonic drift, that runs through highland Britain, where my family emigrated from. These hills just happen to be covered with trees...
We also plante a young Gala apple tree to commemorate the workshop, with everyone's name engraved on the permanent metal tag. We will be guilding the little tree, permaculture style, over the next two workshops to switch things up a bit when the manual labor gets too tedious. I forgot to add the myccorhizae granules until after the fellas were gone, but that's been done too, and we won't make that mistake again. nothing will create fertility from rock like putting fungi to work in useful ways. Make friends with your mushrooms.
Looking forward to some cobbing next weekend! Y'all come on out if you can.