Archive for the ‘Cal Earth’ Category

About 100 photos of our experience at Cal Earth have been posted to Rachel’s Facebook account.  There are some videos too!

In other news, Cal Earth had an open house yesterday, and we met Jonathon Tokosh, a wonderful friend with whom we had dinner and talked until 9 pm.  He came to Cal Earth from Oregon, where he was taking a workshop on Cob building.  See http://www.cobcottage.com for more info and whimsical pictures of homes.

Our week at Cal Earth looks like this:

Sunday: Off. Go to church, read emails, post photos, research, rest

Monday: Work on the garden wall (a not so recent picture posted on this blog)

Tuesday: Site Maintenance– fix things that are broken, patch walls, organize, clean

Wednesday: Research and Development– for this quarter, and maybe for the year, Cal Earth is researching and developing its waterproofing techniques.

Thursday and Friday: Work on Earth Architecture around the property– work on current but unfinished projects

Saturday: Same as Monday, working on the garden wall

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I wasn’t able to post anything from the first week because it truly was intensive!  We often had 10-11 hours of work and lectures.  We learned all sorts of things, laying bags, placing the barbed wire, tamping, checking the compass, recalibrating the compass, etc.

Today, the first day of our extended workshop, we are putting in an earthen floor stabilized with cement.  Mark Harmon, who helped build the dome years ago, and currently the technical director of Cal-Earth, wants to have the floor have a 2% grade so water will flow towards the door and into the small courtyard away from the dome.  So far this morning, we have been working on leveling the floor to the 2% grade.

After an hour and a half lunch, we are ready to go at it again!

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We just painted the top two and sometimes three rows of bags. This was

The four of us just finished painting. Photo by Mark Harmon

our after lunch job. We worked on the wall from 2-4 pm. In the morning and until 1:30, we picked up trash along the fence. Today completed our third day of cleaning up the property. We, Mark and I and sometimes others, filled five large city trash containers.

After painting the wall, Mark and I cut used and emptied Cal Earth bags into 16″ x 16″ squares for using for water proof testing.

For dinner, Mark caramelized onions to add to the rice, lentils, and mushroom dish. Will and Talia made spicy mac and cheese and not spicy vegan mac and cheese with a fruit smoothie that everyone loved. Ten of us ate dinner and six of us helped do the dishes. Cherokee and Antonio at the sink washing and scrubbing and singing Latin songs. I dried dishes, along with Mark. Mark put dishes away and sometimes handed them to Annie to put away. Mark Harmon, one of the instructors and director for this week wiped the counters. Great teamwork! Now it is finally bedtime!

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Mark and I made it to Cal Earth Monday morning, at 10 AM. We spent the day assembling an old “repurposed” futon so that it could be a futon once again. Lunch was spicy bean soup made by Sorub. In the evening, Rachel unpacked (gladly) while Mark went to a yoga class. I am happy to report that unpacking was tremendously easier than packing the apartment! Dinner was a spicy green bean dish made by Nezirine. We contributed several sweet potatoes which we boiled in the oven. we will probably make up the work day on Saturday.

Today, we began the work day with demolishing sandbag rows and a window in the practice area. Lunch (around 1 pm) was basmati rice with sliced plantains and peanut butter on Fruit & Nut bread (Old Town Baking Co).

After lunch, we helped pick up trash around the property, on both sides of our fence. The challenge with trash pick up work is that right now is the season of stickers and grass seeds and it is hard to ever get all the stickers out! There is still a lot of trash for us to pick up tomorrow. After work, we went food shopping (bought brown rice, vegan Daiya cheddar cheese, Bragg’s olive oil, and Dr. Bronner’s lavendar soap. Delicious vegan grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner!

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It is nearly 1 am on Friday night.  Originally, we were going to go to Cal-Earth Institute (www.calearth.org) tomorrow morning, but we have pushed that out to Sunday afternoon, after lunch.  That will allow us to attend the Living Love celebration of Mother’s Day at Broadview tomorrow morning and church on Sunday and give us more time to pack the apartment and leave a livable space for Ame.  Ame is our friend and it is so wonderful that she is the new renter for the apartment we are about to vacate.  Her being here is truly God’s working out, as none of us could have planned it.  Maybe two weeks before our trip to Portland and Hawaii, she asked if we knew of any leads on apartments.  She ended up housesitting for us while we were gone and decided to stay and sign the papers for her to rent the place!  She was here for three days before we left, and we have been/will be here for an approximate total of seven days before heading to Cal Earth.  We are bequeathing to Ame 90% of our furniture for her to keep.  The other 10%, she can use or not use.  Either way, she has agreed to store our stuff for us until we come back for it, in about a year or less (we hope).

We made a lot of progress today and in the past few days.  We still need to pack the kitchen, bathroom, and other miscellaneous areas.  The living room is still filled with boxes!  I love you all and will try to keep you updated as much as possible!

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