The ramming ended a couple weeks ago, we covered the wall with a large plastic sheet, but venture in behind now and again to admire the story left behind. Here’s a shot taken by Maggie.

Unfortunately the story the wall tells isn’t without it’s sadder sections. We moved too fast at times while ramming, adding more soil than could be packed or we weren’t careful enough to ensure the packing was thorough or the form-work bracing gave way a bit. We have some soft spots to tend to – as Jonah is here with some cement patching.

The aim has been to move from ramming to back-filling as soon as possible. In order to make room for our house we dug into the hill among several stalwart oaks. We took care to do as little damage as possible to their roots, but some damage resulted – so we’ve been keen to fill the void between new walls and hill asap. We patched, sprayed on a hardener, attached insulation and covered all with a dimple (water draining) membrane. Yay! the back-filling happened over the last couple days. Here’s Maggie working with Jupiter to find the black dirt and grass that’s been hidden under piles of clay and sand.

And, John, being the keener he is, decided to begin the stone work, here laying rocks to hold dirt away from the back (loft) door. How quickly – at least in our ability to visualize – construction site becomes a home.

One more thing, perhaps more of interest to passive solar builders. We’re more concerned with our home getting too hot than too cold – with all the windows on the south wall. Before we back filled, we laid a 6 inch pipe at the bottom of the trench behind the house that will let cool air in from the shaded east side and bring it around into the west side. The cupola (‘hat’ on top centre of the house) will draw air out on hot days and suck cool air in through this pipe. I can’t remember who first suggested this idea, but thank-you.

Next we’re hand drilling a well right in the house. More on that later. We’ll also be framing the south, east and west walls. You’re welcome to join in this week and next. Bring some friends. The company, the food and the setting are great! Text David at (204) 305-0528. Really!