apricots & plaster sculpture

last weekend’s work party was fabulously successful. The Wall Project reached the mailbox! The mailbox is a major milestone, as it is on the northeast corner of the property. The line of the wall has now moved from the irrigation ditch a full 150 feet east in a sinuous snaking line to acheive the mailbox. We’re not *done* with this stretch yet, but with a reasonable amount of effort, we’ll be able to finish the north side of the wall this week. That is significant!


from the cottonwood apses to the mailbox apse! we’re using the final apse around the mailbox as a sound-trap, to further reduce noise right on the corner of the property.

the technique going on there is a leaning vault, which worked with earthbags for that particular location because that one is a quarter-circle rather than a half-circle. it’s a masonry technique; in larger application, the earthbags have collapsed due to being too bendy (unlike, say, bricks). we’ll probably used corbelled arches for the other three apses. These photos were taken at the end of Saturday’s labors.

you can see the glorious looming storm coming up from the northeast there, as well. we got a half-inch of rain last night and it’s raining again (at least up here in town) today.

as much of the wall as i can get in one photo, looking west from the front apse.

This photo was taken this morning, showing the work that Rev and Ryan completed yesterday. The apse is all but done now!

This week, we’ll get the rest of the wall up to the height of that apse. Then we can turn the corner and start on the front wall!

from the street:

the t-posts holding the bags level will come out as soon as we’re done using them to line things up. This image really shows the inside curve of the apse.

Taken from just northeast of the apse (behind the mailbox).

meanwhile, last week we also started some plaster sculpture. I did this sunflower around our first arch:

and then Ryan and Piper spent a day adding a bird-form and yucca to the design:

last week, and two of our interns, Ryan and Piper, were invited to to harvest apricots. They came home with four paper bags full, from which and crew made 27 pints of apricot jam and 16 quarts of halved apricots in light syrup. Those are going to be some fabulous winter cobblers!

She put together an outdoor kitchen in which to do the canning, so as to avoid the heat and crowding of spending a July day with four people leaning over boiling pots of water and fruit.

you can tell by the lighting that we’ve been having a lot of grey days lately. monsoons have finally arrived! We got a half-inch last night in one long slow storm, and today it’s raining again.

oh, and we saw a snake in the grass. He’s a corn snake (i think), but when i attempted to touch him, he coiled up and hissed like a rattler, which was intriguing. he’s definitely not a rattlesnake. i stopped pestering him anyway; that’s a threatening noise!