We tend to do projects in fits and starts around here at the Funny Farm. We get an idea for something we want and it gestates for a while. Eventually something will trigger it's birth into the world. I started the base for an eventual cob oven several years ago. We wanted to build one for the fun of it. Cob-building with a group of people is a good way to build community. Cooking in it and sharing meals is also lots of fun. One of the main obstacles to building the cob oven was obtaining the clay soil we would need to make cob. I would have had to hunt it down somewhere. Load it on my truck. Then unload it. A lot of work. And, since the building industry is totally dead around here as a result of the collapse of the economy, finding it would have been hard. ( by the way, i can't say i am sad to see construction screech to a halt. Lots of raping and pillaging of the land has been avoided as a result)
Lately we have been more aggressive in our efforts to prepare ourselves for the time when the shit hits the fan. There are plenty of triggers out there that could set it off at any time now. To further our preparations i wanted to build a root cellar to store crops through the winter. Even though we keep our house at 60º degrees it a little too warm to store things like garlic and potatoes which tend to sprout in our pantry. So, guess what? One project begets another! I dug out a space for the root cellar which generated the clay subsoil i need to build the cob oven. Yiipppeeeee!
Back in August i met Brandy Hall for the first time at our farmers market. She had just moved here from Asheville, N.C. Turns out she is a permaculture designer and teacher who, along with her partner Keri Evjy, is currently teaching a PDC (permaculture design certificate) course. They and their students are coming to the Funny Farm this weekend to help build the cob oven as part of the alternative building segment of their course.
Next week i will finish up the root cellar. I plan to build a roof over the cob oven to protect it from the elements. I plan to grow food on it too. I will put straw bales on it that i will inoculate with oyster mushroom spawn. Then, in the spring, i will plant vegetables and flowers in the bales. I also plan to mount a photovoltaic solar panel on the roof to power lights, (and a blender, you know, for cocktail-making). You see we have all kinds of building materials lying around waiting for something to trigger a project that they can be used in.
That's how we roll here at The Funny Farm.
I will post updates as we move forward with these projects. Gotta go check on my cob bricks baking in the oven :) Later!
Here are links to Brandy's (Shades of Green, Inc.) and Keri's (Healing Roots Design) websites.