Friday, 27 April 2012

Natural building using Cob

One of my loves is 'natural building', and of the techniques/methods around, the 2 key ones are Strawbale and Cob. Cob is literally clay (from the ground), sand and chopped straw.

Millions of houses around the world are actually made from earth in one form or another, but the technique of cob building is vernacular to many parts of the UK. In Devon, even today, you can still find many buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years, made from local cob.

The advantages of cob is that it is usually local (often dug up from a few feet away), simple to make, highly sculptural and provides a lot of thermal mass. The downside is that construction can be slow (unless there's a large group of helpers!), and cob itself does not provide much in the way of insulation.

Anyway, pros and cons aside, cob buildings can be some of the most beautiful structures around. Hat-tip to Steven Golemboski-Byrne who had a link to this building in Somerset on his blog.

For more information and photos on this building, please visit:

Monday, 23 April 2012

On Earth Day…Commandments for the Earth.

Over on the various blogs that I follow, there has been a lot of wonderful writing about 'Earth Day'. I also have a friend who is very cynical about 'Earth Day' and 'Earth Hour' type events as the feelings, thoughts and actions people feel compelled to take, should take place every day. Indeed, many 'Earth Hour' events were sponsored by large corporations - can't quite see the logic in that, unless the said corporation wants to be seen as more 'green' by sponsoring this type of thing.

Anyway, must be more upbeat as depression is heading my way unless I can stave it off!

Over on Arignagardener's blog, they've listed '10 Commandments for the Earth' first written by Ernest Callenbach in 1990. I hope Arignagardener doesn't mind me stealing them and listing them here:

  1. Thou shalt love and honour the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.
  2. Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of the seasons.
  3. Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
  4. Thou shalt give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.
  5. Thou shalt limit thy offspring for multitudes of people are a burden onto the Earth.
  6. Thou shalt not kill, nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.
  7. Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth’s expense but strive to restore it’s damaged majesty.
  8. Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.
  9. Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.
  10. Thou shalt consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth’s bounty.

What a great set of commandments - be interesting to judge your day and actions against those to see how you fair!

See Arignagardeners site:


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