what’s been happening at the house, lately? walls, that’s what. and when it’s not walls, it’s been roof (which has also, interestingly enough, involved walls).

i’ve also been getting started on prepping the interiors (can you say scraping, anyone?), but more on that later.

for now, check out the progress!

Photo Feb 12, 11 05 17 AMrandy, taking a small phone break from working on rebuilding the wall that collapsed in the living room right before christmas.  

Photo Feb 12, 11 05 24 AMsean, his son (and our site supervisor), was helping. note the old adobes in front that they were able to re-use. they’re from the wall we took down (on purpose, for a change) in the living area.

Photo Feb 12, 11 26 46 AMup top, randy demonstrated a slight problem we were having–they need to drill into the adobes in order to put in bolts to which the concrete bond beam will anchor.

Photo Feb 12, 11 28 16 AMunfortunately, nearly every time they drilled, this was happening: the topmost adobes were so old and brittle they were cracking into pieces. Not really ideal. 

Photo Feb 12, 11 32 05 AMsince steven hess, our structural engineer, happened to be on site to discuss another matter, we had a little pow-wow about the situation. 

Photo Feb 18, 3 40 52 PMthey decided to put lag bolts into the ceiling beams rather then drilling down into the adobes. problem solved–at least on the portion of the roof where the beams are close enough to the bottom of the bond beam to make this possible.

Photo Feb 17, 4 14 39 PMand where they aren’t–they’re going to key into new adobes that will be laid on top and have indentations in them–like these, made with soup cans.

Photo Feb 17, 4 08 44 PMso, as mentioned, not only has there been wall building on the ground–but also on the roof. we have to build up the center portion of the building so that there will be a slope to the finished roof (which means it will actually shed water–what a happy day that will be!). note the little mason’s stool for mud mortar. it was taking four or five guys to supply each station. a crew on the ground ferrying adobes to the base of the wall, then two or three forming a fire-line to hand them up, then the guy who was actually laying them. and when they weren’t schlepping up the adobes (which are HEAVY), they were sending up buckets of mortar on ropes (also HEAVY). i think i may owe the guys another round of doughnuts soon…

Photo Feb 18, 3 42 56 PMwhile they were still working on the roof-wall. i love how everything together makes it look like a little pueblo on top of the structure at the moment. maybe we should just live up there?

Photo Feb 18, 3 41 36 PMthe finished “wall” on the roof. it sits on top of one of the main walls that runs cross-wise through the entire structure.

Photo Feb 19, 3 54 52 PMmeanwhile, i’ve been finding time to scout materials. we have to put something on the parapet–the top part of the roof that sticks up–so that the rains won’t wash away our new walls. we talked about doing a concrete cap (not excited) or concrete pavers (also not excited) and then i spotted some of these on top of a wall in our current neighborhood. i showed a photo to randy, who correctly (big surprise) identified them as a type of adobe that they make in mexico called san luis (or at least that’s what they call it at the adobe supply place here in town–i know, you didn’t know either that there were actual stores devoted to nothing but adobe, did you?). the san luis adobes are fired with horse manure, which makes all of the cool colors. they’re going to look amazing on top of the finished wall edge.

Photo Feb 20, 4 21 35 PMcheck the flotilla of wheelbarrows. i think they are likely winning for most indispensable tool when re-building an adobe. they get used for everything–mixing mortar, moving mortar, moving adobes, carting around rubble, picking up trash–you name it. we might have to have one bronzed one after we’re done and leave it in the yard.

Photo Feb 20, 4 22 26 PMthe wall at the back of the house that was down has been completely rebuilt–that entire left section and top is new. note the difference in color.

Photo Feb 23, 3 01 39 PMand not only did they prep for the bond beam, they also poured the first sections of it yesterday. 

Photo Feb 24, 3 33 56 PMhere it is today, out of the molds. i have to say: it looks really strong! should tied the entire house structure together nicely once they get all the way around the perimeter. then they’ll only (ha, ha) need to add another few courses of adobes on top of the beam and our parapet will be in place.

Photo Feb 22, 10 15 51 AMfinally: a quick snap of the ceiling beams in what will be our living space. that patina! sigh.