We can now say that we have actually started on our EarthShip now. A week and a half ago we started filling our first tire with cardboard- rock and clay. After Allen levels the ground we start the process of packing a tire- then pounding a tire- then finishing a tire. At the moment we have been getting in 5 tires each working day. Our goal is to get to 10 tires. The reason why only 5 is because we are only putting in half days at the moment. It has been getting up to 98 degrees in temp. Add the humidity to it and it is just plain hot. Once the temperatures cool down we can put a full day in and get 10 to 12 tires done each work day. Another reason is these tires are 17.5 inch tires with the rim of the tire being really stiff. Once you fill these with dirt and rock they have the look that they are muscular. Being that we will have that look as well when we are done with building our home. LOL. In this photo Arron is filling the tire with dirt after the cardboard is in place. The cardboard is not usually used for the first round of tires. We have been learning how to do this process from watching Youtube videos from those that have experience. The reason why we decided to put in the cardboard right away is because we are not the pros of doing this. This will keep us from packing dirt under the tire and thus not undoing our leveling job. Just a little cheap tip that we are applying and is working quite well.
This is the next stage of filling the tire. After Arron fills the tire with clay and rock -rock- and rock- I (Mary Kay) pack it in with the two pound sledge hammer. Using a pick axe to help lift the stiff rim of the tire helps to pack in more clay and rock. This requires lots more clay and rock as I am doing this process as well. This process starts the swelling of the tire.
Next the big pick axe and 8 pound sledge hammer is used to compress more clay and rock into the well of the tire. This makes for a very heavy packed brick. Each rim of the tire swells up to the point where it is almost level across. This raises the tire about 2 inches when the tire is done. We have found from watching Youtube videos that the pick axe allows in more dirt to be compressed at one time. So more dirt is compressed with each effort of the sledge hammer. Getting in more dirt per pound is great for energy conserving. Once around the tire in this manner then comes just using the sledge alone with more clay and rock. Usually only doing this for one round. It helps build more muscles when partners change tools. And believe me you can work your leg- abs -and arm muscles just by pulling on the pick axe.
Then after we think the tire is full we then level the tire we are working on with the previous tire. So as we go each tire is level to its next door neighbor. And we have the finished product. This photo all so shows thermal mass working. The empty tires have a darker rim because of dew that is on them and the completed tires have none. They retain the heat all through the night so the tire burns off the dew.
As of today we have 40 of the 65 tires completed for the first row. Allen still has more leveling to do to finish this first row. Once the first outer row is done then we will start on the first inner row as well.
One morning Arron was outside early and he came inside the camper saying," We have a turtle." Sure enough there was a snapping turtle making his way to the woods. He took his time looked all over and made his way cautiously. Perhaps this is Spirit telling us to take our time look the EarthShip over and over to make sure we haven't forgotten anything to do it right. We see turtles crossing the road all over in West Plains. We don't see them squashed on the road like the armadillos. It is neat that nature is visiting us. We saw a heard of deer the day before this turtle decided to visit as well.
Laying drain pipe around the EarthShip. We have decided that when we put in our floors we don't want a layer of plastic for a moisture barrier. Reason being is that I want the capabilities to be able to ground myself while in the EarthShip. Earthing is very healing. And you can not ground or earth yourself through plastic. After consulting with our engineer we have decided to put down drain pipe around the EarthShip and also a layer of plastic will go on the back side of the tires with another layer of plastic in the berm area. The West Plains area gets on average of 44 inches of rain per year. So far they are going to exceed this number. So the area can get very wet at times. We feel with the drain pipe and the added plastic this is cheap insurance that our home will be protected.
The rains taught us where the water flows. We had excavated our land in getting ready to build our EarthShip , this means that we had drainage issues.Water was getting into our pole barn. So when the rains stopped we decided to put in drain pipe.
Allen rented this Bobcat to help dig the trenches for the drain pipe for around the pole barn, and our EarthShip. He also dug the trenches for our septic system and dug out lots of tree stumps. We got a lot done. And Allen had a blast with this big boy's toy.
The man in the black hat and dark sunglasses does not work for the FBI. His name is Robert Jones our next door neighbor. He is very knowledgeable about drain pipe and so Allen is taking a lesson. Robert worked as a engineer. So whenever Allen needs help he calls his engineer for some advice. Robert and Lucy are wonderful neighbors. Willing to lend a hand whenever help is needed. They are the very image of what neighbors should always be like. Thank you Robert and Lucy for being so generous.
This is to show what happens at the bottom of our road when we have rain everyday for 2 weeks in a row It would rain then it would stop and it would rain and stop everyday. Thank goodness that it stopped long enough between the rains to help the water run down the hills. It did not take long for the water to go down. We do have another way we can get out if need to.
Look at Allen's boots. And we were not in the deepest part
This has been one of the hardest things that we have ever done. That is to put our dog Comet to sleep. We had moved to a new state. Was busy with getting our property ready so we could live on it. We thought he had troubles with the move and was stressed because of the hot weather and a new environment. But when he stopped eating and started throwing up and was very sluggish in going to the bathroom we knew that he was ill. We took him to the vet and found out that he had kidney failure. The vet said that he had been sick for years. We never knew. The only choices we had was to put him in the hospital for two days in hopes that it would help him or put him to sleep. We took the weekend to make this decision. We saw then how sick he really was and decided to put him to sleep. We did this in June and did not get his ashes until the end of July. Comet is now buried on our property with his soul back in heaven.
He will always be remembered and never forgotten.
We are starting our collection of tires. We had to wait because of needing to get approval from the DNR to use more than 99 tires for a project. We were not aware that we needed this approval when we had bought our land. We filled out the needed application form and sent in the needed information and because of the prayers that were sent we got the approval. So now we can collect tires and start our building process. These tires all came from Tony's Tires and are all the same size. We are hopefully going to get all the tires needed from them to complete the outside row. The inside row we are going to use smaller tires.
Because we are trying to get as many tires to be the same size we will only be accepting the following sizes.
If you have tires that are these sizes we will be happy to take them off of your hands. Please do call us to make sure that we are home to accept your tires. We do have a certain location for the tires. You can reach us at 715-459-7436. This is my Wisconsin cell phone number.
We have gotten tires from many people already. We would like to say thank you to everyone that has given us tires. Without your help we would not be able to build our home.
Here in Missouri they call this type of building a pole barn. We put this up shortly after we had the fence moved. We hired a crew to do it for us. Lucky buildings could put it up in two days where it would take us a month to do it ourselves. This is a 30 feet wide x 40 feet long x 12 feet high. Has 11 x 10 foot doors on both ends of the building. If we have too we can move our camper inside for the winter and have it warmer for us. At the moment we are in the middle of organizing our stuff. Everything we came to Missouri with is in this barn. The cooler is our drop box. This is for when we are gone. The blue tarp has inside it rusty colored clay and rock. When we dug out the hole for the septic about 5 feet down is this clay. I am screening the rocks out of this clay so I can use it in the plaster for the final coat in the EarthShip.
Please feel free to post comments or questions. This is one way we have of communicating.
We went to a USA Prepares Expo in Lebanon, MO and came across a booth that had these LED lights for sale. We bought 4 reels of these type of LED lights. Allen got very creative and figured out a way to hook them up to the 12 volt power source that is already in our camper. Now we have LED lights that light up the whole camper. The reason why we are excited about this is because while we are currently running on 1 solar panel and 1- 12 volt battery and the battery on the camper our power can be limited especially in cloudy and rainy weather. The regular lights in the camper take a lot of power to use them. Now we can light up the whole camper even on limited power and not be in the dark when power is low. The cost for these type of LEDs was $48.00. A bargain if you have priced these type of lights.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.