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.
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.