by Qi Na from her blog
With encouragement of Ferry the founder, I joined the construction team since the third day on the Quinta. What a privilege it is to be able to participate in building the green roof, and finishing the interior of the new house!
The green roof consists of layers of stones, earth and straws. It’s not green yet and it looks already awesome! We have been bringing earthen materials onto the roof with the tractor, spreading them evenly with shovels, and dreaming about the fairy-tale life the sheep and goats will have on it. The final step was seeding grass and throwing best wishes into the ground. Some good rainy days will come next week and I can’t stop imaging how the roof will look when it’s full grown.
Cobbing, I’ve discovered my hidden talent of mastering it fairly quickly. On the first day, Nuño taught me the basics and I can’t remember when was the last time I became so enthusiastic about doing something as real as this.
Cob is a natural mixture of sand, earth, straw and water. The mixing requires some physical strength, it does cause muscle soreness but it also heals your soul. When you have a good mixture ready, the fun begins! You first make the wall wet, so the Nutella-Diarrhea-Puree can stick and stay. Then you threw the brown puree onto the wall, try or try not to let it fly back to your face and clothes, depending on how much you want to seem like a professional. Then you use your fingers, hand palms and love to make it look like a proper wall. There are so many aspects you can strive to improve: precision, strength, amount, rhythm, angle, cob dryness/wetness. And every step is my favourite: the aiming, throwing, and the touching. I’ve never expected a construction work to be so sensational, it’s almost like giving birth to a new life (maybe I’m being too emotional about this right now..)
On the second day, Marlon taught me how to use tools, and I felt like a chimpanzee who has just discovered the convenience of technology and was simply overjoyed by the skyrocketed efficency. By throwing and spreading cob with the tool, the whole process went much quicker, cleaner, but it also feels less like giving birth.. I guess this is how it was when humans first entered the industrial age, when they first started to use steam engines and weaving machines. Quicker, cleaner, easier, and less attentions and emotions.
It’s definitely good to know both ways, the beauty of the dialectics. Sometimes it feels good to be a monkey, and sometimes it feels good to be a robot too I suppose 🙂