It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on what we are doing on the cabin, so this time I’ll write about concrete, or more accurately soilcrete. What is soilcrete? It’s nearly the same thing as concrete but using local materials instead of using purchased materials. We use local dirt, gravel from the creek, portland cement and of course water. This makes a strong and inexpensive concrete/soilcrete to make walls and such.

I thought a few pictures would liven things up a bit. I was on the west deck, Bob didn’t know I was there so I was able to snap a few candid shots. You can click on the pictures to view the full sized image.

Bob mixing soilcrete

We use lots of plastic 5 gallon buckets. Before I left my old job, Best Buy, we had a huge hail storm. It damaged the roof pretty severely, the store purchased several dozen of these 5 gallon buckets to try to catch the dripping water from the damaged roof. Just before I left, I asked if I could have the buckets, I expected the manager to give me a few, I was pleasantly surprised when he gave me half of them!

All of these buckets have sure come in handy, thanks Best Buy!

Bob mixing soilcrete

Bob has gotten the mix down to this formula, he uses 2 buckets of gravel from the creek with a bit of sand, 1/4 to 1/2 bucket portland cement, same amount of soil/dirt, 3/4 bucket water. Just like any recipe, this mixture is approximate, Bob adds more of whatever is needed to make the mixture look right. This is what works for us, your mileage may vary. Also our soil has very little to no clay in it, also make sure to keep out as much organic material as possible.

We have to use the materials we can get or already have on hand. Bob is pouring a wall and is using scrap wood to help funnel the mixture into the cavity.

Bob pouring soilcrete

Dumping another load of soilcrete. The concrete mixer is from Harbor Freight, the price was right and it works pretty well for us. You might notice the one white glove, no this isn’t a tribute to Michael Jackson. A couple of days ago, Bob got his fingers on that hand caught in the cement mixer, his first and second finger went almost all the way through the gears that turn the tub. It chewed the tips of his fingers up pretty good, but no permenant damage was done thank God. He was out of commission for a few days. Today he announced that he wanted to do another pour, so he wore that one glove to protect his wounded fingers, mainly from the dirt and cement powder.

Pouring the mixture into the wall cavity.

Bob pouring soilcrete

Bob pouring soilcrete into the wall cavity.

Bob mixing soilcrete

This is the inside view of where Bob is pouring the soilcrete.

Under the cabin

A closer view of under the cabin. The corner in the center of the wall is where the soilcrete wraps around a post.

Under the cabin

Another view under the cabin, Bob has been digging out the floor, he dug down 2 feet, the posts in the ground go down 3 feet, I’d say he has nearly 3/4 of the area dug out.

Another view under the cabin.

Detail of the floor joist under the cabin.

These are the posts supporting the cabin.

Bob dug down and had to reinforce the concrete around the post.

Another view under the cabin.

Another view under the cabin.

This is in front of the cabin, this old tree was struck by lightening many years ago, we have left it up as a habitat for the birds, lizards and other critters that like it.

Here is the cabin as it looks now. Bob is slowly building up the concrete walls that will eventually wrap all the way around the cabin. This will add strength, protect us from animals and fire.

Another view of the cabin, you are seeing the south facing side. This also shows the top of my mountain.

This is a closeup of the mosses and lichens that grow on the trees, it really comes to life when it rains.

Here is where the travel trailer ended up. Bob is working on reinforcing the floor and making it more acceptable for guests to stay in.

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