Holistically Organized Multidisciplinary Endeavors Farm

Reflections on June, 2018

sunrise, homestead, off-grid, home-farm

It’s warming up on the homestead.  We spend some afternoons inside on the cool soil-cement floor to escape the heat.  When it’s 95 outside, it’s only 88 inside.  If I’m outside cobbing and plastering and work up a sweat (ok, the sweat is pretty instantaneous upon walking out there) then when I come back in, if only for a few seconds, it feels air-conditioned.  No cooling tubes or air conditioning yet, folks.  If you’re planning a visit, bring your handheld misting fan.

My parents and little brother came to visit for a duel birthday for the older boys, now 12 and 4.  Mason got a red wagon and Julius got a Nintendo Switch.  My dad commented that it’s actually starting to look and feel like a house.  They are avid supporters of what we’re doing, don’t get me wrong.  Honest comments about house progress aren’t always helpful, but that little nod of approval is greatly appreciated.  Anyway, they didn’t melt in the heat and we had a nice time.

birthday cake, Zelda, wagon, 12, 4, home-farm
Zelda riding in a Radio Flyer!

 

There’s not a whole lot to report on house progress this month.  Aaron has been chugging away at the water closet.  Not the bathroom, the utility closet which holds the indoor water tank, the pressure tank, the filters, and pumps.  I’ll show you some pictures.

water closet, WOM, earthbag build oklahoma
the old water closet set up

In the above picture you can see the protruding wall where we cobbed around some 2x4s as anchors.  After drilling in long lag screws, we now know that we don’t really need anchors.  So we pulled those out, chipped off old cob and plaster, and removed the old water system.

cob wall, earthbag build oklahoma, water closet, WOM
Adding cob and finalizing the wall

After we removed the old, we applied new and added some black pipe as a rack for the water pressure tank.  Aaron simply drilled holes into the earthbag wall and fitted the pipe in there.  Then I cobbed around it.  The top and bottom pipes are actually two pipes joined with a union in the event the pressure tank needs replaced.

WOM, earthbag build oklahoma, diy, homesteading, water closet
Improvements on the WOM

This is the new and improved WOM, Water Operating Module, as it is known in the Earthship community.  It has a cleaner look, and is fully accessible, ie, it has valves for shutting the water off when adjustments need to be made.

WOM, water closet, off grid
WOM in the water closet

It reminds me of some sort of old video game with pipes…?  Yet to come in this closet are whole house water filters and a sand-bed filter, as well as a bit more cobbing to secure those black poly pipes into the wall.  A sand-bed filter would allow us to drink our rain-harvested water.  The closet is getting pretty tight on space.  Aaron is making sure to save room for the batteries and other power instruments.

I’ve been outside, continuing on the cobbing.  Our WRAP is holding up nicely.  Of the maybe three rains we’ve had this month, one washed off some exposed cob, but that was quick and easy to repair.  The finished sections with the WRAP are now totally protected.  It feels good to have some finality on the exterior walls.

drying season, hot, home-farm, homestead, earthbag walls,
Cobbing windows with a pretty landscape background

Other items of importance for June, I’ll just show you in pictures, because it literally hurts to type.  I ripped my pinky finger open smoothing some cob over a piece of protruding straw.

Father’s Day!

 

cactus, home-farm
Cactuses in bloom!

 

zoo okc, chimp
Zoo fun

 

zoo, home-farm, mason birthday
Mason speaks to chimp at OKC zoo

 

oklahoma, vote, primary elections, 788, home-farm
Oklahoma’s primary and special elections resulted in legalization of medical marijuana

From the Homeschool Desk

I got a taste of being a “soccer mom,” or a “child chauffeur” for two weeks.  Julius went to a daytime art-camp called Artscope, where he played the part of Romeo in their finale production of Everyone Gets Abducted by Aliens.  He and I were delighted with this opportunity to study some more Shakespeare.  I checked out one of the more modern versions of the Romeo and Juliet movie and got the book so he could read the play.  He also got the part of Farmer Pa.  Some friends were made, learning and memorization happened, and acting on a stage in front of a large crowd surely built self-confidence.  He is really excited to attend in years to come.

Also on the Shakespeare front, we attended A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Oklahoma City at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  It was a very enjoyable experience, both the beautiful language being acted out, and the lush garden setting.  I was so proud when Julius was able to recite a few of the lines.

artscope buddies, home-farm, homeschool
Artscope buddies

This being our last month of homeschool for the 6th grade year, Julius will finish up his math book and take his final history notes.  I’m plan to create a history jeopardy game for a fun end-of-the-year activity.

Books of the Month

Julius (11) Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series books 3 and 4.  At one point, while riding in the car, I saw him gazing out the window with an overwhelmed look on his face.  I asked him what was wrong and he explained that some really serious stuff was happening in this book.  He needed time to internalize it all.

Mason (4) The BFG!  We just started it.  Otherwise, it’s been a constant picture-book binge, mostly re-reads from our shelves at home.

Aaron: Too busy.  Insert sad emoji here.

Myself: Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.  This is a re-read for me, an item from my 2018 Reading Challenge, which seems daunting at this point.  With all that life is throwing at me, it’s so hard to read.  Luckily, I have some external accountability.  My midwestern bestie texts me when she exercises, and I text her the number of pages I read that day.  Perhaps I should also tell her how many batches of cob I got on the wall!

Alison, home-farm, earthen plaster
Back to slapping mud on the walls!

 

Next month, we’ll celebrate Julius’ official birthday, the big number 12!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  Happy Homesteading, ya’ll.

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Hey.  I’m Alison; author, artist, and off-grid homeschooling mama of three.  I love painting, exploring the outdoors, and a hoppy IPA.  My partner and I work together to bring this website and blog to you.  We hope you enjoy!