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Cozy Colorado Cob & BaleCob Cottage PLUS “Rocket Oven” on Southern Colorado Homestead
August 9, 2020 ∞ 9:00 am - September 6, 2020 ∞ 5:30 pm$2500
HOST & LOCATION
Kenton has been developing an off grid homestead on 40 forested acres in Southern Colorado for the past four years. He has built a geodesic dome greenhouse and garden space on the property, as well as a goat pen and chicken coop. Inspired by his time spent volunteering at ecovillages in South America, Kenton was drawn to this area of southern Colorado by the small community of independent farmers working together to produce food and lead a self reliant lifestyle. His vision for the property is to make it a place where people can come tparticipate and learn about permaculture and sustainable living, thus hosting a natural building workshop is in alignment with this dream!
At 8000 feet in elevation, the night time temperatures are cool at night and in the early morning. The host recommends a 30 degree F sleeping bag to be comfortable through the night, typical low temperatures will be around 50 degrees but it is possible to experience light frosts towards the end of the workshop in September. Day time temperatures can rangefrom about 50 to 80 degrees, and it’s common to experience brief rainshowers in the early afternoon. Dressing in layers is a good way to stay comfortable throughout the day because the temperature can fluctuate 30 degrees or more in a short time. In the host’s experience, this can provide a refreshing relief from the heat while doing physical work outside. It is important to drink plenty of water at this elevation, especially if you are coming from a lower elevation.
Students will receive the Basic Cobber Certification for walls, floor and plaster. The foundation and roof will be built by Host prior to workshop so that a larger structure can be built than is usual in our workshops, and students have more time to focus on artistic and other interesting elements added into the walls. The size of the cottage will be 200ft2, and the BaleCob wall may speed things up. The wall and first floor layers will be built in Weeks 1-4 and the Rocket Oven in the last week. In the first 3 weeks, we will build a circular Cob & BaleCob Wall with opening and fixed windows, niches, shelves, bottles, other useful natural elements inserted into the wall for hanging art work and clothing, electrical outlets and housing, and finish by connecting to the existing ceiling. In week 4 we will sculpt and plaster the wall and finish the second floor coat. Students will learn ALOT by building every day with continuous instruction, both practical hands-on and theoretical using lecture time, slides and videos.
You will leave fully confident to build your own cob house or someone else’s, which is your next step after graduating from our training! This will take you to the next level of understanding and experience after which you will be a much more competent workshop assistant and builder.
BASIC COB BUILDING WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION
The Basic Cob & BaleCob Building Workshop consists of 20 days of theoretical instruction
(lectures with graphics) and construction for 4 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.
Students arrive on Sunday, August 9th, and settle in. The workshop begins at 4pm with an Opening Circle, a Host Site orientation and Introduction to the Project. Dinner is served at 6pm followed by an Introduction to the 4-week Workshop. Monday morning we begin making and building with Cob!
Following Breakfast, the morning session lasts 4 hours with a 20-minute snack pause. Lunch break lasts 1.5 hours which includes rest time before the 3-hour afternoon session begins. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there is a 60-minute lecture, followed by construction. Tuesdays and Thursdays we start building right after the rest time. After class in the afternoon there is a 90-minute break before dinner, in which students are encouraged to stretch, do yoga, relax. There is often someone officially or informally leading yoga or some other movement practice in the morning and/or afternoon. There will also be 3-4 evenings (once a week) after dinner for showing slides, videos and having Course-related discussions. Other evenings are free and sometimes other students offer informal courses in their specialties and passions The 20-day Course will offer practical learning by building the walls and floor of a 200 ft2 curvilinear building on top of a pre-built stone foundation up to the existing ceiling, as described in the “Project” section above. Those who complete the 20-day Basic Cob Building Workshop will receive a Basic Cobber Certificate of Completion for Cob Walls (which includes Door, Windows, Shelves, Art, Electrical & Plumbing), Floor & Plaster. For those who wish to get the Intermediate or Advanced Cobber Certification in the future, you are welcome to attend only the Foundation and/or Roof Week of any Intermediate or Advanced workshop. Also students who complete this Course will be welcome to return to another Basic Course and only pay for food, as a returning student/helper. You will also qualify to be Assistant in another Basic workshop.
“ROCKET OVEN” WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION
In week 5 we will build a rocket oven. This is a black oven, simply denoting that the food is exposed to the combustion gases. This design utilizes the complete combustion of a J-tube style rocket stove to power an earthen oven. This is exactly the same as a large wood-fired pizza oven, which often have ongoing fires to extend cooking times. The major difference being that the rocket oven will use vastly less wood and the wood used would be considered little more than sticks at that. This is because in our oven we use the heat of combustion to cook the food directly. In a traditional pizza oven, the wood is used to heat the mass of the oven, and then uses the heat re-radiating out of the mass of the oven and the brick floor to cook the food. The process for building our rocket oven will be practically identical to the construction of the traditional cob oven, so both approaches will be learned in this course.
Day 1: We will cut the footprint for the oven base, and begin construction of the J-tube and the oven base.
Day 2: We will complete the stove body and insulate the riser. We will also continue building the oven foundation.
Day 3: We will finish the foundation and build the oven body. This is when we will install both the door and the exit flue.
Day 4: We will apply insulation and the finish layer of cob to the oven with sculpting.
Day 5: We remove the sand and plaster the oven.
The Basic Cob Building plus Rocket Oven Workshop begins on Sunday, August 9th, 2020 at 4pm with the Opening Circle and Introduction to Site & Project, the Welcome Dinner and Introduction to the Course. It ends on Sunday, September 13th, 2020 after the Closing Circle & Lunch.
Students can arrive a day or two before to acclimate and settle in but will need to
cover their own food needs unless a work trade is approved by Host.
The daily schedule (subject to slight modifications due to climate) will be:
6:30-7:30 Yoga/Chi Gong/Meditation 7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:00-9:00 Slides/Videos/Discussion (once a week)
Students will learn every phase of building cob walls from an existing foundation to an existing ceiling in lectures and theory. In addition to the lectures, slideshows and videos will be shown to support and enhance their understanding of cob materials, cob building, design, geography , budgeting, business options and legal issues.
Our hands-on practice will include:
analyzing soils and materials
making test bricks
deciding on correct mixture
deciding on best location
making cob w/ partner and solo
building with cob
preparing and inserting the door
preparing and inserting fixed and opening windows
preparing and inserting shelves
inserting bottle windows and other objects
inserting electrical wiring and plumbing in walls
preparing and applying earthen plasters (2 coats)
pouring an earthen floor (2 layers)
making small-scale cob designs of future projects, time permitting
In addition to Cob Building practices, the Course material also includes:
legal cob construction practices
creating a cob business (building/teaching)
assisting, interning and teaching with CruzinCobGlobal
REQUIREMENTS & IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Students will need to come prepared for physical labor from Day 1.
Work clothes appropriate for the country and climate we are in
Work boots or other closed-toe shoes
Rubber dishwashing gloves (for lime mortar for oven & rocket stove foundations)
Wood Hand Saw (cheap), Level (2ft), Hammer (if possible)
4”-6” Diameter Round Flexible Plastic Container Lids (like quart yogurt container lids)
5″-6″ long Triangular Metal Trowel with Rounded Point and/or Japanese plastering trowel (a favorite)
Sample of Your Soil (Optional)
These workshops are designed for people that want to learn how to build Cob walls in a professional manner and amount of time. They are very intensive and, while we make time for yoga, stretching, dancing, music, relaxing….all students are expected to be present and participating in all building/learning hours unless ill or have some other significant reason. This is because we design the size of the building and organize the structure of the workshop in accordance with the number of students and when people are absent it impacts the whole group and the other students have to work harder. In addition Instructors try to set up building work according to students’ preferences and learning needs.
That being said, the workshop intensity also changes from week 1 to week 4. The first 3 weeks of Cob making and building as well as building with BaleCob are physically demanding and also flowing and active in movement and cardiovascular exercise. Sculpting in Week 4 is a drastic change of pace when the body can rest as students tap into their creative source and design and sculpt the walls and around niches, shelves, windows, etc. Also in the fourth week students can enjoy the slow pace of plastering, a more lightweight physical experience that lends itself to talking and sharing at the wall in a meditative rhythm as the students have bonded and gotten to now each other deeply through a variety of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental experiences for a month.
Students are required to read “The Hand-Sculpted House” by Ianto Evans before the workshop begins and any other book they find, as well as watching cob and balecob and rocket oven videos on YouTube, especially the ones posted on CruzinCobGlobal’s website under Gallery to get an idea of what is expected. Also a good idea to watch videos on basic carpentry tool use. Please bring your book.
Please also get the excellent cob oven bible by Kiko Denzer called “Build Your Own Earth Oven”…noone has written a better one yet. Amazon has it of course…https://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Own-Earth-Oven/dp/096798467X as do others. There are many inspiring pictures and it will prepare you well for what’s to come.
Students must tend to their own personal needs, drink alot of water, rest when needed and exert themselves at a steady pace. Students who cannot do the strenuous physical work should let us know before the workshop begins so we can adjust appropriately. It is totally OK to come for the lecture/theory part, and then help the building part in less physically demanding ways, ie cutting straw, sifting for plaster, hammering nails into frames or shelves, sculpting, plastering, cutting bottles. There is alot to do besides making and building with cob!!!!
Finally, please bring a watch or use your phone to be prompt and ready for each part of the Course including meals. Feel free to share your dietary needs with CCG or the Host and bring your essential snacks and foods, pillow and whatever you NEED to be comfortable and happy. Feel free
to also bring slides, videos, movies and books to share, as well as a sample of your soil to test.
TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS
The closest international airports are Denver, Colorado and Albuquerque, New Mexico for students flying in. Then you need to take a bus or Amtrak train to Trinidad or possibly carpool with local students or find a ride on Craigslist Rideshare. As the time draws near we will set up rideshare opportunities for students who have space with those who need a ride. Destination is Weston, Colorado. More precise directions to workshop site will be emailed a month out.
MEALS, ACCOMMODATIONS & WHAT ELSE TO BRING
Students will be camping in the lovely meadows, or in the forest. Compost toilets, hot and cold showers, a dining area, yoga/dance space, and several cozy hangout areas with amazing views and a communal fire pit will be offered for maximum comfort and enjoyment during this wonderful and transformational time together. The site has AT&T and Verizon cell phone service.
For those not wanting to camp, there will be some reasonably-priced indoor options available on the land. More info coming.
Our host Kenton’s additional recommendations to bring are:
Bathing Suit for lakes, rivers and hot springs
Hiking/Backpacking gear if desired for weekends
Warm jacket for evening time
Raingear (occasional rainshowers)
There are many local stores in case you forget something!
Viva Hansen has been cobbing since the age of 9 when he took “Cob Building” as a homeschooling class at home! After college he began taking it more seriously and accompanied his mother, the Cob Queen (Claudine) on a GlobalCobTrotting world bike tour through Europe and Africa when he honed his building, teaching, language and international rapping skills. Viva has assisted and taught cob building and oven workshops in various countries and languages and, while he especially enjoys creating ovens/outdoor eating spaces and focusing on all things related to rocket stoves and mass heaters, his Heart is in any kind of Cob Building. Viva loves the workshop ambiance and the transformational power of “Cob & Community” it provides! Viva is also a certified massage therapist, writer, musician, videographer, NVC student and avid traveller who is working on creating a program for mentoring young men in the art of living a healthy, balanced and fulfilling life in these challenging times. We are SO fortunate to have Viva on the team!
Marla Azoulaï was introduced to the beauty of building with earth in a little village of the Himalayas.
Later on, she started her cob journey on the island of Faial in September 2018 in CCG’s first Advanced Cob Building Workshop on the Azores.
REGISTRATION & PAYMENT
The fee for the 5-week Basic Cobber Certificate Course plus Oven & Rocket Stove which includes tuition, camping and all meals (including weekends when students will prepare for themselves) is:
Very Early Bird Rate, $2400 (in full) by May 1, 2020
Early Bird Rate, $2500 (in full) by July 1, 2020
Full Rate $2600, by August 1, 2020
Payment can be made by bank transfer in USD or Euros, using Transferwise, Paypal, Zelle or Venmo. To hold your spot in this workshop you will need to pay the full amount or a 50% deposit that will be non-refundable after June 9th, 2020. The balance will be due by July 9th, one month before the workshop start date. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We always offer four work trade discounts, 2 in the kitchen making breakfast in the morning and 2 helping prepare the site in the morning before breakfast. Each work trade is for one hour a day for $10 off per day or $250 off either the food cost or the tuition cost. Work traders need to pay a 50% deposit at the time of their registration to guarantee their spot. To apply for these work trade positions please contact email@example.com as soon as possible because these are the first spots to go.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO HANGIN’ IN THE STRAW WITH YOU!!!!