Things are beginning to get a little more defined in the addition. The far side has the straw bales in (on edge, tied off to the large sapling poles shown in previous photos, and mostly covered with a first coat of earth plaster). It was decided that bales would be too difficult to work with on this side, so a sawdust / clay mix is being used behind lath.

Sam has ready access to the sawdust and clay, and made his own lath out of local wood, so it's all the way 'round a good choice.

The sawdust / clay mixture is dropped in loosely behind the lath, not packed or tamped. It settles some, so more will be added where it's needed. The clay makes the sawdust fire-retardent (possibly fireproof), and the level of insulation the mix provides should be adequate for the climate.

Everything will be earth-plastered, with the timbers exposed.

A break from working on the house was taken in order to build an earthen oven. They followed the path detailed in Kiko Denzer's excellent book, "How To Build Your Own Earth Oven."

Roughly in the middle of this shot, standing in a white t-shirt, is Bill Hutchins, who looks quite a bit like Kiko Denzer but is actually architect of the Takoma Park strawbale addition and other cool things. Check out his website. (Update: According to Kiko's wife, Kiko and Bill actually don't look very much alike at all. I'd sooner take her word for it than mine, if I were you.)

The other guy in a white t-shirt (patting the oven) is Ed Raduazo, bamboo and mud man, who owns almost every nifty natural-building tool there is.

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