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Transcendent Days and Nights: Our June 2022 Earthbag Workshop

Each workshop is unique. This latest one was in transcendent Crestone, Colorado, at the foot of the Rockies. After we arrived at our campground in the mountains, we looked out over the plane before us. Dust devils, hundreds of feet high wandered on the horizon below. To call it a surrealistic experience is an understatement! 

We had a large, motivated group and we were able to get a lot of the wall built. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably be saying it as long as we’re holding these events but we have the privilege of working with a very intelligent and diverse group of folks. People are hungry for change. Economic necessity and what has happened to housing prices is driving folks to look for other alternatives to costly conventional stick-frame houses. 

The fill material we were working with was scoria (volcanic rock). It has tiny air bubbles in it which make it much lighter than dirt and give it insulative properties. I loved working with it! It seemed to weigh about half of what standard earthbags weigh. We got 1000 bags diddled and filled the first day of the workshop!

Laying the first earthbags
Laying the first row of earthbags.

A very obvious fact also dawned on me during this particular workshop: these events are as much about community building as house building. To see a group of diverse folks come together around a good cause and naturally unify into a team is a truly amazing thing. I’ve seen it many times now and each time it still surprises me.

Most of us long for community/tribe. I feel that many of us, living a modern lifestyle in urban and suburban environments, long for that sense of belonging and connection. It’s not hard to understand why we have such a deep desire for it–our ancestors lived in small tribes of 100 or less close-knit relatives for tens of thousands of generations. Civilization, the nuclear family, and social media are all newcomers in relation to this foundation. Though outwardly we seem to have adapted to these increasingly fast changes, inwardly we are still formed by that bond of blood and belonging.  

Crestone Earthbag Scoria House
The house taking shape.
Earthbag Hammering Rebar
Hammering rebar with a T-post driver.
Earthbag Panorama
Looks big!
Earthbag Scaffolding.
Our buddy Franco build some scaffolding to help the work flow.
Earthbag Scoria House
Making progress!

Another great workshop in the bag! Our next will be in October during the peak of leaf season in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though I long to make a bigger impact and to help civilization turn from it’s unsustainable ways, these events remind me of what is really important. We are so glad to be able to share this knowledge and experience with others. 

Radiant blessings! Morgan.

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