Essential preparations took place right up until Friday evening. Including having Sarah-May do my roots.


Daisy came for a couple of days and we quickly put her to work with a chop saw.


Ben, pictured here taking a very well earned, and lately very rare, break from carpentry, has worked like a dog for weeks to get everything ready, and continues to excel as the walls go up. Ben has seriously earned a place in the Donated House hall of volunteer fame.


The base plate had to be completed and screwed down before the course began. We almost managed, but were finishing the last bits as they were learning the ways of bales.


And then we had to scurry a bit to get the door and window posts up in time.


However, come Wednesday morning when the trainees were doing the dry run (in the dry as well!) we were out of the way doing stuff the other side of the building.


It’s a really nice group of people, very friendly and enthusiastic, and very skillfully led by Barb Jones of Straw Works.


Towards the end of Wednesday, we were ready to lay the first bale in its final place, and I was asked to do the honours, starting with fixing the spikes it would sit on.




Then Sian and I lifted it into place…


And pushed it down…


And finally stood on it to compress it.


Even though no rain was forecast, we covered all the bales at the end of the day.


The walls are fairly flying up now. People got so fast at it that my initial trepidation at the slowness of day one was totally assuaged. I think we have a very good chance of getting up to 6-bale ringbeam height in the next two days.


Ben has had recognition as the excellent carpenter that he is, and has been picking up as much as he can of the baling techniques as well. Here he is knocking pins in with Barb.


Steve and Michelle are making a half-bale.


Nadine and Joao worked all day yesterday on the very boring 16m stretch of back wall.


Kalman and Yin cut notches in bales to fit round the window and door posts.


At the end of yesterday we’d got four bales up and were pinning them all down in preparation for this morning.


It really feels like progress. It’s amazing the transformation that’s taking place from skeleton to home.


And the atmosphere on site is amazing as well. These are truly lovely people and I hope they will come back and see the building in all its future glory.

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