Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cob Bench Project

Finished For Now, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Yesterday I led a cob bench workshop for my friends Meredith and Steve. Inspired by the City Repair movement up in Portland, they wanted to offer a nice place for people in the neighborhood to sit and congregate.
Our bench is build right on the sidewalk and I think it will become a neighborhood landmark. This is a neighborhood where people are replacing lawns with food gardens, and redwood fences for bamboo. Lots of nice, conscious folks around here, so maybe this will be the start of another round of community building.

I had posted to our homeschooling newsletter for this free workshop, and was hoping for some strong teens. Instead I got five girls: three eight year olds, one six and one five! At first I was a bit discouraged, expecting them to last less than an hour, get bored or too tired, and drag away their parents.
Not a bit of it. These kids worked SO HARD, and they worked well, actually contributing a lot. I loved working with these families. It was just about the most fun I've ever had cobbing.

I'm very happy with the design and proportions and the whole feel of the bench. We were lucky to have two sets of excellent clay soil (you can see the bottom layer of black clay peeking out the bottom). In a few weeks we'll plaster the bench and it will be even prettier!

Even more photos on my Flickr site.

All Done (do we have to go?)

All Done (do we have to go?), originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

These two sisters, Lucie and Alice stayed until the bench was done, a full hour after we were supposed to end. They were having a blast and felt totally invested in the outcome. Their mom finally had to drag them away, with promises they could come back and sit on the bench when it was dry.

Building Up The Bench

Building Up The Bench, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Youngest Cobber

Youngest Cobber, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Even a five year old can really contribute!

First Batch of Cob

First Batch of Cob, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Photo by Jamie Davis-Meyer. I demonstrated how to mix a batch and then had all the kids try it out. These eight year old girls were just heavy enough to stomp their own batches of cob!

The Foundation

Front View, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

All ready to go. The black things on the sides are post holders, driven deep into the subsoil. These will hold timber bamboo posts for the awning.
This was far and away the worst batch of urbanite I've ever worked with. Very few pieces had flat sides, so we ended up having to slope the edges up. Basically a pile of rubble.
We built it up fairly high so we wouldn't have to make as much cob for the seat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recurring Nightmare

So last night I broke another tooth! I was eating a bowl of cereal for a late night snack. Cereal! With milk. I even let it get just a bit soggy. But there was a hard little nugget of corn in the corn flakes and I bit down on it at just the right angle to snap off the front of one of my teeth.

It was terrifying! A HUGE filling dropped out and then the front of the tooth popped out. I was expecting a big wave of pain but it never really came.
This was a tooth just back of my left canine. It totally shows when I smile.

I was lucky enough to get a dental apt this morning, but they sent me home without fixing anything. There's just a slight chance that the good doctor can restore my tooth, more or less, with composite material. Sort of a long term temporary solution. The more traditional route is to do a root canal, build it back up and put on a crown. Having that done in Chiang Mai would cost about $750. Having it done in Santa Rosa about $2600.
I can get to Chiang Mai for $1100. That would save me around $750 and I know the work would be done very well. But I'm not eager to spend two days on a plane, and it seems like I was just over there anyway.

My other option, tooth wise, is to just get it pulled. Just like the last tooth that broke back in June. That's about $750, including the 'bone graft'. The dentist would then make me some sort of "appliance" that looks like a retainer with teeth stuck in it. That would take care of my other missing tooth too, until such time as I win the lottery and can afford implants.
So I'm hoping she can just sculpt me a new tooth, but otherwise, I'm going to look like a freaking hillbilly for a while. Yee haw.