Friday, June 11, 2010

Actualized, 65 days worked so far on Papercrete Palace

OK. We've finished our third season of building our papercrete palace.

We started in 2008. This first photo is the shot of our space after the first day's work.
That first season, we were only able to work 11 days, it was a total of 165 person hours.
Here is the picture at the end of that 11th day, in which we completed the north wall of our flat (or joint or palace), on the second floor, built above two guests rooms here at Eve's Garden Organic Bed and Breakfast in Marathon, Texas.

So, we started season two in March of 2009. This second picture is the end of our first day of the second season. The goal this year was to complete the east end of our main floor, which is the stairway up to the bedroom on the third floor, and the structure of the bathroom along with the dividing wall/arch that separates a small office from the big sitting room.

Here's Noble, architect, builder, all around brainy guy on the first half of the stairway finished after about 6 days into the work. In case you haven't seen the rest of the blog, those colorful windows in the arches are booze bottles cut in half, siliconed together and placed as glass block.
And, the block we use to build with is papercrete. We we make it right here at Eve's Garden out of recycled paper, recycled Styrofoam, sand, clay, pearlite and concrete.

Stairway completed and the east interior wall arch begun by day 15 in season 2.

A shot of Noble and I gazing adoringly at each other. Everyone knows how great it is to work day after day after day with your sweetie on a project like this, nothing but bliss and harmony.

This is what the east end of the joint looked like at the end of the 2nd season. We worked 30 days this season, a total of 412 person hours in 2009.

And, here's what we got done in Season 3:
This is Alaine's first major arch, on the south wall of the living room. This living room is about 16 foot by 16 foot, with an arch of this height. Next year, our goal is to put a ceiling on this room. Noble wants to build a groin vault, but he can't find much information on it, SEND YOUR IDEAS.
The nichos on either side of what will be french doors here are selenite rocks given to us by a great guy with a mine. His website

And this is the view of the west end of the joint (the kitchen), which will be the kitchen. When we started this season, there was only a two feet tall wall on the outside west wall and the south wall. Now all of the walls are done on All of the main floor of the house. Last season we got the roof on the other side of this level. This year we got the min-vaults here over the kitchen.

Total days worked in season three: 24 days.
Total person hours worked in Season three: 335.

I had reported that we have worked a total 55 days, I have to update that because I hadn't included six days making blocks and four days of working on preparations (framing windows, putting up forms, etc.)
So, the grand total of days that we've worked on our papercrete palace since 2008, so far is 65 days.
Grand total of person hours worked on the joint: 912 person hours.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 55 Last day of Contruction for this Season!

Here it is! Mini-vaults completed over our kitchen-to-be! It took three days for the two of us to finish, but we reached our goal for the season. We just have one day to get our selves together to leave for the four day journey from rural West Texas, USA to the remote beach of Punta Uva, Costa Rica.

Day 3 raising the roof:
Wheel barrows Hauled up to 2nd floor: 10
Mud: 7
Block: 3

Wench pulls to 2nd floor:
10 wheelbarrows X 119 pulls = 1190 pulls

Bricks placed: 120

Steps up ladder to 3rd floor:
With Block:
3 blocks each trip is 120/3 = 40 trips up ladder with block
With Mud:
8 buckets per wheelbarrow went upstairs X 7 wheel barrows of mud =
56 trips up ladder with mud
Total trips up the 10 foot ladder today: 106 trips
7 to 10 steps up the ladder = 848 steps up the ladder.

Hours worked today: 10 to 6:30 = 17
24 + 27 + 17 = 68 total hours to put the roof up.

Beers fueling roof project: 12 + 4 + 1000 = 1,016

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 54 Sixty Eight % Done With the Roof

Day 2 building the kitchen roof:

Wheel barrows Hauled up to 2nd floor: 14!
Mud: 10
Block: 4 (36 blocks in each wheelbarrow)

Wench pulls to 2nd floor:
14 wheelbarrows X 119 pulls = 1666 pulls!

Bricks placed: 144

Steps up ladder to 3rd floor:
With Block:
3 blocks each trip is 144/3 = 48 trips up ladder with block
With Mud:
8 buckets per wheelbarrow went upstairs X 10 wheel barrows of mud =
80 trips up ladder with mud
Total trips up the 10 foot ladder today: 128 trips
7 to 10 steps up the ladder X 128 trips = 1024 steps up the ladder.

Total person hours so far: 24 yesterday + 27 today = 51!

Total beers drunk to power the roof so far: 12 yesterday + 4 today (too tired to drink too much beer!) = 16

Kitty cats helping with construction: 0

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 53 Raise the ROOF!

Building the Kitchen Roof:

Day one of ceiling construction:

Total Wheel barrows Hauled up to 2nd floor: 11

Mud: 7

Block: 4 (36 blocks in each wheelbarrow)

Wench pulls to 2nd floor:

11 wheelbarrows X 119 pulls = 1309 pulls

Bricks placed: 120

Steps up ladder to 3rd floor:

With Block:

3 blocks each trip is 120/3 = 40 trips up ladder with block

With Mud:

8 buckets per wheelbarrow went upstairs X 7 wheel barrows of mud =

56 trips up ladder with mud

Total trips up the 10 foot ladder today: 106 trips

7 to 10 steps up the ladder = 848 steps up the ladder.

Person hours worked today: 24!

Beers drunk at end of day: 6 each!

Sore muscles: all of them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 52 Vigas!

Day 52!

Five days until departure from Marathon to Costa Rica and we got the vigas hoisted up so we can start the construction of our ceiling.
Clyde built a similar roof scape in 36 person hours. Noble and I aren't as speedy as Clyde, plus we have to haul everything from the ground now to the THIRD! Floor!
These beams are also recycled materials. They were used in a previous life as telephone poles. Noble and I carried them up here from the back yard. We think the heaviest one is about 100 pounds. I have to post a picture of my big muscles now at the end of the season. We're bulking up!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 51 Kitchen Walls done REALLY!

Day 51

OK, now for sure we have built the walls up to roof level in the kitchen.
We decided to put a row of our home-made glass block all along the top of the walls. It's gorgeous, different combinations of blue and clear wine bottles.
TOMORROW, we'll get the beams across the roof so we can start constructing the mini-vaults as the roof! And finally we'll see this arch completed too.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 50 Walls in Kitchen UP

Day 50

Well, the walls in the kitchen are nearly up. You can see the bottles formed in an arch over the windows in the kitchen. They are mostly the beautiful sapphire blue Bombay Gin bottles that I brought (empty) in my suitcase from Costa Rica. Thanks ReciCaribe!
Also today we mixed a few extra handfulls of concrete in with the papercrete plaster mix so we have a very strong mix to plaster the Noble arch, cuz soon we put the vigas (beams) on top of this arch, so it has to be really strong.
That's my shadow there on the left.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 49 Finishing the four arches

Day 49

The goal for this season's construction was to get up the four arches up in the sitting room-to-be and then get up the walls in the kitchen and get the roof over the kitchen.
Today we got the four ardhes in teh stting room done!

The view through the Noble Arch
into the kitchen.
One more day of
building up and then we should be able to start putting up the ceiling! That's why there is a gap in the middle of this arch, because there is going to be a vega (a beam) in the middle of this arch and a couple more beams going east-west and we'll build mini-vaults over the beams.

The south wall of the kitchen has Bombay Gin home-made glass block that I brought in my suit case from Costa Rica.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 48 Building our castle at Eve's Garden

Day 48

Alaine finished her first major arch! It's the big arch on the south wall with the home-made glass block arch in the middle over the french doors to be. Lucky thing I'm a good plasterer, lots of gaps to fill and surfaces to even out, but still she's strong (my arch).

That's a scaffold in the foreground, pain in the butt to maneuver around but makes the building a bit easier.

Kate is in this picture of the "Alaine Arch" to give you an idea of how big the thing is. Or maybe how little Kate is.

The "Noble arch" on the west side of the sitting-room-to-be on the other hand is perfect just like him, but he got to use a form. He'll pull the form out after the papercrete gets all sets up.

Another big accomplishment today is we got the window frames in in the kitchen-to-be. So, the building should go super fast from here.

We have to lug up about 4 wheel barrows of bricks each day we're working. About 30 bricks per wheel barrow.
I note this cuz I'm going to calculate how many times I had to drag materials up here to the 2nd story.
And, to share a pretty picture, these Holly Hocks in the garden remind me of my grandma Berg's garden.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 47

Poor Noble had his first collapse today. Well, Nobe didn't collapse, the arch he was building on the west side of the sitting room, on top of this wire form, couldn't hold up to the speed at which we were workin'. Got carried away and ka-boom. Nobody hurt.
Paul got a picture of the avalanche...send it on Pauly...
Just learning to take it a bit slower.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 46

Day 46

I'm so excited!
It's hard to see, but the little arch coming up over the french doors (to be) has my home-made glass block in it. Jagermeister! Send your Jag (YAY!g) bottles to us here at Eve's Garden. You put them to good use, then we'll put them to good use.

This room is to be our sitting room, in between the bathroom and the little kitchen. Each wall is an arch like the one you see here on the south wall. You can see the arch on the west wall starting to come up here in the foreground.

Spring Flowers at Eve's Garden.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 45

Day 45

Alaine is actually been building up this arch!
I remember the first year, I was afraid to build. I was the muscle and Noble the brains. I'd wench the materials up here to the second floor and Noble would build now, i ain't skaired.

Noble has been working on setting up the deck on the south wall. Slabs of plywood outside the arch (pictured above) that I'm working on. Doesn't look like much, but believe me it'll be super-duper!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 44.

higher and higher...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 43.

NOTHING Washed out!
We'd had a week of rain so didn't get much work done.
Then our buddy Paul and his girlfriend Christina came for a visit so we took the chance to go to Big Bend National Park and go camping! (Paul will have to send us the pictures form that, we didn't lug a camera.)

Here I post the shot at the end of our 43rd day of construction on our flat. Yes, we started in 2008, but we've (if I've calculated correctly) worked so far on constructing the joint, for 43 days! Just me and Noble. Of course Kate and Clyde (my mother-in-law and her hubby) lended untold hours of consultation of their expertise.
We're on a roll. Hoping to get the arch over this french door on the south wall done in the next few days.

The view of these yellow bibbed black birds from our window over in neighbor Pancho's yard. Various people have identified them as Kingbirds, mocking birds, and yellow-headed black birds. Any ideas? Shouldn't be so hard...

Here's the nicho we framed around that big piece of selenite rock. Nobe left a space underneath it so we can shine a light through it. WOW. I've commissioned our friend Dieter to make a sculpture to sit in this spot.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

6 person hours!

OK! Upwards!
It's a Rainy Day, rare thing in the high dessert of West Texas, so we're worried all the work we did would wash out, cross your fingers.
French door frame in, A/C frame in, and the piece of selenite crystal from our friend Mark set in!

Our friend Mark donated two larges pieces of selenite crystal which we are using kind of as windows, or back drops to two nichos located on the left and right on the south wall French doors. Mark actually bought a selenite mine in New Mexico. He has a website
The word “selenite” comes from the Greek “selenites,” meaning “moon stone” or “moon rock,” with the root word “selene” meaning “moon,” and for good reason - the mineral selenite is the near transparent and colorless crystal form of gypsum that exudes a pearly luster which glows and can very much resemble the moon. Selene is also the name of the Greek Goddess of the Moon (a.k.a. Artemis or Diana).

This picture is a piece of Selenite that Mark gave us that is displayed in a window frame at Eve's Garden B & B. We're going to actually make windows out of it! Translucent windows yes, but windows! You'll get a better Idea of what it is to look like after we build the nicho up around the rock, hopefully the day after tomorrow, when no rain is forecast.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going Backwards!

April 15, 2010
5 person hours.

Had to knock out a wall because we decided to put in french doors instead of a 4 foot by 4 foot window here on the south wall.
I thought it would be easy, but part of this wall was built two years ago, it was solid as a rock. Will have SORE Muscles!
Tomorrow we make mud and start building UP!

I think he's called a tiger frog hanging out in the pond in the back court yard.---Yes, a LEOPARD Frog! Not tiger, leopard.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recycling Styrofoam

So, aside from building, there are lots of pieces to put together in preparation of producing papercrete.
We make our own papercrete blocks here at Eve's Garden.
The blocks are made of
- Recycled Paper
- Recycled Styrofoam
- Clay
- Sand
- Portland Cement
- Wata
- Perlite

So, to get the Styrofoam together, yikes a big job for Alaine!
Clyde got a good deal from some folks who supply recycled Styrofoam, however, the clear plastic bags in which the Styrofoam is stored don't stand up to the dessert sun and they have biodegraded! So, we've had a Styrofoam room. I've been spending hours and hours trying to bag up styrofoam. Can you imagine? Can you imagine trying to shove styrofoam beads into bags. bleck.

Got 'er done! About 36 hours of bagging styrofoam beads! And they're all bagged up!

Monday, April 12, 2010


April 12th, 2010
About 6 person hours

Here's Noble building the frame for the French doors we've decided to put in the south wall!
So we'll have French doors on the north wall AND the south wall! So exciting! Lots of light.
This means I'll have to knock out a part of the wall we already built. The beauty of papercrete, change your mind... just try try again.

Everybody loves photos of kitties. Here's one of the 8 or 9 cats we have around Eve's Garden sitting in a bucket of nails. Tough Cat!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hi Friends, We're back in West Texas, trying to get the blog up and going again. We arrived in early March here to Eve's Garden in Marathon, TX. We'll be working on building our papercrete "flat" again in the next few days. I'm make an update of how many person hours we've put into construction (it's been 41 days of work I can tell ya) and how many papercrete blocks we've lugged up to the second floor.
The picture was taken by our buddy Bob from College Station. Thanks Bob and Estelle. Hasta Pronto.