about adobeland project intro resources sunsets clouds road to adobeland desert terrain life on the land campsite kivas land projects contact discussion forum map
Legend About Adobeland Project Introduction Sunsets Road to Adobeland Desert Terrain Life on the Land Clouds Campsite Kivas & Community Buildings Land Projects Resources Contact & Contributions Discussion Forum Home about adobeland project intro resources sunsets clouds road to adobeland desert terrain life on the land campsite kivas land projects contact discussion forum map
We learned during our first trip that work exchange can be arranged in place of payment for staying on the land. During this trip, one of the women was a carpenter, and would help the women make repairs to their homes. At first we thought, what could we possibly do? Neither of us is particularly 'handy' when it comes to making major home repairs. During our first trip, Adobe was very patient as she taught us how to make soil cement and lay squares of foundation on the addition of her home. We also learned how to make adobe to patch her house. During our second trip, we cleaned the Group House and sorted through its contents to save anything that wasn't ruined. Taking on projects is not only a good way to pay for staying on the land, but also a way to give back to the community and learn about its past. It was very rewarding to learn new skills and to give back to the land.
Image - Shovel and Wheel Barrel
Patching Adobe Video

To begin the patching process, Adobe took her shovel and started spontaneously digging the ground in an area near where the patching was needed. We used a hose to add water to her growing pile of the sandy soil. Adobe showed us how to mix the adobe with our hands and how to pat it into place. She told us to do small patches at a time. The part of her home we were patching consisted of wooden beams with adobe in between them. This patching is done on a regular basis as needed.

Image - Sara Mixing Soil CementImage - Back of Adobe's Home
Laying Foundation

VideoDuring our first trip to the land, we helped Adobe lay squares of foundation that would be part of the addition to her home. We used a wheelbarrow to mix the dry concrete, sand and water to create "soil cement." Adobe instructed us on the amounts of each to pour in. Next, the mixture had to be stirred until it reached the correct consistency. Then, the wheelbarrow had to be pushed up wooden boards to reach the level of the foundation space, and the mixture was poured in. After smoothing out the concrete mixture, we placed blankets over the square to keep it from drying too fast in the scorching desert sun. By slowing the drying process, we prevented the square of concrete from cracking.

Group House

Image - Inside Group HouseIn previous years, the group house was a place for Adobeland women to meet, read, play games, watch television, get their mail, and talk. Due to lack of activity and repairs, the group house became inhabited by pack rats. Shelves of books lined the walls, and couches and chairs formed a living space towards the back of the structure. A fireplace in the corner provided warmth to the building in its years of use. The women on the land suggested that we take on the project of cleaning out the group house. Our main tasks were to pack up the books that could be saved, which also meant disposing of the books that were water logged or damaged by packrats, and to pile up the trash and ruined items outside to wait for a dumpster.  

Image - Inside Group HouseVideoAs we prepared to start the project, one of the women warned us about "kissing bugs" that could possibly be inhabiting the structure. We weren't sure what these bugs were, but decided to make sure to be as safe as possible inside the building. To protect ourselves we bought work gloves, goggles, and face masks to wear inside the building. We also bought some contractor-strength garbage bags, and collected boxes from a nearby hardware store. About half of the books were salvageable, the others were water damaged or had been chewed up by pack rats.
We got to work first by clearing out the area: we swept and shoveled out debris from the floor and cleaned off an old wooden table to use as a workspace. The larger items, including several couches, had to be pushed out the door and into a heap. The air inside was hot, humid, musty, and full of dust. Even with the door and windows open, there was not much airflow through the building, so we took frequent breaks outside to get fresh air and cool off. We spent two afternoons cleaning out the Group House and had to leave the pile of trash until a dumpster could be brought to the land.

Image - Clean Up
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