Good day to everyone! First post here at Permies.com and posting from englewood, CO. Working fast for a life change that continues to make me happy, self sufficient living.
One of the cornerstones to that education is COB. I have learned a lot from ernie & erica, forums, youtube, google, and forums again. Still I have trouble either cleaning my head and overanalyzing how to make cob from clay dirt in my backyard or I am just not finding a general guideline specific enough to my brain to fully understand how to make cob from clay I dig up from 18" down in my backyard.
I'm looking for that magical thread that explains A RECIPE ON HOW TO MAKE COB FROM DIRT GATHERED FROM MY BACKYARD (Or recipe for making cob from clay/dirt extracted from the ground. Need some guidance as all dirt has different compositions and as a newbie I am having trouble looking at dirt and saying "this needs more sand OR this needs more clay OR this needs more dirt from my backyard, etc). Some particulars include:
1) Testing dirt with a layer test in a mason jar (having trouble reading my results but will try again)
2) how to treat or prepare my dirt for making cob (do i have to let the clay dirt dry then crush it and remix then strain? OR do I have to let it sit in water for a month? OR do i have to treat the clay dirt at all besides getting out the organic matter, rocks, roots, etc?)
What I have done:
1) Soil tests include:
a) putting soil from 18" down into a jar, mixing heavily, letting sit. Marking sand @ 1 min, silt @ 1 hr, clay when water is clear. Still waiting but think I did it wrong.
b) Snake test: rolled clay soil from ground into a snake then a donut. Added about 10 drops of water to golf ball sized clay. Some sticking to hands as clay, some silt on hands (dries quickly and rubs off), but the snake did not go even a quarter of the way around my finder.
c) Drop a ball of clay dirt from 5': Breaks apart into several clumps dry and fewer clumps with 10 drops of water.
I live by red rocks amphitheater and could look into getting clay from there. Still learning and would love to take it out of my backyard if possible. If there is already a thread that covers these questions and you know where it is then send me a link. Any help is much appreciated by this curious, hardworking homesteading newbie.