The "papercrete" homes, Texas

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

We have been here all day. "The Oasis" throughout these perfect weathered days can be addicting. For myself maybe not too long, tomorrow is back to Alpine for an ear infection, Monday again Alpine for Spirit’s yearly shots, water and food and propane, all that twice a month good stuff and cook dinner for my Friends. That is the deal we have! By the time I got back from food shopping last time it was a close call for all to be spoiled. My Friends Kathy and Rob have RV hook ups, washing machine and drier, we will trade twice a month creating our own little Culinary Club! Welcome to join us…

house b

The terrain here seems as it has shrunk. I remember the first time arriving and thinking how big 10 acres is. Even thinking a couple acres would have been enough. Not that it matters as no one is around, but I can now see the corners and be at the boundaries in a couple steps. The neighbor’s house and trailer also seems as they have moved closer overnight. But it remains and hope will always, a thinking "Oasis" where all is so calm, so serene, beautifully landscaped and above all "silent".

house d

I read this about silence the other day. A Friend of mine has a "conversation group" and posts every morning some true thoughts, human thoughts for all, even if they are quoted from early Native American minds so deep and profound being one with Mother Nature and Life itself.

The Power of Silence
We believe profoundly in silence, the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. Those who can preserve their selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence, not a leaf as it were, a stir on the tree, not a ripple upon the shining pool, those in the mind of the person of nature, posses the ideal attitude and conduct of life.
If you ask "What are the fruits of silence?" we will answer, "they are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character."
From the Wisdom of the Native Americans, edited by Kent Nerburn.

house h

house j  

The words keep me company throughout my days here. There is always a bird or two, a cricket, a few sometimes, and day after day, night after night the cycle repeats itself as our own does also. "The Oasis" here has been the easiest place to be so intuitive to meditation, when one empties their mind of the high speed highway sometimes we are on. The scales barely shivers as one regardless today cannot totally escape the demands of society. We have come too far in our ways, in our technology to sometimes totally turn the clock back. It is funny how it works. We can sink into this solitude, this well being, but the tentacles of another reality always tries to sway us back.

house e

Barter is rare in Life. I wish it would be the only commodity available, this would be a better World. Friendships and barter, Peace and Love… Oh! what an ancient Dream. The job search, (that is reality…), has taken a set back of about another month. That is how leads are. Far from the working force the logistics only allows me to go where the work is and stay for a few days. Spirit cannot stay alone for a whole day. I had a thought today, if it became a must which it will be sooner than soon, maybe to move on to Austin for a few months where I am sure the possibilities would increase tremendously. The "silence" here has not spoken to me yet, but I am sure it will these coming days.

house g 

house f  

"Papercrete" structures! It has been a true discovery for me. Any search on the word will bring up more information than one will need to built a home. I was given the grand tour, the builders were eager to share their knowledge,I heard that they are even hiring and the pay was not bad considering the learning experience. I am drawn to go back and find out more about it. Marathon is about 100 miles from here, "we" could always camp out for the days worked and come back here weekly.

cement

briques  

Every builder has their own recipe. Some day of course this will be all "law"! The main ingredient as the first picture above is paper which is free. Paper and water soaking and mixed to a pulp. Then starts the variations. Some use sand and Portland cement. Some only sand or adobe. The ones here have "Perlite" instead of sand as it is a better ingredient for insulation. Juan was trying some decorative blocks with pine cones, some with straws. I like the structures, unconventional and free form, pleasing to the eyes. Our culture does not look too kindly on unusual materials used for home building, as I read and quote

"Even fairy tales frown on them: The big bad wolf blew right through that piggy’s straw house. Ditto the porker’s house of sticks. And the old woman who lived in the shoe? She didn’t know what to do. A house made of paper would then sound crazy, right?" 

perlite

house i  

As soon as I have my water situation straighten out here, meaning a more or less 300G tank on a dual axle trailer, I might try such a structure starting with a storage one. Maybe mixed in with some rocks, abundant here, some bottles for one wall letting the light from the west in. Maybe a bath house and another structure as a shelter offering for Friends coming by. Time will tell as the months go by. Maybe years!

house k

This one above however was my favorite!  I think I like its simplicity and ease to build with boards, specially the above area as a little refuge from it all. With no foundation, when asked what wind speed it would withstand, well, there was no answer as all here is an experiment. With winds above 75 mph here one floor might be wiser. The best web site I have found explaining the many processes, mixers and so forth is "Living in Paper". Back on the road tomorrow, "Old Faithful" has been resting today!

Enjoy…

Just another day at "The Oasis".

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… I use to ask if reading this site was worth 1$ a month, loose change truly. I do again. This site has been far from being a free Journal, was at one time!

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", in "States", some labeled "first year" and second year", now also "Texas the third year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

 

Be well, always. Ara & Spirit

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2 Responses to “The "papercrete" homes, Texas”

  1. Jim Says:

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/

    Ara, very interesting…..check out the above site. Very small houses appear to be catching on with people wanting
    to downsize. Several were featured on the local new here last night. Enjoyed the bit about silence. Keep up
    the good work.

    JJ

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks for the link Jim… I have been seeing those “little” homes for a while now. Having also lived on a sailboat for a long time I have always said “you can only sit in one place at the time!”. Heater is at hand reach… the garbage is right behind me… the Galley? well… get organized and go vertical… a dimension people forget!
    Be well… Ara & Spirit

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