Rethink Your Life!
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The Work of Art and The Art of Work
Kiko Denzer on Art
SPAM-LOW: [Cob] Animal mixing powerjoe joe at skeesick.com
Tue Jun 27 17:38:27 PDT 2006
I have used animal mixed cob. The same as historically... with stock yard mix. Cob was often simply the contents of the stock yard. Devon clay is increadibly sticky stuff and straw is typically thrown (and dumped as feed waste from the animals) into the yard to provide traction and keep it from sinking into the much. That straw is then churned into the mix along with other soils and dung. After a season of troding the cob was ready. Mixing was accomplished passively. I don't have any direct knowledge of active cob mixing by animals but it is more than plausible since grist mills, pug mills, sorgum mills and the like were all animal powered. These mixing options would be indirect. As for direct mixing on a concrete pad... cows can work on hard surfaces if shoed, however that wouldn't be the most effective way of active mixing by animals. The issue of foot rot could be addressed by indirect mixing/milling such as you would have with any grain milling. A trough system like is shown here could be modified to work... http://www.reisebilder.ch/bilder/in088-700.jpg To clarify on the ox issue. An ox is simply a cow/bull (often castrated) 4 years old or older, nothing more. A team of oxen will work all day without a whip. It is true that unless you otherwise have an ox team it isn't exactly practicle to use animal power for most people. For others it is a particularly good solution. In short animal power probably won't work for 95% (or more) of the people building cob today but it has much more to do with that persons realities and less to do with the animal itself. J ---------------------------------------- From: Susan Evans <seasider48 at yahoo.com> Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 6:29 PM To: coblist at deatech.com Subject: SPAM-LOW: [Cob] Animal mixing power Has anybody in recent times actually use cows (or horses) for mixing cob? Did they live to tell the tale? (LOL) I have been getting a little giggle from the recent postings regarding the possibility of using cows to mix cob. It's not a real effective way. Cows are not designed to work on hard surfaces - assuming you are planning on mixing the cob on concrete, asphalt or some other hard surface so that the cob can be effectively scooped up. Working in the wet mix will encourage foot rot, also. I rather suspect that if animals were used in the 1500s, that they were likely oxen - who are somewhat more multi-purpose and heavier-duty than a cow And that there was a person involved that was using a whip periodically. The amount of time one would have to spend training and caring for a cow that was stomping out your cob mix would be a poor return. Cows may look placid, but they have good kicking power. Being hospitalized or killed is a real possibility for the inexperienced handler. I don't recall cows ever being motivated to walk in circles, or dance about in confined areas for hours on end, either. You are going to be dragging them around and that's probably as much work as the cob mixing. Elsie wants to lie down, chew her cud and occasionally get up and make cow babies. Helping you doesn't enter into it. She also wants to be milked 2 or 3 times a day - and oh, yes, she has to be fairly clean for that unless you are dumping the milk. A few gallons might be used for making milk paint, but the rest? The local farmer isn't going to lend you a cow - the dairy cow is either pregnant or needs to be, and modern dairy cows tend to be ligaments holding up progressively heavier kettle drums of milk. Some are so overbred, that the ligaments tear and the udder winds up dragging. The stress to the cow's legs from going through sticky clay isn't going to help that. I won't even get into their incredible lack of intelligence - Holsteins are so stupid that rolling over on their calves happens. They have one purpose for the farmer - make milk. Intelligence has been bred out along the way. The beef cow has one purpose for the farmer - to gain weight. Working on the cob patch negates this and would toughen things up - not very good steaks when they lack that nice (fat) marbling.. And, of course, working on the wet, foot rot would also be a problem. There would be a fair amount of labor taking care of a cow, should you go out and buy your own - feeding, cleaning and a lot of foot care would be a daily task. Don't forget vet bills, some sort of shelter, access to water and hauling feed. You just can't hang the cow up at the end of the day or skip a day of care and feeding. Too bad you can't do cob that day - Elsie wants to eat and be milked several times. Horses would not be a good choice either - too skittish for you to be shoveling straw, water and clay under their feet. Foot rot is also a factor for them as well. Kicking, biting and crushing you against the side of a tree or fence are real possibilities. And harnesses are not cheap. I will be building with cob (probably next year, if I can decide on which land), but there's no way I would use animals - and I have a fair amount of experience with cattle and horses. I think that for cob building to go more "mainstream", mechanized mixing of some sort has to occur. Things would be more quantifiable and I think, codes would develop more easily as a result. You're not going to be able to bring a cow into the suburbs to work for you, either - zoning restrictions would surely be against this, even on a temporary basis. Sue --------------------------------- Ring'em or ping'em. Make PC-to-phone calls as low as 1¢/min with Yahoo! 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