During the autumn holidays 2018, a dozen of people met to cover the walls of the barn with a mixture of clay and straw. Jean-Paul as a well organised project manager had organised everything: materials – bought in the region, good clay, a bit of plaster and straw; the tools – trowels, cement mixer, buckets and … biers and coffees for the breaks and the afters.
Valerie warned us, it was going to be cold and the barn is not closed : we had to lift the buckets by the window. We covered ourselves properly and soon got rid of the gloves which were more cumbersome than useful.
On the ground, we were brewing the mix of clay and straw before leaving it to rest. Then we were bringing it upstairs in buckets, one after the other one. A pulley with a counterweight was quickly set up to make it easier to lift the buckets.
Upstairs, we had to wet the walls with water, throw the pieces of mix and then spread them with our hands. Everything that fell on the flood was recover and reused, no waste with this type of mix. Time for us to master the techniques we had some setbacks at first with very big pieces of mixture falling after a few minutes. In the evening you could guess shadows sneaking in the barn to check if the mixture finally stuck to the walls.
After 4 days, we had almost done three layers and were able to rest a bit and to enjoy the place and its surroundings.
Lunch and diners were prepared by the people not working in the barn and were shared together. And there was still time to play board games and take car of the children. We are ready to do it again whenever you want!