I first read Helen Nearing’s The Good Life twelve years ago and was inspired move toward a more sustainable and Earth-centered lifestyle. When we purchased this land, christened it as Red Sunflower Farm, and saw the abundance of stone in the hills and especially in the creek, I wanted to try Helen’s slipform method of building with stone. Finally, I’ve taken the plunge.
This precast concrete box, an eyesore sitting next to the house, has been patiently waiting for six years to become a root cellar. In order to function as such, it must be covered with soil. Walls on either side of the insulated door will allow me to do that.
Here’s how it works. Heavy wooden boxes held in place and filled with rocks and mortar.
After building the first tier, leaving the forms in place for too long, and not being careful about how much mortar was pushed to the front, we ended up with a stone and concrete wall. On the first “slip” or “lift” to create the second tier, we were more careful about the placement of mortar in an attempt to have only rock showing. The results are obvious as there is a vast difference between the first and second layer. We’ll continue to improve. Anyone who wants to learn how to do this, contact me and we’ll set up a time.