No longer for cows!

After a few short days at home to meet baby Evangeline I was transported back to Kosovo.

With this a leap back into the developing world of Han-Gjik and the wonder of stone, lime mortar and wood.  The mjeshter is delighting in the opportunity to build again in the old style.

The materials for the ‘house based on the old cowshed’ have not been easy to find.  Nazmi had a break-through when he was offered the stone of a ruin in the village of Krivenjeva high in the hills.  Examination proved this to be a rich find.  However, the lorry man trundled once up the hill and once down and then phoned Nazmi (stranded in the hills) and said ‘I’m not doing that again’!  He got 4 cubic meters of stone down to Runjeva but decided the risk to his truck was not worth any gain.  Next, a neighbour in the village offered another ruin.  Examination proved this to be a rich find, and so it has proved.  However, the tractor man jump started his tractor with a full load of stone behind and the momentum drove the pistons round too hard before the ignition kicked in.  However, he has come back… ( a costly repair later).

Next wood, we need around 15 beams five meters long and 5 six meters long… the old pleme (cowshed) and the village ruin had some, but not enough, too much damage on most from years of open exposure… so Nazmi and Ylber and the cutter-man wandered up into Nazmi’s forest looking for suitable trees.  Nazmi has not been cutting his forest (although bits of it get stolen) and after 3 hours of searching he concluded that all his trees were too fat.  Well, good for the trees and the forest, but not so good for the building project.  This unsolved and with autumn closing in further progress looks doubtful this year.

Finding adobe bricks is also difficult… they don’t survive if unprotected.  There is a guy in the village making adobe bricks using a compression mold and he brought us some samples.  He mixes mud and packs it into a box and then uses a compressor arm to squeeze out water whilst compacting the brick.  This is the technique that has brought a revival to adobe in America and Australia.  Unfortunately his bricks are larger than traditional adobe (qerpiq) and they look wrong.  So, we are in discussion.  I would love to use locally made adobe.  However, now this year it is also late… they dry in the sun… and although today hit 24C the days are shortening and cold and rain may come.




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