What other building option is available to me? I remembered cob– the method of building using just clay, sand and straw. Is the soil at the site good enough? I reached for my beloved copy of ‘The hand-sculpted house’by Ianto Evans. There are several tests there that one can do and find out.
I took a sample from where the pond will be dug. Added a spoon of table salt and water and shook the lot vigorously until the clumpy soil broke up. Then I stood it to rest for a week. The water had turned turbid immediately and didn’t clear for the next hour that I watched it. That’s a good sign: it indicates there’s a lot of clay. But how much? Enough? It took a week for the soil content to stratify and settle down. Large grains of sand at the bottom and successively on top, sand, silt, clay and water. One can fairly measure the percentages. The pointReturn site had about 35% clay. That’s good resource. Maybe, a bit too much, but adding sand will correct it and give me a great building material right there – and free.
I was as high as the water in the tanks – and, just as ready to flow.