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To the left of this photo is a rock check-dam (a.k.a.Gabion) which helps keep soil in place when the dry-wash across my access drive to my property flash floods during the summer monsoons.
A few weeks back a flash flood deposited an enormous amount of sandy-gravel across the driveway. This sand is just what I needed for the bond beam I will soon be constructing along the top of the cob walls of my studio. The bond beam helps support the wall and tie together the wall and roof structure. In addition, the bond beam will distribute the loads carried by the wood vigas that support the ceiling and roof structure.
Below. Drawing showing representative bond beam placement on adobe wall.
Drawing Source: Earthbuilders Encyclopedia by Joe Tibbets
A side-benefit of the gabion slowing-down the water, is that it allows the deposit of sand. This is an example of how you can harvest resources from your property for use in natural building. A result of constructing the gabion is a renewable source of sand for my building projects.
There is a financial savings aspect to this also. A 10-yard truck load of sand is around $150. But because Arivaca is so far off the beaten path, the sand/gravel company adds another $125 for the delivery charge. So that's almost $300 in savings in exchange for the physical labor in moving the sand myself.
For my blog on the construction and status of this gabion see: