Joni researched, concocted and developed the way we make Cob. She tells me that Cob originally means "loaf" in the Old English--as it should have the consistency of bread dough when you have made it correctly.
An ancient building method (the oldest building in Napa, California is made of Cob). Why was building with Cob abandoned? Because it is very labor intensive. Modern Industrialism replaces most everything we build and consume. The way we make houses. The way we eat. What we drink. The same for housing construction...
Cob is made of four simple ingredients: Sand (or fine gravel); Clay soil; Straw (or fiber) and Water. Instead of sand we use gravel, because we had so much left over from prepping the site for our addition. Here I put a shovel load onto our screen which separates the finer gravel from the bigger rocks.
We sift out the fine gravel. We have found that this works well, as the sharp edges of the rock give lots of surface area for the clay to adhere to--making the Cob stronger.