The Lower Farm. Ledoux, New Mexico 2012
Time off from work and vacations are best spent relaxing or pursuing recreational activities. They can also be an opportunity to take advantage of that time to accomplish tasks or attain goals. In early July I had time off from work and a definate goal. I had planned and prepared for one week of hard work and following that I would recuperate, relax and roam the mountains. I’m pleased to say it went quite well.
Rain and snow will take a toll on brick or stone, a house of wood or adobe home. What I know for sure is that in 40 years of sun and cold, theres only been a patch or two, and mud packed in to fill some holes. There is no one who can tell me or remembers when the walls were free of such erosion and the weathering.
The Lower Farm is about 150 years old. The walls two feet thick. Almost everything is original. It’s possible that it has not had a fresh coat of adobe plaster since it was built. Then again maybe it did 70 or 80 years ago when the old owner Mr. Romero was young and energetic. Whatever the case I was prepared to do the historic preservation.
The process involves digging up dirt from the backyard and sifting it of pebbles and stones. The screened dirt is then mixed in a tub with three shovels of sand and one of dirt. Some straw and an appropriate amount of water is then added and all mixed together to make a thick mud paste. The adobe plaster is then applied to the wall by hand and smoothed out with a wooden trowel.
It took the better part of four days to pack the holes and cracks and get two coats of adobe mud, each about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick on this south facing gable end of the house. At some time ( in the not too distant future) I’ll do some work on the upper wood section, and replace the drafty old single pane window. Then I will dig up some more dirt, sift it really well, get some fine grain sand and apply a final smooth finish coat to the entire house. That should keep it in good shape for the next 40 or 50 years.
Total cost for this years preservation work: $0.00.