Friday, April 6, 2012

Concrete "Modeling Clay", Sidewalk, & Aquaponics


These stepping stones are primarily made of mortar -- one part Portland cement, two parts sand, water to a pasty consistency. The faces are modeled with the same mixture, only with less water -- the mortar was only damp and was clumping a bit -- and a fair amount of ready mix joint compound.
A fair amount meaning...a big gob.
A handful.
I'm hoping these pieces will become part of one section the sidewalk I've been working on. They will be set at either side of a walkway.
This was my first effort at modeling with cement sans cellulose fiber (i.e. papercrete). The "concrete clay" handled pretty well, so I think it's something I can build on regarding my efforts at outdoor sculpture. I have no idea how well this "soft" concrete that is so inundated with joint compound will fare in the elements.
Friday I finally got to work on the sidewalk leading to the gazebo, pouring 12 80-pounds bags of concrete mix.
On the Aquaponics front, we ran the pump five hours on a 12 volt battery -- testing one aspect of a "backup" system in case the power goes out. We probably could have gone longer, but were satisfied that we could run the pump awhile using the battery and a small inverter. We still need a smaller, second pump to use as a spare. We also ordered our Ammonia test strips. Our plants are setting ontop the fish tank in our little Aquaponics house-- two tomatoes, two peppers, a zuchini, and an eggplant --all waiting approximately two weeks for our 12 Tilapia fingerlings from the local supplier.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael, I'm very new to papercrete but am shredding lbs and lbs of newspapers to make some "walk overs" for my small farm. During the winter/spring we get rain (lots of rain) and the gates between my pastures and gate into the nightpen and barn are quagmires of standing water and mud . . . my poor sheep end up trying to jump over and slipping on landing . . . . bottom line, I'm hoping to build small ramps that go up (about 8 inches tall) and extend well over the gate areas so that they have little "foot bridges" to get past the mud and water.

    All that to ask the question: if I use AE to coat the final papercrete blocks/ramps, do you think they will be effective, sturdy remedies for the problem I described?

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