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. 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?