Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rocks Spikes and Rails

For physical training, as well as chi gung and internal martial arts training, I have always liked to do some resistance training. Normally I do a mix of body weight workout (which I often combine with a more physical yoga set) and some weights like kettle bells, (I enjoy swinging them around and keeping my body springy and all connected).

Recently I found a new type of very hardcore resistance and cardio workout. Moving big rocks.

I started learning about rocks from Steven Stone, a great Scottish rock man who is also a well trained wrestler. He got me into the physical sport aspect of the thing.

Of course you need something to do with them or its all a bit pointless. I would not have taken it much further than building nice walls, steps and the stone circle (using the nicer stones we find)], until recently when I was researching natural building options to live in (such as yurts or other eco homes).

I found that the cost of buying one of these eco-structures, relative to what you actually get, did not make sense to me. So I decided to see if I could build a livable space from stuff that was just lying around or growing out of the ground, and figure out how practical it actually was.

From living in a yurt, I liked the idea of circular living spaces, I also enjoy how you really feel all the nature around you because of the thin walls. But I have also like living in mud buildings because of the unique feeling and the heat retention of the mud walls.. So I wanted to come up with something modular, but that could be built optionally either way. Added to this I wanted a design where could plug these round spaces together with other round spaces, allowing you to choose the type of round 'feeling' you wanted in each room.

I also wanted something that could be made out of components and taken down again relatively easily without any leaving any impact on the land.

Instead of thinking of a house as walls and making rooms inside it, I thought of making various rooms, with the same basic structural components, but with the option of using different materials within this structure to create the feeling you liked. These could then be connected with external paths, rope bridges or tunnels. A sort of house where the house is really the nature around you, and the rooms are interconnected spaces that are all part of the nature rather than isolated from it.

Anways, that's the idea I am playing with. So right now to test it all out, I am building two prototype versions, one on stilts up in the trees and one slightly bigger one on the ground.

All of this got me a good reason to move some bigger stones again. I did not want to make any sort of concrete foundation. It feels nasty to do that in the nature here. But I am happy to drop some rocks on the ground in a circle or two.

If you are going to build without concrete, you are either going to have to get physical or have a machine do the heavy lifting for you. I did not want a machine driving around the area where I am putting these things, and its so much more fun to see if you can do it all yourself. The building on stilts is also on a steep hill for added complication, there is no way I could get a digger there even if I wanted to.

Here is a short video of me moving a rock or two and making a foundation.

Rolling some stones down the hill from where they were delivered, then moving them with rails to where the lower space is going to sit. Its about a 50m journey for each stone. Each is a good workout, sometimes i move them in batches.

You have to stay very present moving rocks or these things can break you very easily. Your body alignments have to be spot on when you lift or things in you pop. Also if the stone starts going to wrong way, you need to get out of there. Sometimes they really do have a life of their own… stone respect is a must.

But back to the training, it certainly changes your perspective.. When you live in a city and work on a PC, you work out to keep fit.. now I am discovering that I think the other way round, I need to plan when my body is rested and strong enough to move rocks again.. No longer does it make sense to wear out my body lifting weights when I could be move a rock and getting something real done. Its interesting and fun to have that physical reality based orientation appear in this way in my life.