I met Sir Cobalot, aka Miguel Elliott, nee Michael Elliott, many years ago when he helped build the cob bench and walls on our Hops Tipi at the EcoTerra Center. The Hops tipi is a gorgeous structure 30 feet in diameter with a rock in the middle that was found in Jackpot, Nevada. It weighs 6 tons and when lifted, an arrowhead was found underneath. How it got there will remain one of the great mysteries of the universe.
Miguel reconnected several years ago as the EcoTerra Center hosted the Permaculture Convergence (happening again this year October 5-8; sign up here). He gave us the kids' playhouse built of cob as a display for the Solar Living Center. Then a couple of years later he built a pizza oven for our site (out of cob, of course) that gets used frequently. Now he is putting the finishing touches on a "Palletable Cobin" – a one-room cabin built from cob (straw, mud, and clay) and recycled or reclaimed wood (including wood from the 2015 Valley Fire in Lake County). It's a beautiful structure.
One of Miguel's great skills is motivating people to help him as volunteers for the pure social joy of it. They love to stomp mud barefooted and smear the glorious cob on the walls. Another of Sir Cobalot's skills is his mastery of the English language and puns (one of his suggested names for the Cobin was "Cobba the Hut"). I strongly suggest that anyone in the Northern California area come by and visit the Palletable Cobin as it comes to fruition.
Sir Cobalot (Miguel Elliott) has a cob building blog and has recently written and self-published a book called Accoblishments. To order a copy, or to commission a cob structure, contact him at [email protected].
For the Earth,
Real Goods Founder and former President