Back in November, at the Understanding God’s Loving Laws Assistance Group, Jesus and Mary taught how important it is to align all of our creations with God’s Laws. They explained that God wants us to create everything in a loving way—efficiently and beautifully, with consideration to all living things. When it comes to building homes, God wants us to discover products that are beautiful, functional, efficient with time, energy and resources, do not harm any living things or the environment, do not degrade, and are even alive!
My home has some features in harmony with those laws, and some that are not. The main part of the house is straw bale. That certainly is a harmless natural material, but, it is a dead plant material, and God’s Laws automatically start working to degrade it. If not protected properly, critters and molds love to help with that process. If it is built correctly (a big if), it can last more than a hundred years, and does lend itself to simple “repacking” if it reaches that age undamaged and has settled over the years. But 100 or even 200 years is not the kind of life-span God wants us to spend our precious time creating. There is much need for new information on ‘living structures’ that can be applied to building.
Before I talk about lime, I want to detour a moment and mention something I came across in my research that might show up one day as a building material that meets God’s very high standards. It is durable, self-replicating, and actually appears to be alive–liquid crystals. This website has some interesting facts about liquid crystals: http://www.mse.umd.edu/whatismse/liquidcrystals. Could they be utilized in building homes, particularly as an exterior protection? Liquid crystals are now being used in solar panels, so wouldn’t that be cool to have the exterior walls and roof of your home also provide all the solar energy you need?
Here is an excerpt from a health-based liquid crystal website:
Carbon and silicon sit together on the periodic table meaning that there are many similarities between them. For many years carbon was said to be the only living atom on the Earth, but recently all the aspects that allows carbon to be classed as such have been found in Silica also. This means that by scientific and human means silica containing substances are alive. [I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that–isn’t aliveness something that God “breathes” into a creation?– but the similarities are interesting.]
Life forms have been found in the deep oceans of earth that demonstrate all the characteristics of life, even being able to reproduce, without any carbon in them. So, Yes, Crystals are very much alive but, as yet we don’t completely understand their sacred language of geometric light.
I love that last comment… that as yet we don’t understand their sacred language of geometric light. Doesn’t that just sound like something God would have for us to learn about? I wonder when and by whom that mystery will be revealed!
But back to the present time. I needed some building materials that were a little more available, and as close as possible to building God’s Way.
The exterior of my home is a render of natural earthen clay and sand that comes right from the property—I love that: beautiful and simple. But the eaves of my house are only about 2 feet out, not nearly enough overhang to protect against the driving (horizontal!) monsoonal rains. That means the South and SouthWest exterior walls wear off easily and require regular replacement—every year! This is not a desirable or efficient use of my time. This would need to be remedied. I plan to build a kind of courtyard and trellis on that windward side of the house where plants can grow right up to the roof level that will provide added wind and rain protection. But I also wanted to see if I could find a better covering for the walls. Concrete-based stucco does not breath, and will actually trap moisture inside walls. This is a potential health concern for any home, but for straw bale structures it would be disastrous–moisture from within the home and via any external cracks would accumulate behind the stucco and cause the bales to mold. Not good.
I did some research, and decided to experiment with lime.
There are basically two kinds of lime: Builder’s Lime (“non-hydraulic lime”), which I can get at any home improvement store, and “Natural Hydraulic Lime” which has to be special ordered directly from the suppliers. The former, Builder’s Lime, is mixed with water and made into a puddy that is left to soak for a few weeks to several years (it apparently gets better with age). It is great for interior plastering, because it is cleaner (less likely to shed sand) than earth plasters, but is not quite as durable as the latter type of lime, Natural Hydraulic Lime, which will actually harden under water, and is what many ancient structures that are still around today are made of. Natural Hydraulic Lime, also known as NHL, is the one I wanted for maximum durability on my exterior walls.
This Natural Hydraulic Lime is a building product that utilizes natural limestone that is cooked to produce a reactive powder that, when combined with water and the CO2 in air, returns back into limestone! This highly durable form of lime looked like a good choice for building in accordance with God’s Laws. I was quite impressed with several factors:
It breathes, which is essential for straw bale homes.
It is a natural product, and the mining of it is simple—it is easily accessible rock, and no toxins, excessive resources consumed or inhumane processes involved.
If a lime coated building does get destroyed, it just goes back to its origin—rock; nothing toxic or harmful to nature.
For those aware of the “carbon Footprint” of a product, lime requires a much lower burning temperature than the Portland cement in stucco, and over its lifetime, lime actually absorbs back into itself the CO2 released during that burn.
It does not require fancy machinery, a building license, or armies of people to apply.
It is not a dead product that gets eaten by God’s little creatures
It actually ‘grows’! It is said that lime will ‘self heal’ small cracks as it reacts with CO2 in the air over time.
It is proven: long before today’s concrete came around, lime had been used as a durable building material throughout history.
It can become as solid as rock, but just like rock, it can, if exposed to flowing water for long periods of time, erode. But compared to other options for siding on a house, it sure looked like a good choice.
And it is beautiful—we learned that God values beauty as much as function!
As most things that are long-lasting and uncommonly used, NHL is expensive. But I found a quality source that was willing to ship it directly to my home. And they had helpful customer service, so I asked lots of questions. It turns out I should have asked even more questions, because I made several mistakes. There are definitely nuances to NHL that are different than any other rendering material. I learned the hard way. It is more finicky than concrete.
An extremely solid substrate to adhere to—much more so than regular concrete-based stucco.
Protective gloves, long sleeve shirts when handling, and dust mask when mixing due to the high alkalinity factor.
Slow mixing. It takes up water slowly and is easy to over-saturate, making a weak mix. And once saturated, it needs to be mixed for at least 10 minutes, but preferably 20 minutes.
Once it is applied, it does not like to ‘move.’ Many renderers like to go over an area many times to get it just right and even, but lime doesn’t respond well to this.
Using a machine to apply (splatter) the scratch coat (the first coat) works well with lime, but is not as easily available, and has its own learning curve.
Lime cannot tolerate wind, direct sun, or temperatures above 85F—or it dries too quickly. Heat and sun can be mitigated to some degree with misting and covering with cloth to slow the curing process.
It require 10 days minimum between coats.
It cannot freeze when setting, and is best to keep above 40º F (4.4 ºC).
Direct rain must be avoided.
That seems like a lot of requirements. But it reminds me of God’s Laws. They are either adhered to with good results, or not adhered to with consequences. With the first few batches, I had to experience the consequences of ignorance as well as resistance to following rules. But in the end, I found lime very pleasant to work with. It is patient in that it sets up slowly, so I did not have to hurry to get the job done like one does when working with concrete. I experienced no ‘lime burns’ that can occur due to the highly alkaline nature of lime (more of an issue with builders lime). It sticks well, and re-softens easily with a little misting and kneading.
I tried to get help with my lime project, but I could find no one in my area with any experience. The closest folks with experience were 4 hours away, and not so happy about traveling this far for a job. I would have to work with what I had… me, and local handymen. I had a terrible time coordinating schedules and weather. One friend helped me for two days, but he had his own list of projects to do at home and couldn’t commit to more. I made phone calls and ran ads. I waited for folks to call back. They didn’t. Then, in June, it got too hot. In July, it rained.
Finally, in early September, I was able to get help some help. We had to re-finish the outside of the bathroom with new paper and lath.
Then, when it came time to apply the lime, due to my own error, we ended up having to remove 3/4 of what we had just applied because I used the wrong bag! Then mid-September, the equinox winds had begun. I would have to wait—again.
I find it very revealing to observe how the Law of Attraction interacts with me when I take on a project I am inexperienced with. In this case, many opportunities arose to feel emotions. Those emotions, even when waiting on the fringe of my awareness, were painful enough that I would eventually make time to feel some them. But each time I did, I had to start with my go-to indicator of resistance, anger, which shows me the truth of my lack of desire to actually feel them. And that lack of desire is where I have to start with pretty much every painful emotion (see The Bully Inside for more on this issue).
So it is now October. Autumn has arrived, and along with it, another delay factor: frosty nights. I would check the weather daily, and see if there were any frost-free, calm days coming up so I could at least get a single coat of lime on all the exposed walls. That turned out to be this week. And my handy person was not available.
It took me three times as long as it would have with help, but I managed to finished one coat of lime on all the exposed bathroom walls.
There are two more coats to go, but with winter coming, one coat is much better than none. I found that my physical limit (before it felt unloving) was half a bag of lime—one concrete mixer full—per day, so it took me three days to do two walls. It was slow going for me, but the base coat is done! Such a relief. And just in time, as the nights are getting too cold to do any more until Spring. And the straw bale part of the house would simply have to wait.
With all these set-backs, I have 24 bags of lime left over. And unfortunately, lime has an expiration date: 8-12 months. In other words, even in the bag, it degrades by reacting with the moisture and CO2, to slowly return to its final state: rock. As it does that it looses its ability to bind together to form a weatherproof barrier. I feel sad about the likelihood of wasting product. At least I don’t have to worry about it being a toxic waste hazard, like many other building products. All I can do is hope that we get some early warm, calm Spring days and frost-free nights, where I can start up the mixer again, and get some more lime on the walls before it expires. And maybe I will work through some of these emotions about feeling unsupported, and some help will show up.
I have spent some time thinking and feeling about this experience of creating shelter for myself. I was challenged in so many ways, but I was determined to build with non-toxic materials that were more in line with what I had learned about God’s Laws. Going against the ‘norm’ of building was stressful, and I often felt like a small fish fighting the flow of a big river.
When it comes to creating loving homes for ourselves, mainstream society is way out of sync with love, and therefore God’s Laws. Yet we are just a reflection of our individual development in love, our individual choices that are either in harmony with love or not. Mostly people don’t think about the consequences of toxic or poor-quality (from God’s perspective) building products. They don’t want to think about it. They want the quick and easy choice that is conveniently produced for us, with no consideration for any other person or living thing. Many people have homes that are way beyond a sensible need for shelter. And some people struggle in unwanted jobs to afford even the simplest of homes. It’s all so out of whack.
Why are we not taught as children how to build a loving shelter for ourselves—something so essential to our survival and enjoyment? Why is there so much fear, and therefore rules and regulations around building a home? How can we turn the building industry around to replace the use of cheap, toxic, temporary materials to natural, sustainable, long-lasting, and life-filled creations? I believe we wouldn’t have issues with shelter—or issues with anything, for that matter—if we had more love in our souls, more of a connection with God. If we develop this connection, God could communicate many extraordinary loving ways to do things (and the love in our souls would naturally grow). Obviously, as I have shared in my previous posts (Truth I Haven’t Wanted To See), developing our souls closer to love and God is not easy. If my own attempts to grow in love are any indication of the challenges we face as a global community, it will definitely take a greater desire, and time. And we may make many mistakes. But I believe that we will make those baby steps that eventually add up to greater love in this world—and awesome new ways of doing things–perhaps even liquid crystal homes!