Even though we're back at school, our cordwood homestead building project is still very much in progress! See how much we were able to complete in the last month and a half with plenty of progress shots!

Cordwood Progress Report – August and September

Take a look at everything we’ve completed in the last month and a half of building our cordwood homestead! From laying logs to mixing mortar and making bottle ends, it’s all getting done.

When I last had the opportunity to write on the blog, it was the beginning of a brand new school year, and being a teacher, I’ve been trying to dedicate as much time as possible up front to having a successful school year.  When I’m not getting my hands dirty with sawdust and lime putty, I teach music to high school students through a variety of very non-traditional ensembles.

Since I have odd combinations of instruments, I usually can’t just hand out pre-written scores like you can with band and orchestra — I have to arrange everything for the individual kids in each of my classes, and with four separate ensembles this year it’s a TON of work. As such, I put myself on notice and forced myself to complete at least 1-2 new arrangements for each class (i.e. 4-8 separate pieces of music) before I could write on the blog again.

Geez! Again with the real life priorities!

(I love my students.)


But I’m back now to share a progress report for the month of August and first half of September. We’ve completed a good chunk of the walls since the end of July!


Even though we're back at school, our cordwood homestead building project is still very much in progress! See how much we were able to complete in the last month and a half with plenty of progress shots!

This is what the house looked like on August 1:

A cordwood house in progress at accidentalhippies.com


And today it looks like this:

Front of a cordwood house in progress - from Accidental Hippies

Interior of a cordwood house under construction - at Accidental Hippies

Exterior cordwood wall in progress - at Accidental Hippies
All but a very small 2×3 foot section of the east wall is done!
Interior cordwood wall in progress - at Accidental Hippies
You can see the color gradient of what work was completed and when. The bottom of the wall is fully cured and has turned white. The middle is a light gray and was completed six days ago. The top was completed today and is a dark gray. All of it will turn the same shade of white as it dries.

We had to pack it in before completing the east wall because a monster storm was approaching! We’d had 60 mph wind gusts all day, but the storm REALLY blew through. My car was bouncing all over the place on the way back to the condo.

We came back today (Sunday) and finished the final small portion of the east wall. Voila!

Mark pours a mix of sawdust and masonry lime into the middle of a cordwood wall. The sawdust acts as insulation and the lime keeps it rot and pest resistant.

We also have a knee-high portion of the west wall done. This is the next big item to check off once we finish that little section on the east wall. Mark built all of this BY HIMSELF in three days because he is AWESOME. Anyone who has ever built cordwood walls will appreciate exactly how much work that is, especially when you’re flying solo.

Cordwood wall in progress - at Accidental Hippies


All of the work you see completed is what we have been able to do with weekends and select afternoons when school gets out.

A few weekends were unusable because of school or family commitments. However, we did have three fantastic family/friend helpers on Labor Day who built up a HUGE portion of that east wall. (If you’re reading this, a huge thanks again to you!)


The work you DON’T see includes countless hours for:

  • Several trips to Menards for more masonry lime
  • Mark to mix upwards of 50+ 5-gallon buckets of lime
  • Scraping the scraggly edges off of EACH AND EVERY LOG
  • Mark splitting the larger logs with wedge and a sledgehammer
  • Washing, drying, and assembling bottle ends

The moral of the story is that there is always a lot of work that goes into the finished product. That’s true of basically everything, so I’ve found myself growing more appreciative of other people’s work as this project progresses.


Little Cordwood Details

One of the fun things about building with cordwood is the ability to create designs using fun shaped logs, marbles, stones, and bottle ends. These are a few of the fun little random details we’ve been able to put in so far:


Green wine bottle and glass marbles

A wine bottle in a cordwood wall - so pretty!


An array of colors! These are made from beer bottles, drinking glasses, and FREE wine bottles that we washed, dried, and assembled.

Colored glass bottles in a cordwood wall let in beautiful light!


Bottles and marbles in a cordwood wall - at Accidental Hippies


You can add fun designs into your cordwood wall. Here, a heart-shaped log has been adorned with glass pebbles like you would use in centerpieces or other decor!

We actually had this in the last update, but our first design is also my favorite so far. Occasionally, you find logs that are interesting or familiar shapes. We stumbled upon this heart-shaped log and placed it by the window in the living room as a focal point and even with our house unfinished, our visitors notice it right away! 


Next Steps

The biggest priority is getting the walls finished before there is a danger of freezing temperatures. This way, the mortar can cure fully without risking damage. I pray that we can build in a timely manner and that the weather stays warm for a while yet!

Once we get the cordwood done, we can relax a little bit (ha!) as our work won’t be so time sensitive. We can close in the soffits and finish siding the gable ends so that we can FINALLY stop looking at the Tyvek.


Previous Updates – Check out our previous progress reports to see just how much work we’ve completed in a short amount of time:

We're building an off-grid cordwood home! Check out everything we did in the second full month of building and what you can learn from our mistakes Check out this overview of how one aspiring homestead family built up a full post-and-beam house frame in one month! #diy #house #homestead

If you’re just joining us, check out our cordwood homestead specs here! There are lots more posts about our journey with building our cordwood home here too.

And of course, be sure to join the party on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! We’d love to have you join us.

Thanks for reading!

Even though we're back at school, our cordwood homestead building project is still very much in progress! See how much we were able to complete in the last month and a half with plenty of progress shots!


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  1. Ardith
    September 13, 2016

    Congratulations on your progress!

  2. Alice
    September 23, 2016

    I love the deep window sills–great place for plants– and all the wine bottles and marbles along with the wood. Beautiful!

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