Friday, November 6, 2009

Inside the House Made of Mud

Banco, kiva, and vigas at the Pecan House

Thick, thick walls made of earth and water and straw
connected to the earth they were made from
the same color as the garden soil.
Deep windowsills
the firmness of bricks underfoot
rounded corners
kiva fireplace burning fragrant wood
bancos to sit on
vigas and latillas up above
nichos in the walls.
A peaceful quiet, held and contained.
Warm in winter
cool in summer
windows looking out at desert willows and cottonwoods
and maybe some hollyhocks.
A strong sense of shelter.

I wrote these words for a post back in 2007 that remembered the little Las Cruces adobe home we owned back in the late 1990s. Meant to describe the feeling of living within adobe walls, they will serve as an introduction to some of the terms used for the features of an adobe home.

bancos: low earthen benches, built into the walls for seating

kiva fireplace: a rounded adobe fireplace, built into the corner of a room

vigas: round wooden beams, used for ceiling support

latillas: small saplings placed across vigas (ceiling beams) to form a ceiling

nicho: a built-in niche for a statue

For more photographs of these and other terms pertaining to an adobe home, see the Su Casa Visual Dictionary of Southwestern Style.

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8 comments:

the7msn said...

I love how your new place already has a most appropriate name. I'm guessing that's what you started calling it to differentiate it from all the others you might have considered buying and it stuck?

the7msn said...

I guess I should have included that it's the Pecan House, not the House of Mud, that I assume you're calling it.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Very nice place! Love this architecture!

Thanks for your visiting and comment on my blog!
Yes, my sunset photo looks like Africa, where I have never gone, too! Lol!

clairz said...

Well, Auntie Bucksnort lives in what we lovingly call the "nut section" of our town, where the streets all have tree or nut names, so it only seemed fair that we join in the general nuttiness theme.

The houses we looked at before finding this one were called, variously, The Place With the Really Scary View of Someone's Dump; The Place With the Snakes, Both Rubber and Real; and The Place With No Closets.

In comparison to those, The Pecan House is surely the one we deserve.

SandyCarlson said...

What an incredibly lovely place.

Judy said...

I love your description and enjoyed learning the definitions of the words. I went back and read your other posts on adobe houses. Very interesting.

Serendipity said...

Hello, thanks for dropping by and leaving a nice comment.

Your Emma sounds so cute! Smart girl!

You have a nice house! Really interesting to learn more about mud house ie adobe. It really keeps the house cool during hot season?

Esther Garvi said...

Over here, banco is the word for red mud. Banco huts, banco walls, banco bricks... all of a beautiful rich red.

Internet wouldn't upload the picture today, so I'll try again another day!

Warm greetings,
Esther