New Clay Process
As we are working away on our mixing process, we decided to try a different way to prep the clay. We had been dumping the 1 &3/4th buckets of clay out on the tarp dry, and stepping and smashing the clumps until they were quite fine, pulling out the organic material as we went. Then adding it to the sand, then adding water, etc.
Other folks soak their clay first, so we decided to try that as well. We're still not sure if it's a better way to go, as we do end up using more water (that ever-precious resource) but we've at least got a new system going.
We separate the clay into three containers (per cob batch) and add the correct amount of total water to the clay - that way we already know how much water is in the mix. Leaving them sit overnight allows all or most of the clumps to break up, and most of the organic junk - sticks, roots, wood chips - float to the top, where we can skim them off pretty easy.
I didn't have enough 5 gallon buckets for this process, but then I had the idea of using old veg oil 'cubies' with the tops cut off. they aren't as handy as the buckets, but they work, and hold the right amount.