Monday, August 31, 2009

August 30th - Tire wall pretty much done (for phase 1)

After much haranguing and even much more ado, we have managed to cobble together the tire knee wall which will form the foundation for the dome.

Ya know, I very much could have done without the foundation and simply moved the dome into this location and said 'da hell widdit' - but there are advantages (aside from the education and sore lower back) to having this structure in place. Besides, I am fascinated by 'Earth Ship' building, so it was a done deal from the get-go.

In future posts, I will take you on a little journey where I attempt to make a sort of Earthen plaster out of clay that I dig right on site, some hay, a little concrete and possibly some horse manure. No, no, no - I'm not shitting you (pa-dum-bump!) =D

The dome has been lifted and moved into place. With 6 friends, we easily moved the structure into place.

Sitting on top of the world.

Next steps will be to ratchet the structure down onto the anchors that we installed, build a door way, and wrap the dome in poly greenhouse tarp. At that point, the bare minimum will be complete on the greenhouse. Then after THAT we will be installing the solar heater (as soon as I can get my hands on a low power inline DC blower and a solar panel), building raised beds, applying Earth plaster to the walls, and putting in a hammock. Other niceties will be a water catch system for catching rain water.

August 28th - Party at Canyon Park!

We got there as things were just beginning. Delvis had not started and people were stilling milling about. What a gorgeous place to have a show and a party! Who knew it would turn out to be the scene that it did!

Tired Rhyme Declines. Yours truly on the drums.

Later that night, Mackenzie did Tarot readings. Let's see ... the hanged man ... the 9 of swords ... and the 2 of swords reversed ... if the cards are right, I would say that things are NOT - i repeat NOT looking good for Jim's haircut ...

Ok Ok Ok already! Enough pictures of us!

Andy watching the band, and Jim brooding about the fate of his haircut.

The magic fairy came and made every magical and sparkly!!

Mackenzie, James and me enjoying the music and freezing our tushes off!

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 27th - Rain Day

Thursday was a little soggy. Working outside on the foundation was not an option. Instead, I puttered around on other projects and stuff.

For instance, taking pictures of wild life. :) Lillian is very excited about her Monarch caterpillars! They have transformed into chrysali. Is that the true plural of that word??

Two of them are still working on it.

Outside, the unfinished foundation awaits. We are about 3 levels up now with one more to go plus the door. Deep in this hole we are mining for clay to use as a binder for the natural earthen plaster that we will use to cover the exterior of the tire wall. I'm hoping for a sort of adobe feel.

Here is another shot of the foundation. The center ditch will be a drain to capture excess moisture in the ground and shunt it down hill. The oddly phallic shape was completely unintentional.

Ya know, I've got some great friends. When I told them that I had a little project in mind that would require about 160 empty beer cans, they immediately came to my side to help! Hey! What's this? V8?? This will not stand, man.

Aluminum down spouts from Home Despot.

Cutting them with a hack saw. I really didn't cut them like this. Just for the photo!

Rip the bottoms out with tin snips ...

Cut the top off with a can opener ...

... and poke them inside the lengths of down spout. What can this possibly be? Stay tuned and find out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 28th, 2009 - Foundation building

At work, preparing the foundation for the geodesic dome greenhouse.

The idea is to put down staggered layers of tires and ram them full of earth. At the end, you will have a dense wall of earth encased in steel radials wrapped in heavy rubber. Very strong and high R value.

Jason wailing away.

The kids are also very involved in the process!

Aiden and Lillian in action.

Jim and Andy are sawing away at a tire. We have to cut the tires in half (more of less) when a wall ends. In our case, we need an opening in which to frame a door.

Me and Rachel, Andy's wife. Check out little Baby Chicory on her back!

Avery. Cool dude.

Me, Rachel, and Baby Chicory again!

Andy, Jim and James are figuring out how we put a door in. It is going to require the cutting of some tires ... this will be interesting. This is an aspect of the construction that I am not altogether familiar with.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Sometimes I wish I could break my computer.

Ah, but there are better things in life to look forward to when the computer programming is done. Here, Lillian found a Monarch! She currently has 5 in her little cocoon hut. :)

And gardening! Gardening is my new favorite meditative and peaceful past-time. I just picked all of these wonderful peppers from the garden. I'm preparing to make pickled peppers!

... and I, myself, am preparing to get pickled! Killing a bottle of chianti in the afternoon while perparing peppers for pickling is almost serene! In fact ... it's my duty! The bottle even has my initials! So ... yeah.

... more than gardening, I love to play music, which I haven't had the luxury to do in quite a while. My friend are in this band called, 'Tired Rhyme Declines,' in which I am the drummer. Mostly, I am a guitarist. Really, I am a drummer *trapped in the body* of a guitarist! A terrible, terrible fate and karma!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16th, 2009 - tomato problems

Our tomato garden is out of control. We used some pretty small tomato cages and the plants have completely overrun them. Now, unfortunately, the plants are getting blight because they grew so thick and no air or sun can get in. So it's time for drastic measures. I bought fence posts and a big spool of twine. The plants are being pruned and strung up, then we are hitting the plants and the soil with copper sulfate. Lets hope for the best!!

Other tomato threats. The chickens happen to love them!

More of a people threat ... we leave them alone so they eat other bugs. The tomato garden is loaded with these guys!

A dome-top view of where the dome will eventually live. Jason is digging out the trench of the foundation.

August 16th, 2009 - Boy am i tire'd! ;)

Boy, are we tire'd! CAR tire'd, that is! Yuk, yuk, yuk! Ya know - people ask me: Greg, what in the hell are you going to do with all of those tires?!

A bloody mess of tires!

I've intended all along to use them as the foundation for this dome garden. And here we are finally, manifesting the dream. The big, scary, neurotic dream! Here is the back end of where the dome will sit. The trench was cut out to be level with the lowest end of the slope. I was able to borrow Dad's surveying scope so that I could make the trench level. Pictured below is the first layer of tires that will form the foundation wall.

Live-action-Jason, wailing away on a tire. The idea here is to pack the dirt into the side walls of the tire, then into the center. Soon the tire is packed completely with dirt. Then another layer is set upon the initial line of tires, but offset by 180 degrees in a staggered orientation and those tires are pounded full of dirt. At the end we will have a 2 foot thick wall of rammed earth. The greenhouse will benefit by having a little geothermal gain because we are building into the hillside. It will look cool when we are done applying stucco to the exterior of the tires.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

8-16-2009 - Dome is complete!!

Despite being up until about 4:00 AM drinking beer and various vodka concoctions, today turned out to be quite a productive day. We managed to erect the geodesic dome that I have been planning for the last few months! Very exciting. As I sit an drink a gin and tonic, I marvel at the small collection of photographs that I managed to snap to document the progress.

Here is the ditch that Jason and I have been working on. Eventually, all of the dirt even with this ditch will be removed in place of raised beds. The ditch represents the foundation, which will be made of earth-rammed tires, whose exposed surfaces will be faced with stucco.

Here us the initial ring of the dome.

The first layer is up! Young Grasshopper stands at arms ... be afraid ...

Now we are starting to get somewhere. Our roommate, Matt, helps out. The kids think they are helping! :)

Now we are REALLY getting somethere! Josh stopped over for a small visit just by chance - right when we needed him to help hold some of the struts!

It's getting late, but we are almost done! This is is me, preparing to tie in the last few struts!

A dark shot of the same.

alllllll ... mooooostt .... dooooone ...

Finished!! Pretty impressive! It is 20 feet across! That will give us about 314 sq ft of growing space - not to mention growing space by hanging vegetables from above! The dome is about 12 feet tall from the very center point to the ground.

And ... here are the chickens!