Wednesday, September 19, 2012

31 The Subaru doesn't like Wyoming anymore : (

We tried a new thing this weekend:  going up separately, in two different cars, on two different days.

We had work schedules this week that wouldn't let both of us off on Friday afternoon, so Jeff opted to run for the border on Friday right after work with the van.  I would follow super-early Saturday morning with the Subi.  The prospect of 26 hours apart with no way to communicate was daunting.  If anything went wrong for either of us there would be no way of knowing what, where, etc.  It was also unusual for us as we've only been apart for something like 20 nights over the course of almost 17 years together. 

(For the peanut gallery: no, we're not codependent, we just really enjoy being together - that's why we got married.  If you're with someone you don't want to be around, you're {BOTH} doing it wrong.)

By taking two cars we were able to get two full loads of junk up north - like 100+ beer and 50+ wine bottles for building, shredded paper, old ceiling tiles and cement for the walls.  (We have a craft room again! The wife promptly set up her sewing table in there.)

Anyway, Husband got up Friday evening without a hitch, and early enough to get some stuff done, like set up our water tank!  Now we have means of storing water on site and not having to make as many runs to town.  We can bring water in with us and store it for more long-term usage. 

And speaking of water - there appears to have been a flood some time in the last few days.  The southern third of the courtyard was soaked and there were water marks on the walls 4"-5" off the ground. 

As you can see from the above pic, we also got more rows added to the interior bottle wall and we sealed the roof of the hexebo.  (The wife's Pocahontas braids + roof sealant = bad.  Just saying.)  We've figured out that by the time the inner wall is done we'll have placed approx. 2000 bottles and cans just for that section.  The outer berm-wall comes in at around 2000 bottles as well, even though it's longer; we used bigger bottles and started with a bit more elevation on that part.  Still not bad, and really we're not even trying all that hard with our collecting.  If we grabbed every bottle and can we saw we'd never get anywhere.  It would be a full time job just collecting and storing them.  We're not "that guy" yet. 

After a long night of solitude in the desert, Jeff got up early and got right back to work while waiting for the Wife to show up.

The Wife's trip was a bit more eventful and a bit more of a concern.  Apparently the Subaru doesn't like Wyoming anymore; it spent a great deal of the trip from Laramie to Rawtown with the thermostat needle jumping up to the red zone.  At Zero Dark and Early it shouldn't have been overheating... The same happened on the way home, but only between Rawlins and Laramie - yet again. The drive to Ft. Collins was fine, and again I-25 to Denver was no problem.  Must be Sunspots or Ghosts or Government conspiracy in that part of Wyoming that only affects Subaru Outbacks owned by Erkharts.  I'm not saying it's Aliens, but it's probably Aliens.

Anyway, back to work:

We also brought up our Hexagon molds for bricks so now we can manufacture a bunch every trip and just leave them up there to cure.  Got our garage cleared out of a lot of stuff this trip!  Maybe we can actually park in there this winter??

Husband also got to work on making the arch pretty and more structurally sound:

 Also saw this Sunday morning in the neighborhood in Rawlins:
Apparently, the Buck stops here.
(The wife was thinking that it was a heck of a realistic lawn ornament!)
Here's a better-ish picture:
This was just before he decided to "hop" over a 6' fence like it wasn't even there.  Impressive.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trip # 30 - Two years and counting!

Wow, time goes pretty fast when it's building season.  This was our 30th trip up to the property.  It was also the 2nd anniversary of the 1st building weekend we had there.  For reference, two years ago we were building the ill-fated pyramid and camping in a tent that didn't survive the weekend because of the wind!
What a difference a couple of years and a ton of practical experience make.  Now, we sleep very comfortably in a nice van that we use to store stuff, haul stuff and shelter stuff (including us).  We build awesome walls out of more durable material and we have a bit more of a plan for what we want the whole domestead to look like in the future.
On the last trip, there was progress, but like we mentioned, most of it wasn't visible.  Mostly, we shored up some walls and did some cosmetic stuff - and moved the firepit (again.)
Work this weekend is a bit more - and yet less - visible. 
Newly added arch to the kitchen door
(and since we moved the firepit out of this space, we're not sure that this is really a kitchen anymore.  Looking for a new label - salon? courtyard? suggestions?)
The view of the domestead from two points on the road.
We blend in much better now!
Close up of the outer wall. 
All of the bottles and earthbags are covered with homemade bricks and concrete.  This will all be plastered over and will blend in nicely. 
We used about 250 pounds of cement on this trip (thanks Grandma!) - and all this water!  The bottles have been collected over the last two weeks from wherever we find them, work, jiu-jitsu, parking lots and people saving them for us when they're done.  Instead of throwing them away, we re-use them for transporting water up to the property and then using them for the mud / cement mix for the walls.  Re-use and Recycle!
 On the way up, we bought a 65 gallon cistern to store all the water so we can use the bottles without wasting any.  Pic of that next time.
Part of the work lately has been shoring up the inside of the wall.  The original earthbags from late 2010/early 2011 are eroding at an alarming rate because of the wind and rain, threatening the structural integrity.  (The bottle wall is layered on top of the earthbags.)  Jeff's masonry projects have been installing hexagonal bricks as a retaining fixture to stop the erosion.  You can see through the door (*yay arch*) where he started working.  He's also gotten the interior wall up another foot, you can see what is newly added below because I didn't get to do any stucco-ing this trip. (I was mostly working on the outside walls.)
And here, a detail of what the retention piece looks like right after being installed:

(Looks a little rough, but we'll make it pretty after we're sure it won't fall on us!)
The wife's been continuing on her wall building on the outside of the berm wall, extending it from the Qbert wall, past the firewood storage box and over to the next part of the berm that we haven't touched since 2010. 
The view of both projects, wife's front left, husband's back right. 

 And the wife's again, from the outside and from the inside. 
(The wall is about 5 feet high and 10 feet long at this point.)


The view of the entire kitchen space from the north-west at sunset.

Other notes of note:  Sunday we went into town to get food and drinks and to take a break.  While we were there, the City Market (only grocery store in town) was "evacuated" for reasons unclear.  Gotta find out what that was all about.
And... we earned us some Karma: Saw a couple who were obviously cycling across the landscape to and from points unknown, so we asked where they were coming from (Banff, Alberta, Canada) and where to (US, Mexico border).  We wished them luck, and safe riding, and then bought them a couple of bottles of Gatorade.  It wasn't much, but it seemed to make their day.  We often hear about the kindness of strangers, and we wanted to be a part of that.  We hope they make it.