Sunday, July 7, 2013


What's the most destructive thing in the desert (beside people)?


The ground is so dry and hard packed that any excess water isn't absorbed as quickly as in a more damp environment.  That said, the domestead was a sea of mud when we got there on Friday afternoon.  

We'd been planning on a leisurely evening, unpacking, staging and eating a quiet dinner under the stars. Instead, we went mudbogging in the mommy van:

and then got out crocs and flip flops sucked off our feet by the 3-6 inches of mud that covered about half of the domestead - the half that we were planning on working on.  We ended up spending the evening laying ceiling tile and cement bricks down as walkways so that we could even get to the work area by the new front wall.

The flooding was so severe that it moved and crates full of stuff that had been weighted down with cement bricks across the entire courtyard.  As you can see, it was TRASHED.  Very disheartening, especially since we had finally(!) been able to start getting the Domestead into some sort of presentable order.  (Making both of our OCD/organizational brains happy.)  The mess made us both VERY unhappy.

So, we cleaned up, moved the van to higher ground, ate something and went to bed just as it was beginning to rain.  The thunder and lightening was AWESOME.  Jeff's cat would have been terrified.  The wife's cat wouldn't have given a damn.  The rain wasn't as bad as we'd feared and when we woke up the next morning, the ground wasn't appreciably wetter.  That's not saying much tho.  Our work boots were coated in 2 inches of mud within a few minutes of getting to work. (Now we know why Jax and Murdoch's sell muck boots!)

By 7:30am, we'd set up the concrete mixing table in the firedome, unloaded all 25 gallons of water from the van and gotten to work. By 3pm, we were out of loose bottles, water, portland cement and preground ceiling tile aggregate. And we were bonking. Hard. The wife was crabby and the husband was flaking.  We stopped for some cold soup right out of the cans while we decided what to do next.

This is what we'd gotten done: 

The wall is roughly 4 feet high in most places, connecting the courtyard wall to the firedome.

That's when the OCD/organizational brain problem kicked in again and we started cleaning and organizing in the dome and in front of the new wall.  And digging.  Jeff got to organizing the firedome, but kept hitting his head on the roof in a couple places, which led him to grab a shovel and start digging down to stop the head-pain.  (The digging out was part of the long term plan, but not for this trip.)  Beth was out in the driveway getting frustrated and really muddy trying to pry up the bricks and ceiling tiles from the mud to get them put away.  Both of us were exhausted and the mess was still overwhelming (see courtyard picture above!)

We said screw it and went home.

We stopped on the way out long enough to take these two pictures.



  1. So dissappointing I bet! Hopefully next trip will be much more productive!!!


  2. so how do you plan to address the drainage issues in the future, especially pertaining to digging down in the dome to make the floor deeper?

    1. Good question! Thanks for stopping by!

      We had a smaller flood last year and that had us already thinking about what would happen with a bigger one.

      Both years, the majority of the water accumulated in the southern end of the courtyard, which makes us think that we'll turn that portion into a garden.

      For the new wall area, we're probably going to have to drill some drainage holes thru it at ground level, tho the ground outside the wall isn't much lower that inside.

      As for the dome, it didn't flood, so we're not too worried. Tho we're planning a gravel floor for drainage, just in case. The sides will be finished with concrete and probably tile inset seating. (The picture we have in our heads it cool :)

  3. This reminds me of a scene in the movie "In to the Wild"where he almost get drowned from a flud in the desert.As we say in France:"Après la pluie vient le beau temps".Courage!Cristo toot Sweet.


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