Putting up the Dome, Part One
While the RV has done the job of getting us to our land for phase one, we’re more than eager to put up our geodesic dome. Something about living over a tank of poo and having to empty (read: see and smell) it every few weeks takes away from the romance. That is, in case you’re not my sister, Julie, and you actually do have romantic notions of living out in the woods in an RV.
So needless to say, we’re highly motivated to get this dome up. It’s supposed to take 4-8 weeks to ship once you order it. We had hoped to have our platform built by the time we got it, but because it was ahead of schedule—and upgraded us to a more durable fabric due to shortages of the fabric we ordered, thank you Pacific Domes—we were able to pick it up last week.
Because it’s big and heavy, we opted to pick it up from the distribution center, instead of having it delivered directly to our site. Behold, our new home.
Some assembly required.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . .
In some parts of Silicon Valley, it helps to have neighbors with connections at Apple, Facebook and Tesla. In this part, however, it helps to have a neighbor with connections to heavy equipment. Our new neighbor, Mike—besides having every skill and piece of machinery necessary for self-reliance—also has a tip or resource for pretty much every question we’ve had about making it work up here. I mean, this unassuming guy has been a wealth of practical, field-tested info: how to level the gate with a bag of cement and a stick of rebar; when to worry if you smell smoke; where the other back exit road is in case of fire; how to control the flow of pond water in the winter; where to buy the best/cheapest lumber with free delivery. And the list goes on. He’s also one of the nicest folks ever. Do not underestimate the smarts of a guy in a cap and a flannel shirt.
Mike helped us clear and level a spot for building a dome, grade it for drainage, and dig a trench for hill run-off. And by helped us, I mean he did it. In about three hours flat.
We then bought the supplies for building our dome platform, which is essentially like building a deck on cement piers. The lumber came on Friday, and we also unpacked the dome parts in order to unload them.
We marked out the area where the dome will be by making a giant compass with a stake and a string.
I’m realizing that most of my pictures are of Mauricio with his shirt off. You’ll notice that his shirt is actually on his head. There are these annoying little flies that are incessantly buzzing in the back woods equivalent of Chinese water torture. Hence, the turban. So while I would normally find his shirtlessness sexy, flies + sweat + WAY TOO HOT + funny-looking turban = let’s just focus on getting this dome up.
After marking out the dome, we literally spent three hours trying to get the string lined up to mark the location of the 19 cement block piers so that the dome will face south with a west-facing entrance. Mauricio is a stickler for exactitude in his work. Meanwhile, Giovanni stood there, pink-cheeked, holding a giant beach umbrella over us as we worked.
We took a break and spent the afternoon at the creek. Ah, cool, cool water. Then we came back after the sun set to start digging the spots for the piers. And when I say we, I mean Mauricio.
Are we having fun yet?