Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The dome kit was delivered today! It's now stacked in our front yard area, just waiting to be assembled.

Here's the truck arriving. The trucker was quite the character. He loaded up the dome & left central Florida at 11:00 am on Tuesday -- he delivered the load in central Missouri at 4:00 pm today. Don't know how many hours of sleep that works out to, but there you go.

Mr. Trucker drops the straps on the load, preparatory to offloading.

Todd brought in a crew & forklift to do the offloading. The crew was great, but the forklift was barely adequate. It kept threatening to tip over under the heavy trianglular panels. Here Rob provides some essential counterbalance.

So, eventually the whole kit got offloaded, and we chatted for a bit with the curious neighbor who came over on his ATV & introduced himself as the shadows grew long under a lowering sun. The kids, finding the talk boring, grabbed the camera & ran off to take a few pictures. Don't know which one of them took this shot, but this is our view looking out over the back part of the property. Isn't it gorgeous?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

High Times

OK, here's an example of what a small town we have moved to... At work today, I met a couple, David & Lee T., who had a late-morning appointment with my boss. After having the "why is that name familiar" moment, I realized were the sellers of the lot on which we are building the dome. (We didn't meet them at closing; it was handled by the real-estate agents.) When I told them, they asked my last name, and then exclaimed, "Oh yeah, you're building the dome!" I think we are becoming notorious in this region.

Oh, and one other little tidbit -- Lee told me that she chose the name "High Meadows" for the subdivision just on the basis of liking the name. But, the surveyor who came out to do the property line markers told her that High Meadows is actually the highest point in all of Johnson County. And we'll be right at the crest of the ridge. What a view we'll have from the second floor!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Sea of Gravel

A few more basement pics, now that they have spread the gravel in there.

The inside view.

Looking out the garage door. Nice truck, BTW. We had to wait a couple extra days before they could get the gravel in without sinking the truck up to its axles, due to the big rainstorm that rolled through the Midwest last midweek. But the schedule is still good, we've built in some slack for this type of thing. Drains to be installed & slab to be poured soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Mike rakes gravel along the outer wall over the drainage pipes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Signed, Sealed...

The portion of the basement walls to be backfilled have been painted with first a coat of Dryloc masonry sealer and then a coat of tarry black goo. I don't even want to tell you what Mike's clothes looked like after this job. Uff da.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Finished Walls

A few views of the finished basement walls.

A shot from the exterior west side, looking in through the garage opening. Looks like an arena, doesn't it? We should be flying pennants from the rebar or somesuch.

This is from the inside, looking out through the basement walk-out and shop window. Nice view!

Mike is about halfway done with applying the concrete sealer. Next comes the drainage pipes and gravel.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Basement Walls

Right now it looks like we're building a silo or something!

Basement wall forms
The forms are in place, ready to pour the concrete. This is from the front of the lot, so you can see only about half of the wall -- the rest of it is hidden by the lip of the excavated pit. This is the side that will be backfilled, of course, and will be entirely underground once it's finished.

Cement truck
The cement trucks arrived one by one, staggered throughout the morning. It took 4 trucks in all.

Pouring the concrete
This is the concrete pump that they used to fill the forms. Pretty impressive, huh? The boom could be seen, not just from the county highway a quarter mile or so in front of the dome site, but from wa-a-a-y down where the highway turns east & you can look across about a mile back to our place. Here's the picture:

Long shot of boom

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Today the basement walls are going up.

Dude, where's my house?
Here I am in the middle of the basement; you can get a good idea of the scale of the dome footprint from this angle. Mike (taking the photo) is standing a little to the left of the location for the front door. The white trailer that is offloading the rebar is backed up to the garage opening, more or less. (The garage will take up half of the basement, natch.)

Look out below!
These are the forms for the concrete basement walls being dropped in with a crane. It's all modular, apparently. The guys in the foreground tying off the rebar were having a heck of a time with the angles, BTW. They would consistently bend them too far & then grumble & swear as they had to ease the bend back five degrees or so. One gets the feeling that they think we are crazy for building a round house. I'd bet money that they've never seen a dome with all its funny 72° angles before.

Cutting rebar
More cutting & tying of rebar. The walls should be poured late this afternoon. They have to cure for a day or two before sealing them, I would imagine; then the drainage pipes will be put in. Things are moving right along...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Geometry Lesson

Here the crew is building the form for the footing, which will be poured later today. This photo really shows the funkiness of the geometry of the dome's base; it's a lot of irregular* angles (fourteen in all) and different wall lengths to accomodate the entrance & window dormers.

In response to a question in comments, we are building a 48-foot concrete dome from a kit by American Ingenuity. (Domes are always measured by their diameter at the base.) The construction crew will build the dome shell & frame the interior, but Mike will be doing all the finish work. I get to pick out the paint colors! :-)

* "Irregular" is here defined as "not 90 degrees, which is what the concrete guys are used to".