Sunday, November 11, 2007

Painting is Finished

Mike painting against a threatening skyWe finished the final coat yesterday, except for a few touch-ups and a little work on the upstairs dormers... as is pretty obvious in this picture, we were racing the weather. (It's supposed to rain tomorrow.) What a relief to finally have it done. Now, with the exterior finished, we can concentrate on the interior work all winter.
Fly away homeFor some reason, there are ladybugs all over the dome. I don't mean a few here and there; I'm talking thousands. It's common to see these kind of swarms during Indian summer; the bugs will be gone once it freezes again. But still. I think they are attracted to the flat concrete surfaces of the dome, which may look to a ladybug brain like a cliff (its natural winter habitat)... or perhaps they think they have found the mothership, who knows.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dome Primered

Looks like a giant golf ball, sort ofMike & I were out at the dome painting this weekend... the primer coat is almost finished. The dome looks completely different now. The finished color won't be white, however; it'll be more of a light beigey natural shade.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Painted Dome

Primer coat over east dormerThere is actual paint going on the actual dome! Mike started the primer coat today. He's using Loxon, an acrylic primer specifically meant for concrete. He has to roller it on because it's almost always too windy to spray on the ridge -- it'll probably be a four-day job.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Finished Dormers

Entryway is finished!!!The dormers are all complete! We finished the wide first-floor ones with a colored stucco product called Dryvit... the smaller upstairs window dormers are plain concrete & will be painted with the house.

It rained off & on last week (what a wet season we've been having!), but the forcast says sunny & cool for all of next week. Paint at last!

The apple trees, by the way, responded well to spraying & put out another batch of leaves just in time for the coming frost. Oh well. It looks like they are in good shape to thrive next spring.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bad News from the Orchard

Sad sad treeSomething is eating the leaves on the apple trees. We thought that deer were the culprits, so Mike built some protective cages; but alas, the deforestation has continued unabated. Now there's also some kind of little green worm spinning spiderwebby cocoons around the branches. Hmmph. I have no idea what the critters are, but we'll hit 'em with a broad-spectrum pesticide & see if that does it. I hate spraying, but I don't think we can avoid it here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More concrete

Next, paintMike & Mark are plugging away at it -- the strike coat is done on all but a couple of upstairs dormers. It's been a long slow process over the last couple of months, interrupted by a week's vacation out of state, a week when it rained 12 inches, a week when Mark was having (minor) surgery on his hand... well, you get the idea. This week, due to the killing heat, the guys have been knocking off after half a day, thus avoiding heatstroke. Cooler weather's on tap for next week.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Concrete (at last)

So much to do...Finally, the concrete is underway, but it's moving ahead in fits and starts due to the off-and-on rain that is typical in spring & early summer in this part of the world. It's actually a good time for doing concrete work because it doesn't dry out too quickly (which can result in cracks). Here's the front entry with the first coat about 80% done!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Some stairs, some trees

Yet another 2x4 runWhen one is building one's own home, one becomes very familiar with the local building-materials establishments. Mike is here so often that the checkout clerks recognize him, which wouldn't be a big deal at a mom-and-pop store, but it's saying something for a big box store.
Upstairs downstairsOne of the many things on which the dopey contractor did a lousy job -- the entryway staircase up to the second floor -- finally bugged Mike enough that he tore them out & redid them, angling them out away from the exterior wall to give a little more room. They look much nicer & you don't hit your head on the wall where it curves in now. Just another example of funky dome geometry.
At the top of the stairs... I keep trying to tell him the railing isn't high enoughNext he'll reframe the half-wall that forms the stairway and second-floor loft railing.
Mmmm.... I can taste them alreadyMeanwhile, outside, the apple trees have thrived on the rain & sun, more rain, then more sun that we've been having for the last six weeks. Look at the Lodi putting out leaves! Well, it may not show up too well against the grass, depending on your monitor's resolution... but I'm thrilled to death with how well the trees are doing. My orchard is coming along swimmingly.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Springtime at the Dome

Those are 80# bags, folksThe concrete crew is set to come this week & finish up the exterior work. Won't it be nice to finally get that done! Meantime, Mike bought an awful lot of quik-crete and stacked it in the garage, ready to use.
Take the picture quick, Mom, I'm getting tiredHunter (sporting his usual summer buzz cut, newly cropped this morning) quite helpfully unhitched the trailer once it was unloaded. (We leave it parked behind the dome when it's not in use... easier than storing it in town.)

Braeburn & meThe apple twigs are starting to leaf! Spring is grand!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The beginning of the orchard

I guess you know the tune.Part of the plan for what will eventually become a nine-acre hobby farm/dome showcase is a small orchard of fruit trees: six or eight, or maybe ten, trees of various kinds to produce fruit for eating, baking, and canning. Apples, pears, cherries, peaches... This, in combination with a summer vegetable garden, could provide enough plant food to supply a pretty big chunk of our diet. (The chicken coop and animal pasture, to provide the protein portion of our diet, will be a different post.) Besides, who can resist a fresh peach still warm from the sun, or spiced apples that went into the jar an hour after they were picked? My pear mincemeat from last year is legendary. (Sadly, only two jars remain... but I digress.)

There was only one problem: a tree big enough to bear fruit within a year or two of planting costs a freaking fortune, both to buy it and to pay a crew to come out and plant it. Conversely, a tree small enough to be affordable (and still pretty easy to handle) won't bear for several years. Being the patient people we are, we opted for the latter choice. We'll put in a couple of small trees a year until the orchard seems complete; the first trees will probably start bearing about the time that the last ones go in.

Year One: Apples. We put in a couple of apple trees from Stark Bros., a Missouri-based nursery. (We wanted to buy from someone in our general region, to get the best-adapted trees for this area.) With apples, you have to be careful to choose varieties that will cross-pollinate, since they aren't self-pollinators. After consulting the cross-reference table, we chose a Lodi (hum obligatory CCR tune here) and a Braeburn. One tart green, one red sweet. Right now, they resemble nothing so much as a couple of four-foot twigs stuck in the ground, but that'll change. In five years or so, I'll be baking apple pies.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happy New Year from Dome World

Ring around the domeThe ice & snow is partly melted off from the last round of storms, but the driveway at the dome (which wasn't plowed) is still pretty much a skating rink. An interesting phenomenon that we have noticed: Falling snow tends to form a circular drift all the way around the dome, in a ring about 10 feet or so from the outside wall. It's mostly melted in this picture, but right after the snowfall it was drifted a good 12" deeper than the rest of the snow. We're not sure why this happens... it likely has something to do with the way the air moves around the dome, but that's just our highly imprecise guess.

Rub-a-dub-dubRub a dub dub, there's a frame around my tub.

Dang, there's still a lot of work to do before I can drywallMike contemplates the framing to be done on the second floor. First will be the half-wall along the second floor loft so I can stop holding my breath every time he walks up there.