Newsletter November 2009

Dome Building

Our work on Michael's dome continues to make slow, steady progress. It takes about 4 hours to construct one ring, with the two of us working.  When the rings get smaller, near the top, we will be able to complete a ring in two hours or less. The process is slower than we had expected, but it is going well.

Michael will be leaving for 3 weeks to take care of some family issues, and I will be gone for the Christmas holidays, so we may not complete the dome until some time in January. While Michael is gone, I will be finishing the concrete floor and preparing the window frame

Here are four pictures showing our progress:

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 Foundation Complete - Michael hard at work

Getting Higher...



Other News

  • We had a record low temperature about a week ago. It got down to 24 degrees, 3 degrees below the previous record. It is now back to above-normal temperatures, with highs close to 80 degrees.
  • Several weeks ago we had an unexpected violent storm which dumped 1 1/2 inches in an hour or two. This blew out the swales once again. The highwater marks on the swale low spots near where the blowouts occurred were about 18 inches. We are going to have to do some careful leveling to lower the high spots, allowing for more overall capacity, and raising up the low spots. It is unlikely we will have such rains again until next July, so that gives us quite a bit of time. If funds allow, next spring we will bring back the excavators and level everything properly with a bunyip, as we should have done initially.
  • The solar pump (see last newsletter) is performing very well and giving us more water than we need. In fact, we are now running it for only about an hour a day, which keeps the tanks topped off. It's nice to know we have a lot more capacity we can use as we expand the gardens.
  • The free-range cattle were particularly aggressive this year and wiped out most of our winter squash crop, in spite of measures to protect them, and did some minor damage to the trees. They also wiped out our start of nopalitos (prickly pear cactus). Next spring we will be putting in cattle fences around all the garden areas.
  • We plan to build a small dome for a home office next year, and bring in satellite Internet, which will save gas and time going to town every day.