ClayMotion & Dinosaur Eyes

One of the projects we have up on our home site is to make more room for the concrete pumping equipment and trucks.  Dozy has been getting a bit of a workout digging into the side of the hill to make more space.  The clay soil we have is remarkably tough and rock-like.  Interestingly, when it is exposed to air, the clay very quickly starts to break down and crumble.




Is this a fossilized dinosaur eye or simply the exposed formation of Saprolitic Clay?




Towing the Line

Last week we ran  the water line from our well to the tank up the hill and a return line back down to the trailer.  This weekend we set up a temporary line to the building site to provide water during construction.  There was a 100 foot section of 1 1/2” pipe that  was stored along side the driveway for the last year or so.  Grass and shrubs had grown around it making it impossible for Jeff and I to get it unstuck.  Once again Dozy came to the rescue.




After connecting the various supply lines and valves, we were ready to fill the tank.  With 1550 gallons to go, it took just over 4 hours to fill.  Our temporary water system down by the trailer is now disconnected and the water pressure from the gravity feed is great. There is also an improvised sink and hose spigot down by the building site.  Oh the joys of running water!




And now for something completely different.  Jeff has been placing various steel objects on our concrete floor.  The resulting rust stain art is fun and interesting.





A long line of Helping Hands

It’s starting to feel like Summer might be here.  The day started out a little foggy and still but then the Sun came out and was glorious.  Now that we have our new big tank in place up the hill, pastedGraphic.pdfit is time to run the water lines from the well (at the very bottom). ≈ Zachary and Aaron came by to lend a hand hauling the pipes up through the woods to the tank.  We had to get nearly 300 feet of both 1 1/2” and 3/4” pipe up to the tank.  The larger diameter pipe will cary the water up from the well to the tank while the 3/4” pipe will bring water (gravity feed) back down to the trailer.  The guys taped two pipes together to make it easier to pull up “as one.”  It took the effort of all four of us to get the pipe up the steep slope to the tank.  Thanks Guys!


With that task done, we took a break, and the guys had a bit of fun driving Dumpy. It’s not as easy as you might think to drive but sure fun to ride in.




Now back to work with another important task.  The cupola needed to have a cap to prevent concrete from falling in through the hole and also a lip for it to stop.




I designed the cupola pastedGraphic_3.pdfto have a custom skylight which I will build.  Stainless steel bolts held in place by this temporary cap will be embedded in the concrete.  These bolts will then be used to secure the skylight.


Dozy & Goliath

The Weather Gods must have heard my rant yesterday about all the rain because today we were blessed with a beautifully clear and sunny day.  Wanting to take advantage of that, Jeff and I rushed up the hill to finish preparing the bed for our water tank.  This involved carting up several more loads of sand, spreading and tamping, and adding some retaining wall boards on the back side of the pad.  It was then time to get the 1550 gallon tank up the hill.  Always ready to take advantage of a little mechanical help, we fastened the tank to the front end of Dozy.  It looked rather comical with the much larger tank overshadowing Dozy.




The challenge was that I couldn’t see where I was going because the tank was so big.  We enlisted the help of Beckett, Karen & Meredith, who along with Jeff, acted as spotters so I could safely navigate up the steep track to the placement site.




Meredith & Jeff ready to help unload the tank.






All set!  Now we need to run several hundred feet of pipe from the well.  This will have to get this done before the concrete crew comes to spray the shell as they will need an available supply of water.






Afterwards, Beckett took a celebratory ride in Dozy’s Bucket.

1 comment

Way cool Steve!
Sunday, June 6, 2010 – 09:44 PM


Two Ropes that went Bump in the Night

Winter weather is not going quietly into the night and continues to hang heavy over the Oregon Coast.  This has been frustrating for Jeff and me as it has caused considerable construction delays.  We have had so much rain and the ground is so saturated that it will be many weeks before we can get concrete trucks up the driveway.  We also need a spell of dry weather to finish putting up the forms for the shell of our house.

To make matters worse, the trailer that we are living in keeps developing new leaks.  The latest: several places in the bedroom area.  We put a tarp over that part of the trailer but when the the wind kicks up, the flapping of the tarp and the slapping of the tie ropes against the side of the trailer are just as bad as the “Oregon Water Torture.”

Anyway, enough of my cabin fever rant.

I must say that we are blessed and grateful to live on our property while we build our house.  It is so beautiful here.  When the weather is clear you will rarely find us inside. It’s a treat just to walk down the driveway and pick up the mail. Or watch the osprey hunt for fish in the marsh from our vantage point atop Dragonfly Hill.

As we build our dream, one of  things that makes it easier is the wonderful response we are getting about our endeavor.  It has been great hearing from friends, family, and even total strangers who are following the progress of building our earth sheltered home.  The responses have all been very positive and we love to share our experiences with you.  That is why we created this web site. Those of you new to our site, be sure to check out the Archives to get the full scope of our project.

So keep those e-mails coming in ([email protected]) or better yet, add your comments to our building blog and garden journal.  Or even better still, send a note taped to the bumper of a new Dutchman Grand Junction 5th wheel trailer, with 4 slide-outs, king size bed, “Cedar Suite” walk-in closet, Corian countertops and a fireplace.  We will only need to borrow it for another year or so.

Thanks.4 comments

You have a stranger-friend living here in Waldport who thinks of you every time she sees the rain blowing horizontally up the street! Am enjoying watching your progress — kudos to the both of you.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 – 12:30 PM
Congratulations there guys, sorry the weather has been such a drag for you and your progress.  We will check in often to see how it goes.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 – 12:57 PM
happy sweeping!
Saturday, June 5, 2010 – 07:53 PM
Derik Keith
HAHA!  I love your blog.  Found it today and have been reading every word from the begining.  Very captivating.  Heck I’m even taking notes…  We are in the planning stage of building a Formworks in Oklahoma.  I wish you the very best and enjoy you sharing with the world.  Take care and keep up the good work.