Saturday, April 28, 2007

dome shell

This is what we have so far. This is the dome shell. Now, we have to trace this mold with 1/4 inch steel bars from the inside to create an exact copy. After that, the original mold can be disassembled and used again for another dome. And so on and so on.

Yesterday, we went back to Mexico to get more supplies. We only managed to find about half the steel bars that we need to trace the dome, so we may have to make one more trip there.

To change the subject, this desert dog is over 20 years old.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last night, we went to the Big Bend Hot Springs. Craig Moore, drove us. He spends most of the year here in Terlingua, and then spends the summers in Alaska leading youth group expeditions. Unfortunately, we hit a deer on the way back from the springs. We saw the deer limp off into the brush, but I doubt that it is alive today. We also ran over a snake. And almost a bunny rabbit. This part of the world is crawling with wildlife. They like the warm asphalt at night. Headlights confuse them.

Today, we completed the shell of the dome ( picture coming soon ). We have to go back to Mexico tomorrow to get more building supplies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

They took my Mango !

How was I to know that you can’t take Mangos back across the USA border ?

Other than that, it was a lot easier than I thought going back and forth between Texas and Mexico. They didn’t even ask for a passport…just my mango. Today took us to the Mexican town of Ojinaga, otherwise known as OJ. That’s where one goes to get less expensive and some say better health and dental care. Don needed a crown for his tooth and I needed cement, so off we went.

We’ve been moving the dome frame piece by piece on the roof of my Volvo. Each time, it feels like we’re launching another module of the space station. Luckily, Don lives only a couple of miles away, and luckily again, there is nothing out here to crash into.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yesterday I visited Jaquin, a painter from Portugal who has been in Terlingua for three years. He built his house from scratch, and lives completely off grid. He has an energy system that is mostly solar and some wind. He says that it is enough power to run all of his utilities easily...including a freezer, a washer and dryer, and microwave ( all energy hogs ). He has a water catchment system that he says gives him 500 gallons of water for every 1/4 inch of rainfall.

Yesterday was very windy. My pop up canopy from Academy was mangled, but I will have a more permanent structure soon. Every evening here provides a spectacular sunset, guaranteed. And every night is like staying in a planetarium.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

First couple of days in Terlingua

Yesterday, I met Don, the 80 year old geodesic dome builder. He has been perfecting his technique for most of his life. I have the option to stay on Don's ( the dome builder ) land, as he has many usable structures and also has electicity and well water. After that, we may start work on a dome structure for my land. I'm looking into a satellite phone to use temporarily while I wait for the phone company to install a land line ( which could take up to 90 days ). I visited Abe and Josie, the couple with the off grid adobe house, and stayed there the first night. Josie cooked delicious omellettes with the eggs from their chickens. They talked for hours about off grid living and filled me in on who is who and who can do what in the area. They have started a new experiment producing their own ethanol. It's a simple formula using molasses, which could produce a gallon for a little over a dollar. It takes 5 days to brew, and the technique is very similar to brewing beer. If your car doesn't already accept ethanol, it would have to be retrofitted to accept the fuel.

The good thing about gasoline being $3 a gallon is that it takes less time to put $10 in your tank.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

West Texas...I'm here.

the Volvo, which I have named "Ruby", made it to West Texas without a hitch. I am in Alpine now, only 60 miles from where my land is. I ordered a phone line, but it can take up to 90 days, so I won't have direct phone access on this trip. I'll have access to wifi here and there and my phone can roam when I'm in Alpine, so I'll be in touch and I'll post again soon.