Academy, Day 11

Woke up this morning to bright sunshine, but it was still pretty chilly.

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Saw a hot air balloon hovering over Taos too. It’s tiny in the picture, but it’s pretty much dead center.

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Today, in class, we had a double session of aquaponics. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a combination of hydroponics and aqua-culture. Hydroponics is where you grow food plants on a bed floating on water. Aqua-culture is farm raising fish. Aquaponics does both. You use the fish water to feed the plants continuously in a mini eco system. It’s pretty neat, and we saw lots of examples and how to go about it ourselves.

After that, it was back to work at the main build site. The inspector came by this morning while we were all in class, so today, I got to mix concrete for the buttress footings that needed to be poured. Here is the basic process. Start with a bucket of water.

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Then add two buckets of aggregate. In our case, we are using large gravel for aggregate.

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After that you add half a bag of cement. A bag of cement is about 100 lbs (45.5 kg). Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of a bag of cement. After the cement you add two buckets of sand.

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In case you’re wondering where all this goes, it’s in one of these fancy mixer machines that is constantly spinning to do the mixing for you. It looks like this:

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And here is a close up.

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This was my first time mixing concrete so it took a bit of doing. I had a tendency to have it too dry. Except for the one at the end, which was extra “creamy”. It all worked out in the end and the footings got poured. We put an anchor bolt in each footing as well, which you can see in this picture.

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After that, I was working on digging out the trench for the tires that go under the front face. The dirt here in the desert is really tough as it has a lot of clay in it, and it’s really dry, so it’s almost like rock. We were digging it out with pick axes. Here is the number of tires that got pounded today for that.

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If you wanted to see what the finished can wall formwork looks like, here it is.

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That’s all we got to on site today. I’m thinking we might be doing the big pour for the bond beam tomorrow, if we can get everything ready. If not, it will be Monday for sure.

When we got back to our residence, one of the neighbours brought over fresh goose eggs and one duck egg. The duck egg is about the same size as a chicken egg, so this picture will give you some idea of how big the goose eggs are.

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They fry up pretty big too. A meal unto themselves.

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Time to work on homework and find some time to sleep.

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