Academy, Day 26… The last day.

Well, after all that snow we had yesterday, this is what we woke up to. Still some snow on the ground and a fairly cool wind, though not very strong. Pretty nice day, actually.


When we got on site, there was this funky cloud line of in the distance. I took a panoramic of it, but I’m not sure how well you’ll be able to pick it out.


We were working on site this morning and it was vigas day. Yeah, we were supposed to have that done last Monday, but there were a few delays. Also, we had no crane so we did it with a little ingenuity and a lot of people. In this first picture, you can see how we’ve prepared a viga to be rolled off the pile.


We setup ramps at both ends that the viga is rolled up. Here you can see the ramp up to the scaffolding we setup to raise the viga up in stages.


Turning a bit more, you’ll see how the scaffolding raises up another level, up to the height of the beam. There was a team of six or seven guys to lift that end of the viga up to the top level.


Once we got rolling, it went pretty quick. In fact, according to Phil, if you get in a groove, you can actually do it faster than using a crane. It just takes way more people.


Here is a shot of about half of the vigas in place. They weren’t nailed yet, just blocks were put in to prevent them from rolling. Eventually, there will be some measuring and adjustments and then a really long drill bit will be used to drill through the entire diameter of the viga into the beam or nailer plate below. Then we’ll drive rebar into the holes to pin the vigas in place. It’s pretty dang solid once it’s finished.


And here is the shot of all of vigas in place. We only had enough vigas to cover the main living space of the house; the garage will be done later. Not to mention that we we missing materials to build the front beam wall for the garage as well.


This shot is looking at all of the vigas from below, looking at the front face. Yeah, they’re all uneven right now, but that will get straightened out when they’re fixed to the beam. There will be some trimming with a chainsaw involved.


It was a bright sunny day, so I just had to take another picture of the mountains in the distance.


So, I bet you’re all dying to know how I did on the exam? Well, I got 98%. Most of the marks I heard about were in the 90s and the lowest mark I heard of was 88%. We all did well. We also got free t-shirts. They had a number of designs, but I chose one with the Earthship Biotecture logo.

Tire Academy

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Albuquerque to fly home Sunday morning. I’ll start to work on posting all of the tour pictures I took while at the academy. Once that’s done, the posting will probably slow down a bit as we look for land of our own to build our own Earthship.


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