Colorado Earthship Build: Day 19 (Building a bridge)

We didn’t start the day with any bear visits, but there was an extra number of wild life sightings. We did our best to take pictures, but you will need to look hard.

This first one was a deer with a full rack crossing the river. If you look dead center of the picture, you can see the V of his antlers just on the opposite side of the river. I really wish my camera had a zoom.


Next we have a bunny. We’ve seen many bunnies since we arrived here and they have all been really small, compared to the ones back home. The one in this picture is sitting with his back to us between the two trailers.


Then we had the family of geese, which you have seen before. These guys love to float down the river and then fly back up stream to do it all over again. They have their own personal flotilla, as it were.


After our wild morning, we headed in to the build site to see what wonderful and interesting things we would be tasked with today.

We arrived at the build site to discover the graffiti elves had been busy overnight.


Pretty sure this was done by someone on the crew and it’s on a part that is going to be covered anyway. Several times, in fact.

We headed back up to the roof and finished putting the decking around the big vent boxes. That didn’t take long. Phil then assigned Jim (fun guy from Australia) and myself to build the bridge/catwalk between the east and west sides. We started by putting the second beam in place, leveling it, drilling massive holes all the way through it (I’m the one with the drill) and then pounding rebar stakes through it into the logs below.

Them beams ain’t goin’ no where.


Tada! With the beams now secured, we got to start on putting the rafters going between them in place.


Here is a picture I took while I was sitting on the middle of the beam, hanging over the empty space below. What was I doing there, you might ask? Well, when you put rafters in, it helps if you know where to attach them. So I was moving along the beam and marking the spots where the rafters would connect with the beams. I did that for both beams.

My legs were sore after that too.


Working carefully while sitting on the beams, Jim and I moved across the span and put in place nine 2×10 rafters, with space above them to put in some decking. Here is a look after the rafters were completed.


Mike Reynolds came over a number of times to look things over. I asked him if it looked like he had envisioned it and he said, “yes”. Mike seems to just look things over. If something is wrong, he will tell you. If he just looks, then all is good.

For some reason, Mike wanted to have some barrier put down across the rafters before we put the decking on and originally told us to use plastic. Unfortunately, they had just used the last of the plastic we had on hand to do the thermal wrap at the back of the second level. So instead of waiting for the new plastic to arrive, Mike had us use a roll of tar paper in its place.

Frankly, I hate that stuff. It smells, and it makes the whole area really hot when the sun shines on it because it is black. Oh well, we put it on anyway. We were also careful not to fall through between the rafters after having covered them with the tar paper.


After the tar paper came the decking. It was at this point that Kat found me and joined up. Jim decided we didn’t need three people working on this, so he went to pound some tires.

Kat and I finished the decking, though the last strip was a bit of a pain because it was only 1.5″ (38mm) wide. We ended up having to make use of Kat’s newly acquired table saw skills to rip the thin pieces.

Then, when we tried to put the pieces in place, it turns out the side against the beam wasn’t exactly straight, so we had to plane off some parts to get them to fit.

After all said and done, it looked like this.


Not bad for a days work, if I do say so myself. It was definitely fun to make.

Mean while, in other areas, there was a big team with MikeR and Rory all pounding tires at the back of the house to get the upper/back level going. Here you can see they have already managed to complete four courses and put in the thermal wrap (white foam board covered with plastic) behind it.


That can and bottle form wall got poured today as well. Oh, and if you thought maybe the concrete pumping truck was fixed and came back to help us, you would be incorrect. All of the concrete pours have been mixed on site and poured by hand. We are serious movers of earth (and concrete) here.


They had to clear more space behind the house for things like the four cisterns that are going there so the excavator was back doing its thing. Here is a shot of a tree getting a severe trimming.


Tire pounding update: they are now half done the fifth course. Those guys really got into it, considering I don’t think the first course was finished when they started today.


Around 15:30 the glass did finally arrive. There was a big team of people who helped to move all of the panes into the garage. I’m going to bet that’s what we will be working on tomorrow.


They also did the second pour for the atrium today. That took quite the number of loads of concrete as well.

If you look at that picture carefully, you can see Kat, who is also taking a picture. Perhaps if you went over to her blog, you might get to see what she saw through her camera.


That was all for today at the build site. Tomorrow will be more relaxed, so Kat and I will head out to the farmer’s market in the morning again to grab some fun things.

And now for a comment on camping.

I don’t know how many of you are campers, but let me give you a tip if you don’t have much experience. See this tent below?


This is our new neighbour at the RV park where we are camping. As far as I am concerned, this tent is useless. Oh, it’s fine if it doesn’t rain, but that fly on top isn’t going to stop the rain if it does decide to thunderstorm, which it does regularly here.

There are many tents like this up at tent city beside the build site. If those walls get wet, you and your stuff will get wet. If you’re buying a tent, get one where the fly completely covers it, not these little skull cap ones.

Oh, and another thing about tents: I have seen people put down a tarp or other ground sheet type layer under the tent, usually with the sides of it sticking out beyond the borders of the tent. If it rains, what do you think is going to happen? Unless your tent is on a slope, that tarp is going to catch water and hold it under your tent, pretty much guaranteeing you will get wet as it will just soak through the bottom if the water is just sitting there.

One more thing: always make sure you use those tent pegs that come with it. We had some other neighbours two weekends ago and apparently they thought it was nice and didn’t need to peg down the tent. Well, the wind came up and blew their tent, and everything in it, into the river. Should I mention that they had borrowed that tent from someone? Oh, they also had a tarp under it.

We saw that tent later in the garbage bin as the poles were completely ruined and the whole thing had been tied in knots.

Please think these things through and have a pleasant tenting experience. Stuff like this is why people hate camping, when really they brought it on themselves.

Just sayin’


2 thoughts on “Colorado Earthship Build: Day 19 (Building a bridge)”

  1. As with most things in this life all it takes is thought and common sense. I think it was Kat who used to say… all you need to be is 10 percent smarter than whatever it is you’re dealing with. have a relaxed Saturday. Mums

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