Colorado Earthship Build: Day 24 (More atrium work)

I thought I would start off the day using up some of that nice bread we bought at the bakery. We’ve had a few loaves from them, and you often get to the ends which aren’t big enough to make sandwiches out of (for two people anyway) and you wonder what you can do with it.

I ended up making french toast. I sliced some bananas on them and sprinkled it with cinnamon and then broke out our stash of maple syrup. I should point out the sun had just crested the mountain, so it makes the toast look extra yellow. It wasn’t really that vibrant.


After that lovely breakfast, Kat and I headed up to the build site. It seemed really quiet this morning. That is partially due to the fact that a lot of people are working up top, so if you are working down below, you’re mostly alone. It is also due to the fact that some didn’t show up for work today and some others have actually left as their time is up. Supposedly they are getting another twenty people this weekend for the second phase. Our last day at the build will be Saturday.

Anyway, there is this big swimming pool of water that the concrete guys use for mixing and washing and it usually looks really murky, but today I arrived to it looking really clear. No one had disturbed it yet and all of the sand/dirt/concrete had settled to the bottom. It was pretty neat and certainly rare.


As mentioned yesterday, our first order of business was to pour the end blocks that we built forms for. I shoveled concrete while Kat stabbed it to get out her morning aggrivations. We had a bit of a panic when the form shifted so we shoved in more bracing.


In the end, we got them poured and the anchor bolts in place. We then let them set for most of the day.


While the concrete was setting, Kat and I started a new quest: build a double wide door frame for the front of the atrium. Oh, hey, let’s go look at the drawings and see if we can find the dimensions. Nope, no dimensions there. It only had references to other parts that we had to measure from to figure out how big the door frame was supposed to be.

That involved setting up the site/transit level and “shooting some lines” to figure out where things were. Once we had those, myself, Phil and Mike R had a discussion about the door and its dimensions. Phil and Mike came to an agreement and then I had some dimensions to work with.

I should also mention it was getting really hot by this point. Luckily, I wasn’t pounding tires or I would have had a much more difficult time. Nothing I did was too strenuous today, so I was hot, but I felt okay.

I don’t have a before picture, but this is the door frame I built. I finished it after lunch while Kat was out at the store.


I have to say, I was pretty proud of the results. I took extra care with my cuts to make them accurate. I made sure the whole thing was square using the diagonal dimensions. I added the bracing in to keep it that way too. It’s lying on its side, by the way, in that picture above. The extra bit at the top will have a window put in it.

The door frame will be installed tomorrow.

It was mid afternoon when that was all finished and by that point the concrete on our morning pours had set up enough we could take the forms off. So we did.


They aren’t perfect, that’s for sure, but they should get the job done. We also put the piece of Trex down across the part where the door is going to go. We tightened down the nuts on the anchor bolts and I used the grinder to cut of the excess threads.

We re-established the center line for the building and marked that on the door nailing plate and then centered the door frame on that line. I put in some wood stakes in the ground so we would have something for the door bracing to be attached too. I also cut the trex plates to go across the sections we had to leave undone due to the concrete pouring, but we didn’t put them in for fear of ripping out the anchor bolts in the new pour as it hadn’t finished fully hardening yet.

By that point, clean up had been called, so we know what we’ll be doing first thing tomorrow morning.


In other news, Captain Planet stopped by to have a beer today with the crew. He was a lot smaller than what I imagined.


The people upstairs have been getting a lot done. Here we have a picture of Mike R sitting on the short wall that will receive the angled glass for the green house. One of the trusses has already been put in place.


Here it is again from the other side. I would be willing to bet that all of the trusses will be in place there by the end of the day tomorrow.


Also I thought I heard someone say the cement trucks are supposed to make another appearance tomorrow to pour the bond beam and buttresses for the upper level. That will mean we should be ready to put the logs on the roof of the second level on Friday.

Here is another progress shot of the bottle work around the doors. I like this shot because it shows the full length of the house, messy as it is right now.


Tomorrow will be another action packed day of atrium work. I don’t mind it, but it does feel like we’re moving slowly. Though, I must say, it’s just been Kat and I with no one else to help. I’m sure things would move much quicker if we had more hands on deck… er atrium.


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