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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/13/2010

I elected to run up today to check on the overall progress and to do some scouting for where I intend to put the solar PV. I had to download the weather data, and there didn't seem to be any particular reason to wait until tomorrow, so I saddled up Blackie and headed up the canyon.

I headed up in the afternoon and for a bit I thought maybe I'd made a horrible mistake. Most of the road was fine, but where it was muddy--boy was it muddy!  Thank the stars that Colleen had wisely left the snow chains on Blackie; I used both them and the four-wheel drive extensively from time to time. There are two spots in particular that are bad--one is in front of an abandoned earthship about a mile below the house, and the other is directly in front of Tanglewood where the driveway splits off from the main road. The hill in front of the earthship is about half exposed, but the road slopes uphill (as you go in) and is located on the north side of the hill itself so all of the snowmelt or rain that comes off of that hill runs down the road.

The area in front of Tanglewood is more problematic, and right now our plans for the driveway will only partially address the issue. The biggest problem is that there's a dip in the road right where the driveway splits off, and the whole area is under heavy pine tree shade--so snow blows in there and doesn't melt easily. When it does melt, it runs down into this little dip and percolates deep into the clay, turning it into a remarkable mud that's scary slippery. I don't want to cut down any of the trees over this area--they're very picturesque and provide good shade in the summertime--and so I'm not entirely sure what to do to mitigate the problem. We plan to install culverts down either side of the driveway and the main road towards the end of construction, and this will help keep some of the water from getting to this area in the first place, but what it really needs more than anything is about 30 tons of sawdust. That wouldn't last long (maybe a month or so) but it would go a long way towards firming up the area. I'm going to have to do something once we're living up there, though; either that or be prepared to drive Blackie to work during the springtime.

Anyway, enough of the road. The house is coming along very well, with the scissor trusses now installed being the biggest change since the last time I was up there. Since they only got there a couple of days ago I'm pretty impressed. The trusses had arrived in the teeth of another blizzard a few days ago and so the crew was unable to do much for several days, but by Thursday they were taking down the old trusses and putting in the new ones. That had been their primary focus for the last couple of days. More roofing has been put on and so it's really starting to feel like you're "inside a house" now when you walk around, particularly upstairs where there are so many windows (and more interesting views). 

It's really amazing to see how the dream is gaining form... wow.


Steven in Colorado Springs


The road just inside the first gate. That big white ribbon on the left is the creek.
Farther up the road. The mud here isn't really all that bad per se, but there's a lot of water running down the hill from the melt.
A closeup of the high end of the road in the previous shot. The mud here was a bit tricky.
Long shot of the house. You can see that the living room roof (left-hand side) is now on.
Outside closeup of the living-room roof.
The back of the house, looking over the apartment roof towards the guest bedrooms. Those staggered little windows are in one of the guest bathrooms.
The other side of the house, looking along its 'back' wall. The guest bathroom here also has three port windows. On both sides I'm planning to put glass bricks, since there's not really much to look at here.
A better look at the apartment roof. As you can see, I've made the roofs fairly steep to help shed snow and ice quickly.
Looking towards the library from the back side. Obviously, they haven't done the roof here yet, but that's going to come next. That big empty area on the right will be the tower.
Looking down the ramparts towards the living room. You can clearly see the deck drains in this shot.
I took this shot after walking back down from the solar area. That trailer belongs to the concrete crew; they'll come fetch it once the mud dries out a bit.
Closeup of the house from the solar-side hill. That patio door faces almost due south; eventually I'd like to put a small sunroom here, but that will have to come later.
It's sometimes amazing what a mess the roofing guys can make.
The scissor trusses! Huzzah!
A familiar shot looking down towards the guest rooms from the library. Pretty dry right now.
More roofing mess. They were in rather a hurry to make the living-room problem right, I think.
Another view of the construction mess. These are most of the trusses the crew removed from the living room.
Looking from the hallway area toward the library. You can see some of the trusses that came out of the living room leaning against the wall.

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