Monday, January 30, 2017

Small dome floor pour part 2

Last week I had to work, the week before was torrential rain all day. Maybe it is the other way around, but in any case, today was beautiful and mild. We got to see the result of the second layer pour, part 1. After the difficult time trying to level a whole floor in one slab, with no place to sit and trowel, I had to split it up, and even in half was pretty tough considering I have about 30 minutes horizontal troweling experience. Wall troweling and floor troweling are only similar in concept, the feel and demands are extremely different. Wall troweling is difficult but forgiving and fast, where as floor troweling is like a game of twister where you are the only player and you keep getting the same color on every spin! :( That means feet, knees, hands elbows all in the same small spot, now in this compromised position, tired from hand shoveling and mixing the cement and sand, try to create a masterpiece, or at least something that resembles a smooth surface. On the upside, I got to spend the day with Raquel and until she got tired and annoyed with an overly wet batch of stucco, she was in a silly fun mood, despite the non stop heavy metal soundtrack. (okay there was some Sturgil Simpson in there too) Raquel focused on blending some of the harsher stucco transitions in the big dome, and I thought she was very successful despite the wet mix. 

I discovered a scarab beetle chillin on the outside of the dome, near the practice sidewalk slab, which by the way turned out pretty sturdy. The scarab is the coolest beetle ever! I just discovered these facts about the dung (scarab) beetle which I will delightfully share.

The ancient Egyptians believed that Ra, the sun god's role was to sail across the heavens during the day in his boat called the “Barque of Millions of Years.” In the morning when Ra emerged from the east, his boat was named, “Madjet” which meant “becoming strong.” By the end of the day the boat was called, “Semektet” which meant “becoming weak.” At the end of the day, it was believed that Ra died and sailed on to the underworld, leaving the moon in his place to light up the world. Ra was reborn at dawn the very next day. The morning manifestation of Ra is known as “Khepri the scarab God.

Morning Ra

Scientists had long observed dung beetles (Scarabaeus satyrus) dancing on their poo balls, and suspected they were looking for cues to help them navigate. New research confirmed that at least one species of African dung beetle, Scarabaeus satyrus, uses the Milky Way as a guide to steering its dung ball home. The researchers placed tiny hats on the dung beetles, effectively blocking their view of the heavens, and found the dung beetles would only wander aimlessly when unable to see the stars!
Ra knows it's all about the MERCHANDIZING!
We were just barely getting started and it's the sunset magic hour already!
I mean, shiii .. righ...?
Prepped like a superadobe slacker!
That weird bubble gap will get filled in by the other side and make like an interlocking puzzle piece. That was the plan all along, yeah, that's the ticket!
I am 99% sure "they" do not "do it" like "this".
Raquel in the stucco zone. Btw, its probably 65 degrees F in the dome at the moment this photo was taken. :D 
Raquel's smooth work in progress. 
Workhorses. Some folks out there are under the assumption these are called "wheelbarrels". Read a book!
"Oh look at those sweet wheelbarrows!"  "Yes, I love wheelbarrows!"
This is the exact same photo as the last one except I took about 3 steps to the right and it is 5 seconds later. Details matter.
Extreme zoom in an attempt to get the snow-capped mountains.
This is the slab from last time. It's only 3 inches thick or so and it is very strong, at 20% cement / sand. I found it a nice place to stand and change into my plaster pants. 
Fab slab
Wet floor
Wet floor, higher exposure 
This second pour alone used 3 wheelbarrow batches
Stucco Sculpter!

Next time we need to wrap up big dome plaster, and start dividing up the floor into pourable sections. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 - back to work!

After a nice break from building, 2 colds and several rain storms, it was time to get back to work. After a busy Saturday, this morning came with excuses and bargaining about not going and building but in the end, stubborn gumption and the spirit of the desert carried me to the dome to pour the floor once more. After a difficult time trying to trowel the entire floor balancing on a small circular brick I decided to only pour half at a time. Even that was hard! I guess I am going to have to give up.

The center line is the solstice line where the sun appears at noon on winter solstice. Levels are for nyerds. We pour first, ask questions later. 
Raquel touched up some of the rougher spots of the big dome while I mixed endless batches of cement outside in the dark. 
The top of the main dome looking sweet, but I still have to scrub off the stucco from the jars.
The moon had a huge corona, I think it was a 32 oz!
Raquel @ work... 55° F, snow hat, metallic lined thermal long johns! 
Do you see the orb, dude?
Leftover concrete mix became sidewalk/slab test block. It will be a nice flat place to put drinks and stuff.