OMG! What a vacation house.

My siblings, their spouses, and I spent the last week in Madison WI area after my brother’s Ironman race. He finished, but had to walk too much of the marathon portion, from leg cramps. He was not satisfied with his time, but he completed the course. Wow.

Dale at approx mile 75 of 112 mile bike leg.

We rented a house in Cambridge, right on a tree farm / bird sanctuary. Joe Arrington (owner) took us for a tour on his atv, showing what they do for growing oak and walnut for lumber. They also have ponds and meadows for attracting birds and animals. His family and employees all have homes on the land, and a couple of empty places they rent. This is the nicest one we’ve been in.

fireplace in living room – very high ceilings!

We have found for a family like ours, four bedrooms (and five when our mother was with us), with sufficient bathrooms and a living space where we can all gather is so much better than hotel rooms. We’ve had a large place with screened pool and hot tub in Orlando: a house in a traditional summer community on Lake Erie with beach and great yard for lounging; a pretty house in the mountains outside of Asheville in autumn; a smaller group of us rented a renovation in-progress B&B (so the owner let us have the whole place) in our home town; a condo in Key West. The Oak House is one we want to find an excuse to go back to visit.

kitchen, sink and dishwasher behind to left. The double doors across are for a walk-in pantry.

Dining room, gorgeous table, screened porch beyond.

The kitchen was huge and inviting. We actually cooked in more than going out to eat. The dining table was beautiful, made in their workshop. I would love to have one like it. We had great weather and spent quite a bit of time on the screened porch.

Checking out the screened porch.

We all enjoyed our visit to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo. There were a number of shoppers for the Duluth Trading Co in Horeb, city with a troll theme. Madison is a very attractive city. We also took a day to visit a recently widowed cousin just north of there. Mostly we just talked a lot and caught up with each other’s lives, as usual. Of the seven of us, I’m the only one indifferent to cheese curds, and we tried appetizers in a few places.

Sarus crane, largest flying bird, at 6 feet tall. Could not get a decent picture in sunlight of this impressive creature.


Getting Ready for Weather

Irma is coming, and we expect some rain and maybe strong winds, no matter which direction the hurricane turns. The crew is midway through getting the connector between the old and new domes completed. They are scurrying to get enough concrete over the steel mesh and rebar, then plan to put plywood over the window and door openings. That section gets water backed up while it is still open to rain. On my back patio I’ve been storing large items that I ordered ahead for the plumbing. They will move those into the dome shell, to keep them safe. I am really glad they took down a large dead tree while they still had the extended forklift, it could have hit either Sharon’s house or mine if it fell in those directions.

more work on connector hallway

Since the connector between domes is very custom designed, it is taking the crew a while to make sure it is properly fitted. It is a series of 5 panels, bottom 2 vertical, next 2 leaning toward the center, and top is a flat piece, but they are giving it a bit of an angle from front to back. This is also uphill to downhill, so any water runoff will go away from the house. I’m finally getting the feel for how the hallway will be between the domes.

working on hallway

I’m actually leaving this weekend, not because of the storm, but for a family get-together. My siblings and their spouses and I try to have a reunion every couple of years. A week is just right, and we pick different places each time. This year is Madison WI because my brother is in an Ironman race this weekend. That still awes me. We have rented an amazing looking house through VRBO. I’ll post pictures after I get back. It is so nice to have all under one roof and be able to be up at odd hours talking and let other go to their rooms. I think the only unhappy family members are my cats, and they don’t suspect I’m leaving them until I get out the suitcase.

Sharon will be here to feed my cats, and she will be whelping the first litter for her Goldendoodle, Dani. I’ll encourage her to post about the puppies, including pictures. They are so cute and entertaining after a month of age.

Starting the Connector

view to N with bathroom window opening ready and connector panels

The extended forklift is waiting for the equipment rental store to send someone to pick it up (but my rental charges are ended). The crew has been working on the connector hallway between old and new domes. Since I’m putting sheet vinyl down in the kitchen and spare room (old dome) and hardwood in the new, they are making sure the floor is one smooth transition. This is requiring some adjustments on the first row of panels.

view from current front door with bottom panels – there will be a door to each side at these openings

With the hurricane remnants bringing rain our way this week, I think they’d like to get it enclosed as much as possible so they aren’t splashing around in puddles. The hallway has been collecting deep puddles every time it rains much, because there is a row of concrete blocks to elevate the walls, and no place for runoff. The doors and windows are some of the last items to be installed, and the crew needs the ventilation now, so there will be rain blown in. At least the weather is a lot cooler than last week, 10 to 20 degrees.

view to SE with start of connector walls

I’ve been busy spending money online to order things they might need before I get back from a trip I’m taking. My siblings, their spouses, and I have rented a house near Madison WI for a small reunion. We like to get together every year or two like this, and VRBO has been a great place to find homes big enough. The location was selected because my brother is entered in another Ironman race. I am looking forward to seeing all of them, after spending the past year recovering from injury, then surgery on the rotator cuff. This will test my recovery to drive so far, but I’m stopping halfway overnight and the hotel has a hot tub. Sounds good.

Eclipse Week

crescents from colander holes

We were directly under the totality path, and it was great! I only took one picture, was too busy looking up at the corona and the 360 degree sunset for the 2 1/2 minutes. Besides, I did not have a zoom lens that would have done enough for a good pic. It was worth standing out in the heat.

view to SE, with another load of sand,

This week they are finishing off the seams and as you see in the picture, the solar tube (22 inches in diameter) will go in the living room ceiling. They will cut the hole tomorrow.

view to N, bathroom window prepared

The bathroom window is about ready for the actual window (a much later add-on). In the front of this picture you can see the beautyberry bush in fruit. It was a new plant to me when I moved farther south to SC. It is so pretty.

Next is the connector hallway, then flooring, with heating system installed.


Didn’t make it through to the end

it mixed a lot of concrete

Got the bright yellow mixer for building the first dome. I guess this larger dome was just too much for it. It reached the end of its usefulness and has been replaced. Of course, I was hoping (and expecting it) to make it through without another expense, but not my luck on this addition. There is still quite a bit of concrete to mix and apply, so the new black and blue model will take over.

let’s see what this model can do

Just a quick note and pictures

view to SE dome completed, although needs additional coats on seams

Today the crew got the last tier in place and the first coat of concrete on the seams! Now to add more concrete and to install the connector between domes.

view to E, completed through top tier. This is the least muddy view, away from the actual construction.

Cooler Weather, More Work

Rainy day, a lot more completed – view to East

End of the week and the crew has the next-to-last tier of triangles set in place. Still have the clamping together of the mesh, then application of concrete in the seams, but it is really shaping up. A couple of the guys plan to work on Saturday to complete the concrete on this tier. The cooler and rainy weather has really helped. It has not been too wet to allow the concrete to set, so things went quite a bit faster this week.

View to SE – one tier to go

view to NW, rather muddy jobsite

View to west, mud everywhere from past week of rain.

This leaves one more tier of 5 triangles at the top and the hallway connector before the shell is up. A final coat of concrete will be added to the seams, making it smoother and looking good. Once it is fully cured, the support framework can be removed. After that is putting in a floor, inbound plumbing, and the heating system. Then the interior walls go up and electrical and air conditioning stuff will be run. I sure hope having all the foam makes it more comfortable to work in the heat. There is still a lot to do.