Forming the House, Part 6


More rooms are becoming boxes. Look at all those workmen working! And all those empty pallets! The Durisol is almost all gone. These guys are working fast. They do have a beautiful view, though, don’t they, when they have a chance to look up from installing Durisol, hacking away at rocks, and wetting and tamping down the bricks and dirt? You have seen some (Ha! some?!) pictures of the building site and you know there are a lot of rocks–big rocks, small rocks, and bedrock rocks. There are also rocks in the footings that Steve dug and the workmen are having to dig these out with jack hammers, picks, and shovels. This is back-breaking work. I clean the house and think I’ve done a lot, but these guys…well, they make it look easy. As Steve noted: they’ve found their rhythm on this project and they just hum along. It is thrilling, and also humbling, to watch them.

In addition to the house building site, there are other elements Steve and his crew have implemented: the black water storage tank, the pressure tank and pump for the water tank (small green motor and small white tank), and the electrical transformer (the green box).

The big black tank is, you guessed it, the water storage tank. Water storage tanks are black to block sunlight and prevent the growth of algae. This is one of two tanks we have decided to install for the house. Each one stores 2,500 gallons. At present, Steve is hauling water to the site and filling up this tank. A well has been dug at some distance from the property and eventually we will hook these water tanks up to that well. In the meantime, Steve has the equipment to bring water to the site and this is really wonderful because we could not have broken ground without water, as you can understand now, I think.

The two water storage tanks will be embedded in the ground near the garage and shielded from view with a nice adobe brick wall. The water pump will go into the closest mechanical room inside the house. Long-term plans include more storage tanks on the west end of the house and a water reclamation project which will take rainwater from the roof and store it in these tanks. Water is a big issue out here–there is not much on the mountain, so figuring out how you are going to get it and how you will have access to it in the future is critical. A neighbor told me, jokingly, that when the revolution comes, it will not be about money or power. It will be about water. I laughed. Then he told me he really wasn’t joking…

The electrical is really important, too. Steve does not realize how many freaking electrical devices there will be in this house! Maybe I should tell him? It is a wire/network/satellite-fed world we live in, even in Alpine, Texas. Where these plugs go and the power that comes to them is a big deal, even to someone who hopes to drop off the grid a bit.

And check out all that new rebar. These steel bars will be laid in the footings to strengthen the foundation.


The sky was particularly beautiful on this day, with swirls of white floating through the blue sky. I must get a thesaurus and look up alternative words for “blue.”

8 thoughts on “Forming the House, Part 6

  1. It must be very exciting watching your house grow day after day, raise from earth and come to life. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a great blog. Love the photos !


    • Thanks for visiting, Ara! It IS exciting to watch this grow, day by day, and to realize that, this time next year, I will be living in it! A lot must happen before then, of course. I am loving this process. And I’m loving writing about it, too. Glad you like!

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