From the bottom up.


A truly British week for weather with wind and rain and sun and snow. A couple of days we’ve had some hours of lovely sun and the hills around starting to look a little greener. Order of the week has been to get these TJI joists in.


With a forest of stainless steel studs in place I've now got some fixed points from which to measure from, or to. Each of the TJI joists has to have a hole precisely drilled in the upper and lower plate of the joist so as to fit over the studs positioned at the perimeter of the dome base. Done right all the TJI’s will form an exact circle to match the circular base of the new dome. The tried and tested rule of measure twice and cut once was carefully followed on all 15 of the principal joists.



The trick with securing the studs in place was passed on to me by a friend (Paul) who lives “off grid” in the outer Scottish isles. He has a large tower outside his croft which supports his wind turbine and as he puts it “ the tower is glued down to millions year old granite using 2 part Hilti Resin”. Using an injector gun, 2 part resin is mixed and pumped into pre drilled holes and then the steel rod is pushed home into the resin. After about an hour the resin starts to set off and after 4 hours you can hang literally tons off the rod. This is how all my studs are secured to my local bed rock.



Paul has an interesting job operating an electric powered inter island RoRo ferry boat around the outer islands. The battery on the ferry is about the size of a small lorry and is charged up over night when the ferry is moored up and then an electric motor is used to drive the ships propeller. The system avoids burning oil and has been in operation for the last 5 years or so and has saved tonnes of nasty diesel emissions. This is his turbine being winched down for servicing.


Meanwhile back at the ranch I have been getting on with cutting and drilling the 1st 15 joists, so Saturday afternoon with snow on the ground again it seemed like a time for hard labour and K and I carried them across the field to their final resting place. All but one dropped nicely into place and that one will need trimming by about 25mm in length so as to allow the 4 "cardinal point" joists to snuggle up tight together at the centre point. Result. For overnight protection we’ve covered the lot with plastic sheet and hope the wind doesn’t get underneath and rip the sheet to shreds.



This week has also seen Katherine launch a Facebook page for Redwood Retreat and I now note that Mr Google has in his wisdom decided to announce to the world my imminent birthday. The significance being that along with birthday cards (perhaps)I will also get “my cards” and traditionally a gold watch. I can actually remember having my cards, I.e. a card on which a stamp was physically stuck every week to record payment of your National Insurance contributions. Hence the expression “getting your cards” when you left a job. Any how I’m about to join the senile citizens club. Never ever thought I’d make it this far. And to my grateful employer please don't bother with the watch as I havn't worn a time piece in decades.


Muffin loves the snow, I think it enhances the scents that he reads like a newspaper. Here he is pretending to be "a (goddammed) working dog". About to excavate a mouse or spider!!

This week’s sound track has been dominated by “my girls” with Emmylou Harris (Pieces of the sky), plus Linda Ronstadt and also The Dixie Chicks. Beautiful voices with a touch of country and blues. Very evocative.


Power generated this week.

PV power 11.8 Kwhrs

W Turbine 23.24 Kwhrs

Total renewable energy 35.04Kwhrs, down on last week in spite of the storm at the beginning of the week.

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