Sep 07

Update On The Po’ Mike El Rancho/Retreat

by Mike Miller

Update On The Po’ Mike El Rancho/Retreat, Somewhere In The Shoshone Range, North Central Nevada (BTW, Am Considering Changing The Name To “Simpler Times – Trader Joe’s House Brand Of El Cheap-O Beer, As It Was Pointed Out That Po’ Mike Has Negative Connotations, And, I Am, In Fact, Rich Mike)

Mike explores Indian Creek
Mike explores Indian Creek.

Looking up-stream
Looking up-stream… Site of 1st satellite structure, amongst green green wild-rose bushes,
along Indian Creek, at 6,000’, beneath towering Mount Lewis.

Another view, mid-stream/down-stream
Another view, mid-stream/down-stream…
Structure will be of soil cement, steel, wood and glass and located along Indian Creek, at flat area full of wild-roses, on left.

Progress-to-date…
Site of community house is cleared
Site of community house is cleared. Thanks to architect, Chris Heinritz (with chain-saw)!

Now that we’ve semi-denuded the site
Now that we’ve semi-denuded the site, it’s time to plant willows and cottonwoods and restore the riparian habitat (gotta take care of the trout!).

Mike at start of step 1 of perc test
Mike at start of step 1 of perc test.

Chris nearing end of step 1 of perc test
Chris nearing end of step 1 of perc test.

Developer and off-the-grid mentor, Bill “Medicine Bear” Record
Developer and off-the-grid mentor, Bill “Medicine Bear” Record, in the hole, with the septic tank.

Mike in the hole, with “the yellow submarine”!
Mike in the hole, with “the yellow submarine”!

Septic system…
Septic system… Excess excavated soil will be used to produce soil cement for wood-stove walls of satellite rooms and primary walls of community house.

Structural and retaining walls in board-formed naturally dun-colored soil cement
Structural and retaining walls in board-formed naturally dun-colored soil cement. Seat walls, column bases and columns in brightly pigmented Pterra strata. All with horizontal grain.

Developing mix designs and colors of various strata (lifts)
Developing mix designs and colors of various strata (lifts). Excess soil from septic system excavation acts as the coarse aggregate, fine aggregate and pigment. Color is varied by adding different ratios of gray and white Portland cement. Water will be from our well. We will also utilize Nycon Nylon Fibers (along with steel reinforcement) and an air-entraining agent.

Well being drilled…
Well being drilled…

Eureka!
Eureka! You wouldn’t expect this in The Great Basin, but, we hit water at 25 feet… It’s a gusher!!!

Mike goes subterranean, in the well-house
Mike goes subterranean, in the well-house. Deep submersible pump is in and working. Well development continues.

With 9,800’ Mount Lewis in the background
With 9,800’ Mount Lewis in the background, a new gate and the barbed wire fence are in! Some 250 trees have been planted, 10” trout have been located, and, may we be blessed, the cows have been given the boot!!! So, our 2010 infrastructure work is in and done. One last push on the 1st of the satellite structures in late October and early November, after daughter, Kirsten and Dustin’s wedding, and, before we go super sub-zero (was –20 degrees Fahrenheit, when I was in Singapore, early last December) and the snow starts really falling. Will have additional update in November… Keep your eyes peeled!

For additional info on The Po’ Mike (Simpler Times) El Rancho/Retreat, check-out:

http://site.thevisualconcretegroup.com/

and

Concrete Decor: May to June 2010 Issue

And for a more complete description of the soil cement building process and the construction of our community house, check-out:

Concrete Decor: August to September 2010 Issue

For ideas related to vertical board-forming, a horizontal grain and the concept of “strata”, check-out:

Concrete Decor: January 2010 Issue

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