Dome Building Workshop

Sadly, my newly acquainted friend, Tom, with passion for all things Permaculture, is leaving. He has sold off all that he has accrued here in Portugal and setting off on a new trajectory. One of the things he has kindly passed onto me for the small fee of what it cost him in material, is his dome kit that he has put together. I decided that it would be good for him, since he’s gotten this far with it, to finally assemble it before heading off on his new life. Of course it was good for me too, otherwise it would have just been another item added to the to-do list. So we went ahead and organised an informal workshop around it. It turned out to be a great day, a spontaneous gathering, and in the end we were 12 in total.

Tom did a great job of making it as easy as possible to assemble. All pieces are cut correctly to length, with the correctly angled edge (10 or 12 degrees), and marked appropriately with an A, B or C. The ends just butt straight into the hubs that have the metal connector strips already attached.

A, B and C lengths
Marcio showing the angles cut on the edges.
The guide that Tom built to cut the 10 and 12 degree angles correctly.
The hubs (5 pointed for pentagonal junction and 6 pointed for hexagonal junction)

With respects to putting it together it was quite simple. Just referred to the instructions that he had laid out and the color coded model (made out of colored drinking straws and held together with small safety pins).

Instructions a la Tom
Handy color coded model for reference.

We started with building all the pentagons first (required a 5 pointed hub) and then went on to put it all together by filling the rest, constantly referring to the model.

Tom (in red) and Tiago, putting the first of the pentagons together.

Although there were many of us, there was only enough power tools available for about 3 people. Nonetheless it was good to have so many people holding the structure firm while putting the bigger pieces together, especially towards the end when we were attaching the final row at the base.

This is where it was good to get help from people to support the base while others joined the last bits.

Now that the structure is complete I just need to cover it with clear plastic. The first stage of it’s use will be as a green house.

All in an afternoon’s work for the great crew, and just before the rain came down.

Thanks to all who came to help build!

I thought that it might also be useful to mention to anyone wanting to build their own that all the material for this cost Tom about 100 euros! Essentially it’s the 4×2(cm) wood cut into lengths, 5cm rods/dowels sliced into 4cm lengths (same width as the wood that butts into them) and some galvanised steel strapping cut into correct lengths to make the hub.

By Providence alone.

Sometimes I wonder why the creator has led me to this land. It seems that the challenges are many and there are things that I would rather not have to deal with, or spend my time pursuing.

I find myself in another tricky position now and my attention is being drawn to an event being organised for tomorrow, Saturday of Easter weekend. One of the sons of the President of the Junta de Freguesia happens to be organising a moto-cross and all terrain vehicle event that will pass in between my two articles of land and right by my newly installed bee hives (18 of them). When I found out about it I approached the son and spoke with him and mentioned to him my concerns about the camino being destroyed. He assured me that it’s just going to be a ‘paseo’ and that if any of the road is destroyed he has insurance to cover it. I accepted that as a first response, I didn’t know what else to say.

This morning I wanted to go down and speak with him again. This time about the bees. My friend the forestry engineer said it would be better to get them to sign something that they acknowledge that the bees are there and that if anything happens as a consequence of their actions then they take full responsibility. His family are in the fruit transporting business. They have many semi trailers and trucks that transport across Portugal and Spain, and their base is at the bottom of my hill, near the bottom entrance of the land, so I thought I would walk down with Jobi and see if he would be willing to give me some attention. When I went down to speak with him he seemed occupied and to be honest, not very interested. I felt like I was seen more as a nuisance than anything else. I did not press the point, but I made it clear that there were 18 hives there. They acted like as if it was of little concern to them and that it would not bother them. Of course, this is exactly the problem. They don’t seem to understand that it could be something much more than a bother, a serious problem, to ME. They seem to have little empathy or understanding about how it could impact others.

They have organised this event without even coming by to advise me of it. They give little thought to the way that it could impact on the people living here (Me along with Marcio and Sara who are camped right along side the road where it will pass and will affect them even moreso).

Then Sara and Marcio do some research and see some of the past events that have occurred here, and they do not look like a ‘paseo’ to me …

I’m beginning to feel deceived. I will write a letter to express my thoughts, but I fear to what lengths I will be tested with this situation. I feel that I am being deceived and disrespected.

Am I to contemplate why these circumstances have befallen me? Am I being asked by the Creator to create? To find a creative solution to this problem? Or am I being asked to simply stand up and take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them? On this one I am a bit lost. There is nothing certain from here. Tomorrow we will see what happens. I will try to video.

On the positive side of this, I am beginning to understand that it’s important for the people of the surrounding villages to know what we are trying to do here and see if they are capable of respecting that.

William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1)

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.

Update: Tuesday 10th April.

Well, perhaps it was by providence alone. On the day of the races they never crossed my land. I could see them in the morning, racing at the bottom. They were going fast. I had decided to go and speak with the GNR anyway (Guardia Nacional Republica) to let them know that I may get angry if they start racing through/past/in between(?) my land putting Marcio’s and Sara’s lives at risk and may take measures against it such as block the access with my car. When I explained this to the officer at the desk he said that if I were to block the road it would be illegal because it’s a camino publico. He suggested that perhaps I bear with it since it’s all been organised officially and that they are within their legal rights to carry out their practice and that it would only last a few hours. Well, I couldn’t really say much more. I guess he was kind of pleading me to accept it. So I guess I did. It was probably too late to do something now anyway and would just have to work out a more longer term strategy, starting perhaps sensibilizing my neighbours as to what the project is about.

On the day ofI was kind of anxious all day. I didn’t really know what it would bring. Marcio, Sara and Myself spent most of the day just doing bits of work but also anticipating for them to come through and perhaps rush to video the event to show what kind of damage they might be doing. Well, as the day went on we started feeling more relieved that perhaps they had found another track. At the end of the day Marcio was even making jokes that perhaps I had misunderstood completely 🙂 … The day ended with a beautiful bright whitish sunset. It was not like one I’d seen before. A token by which to remember the blessing.

Today I went to the GNR to ask if they’d said something to them. The officer I spoke with wasn’t there, but the one I spoke with said that it had been rerouted because of some environmental protection issue, but that it had nothing to do with me and was something of a national law that intervened. What? How did that happen? Later I went to the shipping business where they work and they weren’t there. There was a guy there who I’d known from before and I asked him what happened with the motos and why didn’t they come through my land? He said that they decided to reroute it, because of something with the bees perhaps. I was pleased to hear that. It didn’t seem like they were majorly inconvenienced by it so I was pleased to see that also. I asked him to pass on my respects and my gratitude for that being respected.