Friday, December 2, 2011


For those of you who have been following this blog for awhile, you are aware that my husband can come up with some 'big' ideas, but this time I think he has outdone himself!  He saw an ad in the Farm and Dairy for fiberglass domes that have been used as covers for the Akron water treatment plant. He showed me a picture and asked me if it would be anything that we could use.  I thought hmmmmm, a 100' covered round pen could be very useful.  So after a few phone calls we went to look at them to see if it would be something we would be interested in. 

Dome at the Akron Water Treatment Plant
I have to tell you that the picture doesn't accurately portray the magnitude of this structure.  The center peak is 15' high, each of the 34 panels is close to 50' long and 9' wide at the base!  We jokingly called it a 'spaceship'. Now picture it on top of a 10' tall cement base, not at ground level like it's shown here.  I'm still having trouble envisioning that!

Now all we had to do is figure out where to put it, how to get it home, and how to get it up.  Dave made some more calls and found someone to haul it which was half of what we paid for it and get bids for building the structure to put it on.  Well all of a sudden our frugal little project is turning into a major investment!!  But still less that if we had to build something similar from scratch.

We finally decided to on a location where it hopefully won't look too out of place and be useful for more than riding. We're going to put it in the south east corner of the pasture just south of the dressage ring closest to the drive and near the barns.  It's going to be dug into the side of the hill so it won't be sticking 25' feet up into the air looking like aliens have arrived at SGF.  Hopefully that will help to keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in  the winter. We also felt that with the close proximity to the stabling barns it could be used as a shelter for people during competitions and clinics.  And let's hope it won't be protection from the rain and/or oppressive heat this year.

More room for the turn without the posts
The crew was finally ready to dismantle the structures the end of Nov. but before the first load could come; Dave had to remove a couple of posts so the semi could make the turn onto the drive.  For those competitors who have had close encounters with the posts; you'll be happy to hear that they are permanently removed, but a rock has been put near the pasture post to protect it ;)

The first of five loads

When I saw the first load coming down the road I was taken aback by how impressive it looked and I must say I would have taken a double take if I had passed it on the highway.  The picture at the left not only shows the load, but it is very close to where the dome will be erected. 

The pictures give you a little better idea of the magnitude ot the structure.  Dave had to make an attachment for his tractor so he
would be able to unload the panels

Preparing to unload the first set of panels. That's Dave on trailer
which barely could lift the top panel high enough to get it off. The window panels were a little harder to get the first couple off, but amazingly enough; it wasn't that difficult to do.  There were a few loads when the driver couldn't stay to help unload and I got the job of climbing up and  I was given the job of climbing up and hooking the chain to the panel, getting down and balancing the panel to set it aside, climbing up to unhook & repeat the process again and again.  You see there were 8 panels to a load for the first 4 loads and after we unloaded them we then had to repeat the process to stack them in place.

The pictures give you a little better idea of the magnitude of the structure and Phase 1 of Dave's REALLY REALLY BIG IDEA: getting the dome home.  Stay tuned for Phase 2: the rebuilding of the dome.

Unloading step 2

Unloading step 3

Unloading step 4

Unloading step 5 - moving them to their final location

Unloading step 6 - the stacks (this shows 2 stacks)
Close up of a panel with window

One load of windows - the done will alternate panels of solid & window

The final stack showing the two halves of the top

The 5 stacks - a little less room in the trailer parking area

The top vent