After a month of doldrums, I think things are again making progress. Last week we contacted a local engineering firm to do the soil analysis for the site, so teh foundation can be properly designed. We're using Gessner Engineering in College Station. They estimated that they could get to taking the sample this week and they would have the full analysis in about 3 weeks. Well, on Tuesday (the 13th) they did come out and bore one 20' deep hole taking soil samples as they went. I'll try to post a picture of the process soon. For the analysis to be valid we had to estimate where the center of the house would be, so I met our contractor, Brian, and we walked around and took a wild guess at a good location.
The next day my wife and I met Brian on the land and we spent an our pacing around, talking about the pro's and con's of various locations. We finally decided on where we were going to place things. It looks like that out of a dozen mature trees, we will only lose one of them (plus one big tree that is already dead) :( . It took Brian and I about another 30 minutes to actually stake out the area and mark everything. It turns out that we missed the center of the house by about 10 feet on our initial estimate to Gessner Engineering.
As far as a timeline is concerned. Right now it looks as if we'll start doing some dirt work just after Christmas and hopefully be ready to put up the foundation and dome in early February. That is about a month behind the earlier estimates, but I admit those were very optimistic anyway.