Leadville, CO

I really liked the South Fork campsite but the flies got to me. Suddenly there were hundreds of them! When I’d try to sit outside, I’d have 20 or so on me, which seemed really creepy even though they weren’t biting.  So I left and wandered up to Granite, which had campsites that sounded good but weren’t. I kept going to Leadville and found some wonderful campsites perched above Halfmoon Creek, in the lodgepole pine forest. It’s about 8 miles to town and of course, no cell signal. I see I’m going to have to wean myself away from the internet on this trip!

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My campsite is about halfway up the green wooded portion (below the snowcapped peaks)

 

Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,152’, and it’s surrounded by “Fourteeners” (mountains more than 14,000’ high) It’s a really cool little silver, lead and gold rush town with about 4 or 5 blocks of old historic buildings turned into shops & eateries. Leadville  hosted a number of old west scalawags such as Doc Holliday, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith (of Skagway, Alaska fame), and Oscar Wilde. There are a lot of really cute small Victorian homes to drive by and drool over.

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Leadville

I am doing pretty well with the high altitude but I do wake up with slight headaches. They sell canned oxygen in the grocery store here, and there’s also an Oxygen Bar in town.

I got all excited about a place called High Mountain Pies but it turned out to be a pizza place, not a pie place. I went into a bakery and was disappointed that they had no bread for sale. The lady told me it’s really difficult to make good bread or cakes at this elevation….I hadn’t thought about that.  I got a chocolate eclair that was out of this world good though.

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View from my campsite

 

I had a nice neighbor lady a couple hundred feet away who arrived shortly after I did. She’s got a goofy gallumping 7 month old puppy that appears to be mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback. He and Roxie really liked each other though Roxie doesn’t play nearly as long as he wants. His energy knows no bounds. I am surprised by the number of people camping in tents here, with nighttime temps around 35 degrees!. I couldn’t do it without heat, even in the camper, let alone a flimsy tent! The daytime temps are perfect; 70-75 but rain is on the way…looks like it could be 5 days of it! But I don’t see anywhere else that would be any different, so I guess I’ll stay. I guess I’ll think about trying to cover my front skylight somehow, so it doesn’t leak. I have looked a zillion times and I can’t see anywhere the rain could get in, but water collects at the bottom lip and runs down the inside roof.

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Old abandoned shack on the road to camp

I can’t believe I’ve been gone less than two weeks. It feels like forever, and I still think longingly for my sweet little tiny house. I want so badly to get it done! But I know I can’t work in the kind of summer heat we have. It was supposed to be livable by the time the summer rolled around. Sigh.

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Metal Sun Moon Wall Decor

6′ Micro USB Cables

Posted in Colorado, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Colorado!

I finally left home on May 31st,  two whole days later than I wanted to.  It took longer than I thought to move everything from home into the storage unit, and to move the contents of the small storage unit into the new bigger one. My back was really hurting plus it was very hot, so I wasn’t able to do as much as I thought I could. Pretty miserable time but I finally kicked free!

The first day I drove as far as Durango, CO and stayed at a place called Durfield BLM between Durango and Bayfield. The GPS coordinates took me to a residential subdivision and as I was turning around, a man came up and told me how to find the place. He said that happens a lot. So I found the correct turnoff and then there were several ways to go. I chose the wrong way and ended up at a locked gate with no place to turn around! I had to back the rig up for more than ½ mile, downhill and around curves, with a big dropoff on one side!!  That got my heart going good. I finally found the right road and got a nice campsite in the pines.

The next day I went on, thinking I’d head to Granite or Leadville, where I had several choices of where to camp. After I went over Wolf Creek Pass, I kept seeing signs that said “National Forest Access Road”. My curiosity got the better of me and I turned onto one of them and found some really nice  campsites on a lively little stream. I had no cell service so I drove on out to town to let my “keeper” Patricia know where I was going to be, and that she might not be hearing from me every morning. Normally, I text her every morning to say “I’m still alive”.

So I have this lovely little spot in the pines, on the edge of a stream. There’s a very large site right across the road from me and two older ladies pulled in there just seconds after I got this site! Phew, I’ll bet they would have taken this one if they’d seen it first. It is about ten miles to the little town of South Fork. The elevation here is around 8200’ and the temps have been in the 70’s. Last night it went down to 32 degrees but I’ll take that along with the cooler daytime temps.

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The only drawbacks to this place are that it’s a very dusty dirt road and there’s a considerable amount of traffic from cars & trucks plus ATV’s, and there are mosquitoes at dusk and dawn.. So far the dust is blowing away from me but that could change.  I was only going to stay the weekend here but now I think I might stay longer. If I continued on to Granite or Leadville, the temperatures will be considerably colder at night. I usually have a pretty good idea of where I’m aiming for, but South Fork was not even on my radar! I’m glad I found it.

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The first day I went into South Fork to get a few groceries and on a crazy whim, I decided to have lunch at the South Fork Malt Shoppe, a cute little take-out diner that advertised hamburgers, shakes and malts. They were way more expensive than I thought they’d be, so I thought and thought a long time before I ordered, but in the end I just went for it. Gulp! I paid $13.50 for a hamburger, fries and malt! And that is why I never eat out. It was a ⅓ lb. Angus burger (that’s the cheapest thing on the menu) with seasoned skinny fries, and it was delicious but I couldn’t eat it all. Roxie got the rest of the hamburger with her dinner. The malt was really good too, so at least I got GOOD food for the money.  

I came back and took a two-hour nap. This is the life!!

Posted in Colorado, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Getting Ready

Now I’ve become an auto mechanic! The fan for my air conditioner started making really terrible noises, then it quit completely. I went to Google and found out what was probably wrong, and then went to You Tube to see how to fix it. It said it was an easy fix. I went and got the new blower motor….$95, gulp! (Could have gotten it for $40 on ebay if I’d had the time to wait for it) Changing the part involved getting on my back in the passenger footwell and I really didn’t think I could do that. I couldn’t even figure out HOW to get on my back in there! I asked a few friends if they knew anyone who’d change it for me and no one did. So it came down to either spending $75-80 minimum service fee at a shop for a ten-minute job, or doing it myself.

So I turned a 5 gallon bucket over and set it right next to the open car door, with a pillow on top. I sat down facing away from the car and then sort of slumped down into the footwell. It was hard work getting those 3 screws out, as I could only work with my left hand; I couldn’t fit my right hand in there. I tried and tried and could not get the wiring harness unhooked. My fingers just don’t have any strength in them any more. After awhile I had the brilliant idea that maybe there wasn’t anything really wrong with the blower motor, maybe the mouse’s leg sticking out was the only reason the fan wouldn’t turn. So I turned the fan and and the motor jumped all over the place. Yay! I put the motor back in place and got those 3 screws back in, then tried it again. Oh. It only worked on high speed, and it still made a really terrible noise.

I removed that motor AGAIN and still couldn’t get the wiring harness apart, so I gave up and left it hanging there. I went to the laundromat and there were some young guys sitting on the porch waiting for the shower, so I asked if one of them could help me. What a nice kid! He not only got the wiring harness apart, but he went ahead and installed the new motor too! Unfortunately, it still only works on high speed. But hey, it’s quiet!

I came home and went again to Google, which said that the problem is probably the resistor. It’ an EASY JOB, it said!  Sure, sure. That’s what they said about the blower motor! The part costs $50 on ebay or $100 at the auto parts place so I can’t fix it right now or else I won’t have the money to buy gas to get to Colorado. That’s OK, I don’t mind just using high speed.  I’m happy that I was mostly able to do it, and happy at how much money I saved.

I took three small trailer loads of lumber & stuff over to the new storage unit and emptied out a lot of the stuff from my car. Now I have to go move the stuff from the small storage unit over to the big one. I hope it all fits! I have a few other chores to do but if I can get that done in one session, I’ll be free to leave on Wednesday. I wanted to leave Tuesday but I just got worn out with all the stuff I had to do around here, and I mostly only work from 5:30 a.m. until 9:00, before it gets too hot, or that last hour before dark. I will be so glad when I can leave all this work behind and become a lady of leisure again!! I feel like I’ve earned it.

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Jobar Outdoor Solar LED Light

ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen 50 spf

Posted in Arizona, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Taking Off

It’s still windy here. Every day for the past two weeks, and according to the weather forecast, for the next 10 days as well. There are a couple days when the wind is only 10-15 mph but the rest are 20-30 mph. This is getting old!  The temps are also getting up there in the 80’s, and starting Thursday, 88-92 degrees.

The other day I figured out that the roofing materials (including joists & plywood) are going to cost around $350 and I won’t be able to save up that much money until late July. So I’ve decided to leave the house as is and take off for higher elevations and cooler climes. I probably won’t come back until September when the weather cools down. I remember fall as being very pleasant, and it will be good weather for working.  So sorry for you folks who signed up to follow my blog because it was about building a tiny home, but I’ll be back on that subject in the fall, I promise!

I’ve rented a 10×10 storage unit and will put everything that’s not nailed down in there. I worry about someone stealing the water tank and yes, even the floor frame! But I can’t do anything about them, so I’ll just have to take my chances.

I was going to try to leave by Tuesday so I could get a good campsite near Pagosa Springs, CO before the Memorial Day crush, but yesterday my fan motor for the car A/C gave up the ghost. It’s been noisy for awhile but I thought it just had leaves in it. Yesterday it got way noisier and then completely stopped working. I found a You Tube video on how to replace it and it doesn’t look that hard (famous last words) so I’m going to try to do it myself. The hardest thing is that it is located under the glove box on the passenger side, and in order to get at it I will have to lay on my back in the front footwell. Um…that’s pretty close quarters for a “big girl” like me…what if I get stuck in there like an upturned turtle??? Maybe I will go up to the neighbors’ and do it in their driveway so someone can hear me if I holler for help. The part costs $92 so I won’t be able to buy it until I get my next Social Security money next Wednesday. So I’ll just wait and leave after the Memorial Day weekend.

I am sad that I won’t be able to move into the house until very late fall. When I look at the floor sitting there, in my mind I can see the whole finished house. (Wish you all could see it; it’s very cute!) It seems so close, but yet so far away.

There has always been a question in my mind of whether or not I can stand to live here in the summertime, when temps go to 90+ degrees. I sure would have given it a good try IF I had a nice super-insulated house to live in. I know I can’t make it in this camper that only has 1″ of insulation in the walls and roof.  But considering my low tolerance for heat, I may always have to “take to the road” in the height of summer. We shall see.

So I’ll be switching back to travel adventure stories soon. I’m planning to go to Pagosa Springs, Buena Vista, Leadville and Grand Lake, CO and then up to the Snowy Range in S.E. Wyoming again. I loved it there and the elevation was around 12,000′ so it was nice and cool.  Grand Lake is just outside the western entry to Rocky Mountain National Park. I guess it deserves a second chance…..I was there in the late 70’s on July 4 weekend and it was bumper to bumper traffic. I hated it and could hardly wait to get out of there! But I’ll bet it’s different on weekdays in June. Hope so.

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PerBeat Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Organic 100% Kona Hawaii Keurig Coffee Pods

Posted in Arizona, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

More Weather Delays

I made it through the heat wave! We had temps of 87-92 degrees for several days. I coped with that by getting up and going to work between 5:30-6:30 in the mornings, when it was still cool. I could work til almost 9:00 before it got too hot. After that, I’d go out for only 5-10 minutes at a time.

Now the heat has moderated, but the wind is back! We’re having 25-50 mph winds for nearly a week…next Wednesday is the next day with winds under 25 mph. (This is Saturday and the 3rd day of wind) I have tried for the past two days to go out and work early, but it’s been already too windy even at 5:20 in the morning. Soooo…we wait, read books, play on the Kindle and computer and eat too much.  I fear I am becoming an Early Riser. I seem to be always getting up around 5:30 and instead of hating it, I guess I’ve gotten used to it! I’ve never wanted to get up early!

I finished the foundation beams and have the bump-out floor all done and attached to the main house floor. (I was going to say “big house” but that would be ridiculous!)

I’ve got the rigid foam cut and fitted between each floor joist.

Rigid foam between joists

I thought I had them all nice and snug but in the 50 mph wind gusts, half of them flew away. I had to crawl around under the bushes to retrieve them all and replace them, with rocks to hold them down. That didn’t work either so I resorted to putting shovels and 2×4’s on them. Also I had painstakingly measured and custom-cut each piece, but after they flew away I just plopped them into any old empty space, and they fit just as well. Hmmm.

So that’s where we stand right now. The next step is putting R-19 fiberglass batts between the joists, and I held off doing that in the heat because it’s such a miserable job, and I didn’t have any way to take a shower afterward. I went to work on an outdoor shower. I had purchased a pump-up pressurized garden sprayer and jerry-rigged a kitchen sprayer nozzle onto it, thinking I could have nice pressurized showers with that. But it only holds pressure for about 10 seconds, then it just lets out a pitiful dribble. So I ordered a nice 2.5 gallon solar shower bag from Amazon Advanced Elements Summer Shower

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It was the only 2.5 gallon one I could find, it got great reviews and seems sturdier than the rest, which is important since I’ll also be using this in the house. (More on that later). I got a large $3 hula hoop from Dollar General and suspended it with some light rope, and added shower curtain rings all around it. I repaired and placed two pallets under a likely-looking horizontal tree branch and I’ll use a $6 concrete mixing tub as my shower pan; that way I’ll be able to save the water and reuse it on my little trees and bushes that are suffering badly in this drought.I already have two $1 shower curtains so it is pretty much ready to go. OH. I just went out to take a photo of the concrete mixing tub and it’s gone! I had put a big rock inside it but apparently that wasn’t enough to hold it down. Bye bye bin! I suppose it’s in the same “black hole” along with my grill cover and bucket.  I guess I can take a shower and just let the water go between the slats of the pallet, until I get back to town to buy another one.  At any rate, I don’t think I can keep the shower in place in the wind or I think it will shred the curtain, even if it’s bunched up and tied together. I will have to figure out a quick and easy way to get the hula hoop up and down each time.

My plan was to not have a shower inside the house; just a tiny potty room. I was going to build a nice outdoor shower, but I can’t figure out what materials to use that would withstand 50 mph wind. Heck, we’ve had as high as 85 mph winds here! I thought I could use shade cloth and the wind would go right through it, while still being opaque, but I have found that’s not true. I use some small shade cloths on the camper and over Roxie’s pen and they actually do resist the wind a lot more than you’d think. So I guess I will buy a 24×36″ shower pan and make the whole bathroom a “wet bath”.  I hate those and swore I wouldn’t have one, but it really would be much more convenient than having to go outside to shower, especially if it’s wintertime. Instead of making all the walls waterproof, I can use two shower curtains around the whole room and hopefully keep all the water off the walls and window. I can use the bucket potty as a shower seat.  I don’t plan to have a water heater, so I’ll still use the shower bag I just bought and fill it with warm water, not try to heat it in the sun. At some point I could possibly bust through the back of the bathroom (where the window will be) and make another bump-out for a larger shower room. Maybe some day.

I borrowed the neighbor’s trailer again and went to get all the 2×4’s for the stud walls. It was one of the really hot days so I was on my way to town before 7:30 a.m. I thought I’d be home by 10:00, hah! It takes a long time to pick out 73 good 2×4’s! After an additional stop for a few groceries, I got home at noon. I unloaded and stacked them all early the next morning. The wind has actually been strong enough to blow some of the 2×4’s off the stack!!

My stud wall materials! 73 2×4’s

My camper fridge has given up. So far my strategy has been to wish and hope it revives itself, but that doesn’t seem to be effective. It probably needs a good cleaning; it’s been two years since I had that done. I guess I will find a tutorial on line and see if I can do it myself. The last time I tried it, there was one part that I could not remove but I’ll give it another go. In the meantime, I’m using an ice chest and blocks of ice.  😦

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Kindle Fire 7 $39.99

Burts Bees Face Essentials Gift Set

Chocolate Dipped Insects

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Heat Is On!

The heat is on! After 5 days of not being able to do anything because of high winds, we had two pretty nice days for working. And now we’re into a heat wave! Today is “only” 81, then for the next 13 days (that’s as far as the forecasts go) it’s supposed to be between 87 & 90 degrees!! You KNOW I don’t do heat! 80 is really my cutoff point, and that’s when I’m not doing any hard labor!  The average temp for this time of year is 75 degrees. This is exactly why I was so anxious to get the purple shed picked up and out of my way, but I really didn’t expect to run into temps like this until the end of May.

I guess I’ll just plan to only work a few minutes at a time, then rest and cool off. But that brings up another problem; I don’t have any place cool. I haven’t found anyplace better to put the camper where it’d be shady and still head into the wind.The Fantastic Vent fan does help but it’s no substitute for air conditioning!  I need to somehow rig up a big shade cloth over the whole camper.

In the past two days I got a lot done though, at least by my standards.  I built the floor framing for the sofa/bed bump-out, attached the hardware cloth, built the foundation piers and dropped it in place! It’s temporary; I did that just so I could make sure the foundation was right and everything was level. Now I have to pick it up again and permanently attach the two 2×6 foundation beams to the 4×4 posts.

The bump-out is 39″ x 85″. The finished interior size will be 34.5 x 77 and the sofabed will be 32×75.  The back is even with the back of the main house but the front is about a foot shorter, and it will not be part of the main roof; it will have it’s own little shed roof coming off the side.

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Oh how I love those nice clamps I got at Harbor Freight! It’s like having four extra hands. I don’t know how I ever built anything without them before!

My garden is officially dead and gone. It was warm last night so I left nearly all the plants outside in Roxie’s exercise pen, to protect them from the rabbits. Oops. Something smaller than a rabbit had a feast! All my dear baby tomatoes got eaten off at ground level, it ate all the buds off the marigolds, and it even ate the radishes that the rabbits didn’t like. Luckily the 3 little lettuce plants and two rosemary babies were inside the camper because the lettuce is kind of limp and wimpy-looking, and it didn’t bother the two green pepper plants.  If I have a garden next spring I’ll have to figure out a way to keep those predators away.

Here are some links to Amazon items that readers have purchased recently. Feel free to use these link to access Amazon for all your needs. Amazon has everything, you know!

Toy Storage Net for Stuffed Animals

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Alpicool Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer (I want one of these!!)

Hot Logic Mini-Mac Personal Portable Oven

 

Posted in Arizona, DIY Micro House, DIY Tiny House, Micro House, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Wind Wind, Go Away

We’re in the middle of five straight days of winds over 25 mph. I’m tired of it already, and it’s going to keep up until late Wednesday! I can’t really work on anything outside with this going on. I’ve tried but after about 5 minutes it feels like I’m being battered!

I did get the floor framing all done before the wind arrived though. Here is the floor flipped upside-down with  1/4″ hardware cloth stapled on. I used tons of staples so no little mousies can possibly find a way in!  And I’m proud to say that the frame was absolutely square…the mesh went on straight in both directions.  The hardware cloth was 36″ wide and since my floor joists are 16″ on center, it overlapped by about 4″ in a couple places.

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Then my kindly neighbors Frank and Tracy came down and helped me flip the whole thing over. You could only do it this way with a VERY tiny house!

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I attached the framing to the foundation beams with metal hurricane ties like this:

hurricane tie

Next comes insulation. I’m putting 1/2″ of rigid foam between the joists, on top of the hardware cloth, then R19 fiberglass on top of that. I am not looking forward working with the fiberglass, especially since I can’t rinse it off. I suspect I’ll be gladly paying $5 to take a shower at the little store up the road! I am chomping at the bit but must wait for the wind to die down, darn it! Starting Thursday the forecast for the next 5 days is for light winds, but some heat, up to 85 degrees.  I hope to get the floor all done so I can start building studwalls. Hopefully things will go much faster then.

I’m having a terrible time with the propane refrigerator in the camper. This wind keeps blowing out the pilot light, and by the time I notice it, everything in the fridge is warm. I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to it lately because I can’t afford to let the food go bad! It has happened three times already just today. I have stuff piled in front of the outside vent to try and stop the wind but so far it’s been ineffective. I’m tempted to just tape some cardboard over the whole vent but I’m pretty sure it’s there for a reason.

I have shelved the water tank problem for right now. I think the best way to deal with the oil in the tank is to borrow a trailer, wrestle the tank up onto it, and take it to a carwash where I can use hot water, soap and plenty of pressure. I have a 55 gal. drum that contained honey that needs cleaning out too.  As much as I would love to have a good supply of water, I hate asking for even more help from the neighbors! I just hate not being able to do everything myself.

I have been waking up way too early. Roxie starts fidgeting as soon as it gets light, around 5:30 a.m. There’s only about 6 or 7 square feet of usable floor space in here but she manages to stomp around and make her four tiny feet sound like a hundred! The more I ignore her, the harder she stomps. And the really funny thing is, once I sit up or get up, she goes and lays down and can be content for up to an hour before I actually get around to taking her out!! She just wants me up.  Man’s best friend? I think not.

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MPOWERD | Luci EMRG – 3-in-1 Emergency Inflatable Solar Light

CyberPower CSB404 Essential Surge Protector

Davidson’s Tea, Tulsi Pure Leaves

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

One Step Forward

You know that old saying, “One step forward, two steps back”? Yeah.  That’s the dance I’m doing today. The great feelings I had for yesterday’s progress are gone.

Yesterday I opened the outlet valve on the water tank to see how it worked, and to make sure it was closed when I got the tank filled. Some water ran out! It was supposed to be a brand new tank, but I thought “Well, maybe they put some water in it to test it or something”. Didn’t think a thing more about it until this morning when I went out to wash off the valve so I could attach the thingie to convert it from 1 1/2″ opening down to garden hose size. I decided to catch that valuable water in a pan and use it to water my baby pinon tree. So I poured a couple pans of water on the tree, and it was still coming out pretty good so I went and got a bucket. As it was running into the bucket I put my hands into it to splash it around and get the dust off that area. “Hey, this isn’t water, it’s oil”!!

 I called the place I got it and he said nonchalantly “Oh yeah, it’s new but it’s got some MCT oil in it, it won’t hurt anything or you can just rinse it out.” Don’t you think that’s something they should have MENTIONED when I bought the thing????!! If it’s been used for oil, IT’S NOT NEW!!! Now I know why it was cheaper than everyone else around here. Won’t HURT anything!? It would totally ruin my water filter if I tried to run water with oil through there, and there are plenty of things I don’t want OIL in, no matter how harmless it is. (Including my baby tree that I’ve probably killed) I’ve already drawn off about 1 1/2 gallon and there’s still more in there. And it’s all over the ground and the wooden platform, what a mess.  I’m so glad I found this out before I took delivery of 275 gallons of water!!
Just rinse it out, he says. Sure, if only I had any WATER to rinse it with!! And I don’t think oil is going to come out without some kind of soap or emulsifier. So if I do put soap and water in it, how do I swish it around? Maybe a mop stuck down from the top, although now that the top of the tank is about 7′ off the ground, that would not be easy.   And is the outlet valve at the lowest point so all the soapy water would come out?? No, it is not. I would have to put water in it several times in order to dilute the soap that’s left in the bottom!!  I am SO MAD!!!!!
MCT is Medium Chain Trigliceride oil; usually from coconuts. So he’s right that it wouldn’t hurt to drink, and it’s actually very expensive to buy. ($30 a quart!)  But I don’t want it in my drinking water, and I don’t want to water my plants with it.
Also when I was awake in the middle of the night again, I realized my foundation is not good enough at all. What was I thinking??? I’ve got the whole weight of the house resting on just two 2×6 crossmembers!  I will need to add a support in between the existing two, with 4×4 going across. I should be able to do that while the floor frame is sitting in place; in fact it’ll make it easier to get the height exactly right.
And here I was feeling so optimistic about progress. Silly me, I totally forgot about the Paquette Curse. I’ve just taken a bunch of steps backward. My heart is down around my ankles and I just want to cry. I never would have bought that tank if I’d known there was anything in it, because of the difficulty of washing it out with so little availebl water. I’m probably going to have to buy some 5 gal. water jugs, and I don’t want to spend money on that! All I have is eight 1 gallon jugs, which normally last me about a week.
And I think I’m going to have to ask Frank and Tracy to lift the tank back down to the ground, and I hate to ask for help in the first place, let alone to UNDO something they just did yesterday!  Very discouraged right now.
Posted in Arizona, DIY Micro House, DIY Tiny House, Micro House, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Foundation Piers and Water Tank

Well construction has gone slowly; for two weeks we had very high winds (35-65 mph) at least 4 days a week. I tried but it’s really impossible to work in those kinds of wind, with silt blowing into my face. And sometimes it’s hard just to try to stand up against it! One day it blew down one of the little trees in front of the house site, which I really needed for shade! (Even though it was a little scraggly) Turns out it had been sawed nearly all the way through at the base..?? Maybe the shed guys did that. It would not have lived anyway. Maybe someday I can plant a prettier tree there.

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Finally I have the foundation piers done. For each one I dug down a few inches and filled the cavity with small gravel and tamped it down good, then added a large 16×16″ patio stone and leveled that. Then added a cement deck block and made sure everything was level again. The trouble I ran into was trying to get all the piers level with each other, and it was really hard and heavy work, having to keep removing the deck blocks, lift up the patio stones and rearranging the gravel underneath. Actually the first three went fairly easily, it was the last one that gave me fits. Then on one of my 2 a.m. think sessions, I decided to back up and do it differently.

The cement deck blocks have indentations that will accept a 2-by board going horizontally, or a 4×4 post vertically.

DSCN7693I was trying to use the 2×6’s horizontally but I remembered that with both my first and fourth house, I attached the floor joists to short lengths of 4×4. Then in order to level it, you just adjust the height of the 2×6 on the 4×4, it doesn’t really matter if the piers are level to each other! Phew….SO much easier! After struggling with the first ones for three days, I had the new ones all set up, level with each other and clamped in place in just a few hours.  I  had to use shims to hold the 4×4’s in place and plumb though, as the spaces in the deck blocks was considerably larger than the post. Then I drilled holes and bolted the 2×6’s to the 4×4 posts. Done! The floor frame will be cantilevered out from these supports on all sides. Now I’m waiting for some help to lift the floor frame onto the foundation.

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Another thing that I had to change was how to attach the hardware cloth to the underside of the floor. I am using 1/4″ hardware cloth as rodent protection. I got the floor all squared up and screwed braces across each corner plus added joist hangers, hoping it would keep it in square. Neighbor Frank helped me list it up and lean it against a tree so I could staple on the hardware cloth. Here it is leaning against the tree.

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I got out my handy clamps and unrolled the first piece of the mesh, clamped it evenly across the top and then when I clamped it to one side, I noticed that it was not lining up straight with the floor joist. So that meant the floor was not square any more.  Frank thinks the only way to do it is to lay it on the foundation, square it up and add the mesh, then flip it over. Ugh! That’ll be a lot harder than just standing it up, attach the mesh, and lay it back down. But I’m afraid he’s right.

I’ve also been working on the water tank support in my spare time. Three sides are done and I got the first course of cement blocks all laid and leveled on the 4th side, ready for the really heavy corner pieces which are two cement blocks stuck together, with post holders embedded in the centers. I managed to get one of them down so I could work on the leveling but they are too heavy for me to lift back up, so will have to wait on that also until Frank can come back and help with the lifting. I wish I was stronger but I already have back degeneration problems and the bad knee; I’m terrified I’ll injure myself and then not be able to work on the house at all. News Flash…Frank and his friend Tracy just left,  and they helped me finish up the water tank! Wow, now I can order some water! And they also laid the floor framing down and we got it squared up so I can now attach the hardware cloth. Yippeeeee! What a good day!

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Most of my seedlings are doing well, though they seem to grow really slowly. I think they are sooo cute, especially the teeny tiny lettuce plants. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about a garden; a discussion on Facebook about gardening showed that a lot of people have given up on it around here because of the critters who come and eat it all. Even in a friend’s greenhouse! I think I will maybe just have some container vegs and maybe even put them up on a table to keep the critters away. Right now they reside inside Roxie’s exercise pen during the day, or in the car if it’s too windy.

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Two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, chives, rosemary and a couple onions. The bell peppers never did germinate.

Oh and here are a few Amazon links; items that other readers have recently purchased. You can use these links as a gateway to the rest of Amazon’s products, and I get a small percentage. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra) Thanks! Also there are a couple links at the top right for donating……if you like the blog, please consider “a cup of coffee” for $3. I promise I won’t waste the money on buying coffee, LOL!  And for those who have donated, thank you so much!!

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Colorful Kids’ Telescopic Butterfly Nets

EHP Myristin Canine Joint Formula

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, DIY Micro House, DIY Tiny House, Micro House, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

It’s a house!

I’ve picked up a very bad habit…..I’ve been getting up at 5:30 every morning! All through my working life, all I wanted was to be able to sleep in until 8:00 and now that I can, I can’t! I’m pretty sure it’s because there are too many thoughts whirling around inside my head, and I’m hoping that if things ever settle down, I’ll be able to sleep later. But another problem is that I’m “training” Roxie to get up at 5:30 also, so she probably won’t allow me to sleep much later than that. Some mornings when I might have slept later, she insists that she MUST go out at the crack of dawn. I’ve tried getting up and taking her out, then going back to sleep but it just doesn’t work. I’m wide awake by then, Perhaps I should get blackout curtains for the house.

Here’s this morning’s sunrise. It was actually much prettier than this.

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I borrowed my neighbors’ trailer and picked up the materials for the house floor on Wednesday.. Sticker Shock and Reality Check! I had figured it would cost about $300. It actually cost $395, plus I just bought another $31 worth yesterday! That includes insulation. I had not bothered to figure costs for what I considered to be “incidentals”, and those incidentals really add up in a hurry! A small box of nails is over $4; a small box of screws is nearly $9 ($.10 each!), the hardware cloth that goes all over the underside of the floor joists to keep out mice & rats was almost $60, and there was $40 in sales tax! $400+ just for this teeny weeny  8×8′ floor?! This is gonna be a big problem down the line somewhere, as I only had a little bit in savings, plus the little bit that’s left from my monthly Social Security payments, to build this house.  I’ll just have to go as far as I can until the money runs out, then wait for the next SS check. I fear this is going to take me well into hot weather though, and I really was trying to avoid that, as I’m extremely sensitive to heat.

I let the nice helpful boys at Lowes help me pick out all the 2×6’s, a mistake I will never make again! They are terrible….nearly all of them are twisted or curved or both. Lesson learned.  That first day I hardly did anything but hammer nails in and then remove them, for one reason or another, but the second day went much better. And I’ve become an expert at removing 16-penny nails. It’s been so long since I built anything, I’ve forgotten a lot of the basics. Like measuring everything that comes from the lumberyard. I stupidly assumed an 8′ board would be 8′ long. Nope, one of mine was 1/2″ too long! If i’d used it, I never would have been able to get the floor squared. Most of the boards were “pre-cut” and were $1.50 cheaper than the full 8′ long, and since I’d have to cut them anyway, it seemed like the thing to get. I asked the guys at Lowes, if I use a pre-cut with a 2-by at each end, does that equal 8′? And they both said yes. Not true, because pre-cuts are meant for making 8′ walls which have a bottom plate and TWO top plates.  Wish I’d remembered that in the store.  So my house is 1″ narrower than I wanted. Seems a small thing, but that’s OK in one direction but not the other; I’m going to have a hard time fitting everything into that 8′ wall as it is; an inch less would be impossible.  Plus now I’m going to have to cut the subfloor sheathing instead of it fitting perfectly onto my 8×8′ square. Not a huge deal, just one more thing I have to get right.

So here’s my floor foundation. Boy, that sure does look tiny! Technically this is not going to be a Tiny House, it’s a Micro House. I think anything under 100 sq. ft. is considered Micro.

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And here’s my solution to the wind problem and raising seedlings….the car makes a great little greenhouse! I can regulate the amount of heat by opening or closing the windows on the side away from the wind. Whether or not these baby plants will ever make into a garden is up in the air, but we’ve got a pretty good start. I really want to have a garden; there’s just a lot of more important stuff going on right now, plus I hate to spend the money for materials to make raised beds and all the dirt to fill them. I’d thought about straw bale gardening but the straw is $10 a bale here, and they’re only good for one season.

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MANY THANKS to everyone who has “donated to the cause”! (Links at upper right) Every penny helps!

Here are some of the items that readers have purchased through my link recently. Please feel free to use any of these links to search for other items to purchase! I get a small commission on each item, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Powertec Band Clamp

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Blu-Ray

Qunol Ultra CoQ10 Water Soluble

 

Posted in Arizona, DIY Micro House, DIY Tiny House, Micro House, Off-grid living, Ownen-built tiny house, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Buh-Bye Purple Shed!

Just as I thought, the Shed Guy was waiting until he had another build in this area. He came by several days ago to look at the situation and said he was building a shed only about a mile from here! Then he came back two days later to get the shed. They had a much harder time of it than I thought they would…it took them over 3 hours! Because there were trees in front of the shed on both sides, they had to turn it sideways. They used big pieces of plywood on top of 6″ round fence posts as rollers. But as they turned, they also pushed it forward each time so eventually the shed was right up against one of the trees. I don’t know why they didn’t just give it another heave sideways but they didn’t….they pulled it out at an angle. They tied the tree back with a big strap so it wouldn’t break the window, but it still scraped all along the soffit….I think a little paint will cure that.

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Then they backed the trailer up and put a big ratchet strap all the way around the shed, and ratcheted it up part way onto the trailer. It was all very low tech; I thought they’d have a power winch or maybe even a forklift.

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Once they had it part way onto the trailer, they tried to pull it forward. Bad idea! At that angle, the back of the shed was only an inch or so off the ground. And they forgot about the 2 big rocks that used to stick up in front of the shed, and now were underneath it.

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So when they dragged the shed over these rocks, the back siding got pretty badly damaged. Oopsie! It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there were a lot of chunks of the siding left on the rocks.

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So here’s the house site now, all empty and waiting.

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And now I have to put my money where my mouth is….I have to build a house!!! What was I THINKING??!!!  In spite of having built 2 cabins, a houseboat and an 800 sq. ft. house, I am pretty scared. The last time I built something was 30 years ago, and I distinctly remember thinking that I was too old then. But I keep telling myself that this one is so much smaller, it won’t be too bad. I know it’s going to be very painful but hopefully it will go fairly quickly.

The next step will start today…..figuring out exactly where I want the house to go, and setting and leveling the the blocks to support the floor. I think I want it more to the right side so I can eventually have a little patio on the left, where it gets nice shade in the afternoons  It’s happening!!!

I bought a patio table yesterday! Lowes had a 40″ round glass-topped table for only $31 on sale, so I got it. Wow, I’m going to have a TABLE after 3 years without one!! And the best part is, it can even stay outside.

I started some seeds last week and some have already come up! I put them outside for a little while yesterday to get some sun, and when I went to check on them, all of the lettuce had disappeared!! Damn that Easter Bunny!!!  Apparently rabbits don’t like radishes, as they were untouched.  Luckily it’s early so I can start more seeds, and from now on I’ll put them either in the car, or in Roxie’s wire pen.

Here are some Amazon links to products readers have purchased recently. Thank you for using these links to access any other goodies you want to purchase from Amazon!

AKTIVX Sports Laces

Folgers Classic Roast Coffee 38.4 oz.

Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Toothbrush

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Micro House, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Still No Progress

I haven’t written lately because there’s really not much to write about, and I’m depressed. The lavender shed is still here. Every week I email the shed guy and tell him which days in the following week are forecast to be calm, with winds under 10 mph. He never responds. This is a windy area, and spring is the windiest time. Lately we’ve been having 3-4 days a week with winds between 15-50 mph, and the neighbors tell me April is the windiest month! I can hardly wait to experience that.

I have just about concluded that I’m not gonna get a house this spring, it may have to wait until fall. I cannot work in heat! And for me, “heat” means anything over 75 degrees. Lately I’ve been calling it my “imaginary” tiny house, because I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all in my head.  Here’s the current floorplan. (It changes constantly!) It’s an 8×8 with a 3×7 bump-out for the sofa/bed. I like this idea better than having a Stage 1 8×8 and then a Stage 2 6×7 bedroom because I’m afraid I’d never get around to building Stage 2!

(Each square = 6″)

floorplan

 

 

I did get my 275 gallon water tank, yay! But it’s just sitting there too. I want to put it up on a platform about 3′ tall so it will gravity-feed to the house and I won’t have to buy a 12V pump that will use up my battery power. I got an offer of an old porch that would work great as a platform and am waiting on that.

I built an ugly compost bin out of some of the pallets laying around here. It’s not pretty but it’s functional.

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I’ve also been working on a big pile of sticks that are in my future front yard. I don’t know why anyone would do that; most of the pile is little sticks and twigs less than a foot long! But there were also some big tree limbs in there that I had to cut up into lengths that would fit into my burn barrel. Last week I worked about half a day burning a lot of the little stuff. It’s pinon wood, like pine, and it burns hot and fast so all I had to do was re-load the barrel every 10-15 minutes. The pile has gone from about 2 1/2′ high to about 6″ high now, and there’s just a whole lot more of the little sticks to pick up and move over to the burning area. I wish I had a wheelbarrow!  I had fun cutting up the bigger limbs with my handy Dewalt cordless reciprocating saw. It’s almost as much fun as a chainsaw!

I’ve also been working on moving the big unsightly pile of junk that came out of the gutted old travel trailer that was here when I bought the place. It’s spread out over about 20′ of space and it’s taking up the best garden space, so I’ve been piling it all up at one end, instead of having it spread out so much. One of these days I’ll have to borrow the neighbor’s trailer and take it all to the dump. I’m just not sure I can lift some of the bigger pieces. The other neighbor who made the mess PROMISED she would clean it up. “Trust me”, she said. Yeah, right.  Have you noticed, the people who say “Trust me” are usually NOT trustworthy at all?!  Funny how that works.

I am very excited about having a garden, after three years of wandering! I hope I will be able to stay here all summer to tend it, but it’s very possible I will have to take the camper and head to higher elevations once it gets hot. This camper is a hotbox without A/C, that’s why I was so anxious to get the tiny house built before May.  So I’ll just have a very small garden this year. My back won’t allow a regular garden; I have to use raised beds and I can’t afford to spend very much money on building them this year Maybe I can build one 4×8 raised bed.  I hope to have a couple of straw bale gardens as well. They’re cheaper; $10 a bale for the straw compared to about $20 worth of lumber plus a lot of bags of soil for the raised beds, but the straw only lasts one season.  I planted a bunch of seeds yesterday but probably will end up with only 3 or 4 plants of each thing, due to the space problem. Some things I can plant in Dollar Tree planters, like lettuce and herbs.

I have been getting up way way too early! Roxie is awake and wanting to go outside at the first sign of light. Usually it’s before sunrise even; there’s just a thin line of light at the horizon.  We have amazing star shows here at night; I love taking Roxie out for “last call” and staring up at the sky.  We are 130 miles from the nearest big town (Flagstaff) so we have very dark skies and gazillions of stars.

Here are a few Amazon links to products readers have ordered recently. Feel free to use these links to access other products at Amazon. And thanks!

Carpet of Snow Alyssum Seeds

Premium Reversible Dish Drying Mat

Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Same Old

Nothing really new to report here, same old thing. LOTS of wind, nearly every day. That means they can’t pick up the shed; the wind has to be under 10 mph. A few days ago we had sustained winds of 45 mph with gusts over 70!! Crazy. I wisely parked the camper heading into the prevailing winds and I was so glad! If winds like that had been hitting the side of the camper we’d have gone tumbling down the hill for sure! We also have had 6″ of snow in the past week (3 separate snowfalls). But it pretty much went away the next day when the sun came out, and the wind does help the driveway and road dry out fairly quickly. Hate that the county still hasn’t put any gravel on my nice new road. I try not to go anywhere for 3 or 4 days after a big rain or snow.

Roxie was sick for two days! Don’t know what it was; she just seemed to feel generally yucky. She didn’t eat anything for two whole days but was drinking water, and she didn’t have a fever. All she wanted to do was lay around on MY bed and sleep! That’s weird because normally she’ll only spend a few seconds on my bed; she likes her bed on the floor. She’s always been a Floor Dog, not a bed dog, not a lap dog. So glad she’s feeling better today!

I am packing up the camper and we are leaving today for an A-Frame camper rally near Sedona. I’m not staying in the expensive state park with everyone else, I’ll be boondocking a few miles away. After being in this spot for 3 months it’s a real pain to pack it up! All kinds of things are in here that normally are not, and since I don’t have anywhere to store things, I’ll have to find a place in here to carry them. I also have stuffed every little crack and crevice with little bits of foam, probably 100 little pieces! I’ll never get them back where they belong. Maybe by the time I get back the weather will have moderated some. We have been having nighttime temps in the teens, and some nights the wind doesn’t die down all the way, so it tends to get a little breezy in here! I’ve been waking up to inside temps of around 50, even with the heater going full blast.

We had such a wonderful winter up til about two weeks ago! The days were sunny and warm, in the mid-60’s, and nights were in the 20’s. And now when it should be getting to be spring-like, winter has hit with a vengeance. I am quite worried that the spring winds are here to stay and I’ll never get that darn shed picked up! I can’t start the new one until that one is gone, because it has to go in the same spot.

Here are a few items that folks have purchased from Amazon lately. Feel free to use these links to access Amazon and do your shopping! I really do appreciate it.

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

“Prey” by Michael Crichton

12 oz. Hanging Hummingbird Feeder

 

Posted in Arizona, Shed to Tiny House, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Whirling Thoughts

Wow. It’s super windy today so I’m having a fun time staying indoors, Doing Nothing Constructive. My favorite activity! Sustained winds are 25-35 mph with gusts over 50!  I just checked the weather and it says the sustained winds are 30 right how. Yee Haw! The camper is rockin’ and rollin’ but I’ve got it oriented to face into the prevailing winds so I’m not worried.

My poor head has been whirling with thoughts and ideas lately! I am waking up in the middle of the night a lot, thinking about how to do some of the projects I have in mind. Google and You Tube have been getting a work-out! Isn’t it amazing; you can learn ANYTHING on You Tube! Really!! I guess I’ve mostly been working on finding cute exterior decor items which can be added at a later date, when money allows.

Here are some of my crazy thoughts. For one thing, I’m 99.99% sure now that I have The Plan. I’m going to build a little 8×8 tiny house with a 2′ wide front porch, sort of like this but with more of a Victorian feel.

SheShed2

I have the floorplan all done and my materials list done, plus all the drawings for wall, floor and roof construction.  I plan for this to be the ONLY structure….this won’t be a “build this little shed now and build something bigger later”. It’s going to be barely larger than my camper (64 sq. ft vs 58.5 sq. ft) but the difference is, the tiny house will have straight-up walls! I can have lots of storage cabinets, shelves, etc. on the walls, where in the teepee shaped camper I can’t have any. Also, if I want more space later on, I could add a little 6×7 lean-to addition onto the side of the house pretty cheaply, and that would be big enough for a twin bed and closet or potty room. Then I could remove the sofa/bed and use a couple small upholstered chairs and a table in the “living room” of the main house.

It will have a fairly steep 12/12 pitch roof, (same as the little house above) and since it’s only 8′ wide, I think I might be able to shingle it from a scaffold without actually having to get ON the roof, but I’m not sure. If not, I’ll have to hire someone to help for that part. I’d really like an even steeper roof, but I like this gingerbread trim for the gable peak, and I can use regular $15-20 corbels if it’s a 12/12 pitch (90º right angle) but if it’s anything other than 90º then it’s a special order and the price jumps to $60 and up! I really like this one; it’s $21. There’d be one up at the peak and also one at each side of the front porch, where the porch columns meet the roof.

Gable Trim

I like this Gothic arch window for up in the gable end too! It is small, just 9 1/2″ x 22″. It’s not meant to be a real window, just decorative, but I’m thinking I could add some plexiglass over it both front and back and mount it in the wall. It’d be 10′ up, so I don’t think it’d be too noticeable if it didn’t quite look like a real window. It is only $25 including shipping, and I’ve already figured out how to do the trim. (That was another of my middle-of-the-night ponderings) I think it’d be really cute.

GothicWindow

I’ve ordered the windows already, they are el cheapo aluminum frame playhouse windows, but I think they’ll do. They are sort of tall and skinny single-hung with grids…18″x36″. One for either side of the door, plus a shorter one for over the kitchen sink, and a cute 10″ round window for up in the back gable peak. All four for $110 including shipping!! That’s how I know they’re gonna be really nice windows….not! Sigh. I can’t afford to buy good windows. I imagine they’ll be like the crappy aluminum windows that come on most storage sheds.

I have to make my own front door because it’s going to be narrow, only 26″ wide. The biggest thing that needs to fit through the door is the refrigerator, and it’s less than 22″ wide.  I found some great You Tube videos on how to make a door, and it looks like I can do it with the tools I already have, though I probably will borrow the neighbor’s table saw to make the cuts more precise than my circular saw. I have made my own door once before so I’m sure I can do it. One of my middle-of-the-night sessions was, how to make a homemade door look sort of Victorian, for not much money?? I came up with the idea of putting in a regular plain glass window and glueing (using clear glass glue) beveled glass to it. At first I thought just rectangular bevels around the outside, but then I saw these cluster bevels on clearance for $6.50 (wow!) and I had the answer! I will make two window panels side by side, each 7.5 x 17. With a narrow stile between them.; that will make a 17×17″ square window. Then I’ll glue two of these cluster sets in; I think it’ll be awesome!   I’m a freakin’ genius!  Hopefully the glue won’t show on the inside, especially if I try to keep it to the outside beveled parts.

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I already have all my kitchen appliances lined up, thanks to a camping friend, Deb Capodice! She’s selling me her barely used  Camp Chef Portable Stove With Oven and an older model Dometic RM4223 3-way RV refrigerator, for amazing prices! This fridge is 2.5 cu. ft., slightly larger than my camper’s 1.9 cu. ft. one. No freezer. I’m thinking to get one of the very efficient Engel or Wyntner 12v portable compressor freezers someday and run it off the solar/battery system.  The fridge will go in the closet, with a couple drawers underneath it (to raise it up so I don’t have to stand on my head to see what’s in the fridge) and space for hanging clothes above it.  That will give me a lot more cabinet space in the kitchen. I already have a really nice Kohler cast iron bar sink that I got at a thrift store.

Here is a photo of where some folks built in a stove similar to this (though the stove in the photo is a $1500 Origo 6000, made for boats!) I like that it’s portable and if I want to bake something in the summertime, I can just take the whole stove outside!

StoveLikeMine

I am really hoping that if I insulate the heck out of this thing and put in continuous soffitt & ridge vents and a radiant barrier in the roof, that I’ll be able to keep it cool enough to stay here in the summer. I found some easy plans for a home-made “swamp cooler” (evaporative cooler) using a plastic bin and a $10 water fountain pump to drizzle water over an evap. cooler pad, with a 12 volt fan in front of it. It may not cool down the whole space but maybe if I direct the fan at me, I can stand it. Luckily it always cools way down to 60 or below at night here, so that will be a big help.  I think I’ll get some summer shade but it’s hard to tell since the sun will be coming in from a different angle than wintertime.

I’ll try to spiff up my floorplan to show you in the next post. The one I’ve got has too much scribbling on it!

Here are links to some of the items readers have purchased on Amazon. Feel free to use these links to browse and shop!

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Wireless Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Update

Just a little update on what’s going on here. Still haven’t heard from The Guy about when he’ll pick up the shed. It’s back to it’s original state; I removed the shutters and windowboxes, patched the holes and repainted. I am assuming he’s waiting until he gets an order in this vicinity again, so he doesn’t have to come all the way from Tucson just for this.

I’m working on a little project right now, a water tower!  The local feed store has 275 gallon plastic water containers with a metal cage around them for  $120. That’s a great price; they are usually $150-165.

water tote

I can get 275 gallons of water delivered for $25, so it would be a really convenient and economical way to have a water supply here. Right now I have to take my gallon jugs to town and  pay $.30 a gallon to get them filled. The nearest water dispenser machine is about 25 miles away, so it’s not always convenient. At $25 a fill-up, that’s only $.09 a gallon!

I’m thinking that I want to  build a platform for it so it’ll sit about 3′ high. That way it will be easy to use the spigot at the bottom, and eventually it will gravity-feed to the house, and I won’t have to worry about getting and maintaining a 12 volt pump. I bought some 4×4’s for legs and some 2×6’s for crossbars. 275 gallons of water weighs somewhere around 2280# so it has to be sturdy!

I’ve also decided to put off building the 8×12 tiny house until Fall. There’s no way I could come up with the $1000 or so I need to build & insulate it before summer, and I would not want to leave it for summer unless it could be locked.  That’s the bad thing, I probably can’t stay here in summer if I’m still living in the camper. Even if I rig up a shade cloth over the camper, I don’t think I could keep it cool enough without air conditioning. It’s only got 1″ of foam insulation in the walls & roof, and I’m very sensitive to heat!

So I’m thinking about trying to build a really small storage shed, 6×8′. I’m going to need a shed anyway, and I’m pretty sure I can afford to build that and insulate the heck out of it, and maybe I could get a comfortable chair and hang out there during the day this summer, and sleep in the camper at night. It almost always goes down to 60º or less at night in summer, so that would help a lot.  I’ve found some easy plans for a homemade evaporative cooler that should help. It may not cool down the whole space, but if I aim the fan at me, it might keep me cool. It’s not one of those hokey ice-filled cooler with fan things; I have no way to make ice! It is a true evaporative cooler using a small $8 water fountain pump to drizzle water over a special pad, with a 12v fan in front of it.

I really have no desire to go wandering around this summer; I really want to have a garden and I can’t do that if I go a-wandering. And just thinking of driving 300+ miles to get to the higher elevations in Colorado or New Mexico makes me tired. Some folks spend the summer in Flagstaff but it’s just not high enough; it’s only 200′ higher than here. (I’m at 6700′) The average high here in July-August is 90 which is way too hot for me!  So I think I will work on building a little storage building, and see how it works out. Hopefully I’d know something by May about whether or not I can stand the summer….before garden planting time! The last frost date here is May 10.

Building the tiny shed would also give me a good idea of whether or not I can build the larger structure in the fall.  I’m a little worried about arthritic hands and knees and how they’d hold up on a big (to me) building project. Boy it sucks to get old!

Here are links to some of the items readers have purchased on Amazon. Feel free to use these links to browse and shop!

Mohu Leaf HDTV Antenna

Samsung Galaxy J3 Case

Norpro Glass Cheese Dome with Marble Base

 

Posted in Arizona, Shed to Tiny House, Tiny Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

A Do-Over!

Surprise, surprise…..I’m returning the shed. I know it’s cute, but pretty is as pretty does.  It is not what I ordered, and the things that are not as specifed mean I’d have to significantly change my plans. At first I kept thinking, “OK, I’ll have to modify the plans for that”. And that. And that.  Well wait a minute….I don’t think I should have to modify my plans that much, just because the guy didn’t feel like buildling what I ordered!  None of this is my fault!  So I’m having them pick it up. Since it’s a Rent To Own deal, there’s no penalty at all for sending it back.

I ordered 8’ sidewalls because I planned to have a murphy bed that drops down from the wall, but have it high enough so someone could still sit or sleep on the sofa below it. He assured me that that model came with standard 8’ sidewalls, but mine has 7’ sidewalls. This meant that the wall bed would have to barely clear the top of the sofa underneath, and it also means that my guest bed would be unusable. And it’s entirely possible that the ceiling fan would cut my head off as I was climbing into bed, since it would be a foot lower and the bed a foot higher!

I ordered 2×3 single hung windows and got 3×3 sliders. In a tiny house, wall space is at a premium, for kitchen cabinets and other wall storage. There’s not much floor space, so you have to go up! (Another reason to have higher ceilings as well) Three windows that are too wide mean 3’ less wall space, and I only had ONE wall kitchen cabinet in the plan….it meant no wall cabinets, and it also knocked out my plan to have 15” Ikea wall storage units on either side of the living room window, and on the side wall, where the TV goes on the wall, it meant the largest TV I could have is a 19”. It also meant that the corner where I had hoped to have a tiny wood stove eventually, was no longer big enough.

I ordered continuous eave and ridge vents. I plan to put in radiant heat barrier, shiny foil that reflects the heat back to the roof. I need those continuous vents to let the heat out! What I got was a little 2×12 aluminum vent in each gable end. I did ask the bulder about getting a refund on what I paid for the continuous vents, and I got a pretty aggressive-sounding email back saying he said that he hadn’t charged me anything for them, and that he should have charged me more for the shed; the base price was $4050 and he only charged me $4100. Also he said that the little gable vents are all I need. Well…the base price when I ordered it back in November was $3650! And obviously if he didn’t charge me for them, it meant he never intended to ever do what I ordered.  And who doesn’t know that heat goes UP, not sideways? The only way a gable end vent would be efficient is if there was a fan on it, pulling or blowing the air out.

Besides those things, the construction is a little shoddy, probably because they threw the thing up in a day and a half! Their website says it takes them 3-5 days to complete each shed. The studwalls in mine, which are supposed to be 16” on center, actually have very few 16” ones. They range from 15 ¼” to 21”! That means nearly every strip of insulation would have to be custom cut, taking way more time and involving a lot more wasted material. The masonite that’s covering the underside was not nailed down along half of the back of the shed, and is hanging down about ½” which means any enterprising mice in the area could easily get in and make nests in the cellulose insulation. I tried to nail it up but since the shed is only a few inches off the ground, I couldn’t get a hammer in there.

I ordered a 12 ½” wide custom wood window for the bathroom, to fit between the 16” on center studs. But where I planned to put it, the studs are only 15 ½” wide, so it won’t fit. I’d have to cut through existing studs and do a whole lot more work to make that window go where I wanted it.

The bottom line is, it was not his prerogative to decide what I did or didn’t need, especially with no discussion about it.  I had specific reasons why I ordered it the way I did, and yet 3 out of the 5 changes I ordered, I did not get. It doesn’t matter if he charged me for them or not!

So it looks like I’ll be starting over from square one. I could save up my money for a few years and buy an old travel trailer, though with the extremes in cold & heat here, and no electricity for air conditioning, I feel I need more insulation than a travel trailer can provide.  (Besides, they’re not very cute at all). I could try to rent-to-own another storage shed from another company, but you know the saying “Once bitten, twice shy”. That’s kind of how I feel right now.  

For the past few days I’ve been working on a floor plan for an 8×12 tiny house. That is less than ⅔ the size of this one, but is still twice as big as the camper, and I’m able to fit most everything I really need into the space. So I’m really considering building it myself. I would not try to build it in a hurry; if it took me 6 months, so be it. I’d have to buy materials as money allowed anyway, which will make it a fairly slow process. It’s painful for my bad knee and arthritic fingers to do this construction stuff, so maybe I’d only be able to nail up two or three 2×4’s a day. So what?! And maybe I’d get some (semi-skilled) volunteer help along the way, who knows?

I could build the shell of this smaller structure for around $1500, and have no monthly payments. The one I’ve got now cost $4100 and on the rent to own plan, would have ended up costing me $9100 after 4 years of payments!  I’m still thinking about it, but am really leaning in this direction.

What happened to our pleasant winter weather?! On Saturday we had 25-30 mph winds with gusts up over 50 mph, and a couple inches of snow.  Last night, the low dropped to only 11 degrees. (It had been in the mid-20’s) I brought in a second 1500 watt heater that runs off 1# propane bottles, and ran the two heaters at the same time, which worked great until it ran out of gas around 3 a.m. When I woke up this morning it was 47 degrees in here at bed level, and down on the floor, Roxie’s water was frozen solid in the dish! Once the sun came out it warmed everything quickly which means all the frost-covered metal strips in the camper defrosted and were raining on me!  I’m so glad I’d spent time on Saturday stuffing cracks and wind leaks with foam, or it probably would have been much colder in here.

Here are links to some of the items readers have purchased on Amazon. Feel free to use these links to browse and shop!

Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Lavender Soap

Herbal Deep Immune System Booster

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Shed to Tiny House, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | 15 Comments