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It’s Got A Roof!! Part 1

By a strange set of circumstances, I’ve got myself a roof….finally!  Jeff, the guy who’s camping here, needed some car repair. He asked if I knew anyone in the area and I didn’t, but I posted on the local Buy/Sell Facebook group, and got contacted by Tyler’s wife. He came out last Friday to look at the car and see what parts were needed. I don’t even know why I did it, but I asked Tyler if he ever did any carpentry work. He said that was actually his profession; he just worked on cars in his spare time. So he walked over to look at the house and he was instantly impressed because I used double top plates. That’s how you’re supposed to build a proper stud wall, but he says nobody around here does it. Huh!

He came back on Wednesday to fix Jeff’s car. Oh and Jeff is going to stay here all summer and pay me $100 a month.

Tyler gave me a quote of $500 to do the roof, that would be him and his partner working together. YES! Finally a reasonable quote!! So the very next day (today) he’s here to start work! He didn’t bring his usual partner; that guy was working on another job. He brought his neighbor Doug who has done work as a roofer. He’s way too chatty and Tyler has to keep  bugging him to get back to the job at hand, and he knows next to nothing about building, though he doesn’t seem to know it. Tyler and I are have to keep correcting him when he says dumb stuff. He’s pretty insistent with his ideas.

Tyler also had never built a roof using common rafters and a ridge board, so I walked him through that process and he caught on quickly. I had built a 2×4 contraption that sits on top of the stud wall, right in the center, and the ridge board just slides right into a slot in the top to hold it in place. I designed it so the height of the ridge board would be perfect for nailing the rafters onto.

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My ridge board holder
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Ridge board is in place; attaching first rafter

At first I know they thought it was really weird and dorky but by the end of the day, they really liked how it worked. The board holders got screwed in place at each end and the ridge board slipped into place. The first time they tried to get the correct placement for the ridge board, it seemed to be a couple inches too short! We couldn’t figure out what the problem was, as it was all level. Finally Tyler measured the ridge board and it was a pre-cut! So it really WAS a couple inches too short! They went back and chose a nice straight 8′ long board and it fit perfectly. They attached the middle 3 sets of rafters first, then those held the ridge board in place after they removed my board holder contraption so then they could install the rafters at each end.

I asked them to measure the top of the stud walls diagonally from each corner, to check that it’s square. I was pretty proud when it came out to be just 1/4″ out of square, same as it was at floor level. That’s well within acceptable tolerances.

The guys took a break and drove up to the general store to get drinks. Doug ONLY drinks Dr. Pepper and he didn’t bring any with him. When they got back, they said they’d been bragging about me at the store, this 60 year old woman who was building her own house, and doing a pretty fine job of it, too! I told them I was 70 and they said “Oh damn, that would have made a MUCH better story”!!

I didn’t have the rafters ready for the little bedroom “bump-out” portion because I needed to figure what angle I wanted on them. In order to do that I needed to have the main house rafters in place. So once the rafters were done, Tyler held up a board and moved it around until the angle looked good, and then he marked it for the birdsmouth cut, the length and the soffit end angle.

I have all cordless Dewalt tools, which are really very good, But I just have the 18 volt batteries, because the 20 volt lithium batteries require a pure sine wave inverter, which I don’t have. They can explode if you charge them on a modified-sine wave inverter. That’s just what I’d need, a THIRD total loss house fire! The drills work great on the 18v but the circular saw really requires a lot more power, I end up using one whole battery to cut one board! And it really really difficult to cut angles with it. So I struggled with that first board while the saw kept bogging down. Finally Tyler said he’d take the Master plus 4 more 2×6’s home with him and cut them with his saw. So that’s where we left things today. Isn’t it cute?!  It’s a 10/12 pitch.

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End of Day 1

We should finish up tomorrow!  I spent nearly the whole day on my feet, but was wearing my knee braces so my knees are fine; I’m just totally exhausted and my arms feel like limp noodles from all the carrying 2×6’s and cutting, . I’m gonna be hurting tomorrow, I’ll bet.

I’ll need to decide whether to do another Balance Transfer on my VISA card so I can keep going & do the siding or not. I think I really want to keep progressing, and I’d love to be able to hire Tyler to help me with it. He actually listens to me! I’ve caught him before he made a couple big blunders, and he’s done the same for me too. I think he & I could work together very well.

My former camping buddy Deb has come for a visit!! She’s on her way to her new home in Pahrump, NV but can’t get into it until June 1,  I’ve loved having her here! Just like when we camped together, we only see each other for probably a total of 30 minutes a day, because we’re both introverts. A little human contact goes a long ways with us. She has a mini-van with a cot in back that she sleeps on.

Yesterday Deb & I went to the Hon-Dah Casino in Pinetop. We signed up for the Players Club and got $5 in free play plus a $6 discount on food. I ran through my free play in a very short time on the penny slots, and when I got up to leave, I found a lucky penny on the floor! We ate  their buffet lunch, which ended up costing only $2 each. Deb  bought mine. Thank goodness the desserts didn’t look THAT delish; I was able to resist. Then Deb wanted to play the slots a little more. I ventured a whole dollar and ran through it in no time, just playing once cent at a time! Some lucky penny that turned out to be. No wonder the other person threw it on the floor. Deb placed a $.50 bet and won $52.50! So it turned out to be a pretty good morning’s work for her.

She’s leaving tomorrow. I will really miss her.  She’ll still be my geographically closest friend though, only 9 hours’ drive away.

Here’s a couple bonus photos of ME, sneakily taken while I was cutting a board. Note my very fashionable knee braces!

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Me
I look like Mr Magoo, with those squinty eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arizona Off-grid living Uncategorized

Wind, snow, rain……

The wind is here with a vengeance. Day after day, winds of 30-55 mph so we spend nearly all of our time indoors. On May 20 we had snow off & on all day! It would accumulate enough to cover the ground, then melt, then we’d get blizzardy conditions again, etc. etc. I am grateful though, that the temperatures have been very cool, highs in the high 50’s for the past week or more, and nights in the high 30’s, low 40’s.  This is nearly 20 degrees below normal! Temps are slated to reach the low 70’s starting tomorrow and since I’m “allergic” to hot temps, I’m fine with this.  I just wish the wind would stop. It seems like the high winds usually only last until mid-June….hope so. I am ready to start working on the house again.  Of course that’s real easy for me to SAY while it’s impossible to work!

Oh, I just looked out and it’s snowing like crazy again.  Sigh…I guess we can use the moisture.

My guest Jeff and his Australian Cattle Dog “Manny” are working out well; they’re no trouble at all.  Jeff keeps to himself and so do I. I do feel really bad for him to have to be cooped up in his teeny teardrop trailer because of all this wind though. He had a nice little setup with a 10×10 canopy that had a tarp across the back on the windward side, but it blew all to pieces on the first 50 mph wind day so he had to remove the canopy and cover everything up. With the cool temps and that wind, it feels more like the 30’s out there, so being inside is a must.

My nylon canopy is holding up very well in the wind, even though it’s not properly anchored down yet.  As I had hoped, it has solved the problem of my horrendous camper leak. (I have looked many times and can’t find where the water is getting in)

Jeff has asked if he can stay here for a few months, and has offered $100 a month rent. Since  lost the extra income from Amazon, I decided to take him up on his offer. The only real drawback to having him living on the property is that I have to be fully dressed when I go outside.  There is a large cedar tree between his camper and mine though, so there’s still a good bit of privacy for us both. Pat, a mutual friend, is planning on coming to this area to buy a large piece of land in August, and at that time Jeff & Manny will move onto Pat’s property, perhaps permanently.  I was thinking it might be really nice to have someone else around when I’m up on the ladder doing construction, in case I fall on my head or some stupid thing.

With the rain and snow came green grass and FLOWERS! Lots and lots of these pretty purple flowers have sprung up everywhere. I love looking out at them….color here in the desert is so rare! I was worried about them during the wind and snow but they came through just fine. Good hardy desert plants!

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Remember Deb, who traveled with me a couple years ago? She is coming to visit! I am very excited; I haven’t seen any of my friends for at least a year and a half, maybe longer.  She’s stopping off for a day or two while on her way to Pahrump, NV where she’s going to buy an older 5th wheel in an RV resort where she has a membership.

 

 

 

 

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Canopy Project

I have a canopy over the camper to keep out rain and the sun’s heat! It was quite a project and I’m still not done, but it’s up and functioning pretty well. I just happen to have a big cedar tree on one side of the camper and a big multi-trunk stump on the other. I wanted to somehow stretch a rope that went across the top of the camper so I dug a hole at the base of the stump and used super-strong cable ties and rope to hold a 2×3 upright.to it, with a piece of 4×4 block as a spacer so it stood upright.

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Then I had to take it all apart because I’d forgotten to attach the rope to the top, and it was too rocky and uneven to set up the ladder so I could reach it. Oops!

The other side was harder, because I had to somehow thread the tope through a bunch of cedar branches in order to get to the trunk. I tied the end of the rope to a 1×2 and pushed it through and then got on the ladder at the tree trunk and pulled it on through. I didn’t quite get it high enough though, so I had to cut some branches with the reciprocating saw so I could get the rope high enough.

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I have some big heavy metal fence posts I still need to hammer in, so the ends will be held away from the roof a few inches. I got one in and then discovered it was in the wrong place, and now I can’t get it out! Another one needs to go where there’s a rock so I need to get my pickaxe from storage and see if I can get it out. I hope it’s not gigantic!

I got cinders delivered last week! He did a great job of spreading it while dumping and it looks really nice. I hated to spend the money but if I want to be able to get in and out of here when the monsoon rains hit (early July?) I’ll need the gravel base.  One load was enough to cover the whole driveway loop, plus the 30′ part where  I park.

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I have a guest! It’s a friend of a friend who is looking for property in this area. He’s been living in a tiny teardrop camper for the past 4 years! Wow there aren’t many people who live in something smaller than my own camper. He’s got a nice little setup though, with a 10×10 canopy for his “living room”.

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It’s working fine having a guest; he pretty much stays to himself and so do I. I was hoping he’d be someone who could help me with the house, but Jeff has a back back and shoulder. Darn.

I got my car paid off! Then a couple days later it started making a weird sound in the front….ain’t the way?! I had to get new struts to the tune of $917.

I also got a couple quotes from carpenters, to build my roof. It’s just labor; I already have all the materials and I even have all the rafter angles figured and rafters cut. It’s just 5 sets of rafters, 8×11 structure. Both guys agreed that it would be about 12 hrs. for two guys. Well the first guy quoted $2000, which is CRAZY!! That’s $85 per hour per man. The second guy quoted $3000 ($125 per hour per man)! I don’t get it; carpenters here make $25-30 per hour!  I guess they just didn’t want the job. So it looks like I’m going to have to build the roof myself after all. I’m scared to death to be up that high on a ladder, toting 2×6 rafters & ridge board, and sheets of plywood! Heck I can’t even pick up a sheet of plywood any more; I have to drag it The only way I can see to get the plywood up on the roof is to cut it into smaller pieces. I cried and cried but now I’m OK, I can do this thing. I’ve decided to build the interior wall first, the one for the closet, fridge and bathroom. It’ll have a small storage loft over it, and if I build that now it’ll give me a more stable platform to work from than a ladder.

I bought the 24×40 shower pan that will be the bathroom floor; I wanted to make sure I build the walls to fit. I’ll have to do the drain plumbing first though. Instead of cutting holes in my floor & messing up the insulation and rodent-proof mesh, I’m going to put a second floor in the bathroom, on top of the existing floor. I’ll just have to step up a bit to enter the bathroom. It will be a “wet bath”; the shower pan is the whole bathroom.

Oh yeah, bad news about my Amazon Associates account. They kicked me out. There’s a really long Operating Agreement with lots of legalese and I did read it, but I guess I didn’t catch all the rules. They say I told people how to bookmark a link, and that’s a big no-no. People are supposed to use “live links”, not enter from a bookmark. They take a real hard line on not following their rules; I know a couple other bloggers who got booted out for doing something wrong.  That’s a real blow to the budget, I relied on that $150 or so extra income every month. They pay two months in arrears so I’m also not going to get the $363 that I earned for the past two months. So anyway if you’re using my links to order from Amazon, try to find some other deserving blogger to get the credit.

 

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Anti-inflammatory Supplements

 

Several people have asked what anti-inflammatory supplements I’m taking for my arthritis, so here’s a rundown on the ones I take that I think are most effective. A word of caution though; all the anti-inflammatories here also have blood thinning properties, so if you are already on a prescription blood-thinner, you might want to discuss using these with your doctor. I take a lot of supplements and I had to go off any blood-thinners and anti-inflammatories before my PRP procedure, and I was shocked to discover that I was taking SIX different blood thinning supplements! No wonder when I do a “stick” for a glucose test, it’s still bleeding five minutes later, LOL!

I’ve spent hours on line trying to figure out which supplements are most effective and best for the money. I can tell you that buying most supplements at Walmart, CVS or Walgreens is a waste of money. Supplements are one of those things where you pretty much get what you pay for. It’s difficult to figure out the actual cost per serving when all the brands have different strengths and different number of pills per serving.; when researching on Amazon you have to click on every one of the products to get that information.  A good research tool is the website https://examine.com.  They use science-based studies, give the references and don’t sell or take advertisements for any supplements

Omega 3 Fish Oil: I use Arazo Nutrition Omega 3 Fish Oil  Research has shown that you need to take at least 2700 mg per day in order to be effective. Many of the studies use dosages of 3000-4000 mg per day. These capsules are large but go down easy, and no fishy burps if you take them with a meal! The recommended daily dose on the bottle is 3 capsules (4800 mg Omega 3) but I just take two, for 3200 mg.   $.34 per day.

Curcumin: I use ProHealth Optimized Curcumin 1000 mg  Wow, there’s a lot of different opinions on this one, but Curcumin is great stuff! Probably the best thing I take. This is the most confusing supplement I’ve researched. Apparently curcumin from just plain turmeric root is very poorly absorbed. You must get one with either Bioperine,  “Longvida” process turmeric root, one that uses 95% Standardized curcuminoids, or theracurmin (teeny tiny particle size 100x smaller than the others, so it’s readily absorbed)  The one I take is Longvida and pretty pricey but I get 1000 mg in just one pill. $1 per day.  I’m thinking of trying this one next time: Bioclinic Naturals Theracurmin 2X . It is not as strong but is supposed to be 27x more bioavailable than the other kinds. It would cost $.83 per day.

Cat’s Claw: I use Source Naturals Cats Claw Defense Complex 1000 mg Cats Claw is an immune system booster but it also helps with arthritis pain. This stuff REALLY helped with the pain in my fingers when I lived in the humid NC climate. I could tell a big difference if I didn’t take it for a couple days in a row!  One per day, $.12

Hope this helps.  When I had to go off these supplements for 10 days, I noticed a definite difference in my pain levels in fingers, neck and knees.

I’ve been trying to walk about a mile a day. Thanks to Dr. Matt (and maybe the supplements), I’m able to do this without knee pain!!  Two months ago this would have been impossible. I have a little track that’s about 500′ long, and it take two minutes for each lap, so I have to go round and round 15 times. It’s pretty boring, but it’s difficult to walk on the deep cinders in the road, plus I don’t want to have to go past the neighbor’s house in case she’s outside and I get trapped into talking to her. I’ve had to get it done before noon, when the kidney pain starts up. I must say though, the pain is GONE since I took the herb Chanca Piedra for three days! (It’s also called “stone crusher herb”) My Dr. Matt told me about it…..he’s brilliant!  I love that he uses both holistic and traditional Western medicine.

It’s warm today, around 75° and very sunny (and windy, that goes without saying these days) so I’m wearing shorts. And my knee braces. I realized while walking today that my lily-white legs are going to get a very strange tan this summer…..with a weird 11″ white spot above & below my knees, where the brace goes!

I have a little bit of house news; I’ve contacted a roofer who’s going to come out and give me an estimate on doing the roof! If it’s a decent quote, he said he could do it one day next week….woo \-hoooo!!! It would be so nice to get a little more progress on the house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arizona Off-grid living Uncategorized

April

Howdy everyone! No progress on the house to report, I’m sad to say. I spoke with Wyatt about 3 weeks ago and he agreed to help for a few hours, to square up the frame and get the first and last sets of rafters up, securing the ridge board. I thought maybe I could manage to set the in-between rafters. (Haha, no way, but it sounded good at the time). Since then we’ve had some pretty crappy weather on the Saturdays, but this Saturday looks really good…warm and not windy!  And I’ve decided that if I don’t hear from Wyatt this week, I’m going to go ahead and hire a couple guys to do the roof for me. I REALLY would like Wyatt to do it because I know he’s really good, but I just can’t wait around forever. Summer is going to be here soon and I really don’t want to be stuck having to live in this hot-box of a camper.

Last week I got PRP (Platelet-Rich-Plasma) in both knees. It’s half the cost of stem cells and seemed to be the best way to go right now; it contains several different growth factors that should prod my own lazy stem cells into going back to work and making some new cartilage. That’s the theory, anyway. They take some of my blood and spin it in a special centrifuge, then draw the platelets off the top and inject them into my knees. I always have a hard time getting blood drawn; my veins see a needle coming and they somehow manage to squirm away from the needle. It happens every time. Two people tried and it took several sticks. They needed to get 60cc of blood but gave up once they got 50cc. It turned out okay; they ended up with about 25cc of platelets and they only needed 10cc to do both knees.

So now it’s a waiting game; it takes a couple months before we’ll know if it’s working. In the meantime, my knees are pain-free! I’ve even been walking for about a mile most every day, which would have been impossible a couple months ago. I think it’s from wearing the braces and also the anti-inflammatory supplements I’m taking. I had to go off them for about a week when I got the PRP and boy, did I find out how well they worked! My fingers, neck and back all started hurting. I’m back on them now and already feeling better. Sometimes it takes more than one PRP treatment but I’m hoping I’ll get lucky and only need the one.  I’m seriously thinking about getting PRP treatment in my poor neck in a month or two also. Before I went off my supplements, it was feeling really good. Now it feels really bad again and I’m back to getting the weekly homeopathic Traumeel injections. I’m sure glad I have that to fall back on; it really does help a lot. But a more permanent fix would be nice.

So. Fixed the knees, now guess what? Kidney stone.  Yeah. I’ve been having that awful back/flank pain for three weeks now. For some reason it never hurts overnight or in the mornings; it starts up around noon every day, so I have to get out and get my chores done early.  I’m just waiting for the darn thing to work it’s way out, which I hear is terribly painful but really, I’m ready for it. I’m so tired of the unrelenting back pain! It seems like there should be a comfortable position but there’s just not. I just hope I don’t end up in the ER with it; who can afford that?! I checked and that lithotripsy procedure that they use to bust up the stones costs $5,000-$8,000! Gulp!  I don’t usually miss having electricity but this is one time I’d love to have enough power to run a heating pad; I hear that helps with the back pain. I guess I’ll buy a hot water bottle, but that’s a lot harder to lay on than a nice flat heating pad.

The weather is behaving, at least this week! Last Friday we got enough snow to  cover the ground, but it melted quickly. We’re starting to get temps in the 70’s, and around 40 at night. Nice.  Here’s a photo taken yesterday when they scraped the road near Big Lake, AZ which is at 9200′ elevation. Still a bit of snow up there!

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Village Candle Gardenia 26 oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arizona Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

WiFi! Walls!

I finally have wifi here at the homestead!! I gave in and signed up for an unlimited ATT hotspot for $70 a month. It’s a lot of money and will take out of my building fund but I had been only using data on my Tracfone and spending $40-50 a month, and that was just for using email and Facebook, no book downloads, no clicking on cute Facebook videos or You Tube!  I’m thrilled to be able to use my Chromebook at home too, and not have to type emails on my tiny phone keyboard.

Awhile back I went to the library to use their wifi (which was usually super-slow or completely out of order) and there was a carpenter guy working on the outside of the building. So I asked him if he ever did any work on the side, and told him about my house and that I was going to need help with the roof. He said he wouldn’t mind helping, but he’d not have any time available until January. That was fine with me, as I had to build the stud walls. Well then the terrible weather came and I never did get any stud walls built.  I saw him again last week and asked if he could spare a day to help me build the walls, and he said he could be available on Friday and yesterday! We had both thought we might be able to get the walls up and a good start on the roof with two days to work, but it didn’t work out that way. Still, I am thrilled with the progress! It’s a house!

I had drawn out the stud placements for each wall, but Wyatt wanted the front and back wall to be “through walls” (full length) so I had to redo the plans. When he saw the drawings I’d done, he said “I guess you really DO know what you’re doing!” While I was doing that, he worked on figuring out a template for the roof rafters. He said he’d always built homes using manufactured trusses and not common rafters, but his dad called him and he was able to walk him through the process. I had tried and tried and TRIED and had gotten the top and bottom angles right, but I could not get the correct birdsmouth cut.  (The part that sits on top of the walls). I watched You Tube videos and looked it up in my books and nothing made sense to me. One method involves using trigonometry!!  And I flunked out of Algebra. Take the hypotenuse of the square root and……..well, that kind of stuff just makes my eyes glaze over.

So we ended up getting two walls built and the one long back wall erected that day. We only worked for 5.5 hours and I was so glad; I am really not able to stand for that long so my back and knees were killing me!  Here’s the back wall. As you can see, there will be three interior partitions intersecting it. Along that back wall will be the narrow bedspace, a closet, RV refrigerator and bathroom.

 

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Yesterday we got the rest of the walls up!

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It’s hard to tell from the photo, but from left to right, there’s a 39″ wide space for my bed, then the front of the house jogs out about a foot. The main house is 8×8 plus the 39″ by 7′ bed area. (No, don’t worry, my bed is not going to be the full 39″ twin size! It’ll be probably 34″ wide.)

I feel so lucky to have found Wyatt! And pretty astounded, because I’m not usually a lucky person. He’s actually a licensed general contractor so he really knows what he’s doing and since I’m off-grid,  he’s got a big generator to run the power tools and a gas-air compressor to run the nail guns which really speeds up the work!  He is truly a joy to work with…..if we disagree on something, he doesn’t just bulldoze his opinions on me; we discuss it and sometimes we do it his way, sometimes mine.  I can’t say enough good things about this sweet and lovely young man.

At the end of yesterday as we were putting tools away, etc. I asked him how much I owed and he told me he was committed to the project and that he was DONATING HIS TIME!!! So he’s not just going to get the walls & roof up, he’s going to be helping with the siding as well, which will be a huge help. And maybe more! I don’t know when he can come back again……we have to work around his and his wife’s work schedule (he’s got 3 kids) plus the weather. Frankly I’m glad to have a little break; those two solid days of work nearly killed me!  If it had been me building the walls, it would have taken a week. I usually work a little, then go lay down to rest my bad back and knees, then work a little more, etc. And I must admit, there is no earthly way I could have lifted the 11′ back wall into place.

I’m hoping the weather stays good (dry) for awhile. We are now back to normal weather, which is around 45/22.  The snow has almost all melted and the dreaded ooey-gooey mud has dried, yay! Roxie hated the mud as much as I did. I have some old pieces of OSB and plywood laid out as a walkway and she’d pee on them rather than get her dainty little feet muddy!

My next project is to clean out my 275 gallon IBC water tote.  I got the water delivered back in May, then took off for cooler climes for four months, so there’s still a lot of water left but it’s got THINGS floating in it!! I don’t know what they are but it tastes like pond water. I haven’t gotten sick from it but I don’t want to drink it. I was filtering it but the THINGS clogged up my filter so now I’m back to buying water in gallon jugs again. I guess I will have to hook up a garden hose and drain the tank, then add a little more water back in and bleach and use a mop to swish it around as best I can?? That would mean I somehow have to get right up on top of the thing. And perhaps I shouldn’t completely refill it next time, but just get 100 or 150 gallons for right now. (It costs $25 for up to 500 gallons) Once I get the house set up and start taking showers and using a kitchen sink, I’ll be using it much faster.

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AcuRite Color Weather Station

 

 

 

 

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Uncategorized

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

I don’t know when I’ll get this out, since I don’t have internet here and I’m a little bit snowed in at the moment! What crazy weather we’re having! Mother Nature’s off her meds!

We got 4” of snow starting Christmas afternoon. Two days later we got another 4”, then another 2” during the night. Then on New Years Eve we got a whopping 17” on top of that followed by a couple more inches the next two nights.  30” of snow in 9 days. My car hasn’t moved for over a week. The snowplow came through three days after the biggest snow, and I ran the car up & down the driveway several times to pack down a “path”. The snowplow dug deep and left a 2’ high berm across the driveway, which contained a foot of snow and a foot of gravel! It was really hard work to get that shoveled away. I threw the gravel onto my driveway, since the county obviously wants me to have it, right?  (The driveway is just a two-track path right now; no gravel) I’m going out for more propane and some groceries today. I don’t think I’ll go all the way to Show Low though, I’ll do my grocery shopping at Dollar General and the local convenience store. It’ll cost more but I’ll save almost $8 in gas by not driving that 60 miles to town & back.

snow on aliner

 

I was in good shape for food & water, just short on meat but I got through it. Yesterday I made tuna-noodle casserole on the stovetop and it was really good! I wonder if there are other casseroles that don’t really need to be baked…..any ideas?

Earlier this winter I read that it’s an El Nino year and that the winter in AZ should be warmer and wetter. I just found out, that’s only in extreme western AZ. Here, colder and wetter, as I’ve already seen. In addition to the snow we’re having extreme cold temps…lows in the single digits and low teens, and highs in the 20’s and low 30’s.  Thank goodness we’re getting some sunny days. If it’s sunny, no matter how cold it is outside I can turn off the heater and let the sun warm the camper.

Got this on my phone the other morning….!!!  My neighbor says it was not that cold and frankly, I didn’t think it felt that cold, but it sure was shocking to see that come up on the phone!

-13 templ

All the canned goods I was carrying in the car got moved to….you guessed it, my bed. The watermelons have been eaten but there’s also several cans of Great Stuff,  some spray cans of Thompson Water Seal and a couple tubes of construction glue sharing my bedspace. Did I mention that the bed is only 34” wide? I thought I cleared everything freezable out of the car except the gallon water jugs, but I forgot about a glass water bottle in the console, which froze and burst. What a mess! It was frozen in place and I had to wait til a nice sunny day to get it out of there. I wonder about the canned goods in the storage unit; I’m sure they frozen but I hope they didn’t burst. Of course all the plastic gallon water jugs are frozen solid. When I need water  I just bring one in and it thaws in about three days.

The extreme cold brought a new problem with my very fragile door. It would get heavy frost on the hinge side of the door and actually freeze the door in place. When I’d try to open it, the casing around the door would stay frozen in place but the door itself would pull away! Then the door wouldn’t close again without having to hammer it back into the frame, which means the door stays open for fairly long periods of time while I get it back to the point where it will close, and I lose a lot of heat. I’m sure all this whacking with a hammer is not doing the door any good, either. I just don’t know how to fix it.

The floors are horrible. There’s no insulation in the floor plus with the door all wonky, there’s a  gap at the bottom. I fill it in with a foam strip every time I come in plus put a rolled-up towel across the bottom but my shoes actually freeze to the floor in front of the door, and when I tried to pick up Roxie’s bed the other day, it was frozen to the floor, and it’s 3’ away from the door and around a corner!  I do kinda enjoy having an indoor refrigerator again though, instead of having to use the ice chest in the car. The cheese, eggs & veggies are in the broken refrigerator, which is staying nicely cold in this weather. The milk, coffee cream, leftovers, etc. are positioned near the door where they often are frozen in the mornings, but it doesn’t seem to hurt them.  So convenient!

I’ve been having to use a stove burner to supplement my little Olympian Wave 3 heater. It’s a great heater but 3000 btu’s is just not enough to combat this extreme cold and frozen floors. Lucky for me, there are so many wind leaks in this thing that I don’t have to open a window for ventilation….the gaps around the door & various other places provides plenty of oxygen.

It looks like there’s another storm system coming in on Saturday night. One of my weather apps says possible 4-6” of snow here and the other one says no accumulation. I never know what to believe. The temps are supposed to warm up mid-week and be in the 40’s / 20’s! That’ll probably feel like summer!  

So needless to say, no work is being done on the house. I keep shoveling the snow off the tarp-covered floor and I’m ready and willing to start building roof trusses and studwalls but Mother Nature is not being very accomodating.

dawn
Pretty Sunrise while waiting for the snow!

Here is a link to an Amazon product…..you can use this link to access Amazon and then order anything you want. Thank you!  

Portable Solar Charger 

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

December’s Doings

I was vastly entertained the other morning by four little bluebirds who seemed to be trying to get into the big side window! They srabbled and flapped their wings at it but all finally gave up and perched in a row on the edge of the solar panel. So cute!  Yes, you probably guessed it, later that day I looked and there were four white streaks of bird poop running down the solar panel! So much for the “bluebirds of happiness”.

I finally cooked the turkey I got at the Food Bank. I decided to cut it up and just cook the breast part on the grill, and not try to cook the whole thing on the grill because it’s way too big.  Wow…turkeys are LOTS harder to cut up than chickens! For awhile there I wasn’t sure who was going to win that fight but finally I triumphed. It turned out really excellent…tender and juicy. I cut the meat off the thighs and legs and simmered it to make turkey noodle soup. I’ve been eating turkey sandwiches and turkey soup for 4 days in a row now, Roxie has been eating turkey at every meal and I’ve still got an awful lot of meat left. I finished off the soup tonight, thank goodness!  This week the Food Bank gave me 10# of chicken leg quarters but I gave it away; any more poultry and I’d be waking up crowing at dawn!

When the nighttime lows are in the teensit’s difficult to protect the stuff that shouldn’t be frozen. Gallon jugs of water freeze nearly solid even when they are stored in the car! Last week the Food Bank gave away mini watermelons…uh oh, that’s a problem! I ended up sleeping with 2 watermelons at the foot of my bed; thank goodness they were small! Also I looked and looked everywhere for two tubes of subfloor glue and finally  found them “keeping warm” between the mattress and the wall. And now I’m housing 5 big cans of Great Stuff Pro plus two cans of the Pro gun cleaner, and two spray cans of Thompson Water Seal. Things are getting out of hand in here; too crowded!!

I hired a $15 an hour guy to help me load my lumber onto a borrowed trailer and bring it back here, then he also helped me lay the heavy ¾” OSB panels for the subfloor. I wanted them glued and screwed, and it would have been extremely difficult for me to get them in position without making a huge mess of the glue. And in fact, I could not have gotten the tongue and grooves to go together. It took Cory using a small sledge hammer to do it….and when I tried, nothing happened at all. It didn’t take long at all, and now I can hold a dance! An extremely SMALL dance, like maybe two people. If they aren’t too exuberant. I helped with all that, but I let him unload and stack  the lumber by himself because I had run out of energy. I went to sleep at 8 pm that night, and was really sore the next day.

DSCN7989

I used OSB for the subfloor and it’s infamous for absorbing moisture along the edges and swelling up so I put some Thompson Water Seal on all the factory and cut edges. I hope that will help because it’s going to be quite awhile before I’ll get a roof over it. I’ll try to keep it tarped though. I also put 4” flashing tape on the two seams. It keeps out moisture, wind, bugs, etc.. Maybe overkill but I definitely don’t want swollen seams going across the middle of my floor!  I don’t have electricity to run a sander.

So now the next step is to get some 2x6x8’s and make the template and cut the roof rafters while I have the whole open floor to use as a base. I I’d like to have a 12/12 pitch roof (pretty steep). Even with that steep a pitch, there won’t be a sleeping loft because it’s just too small. I probably will have a little storage loft over the bathroom/fridge/closet space though. (Those take up the whole 8’ long back wall)

I had another knee injury last week.. At first I thought I was going to have to use a walker again! Turns out it doesn’t hurt much when I walk, just mostly when I bend it, and it’s getting better quickly. Phew!  Just what I didn’t need was another big setback. The worst thing is bending it to get into the car. Here’s what it sounds like when I get in the car: “Ow,ow,ow,ow,ow”!

The weather has moderated at bit and the nighttime lows are in the 20’s. It’s so much more comfortable than those mid-teens!  I hate waking up and the inside temp be under 50 degrees. I’m having a real problem with condensation too; my bedding is soaking wet every morning at my feet where it touches the camper walls. I’ll have to get some foam sheeting to put between them. I have foam running all up the side of the bed and at the head, just not at the foot.

I saw a local ad for 4×8 sheets of 4” thick rigid foam insulation for only $12 a sheet! It’s normally around $30. So I went and for 5 of them for my roof.  They’re used but still good, but had been in contact with fiberglass insulation and I came home itching like crazy, and me with no shower facilities. But what a steal! I thought I was going to have to put two 2” sheets together to fill the space between the rafters, which would be way more money and way more work! The 4” will be fine in my 2×6 rafters as I need to keep at least 1” air space between the insulation and the roof,  so the daytime heat can vent from the soffits up & out through the roof vent. It’s called a “hot roof” and it really helps keep the interior cooler. The shingles don’t last as long but I figure I’ll only be able to live here for 10 years at best anyway, before my mind and body fail me and I need a Keeper.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my sore neck. I woke up one morning in July and my neck hurt, and it just never went away. I finally went to see a holistic doctor a few weeks ago, and he sent me for xrays. Darn it, I’ve got pretty severe arthritis in the base of my neck. He’s been giving me weekly injections of Traumeel, which is a very effective homeopathic anti-inflammatory (with no side effects). Shortly after getting the second set of injections, my neck felt at least 50% better! Wow! I also have to go to physical therapy a few times because I’ve lost the arch in my neck. Whatever that is. I went for the first time yesterday and got a sheet of exercises to do at home. All this doctoring and physical therapy must come to a screeching halt at the end of the year though, because if it goes into January I’d have to pay a whole new Medicare deductible.

Here are a couple links to Amazon products….it would help me a lot if you’d use one of these links to access Amazon. From there you can use Amazon’s search bar to find everything your little hearts desire. Thanks!

 

AMAZON LINKS

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House

Birthday and Other Stuff

I made it through my 70th birthday!! And what a strange and wonderful birthday it was. I got some gifts of money that will go a long ways towards getting my roof done, and four of my camping friends threw me a long-distance birthday party! They were camping at Twin Lakes in SC, one of my favorite places. They went to Clemson University’s dairy bar and got ice cream in my honor, then later they had a decorated birthday cake and sent me a video of them singing Happy Birthday!! What a bunch of nuts! But it sure made my day.

 

The propane pigtail on my camper (goes from the regulator to the tank) cracked from sun damage and started leaking just before dark one evening and I just prayed the gas would hold out all night, because the low was 21. It did, and the next day I switched to a new one. I had to go up to the neighbor’s to borrow his vise to get an adapter off the old hose, but after that it wasn’t too bad a job. So now I have a nice new hose with stainless steel braided covering and a wire squirrel guard! I think the SS covering will keep it from degrading in the sun.  I’ll put the links for these 2 products below.

propaneil

We are having 5 days of high winds here (25-50 mph) plus snow so I hope I’ve got the tarp over the house floor secured well. It would not be good if the new insulation got wet! Next week I hope to get my 2×4’s and subflooring materials brought back here from storage and then I’ll be able to go forward with flooring and studwalls! I’m excited! I had hoped to get the materials back here before then, but it’s hard enough to wrestle 4×8 sheets of OSB subflooring by myself, let alone do it in high winds.

I’ve been working hard at closing up wind leaks. It’s so easy to find them when it’s blowing a gale outside! No wonder it’s so hard to keep the place warm; there were lots of them.j  The winds have not really been dying down at night either, which is rather odd.

I bought a $10 wheelbarrow! I have been wanting one and almost bought a really cheapie one at Lowes but it would not fit into my car. This one has had a broken handle and now has a jerry-rigged repair. Weird, but it seems to work okay, poor thing!

DSCN7985

 

Here are Amazon product links for the two propane products mentioned above. Please use one of these links to access Amazon. Once you get into Amazon, you can just use their Search bar to find anything your heart desires! (Almost)

Propane Hose Squirrel Guard

24″ Shinestar SS Braided Propane Hose

 

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Arizona Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

I’m insulated!

Big News! I got the floor repairs done! I decided to try it on my own. I put down a plastic tarp, then an ensolite foam camping pad on top. I thought I could lay on that and it would slide easily on the tarp. It took me a while to actually get down on the ground….I had to kneel first, and that’s excruciating on these poor knees. I laid down on my back but I couldn’t slide at all. I pulled out the foam pad and tried just laying on the tarp and I got a little ways in, but not far enough, and I could see it just wasn’t going to work. If I went in from the side, there was more space, 14” crawl space instead of only 8.5” in front (because of a low beam) so I tried that too. No go. I had two ideas, both crazy. One was to slide a long piece of plywood under there and try to borrow one of those car mechanic’s creeper things on wheels, though that would decrease the amount of available crawl space. The other idea was to spray the tarp with Pledge furniture polish; you know if you accidentally get that stuff on your floor it’s super-slippery?! (I SAID it was crazy!)

I went up to the neighbors’ to see if Frank had a creeper but he didn’t. He said “Lemme come up there and see what you’re talking about”. So we came back here and I told him my plan to do the repairs, and he dropped down and slithered right under there! I’m pretty sure it helps that he weighs about half what I do. It didn’t take long at all to get it all done, and my jerry-rigged plan actually worked! There is no way I could have done it myself, even if I could have gotten under there. WOW. I’ve been fretting over that project for two months now, and at last it’s behind me and I can make progress again!

On Wed. I put strips of ½” rigid foam insulation board between the joists. Today is really windy and I just spent half an hour chasing down all my foam strips that had blown away in today’s 25-30 mph wind! I managed to get them all back in place and weighted down with rocks. I hope they’ll stay this time.

Also on Wed.  I got the big fat roll of fiberglass insulation out of storage and strapped it to the roof of my car to get it home. Ugh, I hate insulating but at least it’ll be working downward, not on walls or ceilings where so much of that nasty stuff flies around.

I’m hoping to borrow a trailer and hire a $15 an hour guy on Saturday to help me bring my lumber back here. A friend in the neighborhood is having him come do some work already so it should just cost me one hour. I don’t need him to unload it; I would rather do that myself over a couple days’ time.  

My Thanksgiving dinner was a whole chicken that I cooked in my Weber Q grill on Wednesday. I’d have waited but it had been thawn out for 3 days and I was afraid it would go bad. I’m so glad I did that, as I would not have been able to keep the grill lit in Thursday’s wind. I didn’t do the whole dinner thing because I only have two burners on my stove and no oven; it would have been impossible to get it all hot at the same time. So I had leftover chicken, Stove Top Stuffing (ugh), instant mashed potatoes and homemade gravy from the chicken drippings.

Friday……I got the floor insulated today! Nice to have real progress. One step closer to having a house!! It was harder than I thought it would be…seems like everything is. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t done it in 30 years?

DSCN7982

 

I am dog and cat-sitting for my good neighbors Candy & Frank. They have three itty bitty dogs and a huge black & white cat. Nice that I can use their internet while they’re gone and not have to drive to the library, where their internet often doesn’t work.

I can scarcely believe it, but I’m turning 70 next week. Seventy, that’s officially Elderly!! How can this happen to a nice gal like me???? I am REALLY not handling it well. I’m thinking about buying myself a cake. You should ALWAYS have cake on birthdays, right? I really shouldn’t spend the money but this birthday is so darned depressing already, I think I need lots and lots of cake to make it through the day.

Here is an Amazon product link for you to use. If you use this link to access Amazon, then you can use their search bar to find everything your little heart’s desire. Check out their Black Friday Sales! And thanks for using the links; it really helps a lot!

Pack of 6 LED Starry String Lights

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Off-grid living Uncategorized

Early November

I’m still alive! Sorry for not blogging in a while, but there’s not much new.

Last week I hauled the camper to the RV place in Show Low and got the fridge’s propane system cleaned for $60. The guy said it really had a ton of rust & dust in it, but was skeptical that that was the reason it wasn’t working. He thought there probably was a blockage in the coolant. I fired it up when I got home and it did cool, but not enough. It got down to 45 degrees and then as the daytime temps went up, so did the fridge temps. Aarrgh, that’s not cold enough! I suppose I could keep some condiments in there, like catsup, mustard, soy sauce, etc. Last night we had a hard frost so I guess the temp was down in the low 30’s, and the fridge temp was back down to 44 but I’ll bet it will go back up as the day warms. Darn!! I do have another fridge just like this one, but the guy quoted me 2 hours labor to switch them…$230. I’ll have to think on that for awhile, and at any rate, it would have to wait until next month.

When I got back here from my summer wanderings, it took forever to spot the camper where I wanted it. This time, I nailed it on the first try! Well OK so I’m a little tiny bit closer to the cedar tree than before, and every time I go out the door I get hit in the face with cedar tips, but a little judicious pruning will take care of that problem.

The weather has also improved a lot. We’re back to my favorite AZ weather; warm (60’s) sunny days and cool (30’s) nights. Aaaaaahhhhh. I know we need more rain but I hate being cooped up in this teeny camper for more than a day at a time.

I dug around in the storage unit and finally found my power tools, yay! I forgot to look for the box of screws & nails, and I still haven’t found the staple gun that I need to repair the cow damage to the hardware cloth. So I bought a really cheap staple gun at Harbor Freight that also came with 3 kinds of staples and I just hope it holds up long enough to get this one job done. I hope to make lots of progress on the house this next week, but I dunno…I’ve been feeling really lazy lately.  And scared….last week I had a really productive day, and the next day I couldn’t bend my “good” knee at all without it really hurting a lot. It did get better over the next few days but it was scary to think of being incapacitated like it was a couple years ago, and at least then I had a friend to help. Now I’m afraid to do too much.

It seems to be my month for profligate spending. I usually pinch every penny but in addition to the outlay to fix the fridge, I also ordered an 8’ tall 4 season teepee style tent to use as a storage shed. My car just isn’t big enough, and I’m really tired of not even having space for groceries in the car. The tent base is 10×12 and has nice tall doors so I won’t have to crawl in and out, and it’s double-walled for (hopefully) good rain defense. Hopefully snow will slide right off it’s steep sides as well.  Maybe later if it holds up, I can use it as Guest Quarters, assuming anyone will ever want to visit.

I am still internet-less, except for using my phone which is awfully expensive. I have been going to the library but it is a 22 mile round trip and their internet is truly horrible….more like dial-up service! And it’s often out of service completely. I’ve been trying to get this blog out for several days but I want to include a photo, and it isn’t fast enough to download it!

Ahhh, finally got the photo to load! This will be my view from my front windows: Pretty nice, I think!

DSCN7977

A huge THANKS to those who contributed via PayPal or Ko-Fi!! (At top right of this page)  I love you guys.

Here are a few Amazon product links for you to use. If you use these links to access Amazon, then you can use their search bar to find everything your little hearts desire. And thank for doing that; it really helps a lot!

Sandisk Cruzer 2.0 USB Flash Drive

Eye Mask for Sleeping

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Uncategorized

No Joy

No Joy On the Home Front

We’ve had some very strange weather here. The week I got home it was too hot (in the low 80’s), the next week was really nice (in the 70’s) and the 3rd week it was winter! We got a couple inches of snow on October 7, which was a huge surprise to me; my weather forecast app was an epic fail! Thankfully it went away quickly, as my boots and snow shovel were still in storage. Since then we’ve had very cloudy days with periods of rain and several nights well into the 30’s. We even had a bunch of rain from Hurricane Rosa, which came out of the Pacific and up from Baja. I sure never thought I’d be experiencing any hurricane weather here. Whatever happened to nice sunny Arizona weather!

I’ve been procrastinating working on the house by picking up trash that got strewn all around, and pulling up those nasty weeds. I did tear off the shredded plastic and got a good look at the cow damage. It’s really only in two spots, where the hardware cloth has been torn and ripped away from the underside of the floor joists. I see that I can just put a new hardware cloth patch over those spot, but I’ll have to have access under the floor. There’s only 8 ½” of space between the ground and the bottom of the joists, and I don’t know if I can slither in there, and worse; could I slither back out? I can so easily picture myself having to call 9-1-1 to be extracted!! I’d be laying there with my feet stuck out, like the Wicked Witch of the West when the house fell on her. Perhaps I should buy some ruby slippers and a pointy hat.

 

DSCN7973

So that’s where it stands. That hardware cloth is my rodent-proofing. If there’s even a tiny gap in the hardware cloth, then the whole thing is worthless. And there seems to be a lot of mice & rats around here; I’ve had rat infestations under a house floor in the past and it’s horrible! I thought I was so smart……   I’m pretty much paralyzed with fear, and I can’t get anything else done until this is fixed or the whole idea abandoned.

I’ve been really struggling with internet issues too. For a couple years I happily paid only $5 a month for unlimited Verizon internet with a $100 Mifi device I bought on ebay. Then I guess Verizon wised up and quit taking the $5 refill cards, and now I only have whatever I can get on my phone, which isn’t much. My phone is very small and really difficult to type on, plus there’s some other issue with not getting any emails through on the phone! The cheapest internet I can get here is $60-75 a month, and if I did that, it would mean I’d only have $75-150 a month to put towards house construction! I don’t have to tell you, that just won’t work. So I’ve been going to the local library to use their free internet, but it’s really awful. It’s so slow, a lot of websites time out before they connect! And according to my Kindle, it would take 2 hours to download one book or magazine. The library ladies said “Oh no, you can never download anything from here; you have to go to XX or ZZ Library! (One is 25 miles away and the other is 30 miles)  So I am stuck with only being able to downloads books once a week, when I go to town for groceries. I guess I am weaning myself away from being an internet addict, but the withdrawal pains are horrible! Maybe when my car is paid off next July I can get internet here. Sigh……that’s a long ways away.

The only good news I have is that the cold nights have killed off the zillions of house flies that were tormenting me for the past couple of weeks.

My blog site was down for several days but I finally got it fixed. Sorry if you were unable to access it.

Here are a few links to Amazon products; feel free to use one of these links to access Amazon.  I really appreciate it!

Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Carpet Odor Eliminator

Futuro Sport Deluxe Ankle Stablizer

 

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Arizona Uncategorized

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.

Here’s a few links to Amazon products you might like. If not, please feel free to use any of the links to access Amazon and then use the Search box to find what you really want!

Jobar Outdoor Solar LED Light

ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen 50 spf

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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.

Here are links to some items that readers have purchased from Amazon. Feel free to use these links to access Amazon for all your shopping needs!

PerBeat Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Organic 100% Kona Hawaii Keurig Coffee Pods

Categories
Arizona Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

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

showerbag

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.  😦

Here are some links to Amazon products that other readers have recently purchased. Thank you for using any of the links on this page to access Amazon for all your needs!

Kindle Fire 7 $39.99

Burts Bees Face Essentials Gift Set

Chocolate Dipped Insects

 

 

Categories
Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

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.

DSCN7698

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