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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.

Here’s a link to Amazon. Feel free to use this link for access, then you can use Amazon’s search bar to find everything your heart desires (almost!) Thanks for using it! (You can also bookmark the link so it’ll be easier to use it in the future)

AcuRite Color Weather Station

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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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!

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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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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?

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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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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.

 

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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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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

 

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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.
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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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

Categories
Arizona Micro House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

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