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More and More Progress!

Yahoo! It’s looking more and more like a house! I can’t tell you how excited I am about Move In Day, which realistically is still quite a ways off. Once it’s sided, I still have to block in the eaves and install the vents in the eaves; Do all the 12 volt wiring (and a tiny bit of 110V wiring from the inverter to the kitchen, for a crock put and a few other plug-ins), plumb the drains for kitchen sink and shower, and insulate. THEN I could move in. But there’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel now. Yesterday Tyler met me at Lowes and we got the siding, door and a bunch of odds & ends like z-flashing, drip edge, paint and some materials for my front porch foundation. Cost—a little over $500! Just the material for the trim was $120!! Yikes. I hadn’t really budgeted for all those little side expenses. The loan I just got was supposed to cover siding materials, insulation and Tyler’s labor. I hope I have enough left over to be able to buy the insulation later.

House w studs in gable

Yesterday I worked on framing for the octagonal window that goes in the back gable end. An octagonal window, what a dumb idea! I never thought about having to make a 2×4 frame for it. But I’ve finally got the angles all figured out, just struggling with my saw to cut the pieces. My circular saw has lost a bolt that keeps the saw at right angles to the base plate and it’s really infuriating. I can order a new bolt from Dewalt for $10…..a $10 bolt for a saw I paid $30 for on ebay!  I wonder if I could find something that would work at Lowes or Home Depot.  Right now I’ve got Gorilla tape holding it together.

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This is the back of the house.

It’s heating up here; up into the high 80’s and even low 90’s. I just don’t do well at all when the temps are over 80. But it’s heavenly around 6 pm when it starts to cool off, and we have the BEST evenings and nights! It always cools down to around 60 at night, no matter how hot it was during the day. In fact I just quit using nighttime heat 3 days ago! The lows have been around 50, so I had been getting up in the wee hours and turning on the heat to take the chill off. It warms fairly quickly once the sun comes up, which is VERY early here. Since we don’t do Daylight Savings Time and I’m on the extreme Eastern side of the time zone, it’s light by 4:30 a.m.  Too bad I’m not able to roust myself out of bed then and get to work while it’s still cool.  But no, I just roll over and go back to sleep for another hour.

Yesterday afternoon was had an amazing storm….lightning, thunder, heavy rain, wind and quarter-sized hail! It sounded like rifle shots on the camper roof, and Princess Roxie was VERY unhappy.  She hates thunder. So I brought her up on the bed and put down some tee shirts that she could burrow into. That’s the ONLY time she will consent to be on the bed; when she’s terrified.  I was kinda hoping my car would get hail damage and I could get an insurance payout, but I checked and it’s fine. Darn!

Tyler brought me a quart of goat’s milk so I made yogurt yesterday, but I’m afraid to try it. I didn’t like how it smelled…..not like it wasn’t fresh, but just…..weird. I really wanted to make Greek yogurt but I found out that goat’s milk makes really thin yogurt, more like drinkable rather than spoonable. I’m afraid if I try to strain it, it will all go  right through the cheesecloth.

Something odd has happened that I hadn’t even thought of.  Sure, losing weight is all fun and games until somebody outgrows their knee braces. Yes, mine are too big! I’m going to have to shell out another $80 to get smaller ones.  Not happy. Also, I thought I could wear my too-big shorts for working around the place but I’ve discovered that if I put my phone or a tape measure in my pocket, it drags them down and I look like a very large version of those baggy-pantsed boys whose pants are always about to fall down. And I don’t have any interesting boxer shorts under them to show off, either. Just ol’ granny panties, and for sure nobody wants to see those.

 

 

 

 

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It’s Got A Roof! Part 2

Well I guess we were over-optimistic about getting the roof done in two days. The problem is, they’ve only worked 7 hours total in the past two days! I believe our estimate was right, that it’s a 12 hour job for two guys. But it’s going to take 3 days.

They were supposed to show up at 10 a.m. today but Doug, yesterday’s helper, decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to work. It’s too hard, his shoulder hurts, blah blah blah. So Tyler had to find someone else to help, and they didn’t get here til about 11:30. Then they had to leave at 3:30 today!

They did get the rafters on the bedroom bump-out, all the plywood on and part of the drip edge. They’ll come back Sunday to finish up the drip edge, tarpaper, shingles and roof vent.

Tyler has a really cool contraption that lifts heavy sheets of plywood or sheetrock! It sure comes in handy, especially when you need to lift it way up in the air.

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Tyler mentioned that I’d better not wait too long to do the siding, because our fierce winds could come in under that roof and lift the whole thing up in the air! So I guess I’m going to go get another Balance Transfer on my VISA card (gulp!) on Monday and do the siding. The materials alone will cost nearly $500. Plus labor, but I’ll be putting myself to work and Tyler won’t bring a helper. I’d say that it should go fast, but you know about those Famous Last Words. I’m not making any predictions!!

Before Monday, I’ve got to fill in the studs in the gable ends and put the cross-members in the window openings. It’s suddenly gotten hotter here (81-85 degrees predicted for the next 10 days) so I’ll need to get out there early. I melt easily in heat!

 

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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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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.

Gravel

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”.

Jeffcamp

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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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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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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

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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