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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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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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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

 

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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

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Same Old

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

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

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

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

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

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

“Prey” by Michael Crichton

12 oz. Hanging Hummingbird Feeder

 

Categories
Arizona Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Whirling Thoughts

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

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

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

SheShed2

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

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

Gable Trim

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

GothicWindow

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

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

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

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

StoveLikeMine

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

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

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

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Wireless Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

A Do-Over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Lavender Soap

Herbal Deep Immune System Booster

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Progress? Not So Much.

I’ve been holding off doing another blog entry, hoping to have good news to report. Well I do know that my Rent To Own application has been approved and they’re working on setting a delivery date, but so far no news on when it’ll be. They say they probably will pre-fab the components and erect it on-site, which will be fun to watch!

I had a weird Thanksgiving. I held off grocery shopping for as long as I could, thinking perhaps one of the neighbors would invite me for dinner. No dice….until the day before! Then two of them invited me, and the 3rd one invited me on Thanksgiving day! By then I’d already bought my little tiny cornish game hen and a big can of yams. I wanted that yummy sweet potato casserole with the crunchy pecan/brown sugar topping (not a marshmallow fan). But with no oven, I ended up throwing everything in a pan on the stove. It’s pretty gloppy but it tastes good! The darn baby chick was a real hassle. I’ve got a pizza stone on the bbq grill but it’s a tad too big, so the hood doesn’t quite close. That means the stone gets really hot, but the airspace doesn’t, because the lid is open. I put the hen on top of aluminum foil balls (so the bottom wouldn’t burn) and put it on top of the stone. Much later, the grill  had only gotten up to 300 degrees. Another 30 min. later, it was completely cold….I’d run out of propane! So I had to scrounge around and find a propane cannister that had some gas in it (I refill my own) and start all over. I think it took something like 2.5 hours to cook that teeny-tiny bird!! Finally got to eat just after dark.  I had plans to make the whole schmear…dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. Everything but pie.  But I abandoned all that and just had the bird and some sweet potato glop.

I’m a legal resident of AZ now! I got my AZ driver’s license, car insurance and changed the car and camper registration over to AZ, which cost WAY more than I thought….$112 for both! You have a choice of getting registration for 1, 2 or 5 years and it’s a little cheaper to go multi-year but I didn’t have enough money.  Today I went to the post office to send back my NC license plates, and get my mail. No birthday cards…..c’mon people!! I was thinking my friends would all send birthday cards this year since I finally have an address after nearly 5 years. Guess not. Maybe Christmas cards?

My Honey-Do List is long every day. And the bad thing is, I’m the Honey! I’m chipping away at things but I’ve recently been a little laid up with some weird muscle strain in my back. Or side. Or chest! I never could decide exactly where the pain was. I think it’s from tossing rocks off the shed site and/or using the pickaxe to dig out the larger rocks. I’m not used to manual labor but I’m getting there.

At the little general store where I get propane & water, there’s a sign that says: “Firearms are welcome on the premises. Please keep weapons holstered until need arises, at which time judicial marksmanship is appreciated”. HAH! 

We’ve had a couple really pretty sunsets…….

I don’t qualify for food stamps, but I do qualify for the local Food Bank. They distribute food every other Wednesday so I went the other day. Oh my! LOADS of stuff! I’m kind of a fussy eater so some of it I gave to the neighbors but still have plenty of goodies. No meat; I was hoping they gave meat. They had some whole chickens but apparently not enough to give everyone one, so they had a drawing. I didn’t win.  One of the things we got was a big bag of strange tomatoes….almost black! I thought they were plums so was very disappointed when I discovered they were tomatoes. I don’t like fresh tomatoes but love them cooked, so I  skinned, cut up and cooked most of them and made a big pot of chili. I’m gonna be so sick of chili!!  I sure wish I had a freezer!!  We also got apples, organic cucumbers, cantaloupes and mini-watermelons, 6# of raisins (??) 3 doz. eggs, some canned veggies, cranberry sauce and soups, and boxes of mac & cheese. Wow! What do you do with 6# of raisins??? I tried them as a snack and they’re pretty blah.

Here’s where the shed will go, between these two trees. This site give me the best protection from the strong winds. All the rocks you see are now gone except for two really big ones that I’ll need help moving. My neighbor Frank came over this morning (sweaty manual labor before breakfast; isn’t there some kind of law against that?!) He brought his chainsaw and trimmed back a bunch of the limbs on the trees on both sides, so now I have a 23′ wide space. He took most of the larger limbs home with him too, so I don’t have quite so much mess, and he moved those big rocks. I’m gonna put up a low picket fence in the front yard so Roxie will have her own yard and for the first time in nearly 5 years, I won’t have to walk her on a leash! I’ll put down lots of mulch too, so her coat doesn’t get full of the nasty stickers that are all over the place here. Boy that’ll be nice to just be able to open the door and let her out! 

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I sure wish there wasn’t a burning ban, but we’ve had something like 100 days of no rain. When I bought the property, there was a crappy old camper set up here. The neighbor (a friend of the previous owner) assured me that the huge pile of wood trash & pallets would be removed. I hope she’s right. She’s come after 3-4 loads so far but that junk just makes me crazy!  If only I could light a match to it, it’d be gone in a few hours.

I stupidly bought a few things at Dollar Tree to make my own Christmas wreath for the door. WHY??  I hate crafts!! My mother was very artsy but she my brother grabbed all the artistic genes and left me with none. I bought a grapevine wreath, a large silver bell, some bows and 15′ of fake garland. I was going to wrap the garland all around the wreath but didn’t get far with that….boring! Then I noticed that this nasty glitter was all over the place! I ended up taking the garland off and now I have a very very plain wreath with a bow and a bell that’s lost a lot of it’s glitter. Do I care? No. I tried. I sort of draped the garland up and over the camper roof and that’s gonna be it for decorating this year.

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And here’s the part where I’m supposed to advertise some products. I’ll do vitamins today Please copy and paste into your browser!  Any of these links will take you to Amazon, where you can shop for anything else you’re looking for!

Did you know that recent studies have shown that if you have high levels of Vit. C in your system, your risk of heart attack and early death are clearly reduced.  Of course it’s best to get it from fruits and vegetables, but failing that, a supplement is a good idea. I like this brand of Vit. C because it’s sourced in Scotland, not China. Most Vit. C comes from China.    http://amzn.to/2BqGdSs

I also like their brand of Vitamin D3. Vit. D3 is an important immune-system booster!  http://amzn.to/2hTQyxs

And it’s best to take Vitamin K2 along with Vitamin D, to help absorption.  http://amzn.to/2hTs3QX

If you’re over 50, your levels of CoQ10 are reducing. If you are taking a statin, taking a CoQ10 supplement may decrease side effects plus boost your levels.  Be sure to get the kind that has black pepper (bioperine) to help with absorption. I like this one: http://amzn.to/2iSWaJp