Taking Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PerBeat Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Organic 100% Kona Hawaii Keurig Coffee Pods

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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

 

 

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

The Heat Is On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toy Storage Net for Stuffed Animals

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

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

Hot Logic Mini-Mac Personal Portable Oven

 

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

Wind Wind, Go Away

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

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

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

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

hurricane tie

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

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

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

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

Here are some items that have been recently purchased through Amazon. I REALLY like the Luci Lights…I have tried several different brands and the Luci ones have superior battery strength, and I like the one with the frosted side panels as opposed to the original Luci Light that’s clear. And they float, how cool would that be in your pool or a lake at night?!   They’d be great for power outages too. Anyway, feel free to use these link to access whatever your heart desires on Amazon.

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

CyberPower CSB404 Essential Surge Protector

Davidson’s Tea, Tulsi Pure Leaves

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

Foundation Piers and Water Tank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Colorful Kids’ Telescopic Butterfly Nets

EHP Myristin Canine Joint Formula

 

 

 

 

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

It’s a house!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Powertec Band Clamp

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Blu-Ray

Qunol Ultra CoQ10 Water Soluble

 

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

Buh-Bye Purple Shed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKTIVX Sports Laces

Folgers Classic Roast Coffee 38.4 oz.

Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Toothbrush

 

 

 

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

Still No Progress

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

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

(Each square = 6″)

floorplan

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carpet of Snow Alyssum Seeds

Premium Reversible Dish Drying Mat

Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Same Old

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

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

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

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

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

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

“Prey” by Michael Crichton

12 oz. Hanging Hummingbird Feeder

 

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

Whirling Thoughts

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

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

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

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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!

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

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

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

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Wireless Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Tiny Homes, Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mohu Leaf HDTV Antenna

Samsung Galaxy J3 Case

Norpro Glass Cheese Dome with Marble Base

 

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

A Do-Over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Lavender Soap

Herbal Deep Immune System Booster

 

 

 

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

Calamity Janis at Work

Before I tell you about my bad week, here’s the current photo of the house! Maybe I should call is “Casa Morada” (Purple House).  When I first moved to Ecuador, I rented a place called The Purple House! But mine is much cuter. It seemed to take forever do get each thing done; partly because that dark color took a coat of primer plus FOUR coats of paint! With an hour to dry between each coat. I still need to paint the door but I’m searching for the perfect color.

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Last week brought some amazing sunrises:

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And sunsets:

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I finally cooked that free turkey from the Food Bank that I got before Christmas, on my little Weber Q2200 grill. I nested three disposable lasagna pans from the Dollar Tree (2/$100) and put little rolled-up balls of aluminum foil between the first and second pans, to insulate the bottom from the worst of the heat.  Plopped Mr. Turkey in, basted it with butter and then had to deal with the grill lid. The turkey was too big to be able to close the grill lid, so I propped it open with a stick and rigged up a larger hood with heavy duty foil. And had to use sticks to make it stay in place!  Good thing it wasn’t a windy day.

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Even with the foil lid, I lost a lot of heat and could only keep it at 275 °, but it cooked just fine in about 2 1/2 hours, and came out looking beautiful!

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And yes, it’s sitting on my bed! That’s the only place in here that was large enough. It was very tasty…moist and juicy! Five days later Roxie and I are still eating it, but tonight’s dinner will see the end of it. It was good but I’m so glad it’s gone!

So..the bad stuff. Really, I was lucky; it could have been so much worse! But I don’t know if I’m too tired, too old, careless, or just have a death wish.  First off, you know those big 25′ metal tape measures that whirl back into the case? Did you know that if you accidentally get your finger in the way, it makes the biggest, deepest paper cut ever? Yes. It does. That’s what started it off. A couple days later, I stuck my ring finger in the circular saw! I was cutting a very small piece of 1×6 and there wasn’t much room to hold it. I felt it bite and jerked my hand away and was sooo afraid to look! But it was just the tiniest cut, way smaller than the measuring tape cut. I could barely squeeze out a drop of blood. Boy, was that lucky! (Stupid, but lucky) Here’s my circular saw injury. Pardon all the paint.

Saw Cut

Then the third thing. Bad things come in threes, right? So I should be good to go now for a long time. The other day I went around the back of the bushes to rearrange the solar fairy lights. Coming back out, my foot got caught on a root and I fell like a giant oak…right on my face in the dirt! It’s a wonder the neighbors didn’t report feeling an earthquake, and I’m just lucky I didn’t hit my face or head on the tree roots or pallets that were right in my path.  I skinned both knees a little bit, got a giant bruise on the side of one knee (must have hit something besides the dirt), smashed my nose and the nosepiece of my glasses pushed into the bridge of my nose real hard…had an instant bruise there that later spread to 2 black eyes, but only a little, just in the inner corners so it doesn’t look awful. And a little gash on the back of my hand. The BACK of my hand??? Yeah…those hands….where WERE they when they should have been breaking my fall???  Apparently they were just dangling at my sides.

I got up real quick, you know how you do, in case someone is looking you have to pretend you’re OK, ha ha! I hobbled right in and put the homeopathic Arnica gel on all the hurts; already had a hand-sized bruise coming up on the inside fat part of my knee. It really works good…I ended up with just a bruise along the edges of that one, no bruises on my nose and just that little bit in the inside corners of each eye. But boy the next day I felt like I’d been run over by a bus!  Even those useless do-nothing arms had the audacity to hurt! Strangely enough, my glasses didn’t even get scratched. Good ol’ $50 Zenni mail-order glasses!

So that’s pretty much my week. Here’s hoping this next week goes a lot smoother, and involves less Band-Aids and Arnica.

 

 

 

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New Shutters!

Ok so I haven’t made a whole lot of progress. I decided to work on a frivolous task first….my purple shutters! I cut all the wood and sanded it with my new $6.99 Harbor Freight palm sander. It works great! I went and got a quart of “Perfectly Purple” paint, only to find that it wasn’t perfect at all. It looked good on those tiny paint chips, but in real life, not so good. The lavender color on the house is a bluish “cool” color and Perfectly Purple is a reddish “warm” color, so they clashed. It may have been fine for someone else but my fussy little brain kept screaming “IT’S JUST WRONG”! and I would not have been able to live with it. I did do a coat of primer and 3 coats of Perfectly Purple on the first shutter, just to make sure. Then today I had to go to town for some new drill bits because I broke two, and I got a $3.48 sample size of a cool dark purple,  Yup, that’s it! Since I only have that small amount, I guess I will continue to paint everything with the original color and just do a final coat on the outside only with the new color, and hope the sample is enough to do all 4 shutters. What do you think? I love it! It’s frustrating to spend 3 days and end up with only ONE shutter done, but now I know what I’m doing and I have another one all ready to put together.

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I haven’t ever used these woodworking bar clamps before, but they were on sale at Harbor Freight for only $3 each. I’m loving them!

Clamps

I also made a little pallet porch, but I need to put some OSB or plywood on top because the top slats are are little too far apart.  I have a pile of used OSB that might contain something I can use. I was too tired to paw through the pile after moving and stacking pallets to find some good ones, and the top piece on the OSB pile is almost a full sheet, so it’s really heavy. Maybe tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out if I want a porch. I think so, but maybe not quite as big as a pallet. I probably want some kind of rain protection overhead, too. Hahah, rain!? What’s that? They tell me it does rain here during the summer Monsoon season.

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Pallet Porch

I have mentioned before that I am eligible to get free food from the local Food Bank. So last Wed. I went up early, at 10 a.m. Never again! There were 25 people in line in front of me, not counting the 2 Indian women who saw a friend ahead of me and took cuts. (Grrr) It took more than an hour to get through the line, and my knees were not happy. Usually I go around noon and there’s no waiting. I drew a chance for a turkey or chicken, and I got a 12# turkey! I already had a turkey breast so I’m seeing a LOT of turkey in my future! With no oven, I guess I’ll have to try and cook it on the bbq grill. I’m pretty sure the grill lid won’t shut but maybe I can make a hood out of heavy duty foil.  They also gave us some broccoli and pretty purple cauliflower. (Never have seen it purple!) Anyway, ICK. I thought maybe the neighbors could use it, so I took it up there in the box it came in.  I explained that I’d gotten it at the Food Bank and that I didn’t like it, and could they use it? She looked a little perplexed but said “Sure!”. So I stayed and chatted for just a couple minutes and then as I was leaving, she ran in the kitchen and came back with an apple and an orange and said “here, take these”. She’s from Russia, and as I was walking back to the car I wondered, did she think I gave her broccoli and cauliflower as a Christmas present??? Maybe she thinks it’s some crazy American custom!

I had Christmas dinner a few days early, because I bought that turkey breast on sale and have no freezer….I had to cook it once it thawed out. But I had leftovers on Christmas day, and they were just as good the 3rd time around! I wanted to cook it on my little Weber Q gas grill but it was a really windy day and it kept blowing the flame around. So I brought it in and cooked it on top of the stove in my heavy dutch oven with just a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan. It turned out amazing, even though I let it get a little overdone. It was done in less than 1 1/2 hours, and very tender and juicy.   I also had Stove Top Stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes. And cranberry applesauce. Yum.

Christmas here was low-key. I worked on my shutters and read a new book most of the day. In the afternoon my Russian neighbor came over and invited me to their place that evening but I turned it down. That’s exactly the kind of thing I DON’T want! I like my solitude. I guess I never should have given her those veggies for Christmas!!

I have a lovely new road! Until last week, my “road” was just a two-track extending from the existing county-maintained road.  The first 60′ or so were nothing but rocks…big and small. I learned to keep to the far right so the big ones wouldn’t clunk on the bottom of the car.

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Road Before

Then the road scraper came through and I heard it and RAN up to talk to the guy. He said that they only develop the roads when someone lives there, but he would tell his supervisor and they’d get it done soon. He was a young really sweet and kind Indian guy.

Well…it was only 3 or 4 days later when here he comes again!

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He pulled up dirt from below my place to cover all the rocks. He said some of them were too big and they’d break his blade if he tried to grade them out. Now it’s a real road, smooth as a baby’s bottom! I hope they can come back out with gravel pretty soon. Actually here they use cinders. There are cinders everywhere! All of the rocks on my property (and there are many) are cinders, large and small.

Road

Road After

 

My other neighbors Candace and Frank took their RV and all 3 dogs and went to relatives for Christmas and I fed their cat. In return,  I got to do a load of laundry. Thank goodness I decided to do my laundry just a few days after they left, because the cat left a dead rabbit right next to the laundry room door!  I had my arms full of dirty clothes and didn’t see it, and stepped on it with my bare feet. Ugh!  I threw it over the fence into the field next door. (The rabbit, not the cat)

Oh gee I have to put in some kind of product link to Amazon…..how about this? I ordered a Kreg Jig! Until a few months ago I swear I had never heard of a Kreg Jig, but now seems like everywhere I turn, people are using one. It makes angled holes to join two pieces of wood together (making a corner). I’m going to be needing one. Here’s the one I got: Kreg Jig   Hey I think I just figured out how to insert a LINK so you don’t have to copy and paste any more! Wow, I’m feeling very smart!

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Day Two Tiny House Build

Wow! By the end of the second day, the shed was complete! Three guys, 1 1/2 days, done! I liked how the windows looked before they were installed but now I’m not happy. It’s not anything I can remedy though, so I’ll suck it up and deal with it. I wanted 24×36 single hung windows and these are 3×3 sliders, due to a last-minute problem with the windows they ordered. (They came in with frosted glass!) I really think they are too big for the size of the wall. Not to mention, now I don’t have any space left for wall cabinets in the kitchen, and there may not be enough space between the door and window for the propane heater. I had it all planned soooo carefully! Sigh. OK. I’m just going to go with the flow. Really. Soon.

 

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I do love the color! Yes, it’s lavender! (Behr Foxglove, to be exact). I never thought I had a single girly-girl gene in me but apparently there was one hiding somewhere. I have to build shutters and windowboxes and they’ll be painted deep purple, along with the door, or maybe I’ll leave the door white. I’ll paint the other stuff first and see how it looks.  I think it’ll be great! I’ve been thinking about this color combination for a couple years now.

I keep coming up with things that have to be done before insulation, when all I want to do is get it insulated and move in!! But first I have to build the studwalls for the bathroom, closet and a short 2′ wall between the door and the end of the kitchen counter. And then I have to run the wiring.  And I woke up out of a sound sleep at 4 a.m. and remembered that I also have to run the plumbing before I insulate! Gad, it’s going to be MONTHS before I can move. I don’t plan on getting a water heater right now but I guess I’d better plumb for hot and cold water at the sink & shower. I can get a little propane instant hot water heater for around $100 on ebay, and it would be nice to have someday.

I ran into another problem, with the propane heat. I had planned on getting one of those vent-free propane wall heaters for around $120. Well. Thank goodness I found out before I bought one and installed it….they don’t work at higher elevations! Some are only good to 2000′, some are good to 4500′ but for my elevation here (6700′) I seem to only have two choices….a direct-vent heater that’s way bigger than I need for $500-600, or another Olympian Wave heater like I have and love in the camper, only bigger. They are good to 12,000′.  The problem with the vent-free heaters is that they now have those low-oxygen sensors and at higher elevation, there’s less oxygen so it shuts itself down all the time! So I guess I’ll be going with the Olympian Wave 8 heater like this: http://amzn.to/2AZJ4VH (Affiliate Link). It has 3 settings; 4200, 6000 and 8000 btu. I was hoping to get a heater that had a thermostat but this will be OK; I get up once or twice a night anyway and can adjust it then, if needed. Hate to have to pay $300 instead of $120 though. That’s one whole month’s construction budget, and I’ll have to have it before I move in, unless Spring arrives before I get everything else done!

Yesterday I went to town and ran a bunch of errands. It’s so exhausting! But I got some terrific bargains at the thrift shops! I got a big bag of 16 electrical switches, one dimmer and one outlet $3 at one thrift store, plus 4 juice glasses and 2 large drinking glasses for $.25 each. The second thrift store was having a “yard sale” and everything in their outdoor area was 1/2 price! I got all the switch & outlet plates I need for $1.50, a brand new still-in-the-box smoke alarm for $1, a pine coffee table for $5, and a sofa sleeper for $37.50! Yeah..I bought a sofa. I have to rent a trailer and go back on Tuesday to pick it up. And I know it’s going to be in the way while I’m trying to work on the house, but I couldn’t resist. The upholstery is in great shape but it’s that old 80’s navy, burgundy & green plaid. I’ve been reading up on fabric painting with Chalked Paint and apparently it will cover anything, and the fabric feels fairly soft afterward, so I’ll probably try that. If that doesn’t work, maybe a slipcover.  http://amzn.to/2CPv9is

I don’t want a coffee table but this one has 2 very nice slabs of butcher block wood that I can use for another project I have in mind.  I just have to take it apart and sand them a little. Maybe I can even find a use for the two Shaker-style ends. It says “Made in Vietnam” so I have no idea what kind of wood it is; it has that yellowish Pine color. I’ll probably whitewash it to tone down the yellow. The top is 20″x40″ and the bottom shelf is 16″x36″. Solid wood pieces like this would have cost more than $30 at Home Depot!

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