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.

water tote

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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A Little Delay

My shed delivery was delayed from Monday until Thursday. And I’m glad! I just decided Monday (the original delivery date) that I don’t want the shed in the site I had all picked out (and that neighbor Frank had cut a bunch of limbs off the trees, and I dug all the rocks out!) I think a better place will be right where the camper is sitting now. And oh how I dreaded having to move the camper! In addition to all the “normal” junk that I carry around, I now have a whole bunch of extra things that live in here now, since they can’t be allowed to freeze. Four house plants (including Celery), 5 huge cans of Great Stuff Pro, a big can of Great Stuff Gun Cleaner, a couple quarts of paint. I also had to dismantle Roxie’s little pen and dismantle the Buddy heater propane hose that’s threaded in through an outside baggage door, and it’s all duct-taped shut, too!  I wanted to hook a tow rope onto the ramshackle stupid-looking pallet “shed” that was here, but I couldn’t find my tow rope.

The new site has a lot of advantages and only one disadvantage; it won’t get much protection from the wind. But it will be South-facing, which is the best orientation for getting winter sun and keeping out the summer sun. I can leave the wifi booster in the same place, and I know it works great there. The solar panel also works great here, without having to reposition it at all during the day.  And the driveway will be shorter, if I ever get around to getting cinders for it.  And this site is much much larger. The other site was just too small; the front yard could only have been about 5′ deep, and directly in back I would have been stumbling around on big rocks.  This site has good access for a big propane tank and 275 gallon water tank as well.  So I’m pleased. Frank came over Tuesday morning and cut one tree down and cut a bunch of  branches back out of the way.

I worked all day yesterday on getting ready to move the camper. The new spot is right around the corner so it won’t be too far to go to reach the fridge from the shed. I’m afraid it’ll be awhile before I can spare the money for even a used RV fridge! I moved some more rocks and a pile of dead branches & twigs. There were 3 piles like that here, and now they’re all in one big pile. Hopefully I can burn it one of these days, if it ever rains. Boy I was really tired & sore by the end of the day. I finally got the camper moved and set back up right before dark.

Oh! And yesterday afternoon I heard some big equipment up on the hill, with the beep-beep backup alarm. I saw a glimpse of yellow and went flying up there….it was the road scraper guy! My road is a county-maintained road but in this huge subdivision with so few homes, they don’t develop all the roads unless someone lives there.  I have a stretch of rocks about 50-60′ long that I have to creep super-slow over. He said he didn’t think he could use the road scraper on them because some were really big, and they’d break the blade. But they have some special cinder mix of big and small stuff that they just put down over the rocks. He said he’d tell his supervisor about it, and I’d get a high priority……and that they always lay new gravel before the first snow, so it would probably be in the next 2-3 weeks!!  I’ll have a real ROAD! Wow… a house AND a road! I’m feeling pretty giddy!

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This morning the shed arrived. They had to drive up from Tucson, and arrived at 11:45. Within 20 minutes they had the trailer half unloaded and had a good start on putting the floor together! I had asked if they could insulate the floor at all, since it would be nearly impossible to do when it’s just a foot or so off the ground. They included 1″ of rigid foam in the quote but it’s so much better! Once they got the floor framing done, they tipped the whole thing up and nailed 4×8 sheets of Masonite to the whole underside. That will work as a vapor barrier and a mouse/rat barrier too. Then they let it back down and filled between the joists with loose cellulose, so it’ll be R-19! And the floor joists are 12″ on center, not the usual 16″ on center. It should be very sturdy!

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Tilting the floor to install Masonic on underside

The lead guy told me that the 2×3 windows I wanted came in with frosted glass! So they went to Lowes and the smallest vinyl double-pane windows they had with grids were 3×3. Yikes, that does make a difference to my plan but I can make it work.  I love the look, and they are high-quality Pella windows.  He said that the 3 windows cost him $550!! Three 2×3 windows would have cost well under $400, but since they have to eat the cost, I don’t mind. They are sliders instead of single-hung, but I guess that’s OK too.

He also gave me a choice of which end the 3rd window goes, so I chose the opposite end from what I had on my original plan. That way I’ll be able to see if someone is coming up the driveway, and all the mechanical stuff…fridge & stove vents, etc. will be on the side of the house that no one sees. I just have to flip my plan & make a mirror image. It’ll actually end up better, as I had specified a right-hinged door and that was wrong.

Wow I’m very impressed with these guys! They were here less than 6 hours and have the floor all done & insulated, the studwalls all up, windows in, and the roof all dried in! They really know what they’re doing. And the materials are quite a bit better quality than what *I* would have used. Better windows, and the sidng is 3/4″ tongue and groove…I probably would have used 1/2″ or even the cheapie 3/8″.  They caulk all the seams and spackle the nailheads before painting.  He said they have only ever had 3 callbacks for quality issues, and I believe it.

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Sorry about all the shadows on this last photo; it was getting late in the day. It looks rather plain but once I build the shutters and windowboxes, it’ll be really cute. They’ll be back tomorrow, for more excitement!

I’m getting one of these personal alarms, supposedly for use when you get mugged, the 130 db alarm scares away the mugger. But I’m not too worried about getting mugged; I’m getting one for use around here, if I’ve fallen and can’t get up, for instance. (Hey, I’m OLD!) It comes with a carabiner so I can hook it onto my waistband if I don’t have a pocket, it’s VERY loud, and the alarm keeps up for 30 minutes unless you shut it off. I’m going to tell the closest neighbors about it so if they hear it, they’ll come and check out what’s wrong. I saw a Facebook ad and they wanted $90…..this one is less than $10 on Amazon.   http://amzn.to/2BJCrqy

alarm

I actually looked into getting a Life Alert, but they require a land-line telephone.

 

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Delivery Date Scheduled!

I’ve got a delivery date of Dec. 11-13 for the shed! One week from today! They are going to assemble it on-site, which will be fun to watch. The weather forecast looks pretty good, with highs in the mid-50’s.  I’m glad it’s a Mennonite company and not Amish; hopefully I can take lots of construction photos.

Then comes wiring and insulation before I can move in. Dang, that’s going to take way too long at turtle-ish rate for getting things done. I’m guessing it’ll be the first of the year before I can stay in it, especially since I won’t even be able to purchase all the supplies needed until my next Social Security check on Dec. 27.  I’m only going to wire it for 12V DC (battery) power. I will have a small inverter to convert the 12V to 120V to run the wifi booster, recharge Kindles, phone and cordless tool batteries. Quite a few 120V things can be converted to 12V just by changing the power cord! Like TV’s, almost all smaller TV’s are built as 12V, then they put that big “wart” plug that makes it 120v (and hogs the whole outlet usually; you can’t plug two things in at the same time).  If you cut off the wart plug and rewire it to a cigarette lighter plug, voila; it runs off the battery! It seems crazy to take a 12V TV that’s converted to 120V and run it off an inverter that changes 12V power to 120! If you look around, lots and lots of things have those 110V “wart” plugs. (I’ve added this after publishing….it has been pointed out to me that not all “wall warts” are 12V. You’ll have to look on the plug; some are 5v, some are 6v.) I’ll have (eventually) a 12V ceiling fan, and all the lights will be 12V LED’s.  I don’t plan to have any real energy-sucking appliances…no toaster (sob!), no microwave or toaster oven, no air conditioner, no hairdryer.  I will have a 120V “swamp cooler” (evaporative cooler) in summer but it only uses around 100 watts/hr.

The insulation will be done in layers. The shed will have continuous roof ridge and soffit vents, so there will need to be a 1″ space left next to the roof for them to do their job. Then there’ll be a layer of 3/4″ foil-backed rigid foam, which will be a radiant barrier, reflecting heat back to the roof vents. All seams will be sealed against the joists with Great Stuff foam sealant, forming a wind barrier. Then there will be 3 more inches of rigid foam.  The side walls will also have the radiant barrier foam, with a 3/4″ airspace. It’s not much, but it should help. Also sealed with Great Stuff.  And then 2″ more rigid foam.  Since I only have 2×4″ walls and 2×6″ roof joists, this will give me the most R-Value, though it won’t be cheap! But since we do have temperature extremes here, I need to try and make it as efficient as possible. Unfortunately it means spending a bunch of money right off the bat, which I’m sure will also mean I’ll have to wait for more money to come in before I can get it all purchased.

Winter has arrived! It’s been so nice, way warmer than the norm. But I think it’s over; last night’s low was 22, tonight 17 and Wednesday 12!! And it SNOWED today! Just a bit.  I’m having a problem keeping my plants warm enough…I now have 4 small plants (including Celery who is not growing at all but still looks healthy) sharing camper space with me, and I don’t HAVE any extra space! I’ve shuffled some non-freezable things to the car.

This time I’m going to copy what another blogger is doing and show Amazon links to some of the items that have been purchased recently. Maybe you’ll see your items on the list! Sorry you may have to copy and paste them into your address bar. From there you can access all of Amazon’s goodies.

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool   http://amzn.to/2AzvIMC

6 Pc. LED Fairy Lights   http://amzn.to/2AXhMhO

LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt Air Compressor    http://amzn.to/2jV0BCX

 

 

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My She Shack

Oops! It’s been pointed out that I jumped from “I can’t build it myself” to “I’ve ordered my shed” with no explanation of what it is I’ve ordered! Sorry. I decided to go with a Mennonite shed company in Tucson (4.5 hours away). They deliver free! http://www.Mennoniteshed.com.  If you go to their website, many of their sheds look like this:

shed

Really cute, right?! Especially with that hobbit door! Well, that’s a problem because it’s a shed door, and it wouldn’t keep the cold out in winter. It’s actually a square door, with the arch painted on. Also these are just 6′ walls. So I’m getting 8′ sidewalls and a regular house-type exterior door with 9-light window.  I love that they have roof overhangs all the way around, and the floor joists are 2×6 12″ on center, not the usual 16″. They’re willing to provide continuous soffit and roof vents, floor insulation and double pane windows. To me, nothing screams “garden shed” more than those roofs that stop at the walls, with no overhangs. Also it’ll have a 5/12 roof pitch, not that really shallow pitch most of the sheds have. Mine will look more like a tiny house!  There might even be space for a small loft; I’m waiting to see just how much headroom there’d be.

I also really like that they don’t use those ugle galvanized metal plates to hold the roof trusses together. Here’s what theirs look like:

roof joist

So it’s going to be 10×16, with three 24×36 single hung windows (with double pane glass) and just the one door, no double doors on the end.  They really gave me a good price, for all the extras (double pane glass, house-type door, floor insulation, soffit & roof vents) they are only adding $400 to the stock price!  I staked out 10×16 on my site and it’s HUGE!  Almost 3 times the size I’ve been living in!

My first task will be to add reflective radiant barrier to the roof and sidewalls. It really reduces the amount of heat buildup inside the shack in summer! I’ll leave a 1″ gap between the roof and the radiant barrier, to let the vents do their job and carry the heat away.  This makes for what they call a “hot roof” which does shorten the lifespan, but at my age (69 today!), who cares?  It’ll still outlive me.  I will also need to leave a 3/4″ gap between the radiant barrier and the inside of the siding, and that heat will have nowhere to go but at least it won’t be leaching into the interior space. I found some foil-covered 3/4″ rigid foam board at Lowes that I’ll be using. I was so happy to see that; it combines two steps into one! The alternative is to staple Reflectix (foil-backed bubble wrap) to each of the joists & studs, then add the rigid foam or other insulation.

I will use all rigid foam in the roof, as I’ve read that when it snows, it blows in the roof vent and can get everything all wet. They don’t have much snow here, but when it does, I sure don’t want my ceiling insulation getting all wet and moldy (which could happen if I used fiberglass) Besides, with just 2×6 roof joists, I’ll need the extra R-value of the foam.(Most real homes have 2×10’s or even 2×12’s, depending on the roof span). I looked at how much insulation is recommended for my area and it’s the same amount as the southern half of Michigan!!  There’s no way I can match that, but at least it’s small and will be easy to heat.

And since I’m going to be making a 3/4″ airspace in the walls and adding 3/4″ foil/foam, I will only have 2″ of space left so I guess I’ll use the 2″ thick denim batts.  Can you imagine installing fiberglass batts and then not having a shower afterward??!!  Shudder!!

I’m still patiently waiting for a build date. They are thinking about pre-fabbing it and bringing all the components here to erect on-site. I’d love that!

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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Moved In

I moved the camper in on Sunday. There’s a little cubby-hole the perfect size, between two rows of nice bushy pinon trees.

Concho Carport

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I’ve made a walkway with some old plywood, and put out my solar lights, and it feels like Home already. I’m working on getting the rock collection out of my car. I have to force myself to put them on the ground here; they’re going to get dirty! But I remind myself that they’re ROCKS, for heaven’s sake, and they’re washable.

I have this lovely deluxe “toolshed” right next to the camper. It’s made of old pallets and looks like scrap pieces of corrugated plastic roofing…..it leaves a lot to be desired!

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I am very impressed though that she (the former landowner) worked the roofing around a tree branch! (See it sticking up through the roof on the right side?)

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I do need a place to keep my tools but I’m not sure this is it. I suppose I could wrap the sides with a tarp if it’s going to rain, but it does need a different door. Dragging a big ol’ pallet back and forth is way too much work.  I can’t do much of anything just yet because I bought a cordless saw & drill, charger and batteries on ebay and they’re just now all trickling in. I’ve got all the materials to make a couple sawhorses….maybe tomorrow. I had all the 2×4 pieces cut at Home Depot, and bought one of the brackets at a ReStore for $2; the other I bought for $4 at Harbor Freight.

I bought some plants yesterday! A nice big mum that was on Clearance for $4.10 (and is in a pretty pot that I can reuse) and a really pretty bright red Cyclamen for $1.55. I guess with the weather getting colder they won’t last long, but it’s great to have some color around here! And so nice that I don’t have to find a space to carry them in the car when I move.  I still have little Celery but she’s not doing too great. The leaves are nice and green but she’s not growing at all. I don’t think this weather agrees with her. I read that celery likes 70/60, and it’s been a good bit colder than that at night. I do put her in the car at night, and now also the mum & cyclamen too. Maybe they’ll stay pretty longer if they don’t get frosted. It’s starting to get colder; forecast in the low 30’s for the next week or so at night.

I am realizing that I can’t build my own shack. For one thing, I don’t have enough money. And the other thing is that I just don’t have the stamina and strength any more. I sure hate to admit that. (You all probably knew that before I did) So I’m looking at buying a pre-built shed on the Rent To Own plan, which carries a horrendous interest rate.  I’ve found a place in Tucson that really does a nice job; their sheds have roof overhangs, soffit and continuous roof vents, and 2×6 floor joists 12″ on center. And the roof trusses are nice-looking, without those ugly galvanized plates holding everything together like most of the shed manufacturers use.  I’m still gathering information right now & trying to make sure I can afford it. Otherwise I’ll be living in the camper for another year or so, and I REALLY would like to be in a real structure before the hard winter weather hits.  Well it’d be pretty tough to keep the camper cool enough in the summer here too. If that happens I’ll probably have to take to the road again in summer, and maybe this winter too, if it gets too cold here.  So I’m hoping I can figure out a way to get a pre-built shack.

Some of you have already noticed that I removed the link for convenient shopping. The rules have changed, and I can’t post a general link; I have to post links to actual products. So here are few things that I like and use a lot. (Clicking on any of these product links will take you to where you can do a search for what you really want) Thanks! (Please copy and paste into your browser)

Stuff we like:

Camco Handy Mat. This is a great little mat for in front of the camper door, or under your dog’s exercise pen. It folds up very small and is cheap enough that you can just toss it out when it starts getting frayed or horribly dirty! http://amzn.to/2yjuQcV

Bonavita Coffee Dripper. I love this thing…it was a gift from a friend, and it’s a little pricey but I love that the porcelain keeps the coffee hot, and it doesn’t drip right through immediately. It will hold the brew until you’re ready to dispense it into your cup.  http://amzn.to/2yj4ojJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exciting News

Exciting news!  I’ve found The One. No, not a man; a piece of property! It is a little over an acre with good gravel roads almost all the way there (there’s a rocky section that I’m told the county will take care of if I tell them someone is living there). I’m not going to say it already has a driveway, but it’s been driven over quite a bit so it’s packed down good; I don’t think I’ll need to do anything more to it until July when the monsoons start. It has lots of nice bushy pinon and cedar trees that are good for shade and windbreakers, and also some grassy and rocky areas. It drops off at the property line on one side so there are beautiful views over the valley.  The closest neighbor is about 500′ away (but not in sight) and some friends live just 1/3 mile away.  And it’s in a county that has minimal building codes and practically nonexistent code enforcement.  There are people living in storage sheds all over this subdivision!  Taxes are $39 a year plus $100 a year to “subscribe” to the fire district. It’s less than 20 miles to big supermarkets, Home Depot, Walmart, etc.

Concho View

I am very excited! I can’t think of a way to get a building to live in before spring, so it means winterizing the camper….reflectix on the windows, foam board skirting all around the bottom, and cramming strips of foam (A/C weatherstripping) into every crack and crevice I can find! And getting a larger heater. Last night it was 30° here with no wind and the camper stayed at 59°. That’s fine, but I’m going to need something a little beefier for when it gets colder.

Concho View 2

And I guess the only way I’m going to get a “house” to live in is to build it myself. Since I had to borrow some of the purchase price, I don’t want to go even deeper in debt to buy a little storage building. And the Rent To Own prices are ridiculous…it’s something like 40% interest! I didn’t really like the look of the storage buildings anyway; they are not cute or pretty. Most of them don’t have any overhangs and super-cheap aluminum windows. You can upgrade to double pane windows for $150-250 extra per window! That’s robbery….I can buy a nice thermopane window for well under $150.  I’m sure I can build a She Shed for about half what they are selling for; it’ll just take me a lot longer.

There is electricity near the property but in this county you can’t get electricity hookup until you have a septic system, and I can’t afford that, nor will I really need a septic system as I’ll have a dry toilet/composting system.  So I’ll be continuing to live off-grid. I’ll get an additional solar panel and some beefy 6-volt golf cart batteries, which will give me 250 amps of power. I’ll wire the shed for 12 volt lights and cigarette lighter plugs. I’ll get a large water tank and have water delivered ($25 for up to 500 gallons). Wow, running water! It can be pumped with a simple battery-driven pump.  Appliances will be propane; RV stove and refrigerator.

So….the basic theme of this blog is going to change from boondocking & travel, to the agonies of a 69 year old woman trying to build her own Tiny House. I’m sure my back and knees will not thank me! I hope everyone will hang in there with me. I’ve built an 800 sq. ft. home, a 10×16 cabin, 13z22 barn cabin, and a 14×24 houseboat. So I know how to do it all; including wiring and the minimal amount of plumbing I’ll need to do.  It’ll just take me a lot longer because I’m old and creaky. Heaven help us if I have to get down on my knees to do anything! Maybe I should invest in a Life Alert……please help me, I’m kneeling and I can’t get up!

Concho Carport

I have found a self-storage facility nearby that rents 5×10 spaces for $30 a month so I’m going to do that for a while. I’ve GOT to get my car emptied out! Right now it’s so full, I can barely fit groceries into it. I need to be able to carry building supplies, and maybe buy some things at thrift shops that I’ll eventually be able to use on the shed.  Wow, and I can finally get all the rocks out of the car too! If you open any door (including the driver’s door) you see rocks. Some of them are pretty good-sized, too. I’ll bet my gas mileage will improve when I get all that weight out of the car!

Concho driveway

I have been dogsitting for my new neighbor friends while they went to a funeral in Oklahoma. They have three tiny dogs and a doggy door, so all I really have to do is give them food & water and put them in their crates at night & let them out in the morning. I’m camped in their driveway (with electric hookup!!)  I go over to the house every evening to spend a few hours with them. It has nothing to do with being able to watch their big screen TV with every available channel, honest! When Candace was still here, the dogs were all over me. As soon as they left, the dogs were terrified of me and would run out the doggy door the moment I came in the house. They weren’t eating much and I couldn’t get them to go in their crates at night because they ran if I came near them. Then one night it was chilly so I borrowed her robe from the bedroom, and draped it over me. Suddenly all three dogs were all over me……they loved me!! Since then it’s been much better; even the really skittish Yorkie lets me pet him, and the dogs go into their crates at night all by themselves.  I’ve been taking Roxie over there with me and they all pretty much ignore each other.

 

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Wandering Around Eastern AZ

 I have been camping in way too much heat lately, and I’m very grumpy. I seem to choose the places that don’t have shade, and once the camper is set up on the inside, which takes about 20 min., I’m not about to move it! It’s hard to tell where the sun’s path will be when you arrive in the morning, or at noon. I’ve really been moving around a lot lately. I just came from 3 days at Concho where it was around 85 every day, then 2 days at Payson where it was in the low 80’s but one day I had a bunch of errands to run and when I got back, it was 101 degrees inside the camper! And me with no electricity so no real way to cool it down. UGH. I just don’t tolerate heat.

I moved to a little higher elevation in Pine, then a few days in Strawberry. MUCH nicer! 

Here’s the campfire ring at my Pine campsite. I thought it was very elaborate…much higher than the usual single ring of rocks.

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And here’s the view from my Pine campsite. It’s really just on the edge of a fairly ugly dirt clearing but there’s nice shade and a great wifi signal, and only a mile to town. (It is ½ mile S. of the Pine Trailhead, on the west side of Hwy. 260/87. GPS 34.36650 -1211.44060)  There are also a few small pullout sites and a vault toilet at the trailhead, and that’s probably where I would go next time.

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I am again on the hunt for a nice cheapie piece of property to call HOME. I’ve now been wandering for more than 2 ½ years. I looked at several places in eastern Apache County but nothing really appealed at all. So tomorrow I’m heading back to a different area to try again. I visited some lovely folks (Candace & Frank) who are friends of a friend of a friend (good ol’ Facebook)! And fell in love with their place and the general area. On my way back out from their house I saw a real estate sign on a parcel that’s heavily treed (pinon and cedar trees, only 20-25’ tall but nice and bushy).  That one is a little more than I am able to spend but I’m sure there are other parcels for sale around there. I am working with a realtor, Mike from Landmark Realty…he’s great! He has spent a good bit of time looking up the restrictive covenants for all the areas I’m interested in, to make sure RV’s are allowed!

The way Apache County works this is that you can’t really live full-time in an RV unless you are in an RV park or are holding a building permit for a home; then you can legally live in an RV on your property for up to a year, and you must have a septic system. But you can live in your RV for 6 months without a septic system, leave for two weeks and then come back for another 6 months, on and on ad infinitum. They consider that “camping”. You just have to go somewhere and dump your tanks. Since I don’t have any black or graywater tanks, for me it’s a matter of dumping my porta potty in a vault toilet somewhere. I probably will switch to a dry toilet/composting system. 

My friend Donna from Cottonwood came with her greyhound “Queenie” to camp for a few days., so I moved to a higher elevation campsite and one that’s more scenic. Queenie is the sweetest thing! (Well so is Donna) She’s a racetrack rescue who just recently had a front leg amputated due to cancer. She gets around pretty good! Donna has a Chalet model XL1930 A-frame camper that’s massive….it’s 6’ longer than mine, 6” wider and way taller, with a wet bath, double sinks, bigger fridge with freezer and high sidewalls so the kitchen counter height is really comfortable for cooking. And a queen-sized bed! Look at the difference between our two campers…we’re like Mutt and Jeff!

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We had a visitor yesterday morning…..a scruffy-looking young guy came to Donna’s camper and said he needed a jump-start for his car. She told him that her car was new and had a bunch of electronics that she didn’t want to chance messing up. (good answer, I thought!) She asked me if I’d do it and I said the same thing. We were both just leery of this guy, and for no good reason; he seemed like a perfectly nice guy. But….don’t they all?!  We both felt really bad about not being helpful but heck, we’re two unarmed old ladies!! When Donna went back to tell him I wouldn’t do it either, I put my shoes on, got out my trusty hatchet and had the phone on and dialed 9-1, all ready to punch in that last number and then run over and whack his head off. Or should I whack his head off first?? Of course he went away quietly and everything was fine, but you just can’t be too careful these days.  A little while later a car went by with a young couple in it and I stopped them and told them the situation and they said they’d help the guy. So now we don’t feel quite as guilty.

The ground here is very rocky!

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And here’s another pretty interesting fire ring, with wind deflectors.

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Wow! Maybe best pizza ever…we went to the Old County Inn in Pine yesterday for lunch. It was a long wait but their wood-fired pizza was amazing.

I am having a run of bad luck with hamburger. I buy grass-fed hamburger in a shrink-wrap package, costs between $6-7 a lb. but it keeps much better than the fresh-ground stuff in the grocery store, plus it doesn’t have that Pink Slime in it that most of the grocery stores add. I bought a package when I was in Flagstaff and a few days later I noticed the package was all blown up. Damn, rotten hamburger? It still had 6 days til the Sell By date!  I reluctantly threw it out, and a couple days later I mentioned it to Pat and he said it was probably perfectly good; sealed packages like that blow up like balloons from the elevation there!!   Well CRAP!  So I bought another pound, on sale for $5.99. I have no idea how this happened but several days later I found that package laying on the floor next to my bed!!  Obviously another throw-away. Sheesh!  Maybe it rolled out of the grocery bag? Roxie had not touched it. She rarely will pick up anything off the floor, no matter how yummy it might be. Princesses do not eat floor food!

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