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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Owner Built Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Moving Right Along……

Last week I had some excellent helpers come to visit! Tom Warfield and Donna Morey are both fellow members of the AZ A-Frame Campers group (same kind of camper I have).  Boy, did we get a lot done! Tom can do ANYTHING, and he does it well, which was a nice surprise after Tyler’s work.

Donna arrived on Wednesday and right away there was a problem with her battery system. That’s bad when you’re boondocking!  I loaned her my Buddy heater and a couple 1# propane cylinders for the night. I’m glad I picked it and a smaller Coleman SportCat heater up from the storage unit! Then around 9 pm that first night, I ran out of propane and went out to change the tank. I got it all hooked up and SSSSSSSS! The hose had developed a bad leak.  So I went without heat that night. I could have gone and gotten one of the propane cylinders from Donna but then her heater would have run out and she’d be cold. I figured I’m probably more used to the cold than her, so I toughed it out. It wasn’t too bad; I think it was 43 inside the camper in the morning. I had gotten a spare comforter out of  the car and I just kept under the covers and I actually slept better than I usually do!  Good to know, but I really don’t think I care to trade good sleep for warmth. The next night I used the little SportCat heater. It only puts out 1500 btu’s but kept the camper at 54 degrees, not too bad.  Friday my friend Jeff Cox went to town and he brought me back a new propane pigtail.

Tom arrived on Thursday and right away went to work diagnosing Donna’s battery problem (a bad converter). He bypassed something-or-other and made it so Donna would have power for heat at night, and each day he charged her battery with his generator. He also repaired my camper door that kept trying to fall off! It was coming out of the C-channel frame so he used pop rivets and a metal plate to hold it all together. When the new propane pigtail arrived, Tom installed that too. What a handy guy!

Donna and I worked on insulating the bedroom/dining/living room area. That was probably the hardest place in the house to do, as by the time I got to that studwall I was nearly out of 2×4’s, so I used some that were really badly bowed and/or twisted. So cutting rigid foam insulation to fit the bowed studs was a real adventure. And we needed 3 layers in there to fill the cavities: two 1.5″ and one .5″ thicknesses.  Tom set about with the Great Stuff Pro gun and ran a bead of foam along every rafter and filling all the gaps. They call that “poor man’s blown in foam” because it makes an airtight seal. Boy the Great Stuff Pro gun works SO much better than those nasty aerosol cans! You have way more control over the size of the stream, and when you let up on the trigger, it stops coming out, unlike the aerosols that keep drooling out foam for 5 minutes afterward.

work1

I have NO idea why Tom looks like a giant and I look like a dwarf in this photo! He’s not THAT tall, and I’m not THAT short!!

Here I am, working hard! Rasping off a piece of styrofoam to fit the wall cavity better.

work2

It’s hard to tell but I am completely covered with white foam dust!

The next day Tom installed the two vents in the back of the house for the refrigerator. That’s something I’d have been scared to do; cut into the house wall!  He drilled holes for the wiring and also pulled all the rough wiring. Got my wall bed built with his engineering brain figuring out how to accomplish what I wanted, and finished installing the deadbolt lock on the door. We built the drop ceiling for the bedroom area, and he wired a new 7-way camper plug on my car! The cover on the old one had broken, it was falling off and the plug receptacle part was so full of mud, it never would have worked again!  I think that might be all. ALL!  I was thrilled with how much got accomplished in one week!

Wiring! In this one you can also see where the orange foam has been applied to the roof seams, and also where the fridge vents cut-outs are. We covered them back up so it’s not so cold inside, since I’m not ready to install the fridge yet.

wiring

And insulation! We faced the foil towards the outside on the first layer (to reflect back the sun’s heat in summer) and faced it towards the room on the last layer (to reflect back the heat in winter) Well that’s the idea anyway. Hopefully it’ll work that way.

insulation

So here’s the living room setup. Notice the wall bed. It will be disguised with nice pine paneling later.

liv-rm2

The bed base extends 7.5″ out from the wall (because my mattress is 7″ thick) and there will be a shallow bookcase under that behind the chairs, against the back wall. It will have a small drop-down dining/game table that will go between the chairs. When the bed is lowered, it just clears the top of the chair backs. With the mattress on, it is 40″ from the floor, so I can easily climb up on my little 2-step ladder, though I will be making (hopefully) a clever end table that converts into steps at night. The wood on the wall is what I’ll use to finish all the walls in that room.  The TV will be mounted on the wall above the bed.

liv-rm-bed2

I have discovered something wonderful! Keto Pizza! It’s not as good as pizza with a real crust, but to someone whose lips haven’t touched pizza for 9 months, it’s fantastic! No, not one of those nasty cauliflower crusts, either. I don’t eat things that look like cancer. The crust is made of mozzarella cheese! You let that melt together, then add the pizza sauce and whatever else you like (for me, it’s bell peppers and pepperoni) and more cheese on top. I like to use whole milk mozzarella but I found out that was a big mistake. It’s way too wet. I was blotting and blotting the liquid that oozed out! It’s better to use part skim mozz or provolone for the crust at least. I make it in my tiny 4″ egg frypan and it’s the perfect size.  I’ve been eating a lot of it lately…..I’ve gotten into a rut and tend to eat the same things over and over, so this is a wonderful change, and when I do a finger-stick 2 hours afterward, my glucose is never over 100 after eating this and a salad. Tonight it was 79! Intermittent Fasting has actually cured my Insulin Resistance, but that’s a story for another time.

keto-pizza

I’m down 72 pounds! Very nearly two full 20# propane tanks’ worth of weight….a full tank weighs 37#. Can you imagine toting around two of those suckers 24/7?!! Wow. That’s a lot. People are starting to bug me about being “thin enough” but I think they’re just not used to seeing me at a normal weight. I still have another 9# to go before I get to a normal BMI, or to hit even the top of the Ideal Weight charts! I’d like to go maybe 10# beyond that point, because I’m sure when I ease up on the diet, I’ll gain some back. I’m great at losing weight, but I’ve always been bad at keeping it off. I hope to do better this time. (I say that every time). I sure hate all this excess skin though. My face is so wrinkled, I look at least ten years older than my age. Sigh.  My fault entirely; if I hadn’t stretched it all out so badly and waited so long to lose the weight, I wouldn’t be dealing with this now.

We are expecting nasty weather for the next three days & nights. Windy with rain and snow showers; perhaps a little bit of accumulation. I won’t be able to cut the foam insulation because it has to be done outside. So an enforced vacation. I don’t mind taking a few days to read, but I really REALLY wanted to move in before my birthday next week, which means I’ll have to work my butt off Saturday-Tuesday to get it done. In most of the rest of the house, it’ll just be one layer of 1.5″ foam because that’s all I could afford to buy. It should be fine for the winter, but I’ll need to finish insulating before the hot weather hits.  I can’t WAIT to move in! Every time I go over there I’m struck with how spacious it seems! I know that’ll sound crazy to you folks who have adult-sized homes, but the tiny house is 1 1/2 times as big a space as I’ve been living in for the past 4 1/2 years!  85 square ft. vs 58.5 sq. ft. I’m also often hit with the realization that it turned out to look almost exactly the way I pictured it in my head for all that time when it was only an idea on paper. That, to me, is a miracle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

One Step Forward

You know that old saying, “One step forward, two steps back”? Yeah.  That’s the dance I’m doing today. The great feelings I had for yesterday’s progress are gone.

Yesterday I opened the outlet valve on the water tank to see how it worked, and to make sure it was closed when I got the tank filled. Some water ran out! It was supposed to be a brand new tank, but I thought “Well, maybe they put some water in it to test it or something”. Didn’t think a thing more about it until this morning when I went out to wash off the valve so I could attach the thingie to convert it from 1 1/2″ opening down to garden hose size. I decided to catch that valuable water in a pan and use it to water my baby pinon tree. So I poured a couple pans of water on the tree, and it was still coming out pretty good so I went and got a bucket. As it was running into the bucket I put my hands into it to splash it around and get the dust off that area. “Hey, this isn’t water, it’s oil”!!

 I called the place I got it and he said nonchalantly “Oh yeah, it’s new but it’s got some MCT oil in it, it won’t hurt anything or you can just rinse it out.” Don’t you think that’s something they should have MENTIONED when I bought the thing????!! If it’s been used for oil, IT’S NOT NEW!!! Now I know why it was cheaper than everyone else around here. Won’t HURT anything!? It would totally ruin my water filter if I tried to run water with oil through there, and there are plenty of things I don’t want OIL in, no matter how harmless it is. (Including my baby tree that I’ve probably killed) I’ve already drawn off about 1 1/2 gallon and there’s still more in there. And it’s all over the ground and the wooden platform, what a mess.  I’m so glad I found this out before I took delivery of 275 gallons of water!!
Just rinse it out, he says. Sure, if only I had any WATER to rinse it with!! And I don’t think oil is going to come out without some kind of soap or emulsifier. So if I do put soap and water in it, how do I swish it around? Maybe a mop stuck down from the top, although now that the top of the tank is about 7′ off the ground, that would not be easy.   And is the outlet valve at the lowest point so all the soapy water would come out?? No, it is not. I would have to put water in it several times in order to dilute the soap that’s left in the bottom!!  I am SO MAD!!!!!
MCT is Medium Chain Trigliceride oil; usually from coconuts. So he’s right that it wouldn’t hurt to drink, and it’s actually very expensive to buy. ($30 a quart!)  But I don’t want it in my drinking water, and I don’t want to water my plants with it.
Also when I was awake in the middle of the night again, I realized my foundation is not good enough at all. What was I thinking??? I’ve got the whole weight of the house resting on just two 2×6 crossmembers!  I will need to add a support in between the existing two, with 4×4 going across. I should be able to do that while the floor frame is sitting in place; in fact it’ll make it easier to get the height exactly right.
And here I was feeling so optimistic about progress. Silly me, I totally forgot about the Paquette Curse. I’ve just taken a bunch of steps backward. My heart is down around my ankles and I just want to cry. I never would have bought that tank if I’d known there was anything in it, because of the difficulty of washing it out with so little availebl water. I’m probably going to have to buy some 5 gal. water jugs, and I don’t want to spend money on that! All I have is eight 1 gallon jugs, which normally last me about a week.
And I think I’m going to have to ask Frank and Tracy to lift the tank back down to the ground, and I hate to ask for help in the first place, let alone to UNDO something they just did yesterday!  Very discouraged right now.
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Arizona Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Whirling Thoughts

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

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

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

SheShed2

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

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

Gable Trim

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

GothicWindow

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

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

bevel-glass-cluster-mms-6037

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

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

StoveLikeMine

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

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

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

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Wireless Indoor-Outdoor Thermometer