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

Foundation Piers and Water Tank

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

DSCN7691

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

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

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

DSCN7692

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

DSCN7689

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

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

DSCN7695

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

DSCN7694

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

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

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Colorful Kids’ Telescopic Butterfly Nets

EHP Myristin Canine Joint Formula

 

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Whirling Thoughts

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

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

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

SheShed2

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

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

Gable Trim

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

GothicWindow

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Uncategorized

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

 

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

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