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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

The Heat Is On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toy Storage Net for Stuffed Animals

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

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

Hot Logic Mini-Mac Personal Portable Oven

 

Categories
Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Same Old

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

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

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

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

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

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

“Prey” by Michael Crichton

12 oz. Hanging Hummingbird Feeder

 

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

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.

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

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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Categories
Arizona Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Progress? Not So Much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Categories
Arizona Tiny Homes

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