Living Tiny & The First Fire (ooohhhh, aaaahhhh)

So I’ve been doing this “tinyhouse” thing for awhile now. I feel like I’m educated enough at this point to have some viable input on what it’s like to live in a tinyouse. So here is my take thus far.

First, it’s small. If you don’t like small spaces you’re better off somewhere else. Try living in one room of your house for two months and you will soon see. Every time I turn around the dog is in the way. I’m constantly moving object A,B,C,D to get to object E, then realize I need object A but, objects B,C and D have now just been put in front of it. It’s like a Circus of discord. But… you do get used to it. I’ve learned over these past few months how to deal with these frustrations.

Second, lofts suck. Up, down, up, down. Rusty, my dog, needs to be carried up at night and carried down in the morning. He’s fat (well husky at least). Myles was a one hand lift. Rusty needs to be “fireman” carried up and down from the loft. My upper arms are getting a workout and so are my legs. And here’s a kicker- middle of the night bathroom breaks! Do you understand how frustrating it is getting out of the cozy bed in the brisk midnight air and have to climb down from the loft so you can piss? Even worse, Rusty needs to piss too! It didn’t take me long doing this routine until I had the bright idea of getting a urinal. Problem solved. Except for Rusty.

Third, it can get b-o-a-r-I-n-g. Living in such a tiny space FORCES you to get out and do “something.” I’d like to tell you how outdoorsy I’ve become but, alas. Don’t get me wrong I do fish, ride the 4-wheeler, garden and hike. Just not as much as I should. Mostly because of the weather being too hot or too cold. I have a television in the tinyhouse but there is no cable or antenna yet so it’s a useless “wall ornament.” I get a weak internet signal in the loft where I can twitter or watch Netflix but, in the summer the loft is scorching during the day even with the windows open and the fans going. I need air conditioning! So most of the time I spend my days in the big house with Ma and Pa where the internet is strong, the television gets channels and the air is cooled.

Fourth, daily chores. Small spaces get dirty QUICK. Everyday I vacuum the loft and sweep the main floor. Next I have to empty the urinal and composting toilet “liquids” bottle. This is a nasty job and quite stinky too. If you don’t do it everyday the whole damn house will smell like piss. Then I do any dishes and empty the catch bucket under the sink. A light dusting. Then back up to the loft to make the bed. Normally this isn’t such a chore, but when your celling is only 4ft. high it’s a nightmare on your back and knees. It’s not much but, having to do these things daily gets to be a pain… literally.

Those are my biggest complaints. Yep, that’s it. Everything else is BEAUTIFUL. I pretty much knew about the things above before I signed up, having read blogs and spoken to so many people before going this route. I am living my dream and everyday I DO pinch myself to make sure I’m in reality. It’s quiet, peaceful and best of all… PAID FOR. Tinyhouse living allows me time to do the things in life that I choose to do. I will get a job this winter to keep busy and to build my savings back up. I won’t be constrained to my job like I was before, working only part time and doing things that I find enjoyable. I wont be worrying about creditors and debt collectors and I wont be busting my ass trying to stay afloat and ahead of the “game.”

I’ve been getting along splendidly with my parents. I’ve taken over all the yard duties for my Dad and help my Mom with house chores. It’s kind of cool actually- we’ve become quite the “tribe.” I look at other cultures and see this type of lifestyle a lot. The family unit all living together and helping each other out. I get land to live on and in return they get help keeping the place up. And it’s a big place. 32 acres of lakeshore property and a house with 4 bedrooms 3 bathrooms plus an upstairs and downstairs living area. That’s a lot of vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting. So it’s not like I sit on my ass and watch t.v. and play on the internet all day.

I lit my first fire in the woodstove this morning. Which means that yes, I did finally get the stove hooked up. Everything worked the way it should, meaning I didn’t burn the place down. I’m surprised how little wood I had to use to warm it up. A few sticks the size of my thumb and a 12″ piece about the thickness of my wrist. This lasted almost 4 hours. I’m hoping I can get away with not having to use more than a few cords of wood this winter, which would be good being as how I’ve yet to split any. That’s next weeks project along with pulling the boats and dock out for the season. I didn’t build a deck yet but, I did fashion a fancier set of stairs that will get me by until spring. I added a few shutters to “fancy” up the façade and I put in a new table and some new décor. It has an amazing felling inside, very tranquil especially at night.

After spending some time grieving the loss of Myles, I’ve decided to take in another dog. I’m traveling to the cities on Monday to pick up a three year old rat terrier named Bella who is in need of a good home. She is tan and white in color and is supposed to be a “cuddler” and gets along well with other dogs. Hopefully everything works out and I’ll be posting pics of her next week.

Rusty and I took a walk along the beach this morning and he somehow lost his collar? Todays task is to try to find it. I may cut some wood (probably not… I’m a procrastinator ya know). I’m already working on my other “get er done” for the day (this update). I think maybe I will take out the camera and snap a few shots of the changing leaves. Other than that… it’s wide open. I’m living the tiny life. And man, life is good!

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Just a quick tip for you herb gardeners out there. Instead of using twine and tying a bunch of knots to bundle your herbs for drying. Tie a bunch of clothes pins on a piece of string spaced about 8 inches apart. Clip your herbs into these and hang to dry. Now you aren’t tying knots constantly and wasting your twine 🙂

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It’s Official! The Tiny House is OFF THE GRID!

There has been quite a bit going on with the tiny house lately. I added the bump-out and got the propane and water hooked up. And as of 10:00 this morning I’m powered by nothing but the sun! That’s right… the off-grid dream is a reality! As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post, the wind generator was just not cutting it. I feel a bit misled  by the company that talked me into buying the wind generator. They failed to tell me that I’d need some serious wind (like about 20mph or stronger to get the 400 watts it was reported to put out), and we just don’t have that around here… it’s more on the side of 2mph and sometimes we see 10mph; rarely 20mph. So needless to say, it was good at keeping a few lights going, but forget about a refrigerator. Now my problems generating enough power have been solved with the addition of three 100 watt solar panels. Keeping the lights, refrigerator, fan and computer charged is now possible. Free power from the Sun, how cool is that?

I’ve been looking at a few blogs lately and have seen some pretty cool things people have done with their tiny homes. It would be cool to add a system to heat my water with the Suns rays instead of propane. I’d also like to put a small hydroponic garden in one of my windows where I can grow some lettuce. I’ve even seen someone who had a chicken coop built on the front of their tiny house- although I champion the idea, chickens are stinky and having them that close to my windows wouldn’t be smart.

I’m down to just a few last details now. First, putting on a deck and second, finishing the tile around/under the fireplace. I plan on installing the deck in the coming week or so, the tiling can wait a bit… a man has to have time to fish ya know!

Speaking of fishing, I’ve been learning to fly fish with the help of my Uncle Robert. We both found it odd that a passing boat saw us fly fishing (from my boat) and commented “I thought they only fly fished in rivers in Colorado.” HAHA 🙂 You can absolutely fly fish from a BOAT in MINNESOTA. Panfish, bass, walleye, pike and every other fish in the lake has no problem swallowing a fly lure. And thinking the way to fly fish is how they did it in the movie “A River Runs Through It,” would be disadvantageous.

I did have a bit of drama last week. If you follow my Twitter account you probably caught it. We had some seriously strong winds (yep, those 20mph kind that would power my refrigerator) and my boat swamped. We had another boat on our dock and I wasn’t able to tie it with the bow facing forward and water splashed up over the stern. After a few plowing waves it was doomed. Thankfully it was tied well to the dock, otherwise it would be big loss. It took a few hours of bailing and pumping to get her all dried out. To make matters worse it was also filled with seaweed, snails, muck and the various other vegetation found in lakes. YUCK!

Well… I got a steak to grill 🙂 Till next time.

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The bump-out

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bump-out. On demand hot water heater.

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Bump-out. Propane storage.

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300 watt solar panel array.

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Power hub and solar power charge controller.

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A little cruise on the lake!

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#plutotime on the lake

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#plutotime on the lake!

It Feels Like A Home! 1st Night in Tiny Home

Unpacking and getting things “just right” has been a week-long process and I’m still going. Friday was the first night sleeping in the tiny home and it was wonderful! The house takes on a whole new feeling at night with the soft glow from the candles and oil lamps (yes I have real lights too, but they don’t impart the same “feel”). It was a bit stuffy and warm in the loft the other night because I don’t have a fan going yet. The space feels so cozy, not unlike the feeling I had sleeping in the tipi. I was able to purchase and install some cabinets in the kitchen and get the sink put in. I don’t have water yet because I’m still waiting for Doug to finish up the bump-out for the propane and water heater. I pick that up on Tuesday. I’m pretty much all decorated up, there are a few things in boxes that I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep or not.

Here is the current “TO DO” list:

  • Hook up propane and water
  • Order and install solar panels
  • Build custom couch for living room
  • Hook up wood stove
  • purchase and hang drapes
  • Build deck
  • Install some type of paneling around outside to hide trailer/wheels
  • Hook up television and stereo

That’s pretty much the list. Then it’s time to start splitting wood and getting ready for winter. LOL

Here are some pictures of what’s been done thus far. I hope everyone had a fun 4th and your puppies were not too shook-up from the loud booms!

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View from the front door

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Living room

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Living room

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Kitchen (check out that awesome countertop)

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Kitchen

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Bath

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Bath

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Pantry on right side

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closet

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Loft

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Kitchen

 

Tiny Home. Big Move.

Yippee! I’ve been waiting to say this for the longest time now: the tiny house is finished and was moved on Tuesday. After an extra few days on trim work, we finally wrapped things up and got that sucker hooked to my truck. After only 6 miles down the road my truck overheated and I had to call my Dad to finish the pulling. I guess Fords do suck and Chevys are much better at handling such tasks. There I said it. Hopefully this doesn’t start a war! LOL. To my trucks credit it pulled my boat with the 4-wheeler in the bed just fine. Thank God for awesome and understanding Fathers who are willing to lend a hand (or truck).

I still have to finish the countertop in the kitchen and tile under and around the fire place and hook up the water and propane. Doug is finishing the bump-out that will hold the propane tanks and water heater… hopefully it’s done soon because I’m getting tired of driving back-n-forth from the old cabin to my new location. I’m going to poly the interior this weekend. I should be spending my first night in my new home sometime early this week.

Moving has been hell to say the least. I didn’t have any help and it took me 6 hours to take down the tipi. I may have downsized from my earlier move, but it’s clear that there is still to much “stuff” to fit into my tiny home and another downsizing is in order. That’s okay though, I like garage sales! I have one more trip to the cabin to get the last of my belongings: my plants and my food. Then I’m DONE! What a relief… I can finally settle down and do some fishing.

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Trimming the windows

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Wood floor installed

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Building the interior walls (bathroom and closet)

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The “crapper.” Composting toilet by Natures Head- the same one I used in the tipi.

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All settled in at the new location

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The living room

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The loft

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Kitchen. No countertops or shelves yet.

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View from kitchen. Closet is on the right and food pantry is on the left.

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Solar and wind power convertor. I’m building a bench w/table over it. And Myles!!!!

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Living room ceiling. It really adds to the space and makes the room feel so much larger.

Tiny House Update: Nearing Completion!

Things are still going strong on the tiny house build. The roof is on, the loft window is in, some of the cedar shake has been completed on the outside, the door was installed and trimmed out and we’ve started tackling the cedar tongue and groove on the interior walls. We are hoping we can have this puppy on the road this coming Wednesday.

Doug spent today working on some of the interior while I hauled some things to my parents. Today I also installed a break controller in my pickup… I sure hope I’m able to pull this thing! Worse case scenario: call in backup.

Not tiny house related: went to the show with Mom and saw Jurassic World in 3D. I thought it was pretty good, Mom was bored. Figures.

Hopefully by this time next week I will have some “finished” photos for you to see. For now here is the recap of last week!

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Tiny House Construction Update. Days 2-10

It’s been pretty hectic these past few weeks. Things are going amazing and surprisingly very fast. I see no reason that we can’t have this project completed and moved to the property by June 19th.

Here is a recap of the following weeks with some pictures. Pay no mind to the date & time on the photos… I didn’t have it set right LOL.

Day #2 Subfloor insulation and sheeting.

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Day #3 Framing the side walls.

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Day#4 Installing the rafters and framing the end wall (tongue side).

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Day#5 Framing end wall (tail end), sheeting and tar papering the roof.

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Day#6 Tyvek installation, electrical, roof gables, installing end window.

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Day #7 Installing remaining windows and end wall sheeting (tongue side).

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Day #8 (Rain Day) Staining wall sheeting.

 

Day#9 Sheeting remaining walls.

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Day #10 Spraying interior with insulation.

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As you can see… we’ve been busy. I can’t wait to start on the interior.

Construction Begins!

After a one month delay waiting for the trailer arrive from the manufacturer, construction has finally started. Yesterday I went with my builder Doug Dobson, to pick up the trailer. It was the first time I’ve ever pulled anything besides a boat behind my truck and it took a bit of getting used to. The trailer actually added a bit more stability to my pickup and I suggest Ford starts adding trailers to all their vehicles. If you recall from the previous post, the tiny home was scheduled to be completed by the end of next week. I’m still optimistic that we will be able to have things caught up and I will be able to move to my new place in mid June. Everyone cross their fingers!

Last week Doug and I took a trip to town to procure most of the materials. It was fun picking out the cedar tongue and groove boards for the interior, the wood flooring, windows and my front door. So many choices, colors, textures, shapes, patterns, sizes so many different options… my head is spinning. I’m beside myself just thinking about what I’m going to do for curtains. There have been many a sleepless night laying in bed… dreaming. It’s finally here and time to get to work!

Bright and early today I took the 4-wheeler and camera over to Doug’s and he was already out and getting things set up. I was impressed at his enthusiasm on our little project. Within a matter of hours we had already completed most of the subfloor. Doug had to run to the lumber yard to get the oak boards for the loft floor, so I decided to take the opportunity to update the blog. I know, it took long enough. I finally have something worth merit to start writing about… are you excited? I am.

Tomorrow I’m driving to my parents property and will decide on the final resting place of my tiny home. Hopefully everyone can come to an agreement on it’s placement. I need a nice clear view of the sun to power my solar panels and a clearing big enough, so as not interfere with the wind that will power the wind generator. I also need to be close enough to the house to run a hose for my water supply. All this and yet not impede on my parents. It’s not going to be tucked away in the woods like I’d hoped, but rater on the side lot overlooking the lake.

If you are considering building a tiny home in the future, or live in one now please don’t hesitate to contact me. Doug is hoping that by building this tiny home for me, more opportunities for this type of construction will come his way. His information and other useful resources for those that are interested can be found here: https://returntothewild.net/tiny-home-resources.

As a side note: I’ recovering from a broken elbow at the moment and have “a gimp arm” as Doug calls it. I’m NOT in a cast and can use my arm in a limited fashion so long as I don’t bump it. Isn’t it funny how these things happen when it’s most inopportune? And to all you smart asses out there who know me… YES I’m accident prone. Enjoy the pictures 🙂

Day #1 of construction. Pulled trailer in garage so we weren’t in the sun. We began by removing every other board on the bed of the trailer to help lighten the end weight and because they aren’t needed for support. The sub floor is then built on top of the remaining boards in 3 separate sections that will be joined together once we install a layer of metal flashing (under the sub floor and on top of the existing trailer bed boards) to protect the subfloor from beneath. Next we will cut insulation to fit between the 2×4’s and finish by laying down plywood sheeting. The trailer is a 8×20 straight deck “Buggy Hauler”, custom built for tiny homes by PJ Trailers in Sumner, TX. DSC_1069 . DSC_1071 DSC_1074 DSC_1075 DSC_1076 DSC_1077 DSC_1078 DSC_1079DSC_1085