Monday, November 30, 2015

The Week of Tweak

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm now to the tweaking stage. So the first thing that got tweaked this week was the straw skirt. I bought 8 more bales (again all they had is a "self-service" straw pile in somebody's yard along the road) and almost finished the skirt. Still need three more bales. In order to put the skirt around the south side of the house, I dismantled the greenhouse, put all of the contents under the front porch, and took the frame apart. I discovered a nice little warm sunny spot to sit on sunny days. I will have the straw two bales high next to the wheel wells and only one bale high everywhere else. On the south side between the wheel well and the shed is a lovely little sitting place. 

The next tweaked item was the shower curtain. I've been fighting with it every time I take a shower. So my solution isn't pretty but it is way better than before. Took a 10 ft piece of pex, four corner supports and a straight coupling. And made a square curtain rod. So much easier to use! 

And the graywater tweak...I had put a piece of screen on the end of the drain pipes, mainly to keep critters from crawling in, with the intention of changing the screens every couple of weeks since I was sure it would get clogged up.  Well, then we have had very cold weather.  So, before I could even change out the screen one time I had ice building up behind the slowly clogging screens until both the kitchen and the shower pipes were clogged with ice.  Luckily the weather warmed up just in time for me to be able to clear the clogs easily.  Whew!  And I didn't replace the screens.  In the spring when the critters are active again I'll need to re-evaluate the situation.

A tweak in seating arrangement. The moon chair that I have been using just isn't cutting the mustard.  It is too wide and not close enough to the floor to be able to sit and scratch Nellie.  I'm currently sitting in a beach chair which works for scratching Nellie a little better, but I'm still not completely happy with it.  I've ordered a bean bag, so we'll see how that works. I think it will be good, because I can lounge and snuggle Nellie too.  We'll see...stay tuned.   

Washed the windows this morning only took me about 1 1/2 hours to wash all my windows inside and out...well, except one of the loft windows...but still.  This is the first official window wash and a couple of windows still had stickers and sticker goo on them.  Also washed the dog door.  Just one more perk of having a tiny house, tiny cleaning times. :D

I'm continuing to work on the picture scanning/downsizing project and I feel like it is coming along pretty well.  I've scanned about 400 more pictures and I'm about half-way finished with another box.  Part of the renewed excitement about the project is that I bought a new scanner.  It is a Doxie scanner and it is as big as 10 plastic rulers stacked on top of each other.  It fits in a drawer in the table, or I can take it with me in my backpack because it has an internal rechargeable battery and built-in memory.  Don't even need my computer to scan stuff, just feed it through and download it later.  I'm really loving it so far!  I'm very excited to be on the homestretch with this 6-year project.  

Just an FYI, I made bacon AND popcorn and the smoke alarm didn't go off. The secret is to open the kitchen window and the bathroom window and put a fan next to the stove blowing in the direction opposite the alarm. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wearing a skirt.

So I mentioned in my last post that the weather has turned quite wintry here. Frankly, I was a little excited about not doing winter this year, but it is what it is. The heater is doing great, and I want to make sure it keeps doing great, so I'm putting a skirt of sorts on the house. Mainly to provide a bit more insulation to the floor. The floor is already insulated, but I figure it can't hurt to close in the space under the house anyway.  Picked up a bunch of straw bales this morning with the help of the Dodge family and put it around the house. Still need a few more bales, but we bought all that was out at the time.  

Got the tile all finished with some caulk along the counter. 

The table drawers are finished. 

I will be calling an electrician on Monday.  I have all the wiring finished except from the inverter to the breaker box, but that part has been a bit of a dilemma for me because most of the info online is for much bigger setups than I have.  My breaker box is even all wired up. The inverter to the breaker box is the last big thing.   

At this point I feel like I'm mostly tweaking things, which is a good point to be at.  

Another trial and error confession: I switched from a graywater greenhouse to a graywater mulch basin.  The water-wicking buckets weren't working.  In the summer I will try that again, in the meantime I built a mulch basin.  According to a book I have on greywater, my mulch basin only needed to be about 10 square feet because I don't use much water.  So I built a small mulch basin, 12 square ft, on the north side of my house, and re-configured my outside drain pipes.
Doesn't look like much, and it really isn't. I built up the sides a bit and filled it with old straw and some sawdust on the top. Well, now it is covered with snow. It is really just a way to dispose of graywater and recharg groundwater. Considering I don't use much water, not much recharging going on. :)

And last but not least...We recently passed the one month anniversary of living in Ticklebelly Bungalow!  We moved in on October 21st, so we're actually going on 5 weeks.  Everything seems to be coming together very well.  I love where we live!  The Dodge Funny Farm is FANTASTIC!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Slowly but surely.

I'm working my way down the punch list, which is a funny term to me.  Every time I think about "punch list" I think it is something that needs to be finished quickly.  Well, maybe I need another term, because my list is NOT getting finished quickly.  So maybe I should call it the hug list, because the best hugs are slow.  I've already gotten side-tracked. Sheesh!

So this week the solar panel got attached to the roof (thanks to Robyn's husband Keith for the extra hands) and the electrical is all hooked up except for three things.  I need to put in the fuses, add a grounding wire/rod, and I need to connect the inverter to the breaker box.  I also need to have an electrician come and check it out before hitting the go switch.

Panel on the roof (still has the protective cover on)

Then the weather decided to go all winter on me, so I moved to an inside project.  The tile in the kitchen is now grouted.  I still want to put a bead of caulk on the bottom where the tile meets the counter, especially on the sink/stove side, but I'll wait a couple of days to make sure the grout is set.   



Part of me likes it better before grout, but it might just be that I'm used to it that way. 

And finally, I got the Christmas lights started.  Need to pick up one more string.

The heater is doing a marvelous job keeping us warm.  And the wind has yet to knock over the house, so we are doing good.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trial and Error Confession

If you read the previous post you'll remember that I occasionally admit to trial and error in accomplishing stuff.  Well, here is the biggest trial and error accomplishment so far!  My water heater connectors have always been a pain in the a**.  Tried shark-bites but the threads didn't fit, ordered fittings from the water heater company, but the clamps were cheap and didn't work, bought new clamps, they didn't work either.  So to this point my hot water heater either wasn't online, or I would open the propane and water shut-off valves every time I wanted hot water.  That actually wasn't the pain!  The pain was that I worried about the fittings leaking and the leaking water ruining my radiant heat pads under my floor.  I had almost given up and purchased a different water heater, which would have also been a pain because the propane was done by a professional and looks like it will never come apart!  Anyway, went back through the reviews of the heater, looking for any clue about what other people did with the fittings.  Quite a few had difficulty and mentioned brands of fittings that worked for them so I ordered another set of fittings with my fingers crossed.  Guess what! No leaks!  Hallelujah!  I can put my wall back together.  Ok, yes, there is more to this story.  In a nutshell...I put leak alarms in my wet walls months ago when finishing the bathroom.  As with all alarms they started singing at 2am.  Yes, I have a leak. Yes, the hot water heater.  Yes, I took my wall apart.  Yes, too tired to figure out how to disable the alarm at 2am, so I put it out in the Jeep so I could go back to sleep. (Just had to take it apart and cut the wires, they are a one-use item.)  That is when I started using the shut-off valves each time I wanted hot water.  So I also must confess to shedding a tear when I put these new fittings on, opened the water valve and it was DRY, DRY, DRY!   I am now going to take a worry-free shower, then wash my worry-free dishes, and maybe even do a small load of worry-free laundry in my laundry pod with hot worry-free water. 

Took a little road trip to Portland this weekend. I was delivering an antique desk to my aunt. While there I decided to buy a cubic yard of sawdust, because my search locally was not coming up with much, and I really didn't want to haul an empty trailer home. So went to a place I found online. Their front end loader was too wide to dump into my cargo trailer so they dumped my sawdust (which cost all of $28) on the ground an I shoveled it into the trailer. 


Got home and transferred it into 32-gallon garbage cans. So now I have 5 big cans and about a quarter of a trash bag of sawdust for my toity. Won't have to worry about that for a while. Yay!

So the goal for this week is to get my solar panel on the roof and hooked up. My little heater is doing very well, but since the weather has suddenly turned to winter, I need to get the heat moving throughout the house. I'm sure my ceiling fan will do the trick, but I don't have power to it currently.  That's come to the top of the list. Loving living in my tiny house!  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Deep thoughts...not by Jack Handy... et cetera.

What if I break it?  What if I can't do it? What if I look foolish? What will other people think of me if I fail?  What will that tell me about myself if I fail?

I think we all ask ourselves these questions sometimes, and some people more than others (you know who you are).  Throughout the process of building TicklebellyBungalow people have asked me how I knew how to do all this stuff. My answer has been "YouTube" and occasionally I'll admit to trial and error.  Well this morning I discovered another answer; fearlessly following directions. My little heater, which is fabulous, wouldn't stay lit after the requisite warming period of holding in the knob. So this morning I got out the instruction booklet and turned to the troubleshooting section. The instructions were not perfectly clear to me because of my inexperience with the heater, so I also did a little research to make sure I understood exactly what the instructions were telling me to do. Then I simply dove in head first fearlessly following the instructions.  Once I overcame my fear of the unknown by beginning, I realized that my fear was easily overcome by focusing on learning something new.  Today the new thing I learned was how to clean a thermocouple. Sounds intimidating, right?  A thermocouple is a device that senses temperature and acts as a shut-off. If it has gunk on it or is not seated correctly it won't work properly.  In my little heater it is a small nut that I loosened, cleaned with some fine sandpaper (according to the instructions) and tightened back in place. The most intimidating part was getting to the thermocouple because I basically took the heater apart to get to it. But guess what?  My heater works perfectly, and I learned something new. On to the next!!!

And it has been a busy week!  I had my first BACON day on Saturday, and my first buckwheat pancakes with canned nectaries and coconut whip cream... 
PS. Yes, the smoke alarm works (still), and yes I have a new solution to the cooking smoke alarm issue.  Double hung windows in the kitchen mean I can open the top pane of the window...a small fan next to the stove blowing toward the window should help immensely. 

I put the shelves in the bathroom...the hidden ones that is.
With the door open...

And hiding behind is...

I got some bins for under the kitchen cabinets...frees a little drawer space and utilizes the space under the cabinets.

I also put the house on cinder blocks.  Feels more steady when you walk in and the pull chains on the ceiling fan don't begin to dance like they used to.  With our impending wind storm I think the house will feel more sturdy. Pics to come. Dark early now. 

Along with the cinderblocks I put a few pavers in front of the stairs in hopes that it would cut down on the dirt Nellie and I drag in the house.  Still trying to get used to being Mr. Rogers.  I come in and out so much, though, that it is difficult to change shoes every single time.  That is the goal though.  

Today I went and got the rest of the materials I need for the drawers in the table.  I'm hoping to be able to work on that while this storm passes.  We're in for our first winter storm in the next couple of days.  Need to make sure I have a propane back-up ready.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Milestones Galore!

Milestones every day.  Here are some favorites...

Thursday October 22
Made my first hot chocolate on my very own stove this morning!  Yay!

Friday October 23
We have running water!

Ran the heater for the first time today.  I'm actually pretty impressed.  Now I just need to get the ceiling fan going and it will be pushing that heat around perfectly.

Saturday October 24
Made my first cooked meal today...had soft tacos.  YUM!  The stove is working perfectly.

Well, the smoke alarm works perfectly too! Yes, I made my first popcorn so I could watch a movie in style, and lo and behold the smoke alarm works...and i didn't even burn the popcorn.  JiffyPop all the way!
Making bacon will be an interesting experience.  Guess I'll just have to remember to open a window or two.  I think putting those double hung windows in the kitchen will come in handy!

Sunday October 25
Made some quesadillas tonight and guess what?  Yep, the smoke alarm still works.  I may need to make some adjustments to the location of that alarm.  Poor Nelie kept looking at me wondering if she should run or not. Then I began doing the towel wave thing and I'm sure she thought I was nuts.

Other than the smoke alarm, I've learned a few other things.  First, dishes can't be left in the sink.  When you only have one sink, it is difficult to wash hands, brush teeth etc, when it is full of dishes.  Second, it is important to remember Mr Rogers.  Changing shoes when coming in and out of the house will make floor cleaning so much easier.  This is a new habit for me, so I'm not doing too well so far.  

I thought about including a pic of the organizational progress so far, but I just couldn't do it.  The pics make the house look VERY cluttered.  While it is still quite cluttered, the pics make it look ten times worse than it is.  I'll post some of those pics next time as before and afters. :)  I've been busy with the grey water greenhouse.  After a bazillion trips to the store, it is finally in the testing stages.  Updates on that will also be forthcoming.  I bought a couple of wall shelves to put up over the closet/trunk.  I still have too much stuff.  Grrrr.  Downsizing is a process, downsizing is a process, downsizing is a process.  Just reminding myself.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Moving Update

You know that saying that goes something like "You can tell a true friend when you haven't seen each other in ages, but when you get together it is like no time has passed at all."  That is Robyn!

Friday October 9
Spent the whole day (well, most of it anyway) looking at heaters online...again.  I was determined to buy one today.  After finding one that I LOVED, I called the company to find out when they would be in stock again and was informed that regs have changed so they are having to redesign the guts of the heater.  In other words, it will be at least a year if not more before they begin selling them again.  SO BUMMED!  I was looking for a direct vent heater because they pull O2 in from outside instead of using air from the inside of the house.  Although I found quite a few, they mostly look like one of two things, an ugly metal box (no character whatsoever), or a hotel heater.  In other words I went back to the Dickinson P12000 boat heater, because at least it has a little character.  It should be here on Tuesday.  Wow! Getting closer! 

Photo was actually taken on Tuesday October 20, but oh well.  So now you're wondering what's up with the blue and green things below and above, right?  Well, the studs are 16" on center and the mounting plate is only 9 inches wide.  Nice.  The blue and green pieces are attached to the studs and the mounting plate is attached to the blue and green pieces.  I'll report back how well the heater does! 

Monday October 12
Today was a good day!  Nellie and I went to Grantsville, got in Robyn's truck with her and drove to Ogden where we emptied my storage unit into the back of the truck, hooked up the tiny house and drove away!  I cried...for joy of course.  My road trip was fantastic, and my cousins, Jason, Wendy, and Cole (and their pups) have been so kind to let me and Nellie stay with them for a few weeks.  Now it is time to make Ticklebelly Bungalow my home and I'm so excited to do just that.  I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me.  We didn't unpack anything because I needed to head off to my niece's choir concert (which was very well done and enjoyable).  So tomorrow the unpacking begins.  I'm so ready to be finished moving.  This is the longest drawn-out move I've ever attempted.  I think Nellie is ready to be settled too.  Tentative move-in...this coming weekend. :D

I got one of the biggest compliments I have ever received today.  My 17-year old cousin Cole said he would be sad for me to leave because he liked having me around...well, maybe it was that he liked having Nellie around, well only half Nellie.  He's a great young man!

Wednesday October 21
Ok, my brain fog is back, but that is a story for another day.  I must apologize for ditching the blog for a few weeks.  I've been very busy getting the Bungalow ready to move into and TODAY IS MOVE-IN DAY!  In fact, it is 9pm and we are moved in.  Still have a list of things to do, but the heater is in, the greenhouse where the grey water will go is coming along, we have electricity, and the stuff is finding places to live.  Nellie is adjusting.  She loves being here, but I think she is a little confused tonight about why we didn't go back to the super comfy bed at Jason and Wendy's.  AND she is currently snoring on her pillow.  So here are a few pics, and I promise to post again at least on my regular Sunday schedule again.

In process...


Must have a shed

Robyn's husband Keith leveling my spot (with Nellie supervising of course)

Ticklebelly Bungalow's permanent parking spot.

And the view...

And the stove works!

And the view to the sunset

And got the sides of the table finished (still need the drawers)

And another one, on our way back to SLC.

Promise I'll post on Sunday with a pic of the progress on the inside, and the greenhouse, etc.

Friday, October 2, 2015


My word of the day is perfect for today.  Peripeteia means a turn of events or an unusual reversal.  So my peripeteia has to do with parking for the tiny house.  After making you all envious in the extreme of my future view, it turns out that my view will be somewhat different.  The HOA at the RV park confabulated in too lengthy a manner, and in that time I realized that I had no more desire to reside there (reason: HOA).  So in reality, it worked out just right, they chatted just long enough. :)  

With that said, I will be moving the Bungalow to Grantsville, UT (which is near Tooele for those who are somewhat familiar with UT geography).  My college roommate Robyn and her family have a house and property there with kids, lots of horses, dogs, goats, cats, a space just right for the Bungalow and Nellie, and an equally beautiful view.  That doesn't even take into account how much I love Robyn and her family.  

Pictures of the view TBP (to be posted).

So that means that I'll need to get a heater.  More of the Bungalow, and move-in experience to come!  This is getting exciting!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Parking spot for the winter!

Ok, all of you guys are going to be insanely jealous when you see the view from where my porch will be starting October 15!  I'm renting a space in Hurricane, UT from a couple who are full-time RV-ers. They are going to Yuma for the winter. Hurricane must be where we are supposed to be for a handful of reasons. #1 It was effortless. #2 they had quite a few people inquire, but no takers (until me). #3 It feels like home. #4 there is grass (not just rocks). #5 it feels like the country, but I'm five minutes to everything. #6 the breeze just reminded me that Mom is watching out for me. #7 My new backyard and neighborhood are amazing! #8 It is right next to a place that does helicopter tours of Zion NP (added to the bucket list). And now for the jealousy section of this post. 

The future view from my porch will be this. 

My neighborhood looks like this. 

And this.

And this. (this is the campground I'm staying at, not my new home)

Monday, September 21, 2015

A choice is made!

The choice is (drumroll please) to stay the winter (and maybe longer) in St. George, UT.  After going back and reading through my journal entries and blog posts from the past 7 weeks...yes, Nellie and I have been on the road for 7 weeks...I realized that I actually did get that "home" feeling when we turned north after going through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.  But since I was expecting that "home" feeling to come while we were driving down the west coast, I didn't recognize it.  I figured that feeling was just a happy-to-be-back-on-familiar-ground feeling.  
So, I've made some calls today to find out about campground hosting positions and a couple of RV parks that allow longer stays (one even has a tiny house already staying).  We are headed that direction tomorrow to check out the area a bit more and to look at some spaces for staying.  If any of you have a place that I could park the tiny house and live in it in the St. George area, please get in touch with me.  I'm continuing to look for a piece of property to purchase, so we'll just see what comes up.  I know Nellie is ready to not get back in the Jeep, except for short rides.  :)  Once we have something set up in the next couple of days, we'll return to Ogden and retrieve Ticklebelly Bungalow and head south for the winter.

I've really been enjoying the fall colors so far.  I must admit that i feel like autumn happened over night.  Just a week ago we were in Ashland where it was 102 degrees, now it is getting quite chilly at night and Nellie needs her coat in the morning so she doesn't get the shivers.

PS.  This isn't Nellie's coat, it is mine, but I didn't have hers that morning.  Luckily, I put her coat where I knew I could find it in the Bungalow so it was easy to retrieve.  Now she looks much more dignified in her very own dog coat.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ticklebelly Bungalow pics

If you are looking for pics of Ticklebelly Bungalow, you have to go WAY back in the blog!  So I decided to post a few here so you don't have to look so hard.  :D

Porch view (at the TV station in San Diego)

Port side

Kitchen view

From the sleeping loft looking down at the fantastic art of my friend Leslie Baylinson.

My closet

The bow.

And Finally, my FAVorite picture.