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!