Monthly Archives: April 2015

It’s a House!!! Almost…

Get ready everyone because this month has been SO exciting!!!

I guess I’ll start with the things I’m still looking for because I totally forgot about that in the last post or two. Here’s what I wrote in a previous post:

I really really want this cook stove/ oven/ range called the origo 6000, but it’s super expensive so I’m hoping to find one that is used but in good condition. It’s usually used in boats and runs on alcohol so no fossil fuels!! And it’s small. So if you come across one while you’re surfing craigslist or something… please let me know!!!

Two windows! 32″ wide x 48″ tall, give or take about 1/2″. Double hung, in good condition, with screens preferably, open easily, double pane.

So a lot of what happened this month was a LOT of sheathing. As soon as it started being over 40 degrees, I whipped out the wood glue and got to work! My good friend CJ came for a couple of days and helped a lot. I had a bit of trouble with the router bit falling apart but we seem to have fixed that problem. I think that the plywood window cut out was falling down on the bit when I finished cutting, therefore pulling apart and damaging the bit. The first window that happened on we were kinda confused and had to set the router aside and use the circular saw and then a hand saw. Here are some pictures of us sheathing and routing out the windows and the walls:

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Before we put the plywood on, we had to make sure the walls were nice and square. That means measuring the diagonals to see if they’re the same, and if they’re not, hitting one end of the top of the wall to fix it. Some walls were harder than others and Dad ended up getting a slightly heaftier tool to do the job:

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Miette came and helped for a bit too!

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While CJ was here, Mom and I did our annual polar bear swim! Sometimes we are able to go in as early as early March, but this was mid-April! It was a really warm day and felt even warmer when we jumped out of the icy water.

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When we’d finished sheathing the long walls, dad stood the wall up while I traced around the wheel well. Then we laid it back down and I cut it out with a jigsaw.

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Dad and I tried to put up the first long wall and then realized that there were boards sticking out from the upstairs of the barn trapped under some old theater stuff. So we had to prop up the heavy wall while we moved the boards out. I suppose we could have just put the wall down again, but that might have actually been more work.

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And then! My friend Mollie came over and helped us put up the two long walls! Mom helped too and we really wouldn’t have able to do it without four people. It was challenging fitting the two halves of the first long wall together, but it was realllly hard to fit the second long wall together properly. The place where they had to fit together could have been better planned out, I think. They just had to go over under and around each other all at the same time. We did a lot of levering and hammering to make it work. It probably also would have been safer and easier with more people… but we were too excited to go find anyone else. And, obviously, we managed just fine!

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Mom decided to take a selfie:

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The next morning before I had to go to work, Dad and I put up the first short wall which took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, but ended up fitting pretty nicely. Unfortunately, when we tried to get the last wall up (the other short one), we realized there was BARELY enough room at that end of the trailer and it was definitely not a piece of cake getting it up to where it needed to be. Again, we probably should’ve waited for Mom to get home so we had three people, but like I said… too excited :).

Before the first short wall went up, we insulated the corner posts:

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So eventually we made it work and look! I have four walls up on the trailer and it finally looks like a house! I do realize I have a long way to go before it’s fully functional, but this feels like a big step. And I’m getting so much more done now that it’s warmish out that I have high hopes of a speedy spring/ summer build.

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Lastly, I took a week off in mid-April and went to visit the west coast. I mainly went to visit Evergreen State College in Washington because it was my other choice of school besides Hampshire. But because I planned to be there for a week, I got to visit an old friend of my mom’s, Liz and her family, as well as a longer visit with one of my dad’s long time friends, Sarah, and her partner Bill. It was lovely to get to know some of my parent’s friends and be able to call them my own friends by the end of the visit. I had an incredible time and am very happy to say that I will now be going to Evergreen in the Fall! It still feels scary going so far from home, but I want to overcome that fear and spend some more time on the west coast. Here are a few pictures from my visits:

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I saw a tiny house boat there too!!

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I’d never seen banana slugs before. Blehh.

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Waiting for Warmer Weather

It has been quite a month! Unfortunately I didn’t build as much as I would have liked too – a lot of things got in my way. Now that I’ve finished framing my walls, I need to put the 1/4″ plywood on. First I had to decide whether I was going to paint the plywood first or go plow ahead and paint later. I decided on painting them, but it was so cold that we had to bring a heater out to the barn to move some warm air around so the paint would dry instead of freeze over night.

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Mom bought me my own paint mask 🙂

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Once the plywood was painted, I was all set and ready to get crackin’ on getting my walls up. I ran over to the hardware store and picked up some wood glue, cut the plywood to the appropriate height, laid it all out, put the glue in the caulk gun and… nothing came out. I was confused for a good second until I checked the instructions on the glue. In all my excitement, I didn’t realize that it had to be at least 40 degrees out to use wood glue – and it wasn’t 40 degrees. And I couldn’t cheat, like we did with the paint.

The temperature has been hovering at or below 40 degrees since then usually meaning it’s just BARELY too cold to glue, because even if it’s 40 outside, the barn tends to run a few degrees lower. We did, however, get one or two days that were warm enough. My friend Annalise came over and she and my dad helped me lay the glue down and nail it all together. We were able to get half of one of the walls sheathed.

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One Saturday I went to an energy fair at Greenfield Community College, organized by Greening Greenfield. I was a presenter and spent the night before making a display board out of some painted plywood scraps, some facts I’d typed up and printed, a bunch of pictures, and recycled college mail for boarders. It was cool to be there and talk to people who were already enthusiastic about tiny houses or who hadn’t heard of them before.

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Photo taken by Andy Grant at the Sustainability Expo.

In mid March, I got all four of my wisdom teeth pulled which also put a pause on my project. It was probably one of the scariest things I have ever done. It felt super weird getting needles poked in my mouth to numb me up and even weirder not being able to feel anything. I was especially nervous because I had to be awake for the whole thing. Then they discovered that my teeth are unusually HUGE for a 19 year old girl and it took them twice as long to take them out as it normally does. It was scary at first but it took so long that I calmed down and got all bored and slightly annoyed with all that poking, prodding, and drilling, and tired of looking at the map on the ceiling of animals around the world. I realized I still had the after-care instructions sheet of paper in my lap and I decided to challenge myself and make a paper crane. It took up a good chunk of time and concentration and helped me get through the rest of the surgery. It felt like a big accomplishment finally getting out of there (after they’d already started closing up..) but I looked like a chipmunk and was still numb. Long story short, I didn’t look like myself again for two weeks until the swelling went down, had to eat mushy foods for a while, survived the pain on just ibuprofen, and am finally kinda sorta normal again. This really has been quite a crazy year with Lyme Disease, being sick almost all the time, and then this.

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My friend Lilly came to visit for a few days which was lovely and she helped build a little bit – mostly with adding the second top plates and squaring up the second half of the long wall so we could proceed to sheathing it.

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Last week I met with Spartan from Spartan Solar and discussed heating and cooling systems, specifically for hot water. It was great to get a lot of new information but also a bit overwhelming realizing how much I still have to research and how expensive off-grid options are going to be. I’m thinking about building in a way that I can leave room for more advanced systems later but in the meantime live with the real simple options like cold water for the summer and taking showers somewhere else.

Most recently, I had breakfast with Katie at Elmers a couple days ago and then came back to my house to do a few tiny house things. She helped me cut some plywood. I also was able to use a new bit that I got for my router – a flush trim bit. I used it to cut out the rough opening for the window in the 1/2 wall that I sheathed. It was very satisfying! It has a little roll-y thing at the end so that the blade can follow the edge of the 2x4s without cutting them but cuts the plywood to be the flush with the frame. Anyway that was fun and it was great to see Katie and talk more tiny house stuff.

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