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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