Saturday, February 28, 2015

What would I do differently - #2

Now I've lived here for just over three months. And I have a few more things I've thought of for this list. (If you are interested in the first list, check it out here.) Now again, none of this means that I am unhappy with my house or do not like living here, but there are a few things I'd do differently. And while everyone has different needs for their home, I'd be happy for someone else to be able to think about these things before they build theirs.

1. - I'd use composite windows. I think they are less expensive and more durable than wood. But mainly they would be water resistant. And controlling moisture in a space this small where I cook so much is an ongoing battle. Some of my window frames are tending to stay damp all the time and beginning to show some signs of mold. So that's a pretty big one that I would change. And may have to change at some point depending on how the wood that I have holds up.

2. - I'd have skipped the post on the corner of the porch. I should have mentioned this in the first post since it actually came off in the first few hours after the house arrived and had remained gone. I just forgot about it earlier. With a smallish door, the corner post prevents you from moving any large objects in and out. You can't angle anything to get around a corner as you come in the door. It's cute and homey, but highly impractical in my experience. Like I said, it's not there and I have no plans to put it back.

3. I would have lowered the bookshelves along the base of the ceiling. The shelves are wide enough for most books, but due to how close they are to the angle of the roof, most books can't sit on them because it pushes anything sitting there out too far. I'd have made them level with the base of the beams supporting the loft rather than the top. Then pretty much every book I own (and lots of other things) would be able to sit comfortably on the shelves. I will probably move them lower sometime I'm free and have a friend to help me.

4. I might have installed a few more lights, one in the reading nook corner, one right over my mirror in the bathroom, and one in the corner by my sink and fridge. It can be just a little dim in each of those areas. I've solved this pretty easily with a few battery powered LED lights. But, I'd take the time to run wiring to more permanent lights there if I was doing it again. 

Just a few more things you might want to consider as you plan your own house layout and design.!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My skirting's melting

Since it was already snowing when I got my house parked and moved in, I decided to wait to do any kind of skirting till spring. And for a while my snow skirting worked. It piled up quickly and the snow the roof shed just added to it. For a while the base of my house was totally sealed.

 But now we've been having a totally crazy winter and it's been really warm for here. I know the whole east coast has been getting hammered, but we've had almost no snow in 6ish weeks and it's been above freezing much of the time. And my skirting is melting out. I guess it's not too big a deal since it's warm anyway, and if it does ever snow again this winter, I can patch it up with the new snow. I guess if you are going to use snow as your skirting, I'd recommend living in an area that gets snow that particular year. We normally average 450 inches, but this winter it's not happening. Oh well, as long as it doesn't snow for all of May and June I'll be happy.

At the beginning of this month, this is what my skirting looked like.

Now it's looking like this and getting worse.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Toilet Worms update

Worms again. (For the first part of this discussion see my post here.) So my first batch of worms seemed to arrive healthy and happy. However, two days after adding them to my toilet, I couldn't find a live worm in there.

 I contacted the company, not to complain, as the worms they shipped seemed to arrive just fine, but to ask if they had any info or thoughts on what may have killed the worms so I could do something different in the future. They got right back to me and said they had already put a new batch of worms in the mail because they guarantee live delivery which was very nice of them since I clearly said the worms had arrived alive and in good health. They also suggested that the temps could have been too hot or cold (which I don't think was a problem since my toilet is in my climate controlled house) or that there may have been too much solid waste in proportion to filler material like toilet paper and peat moss. This may have been the problem, so I did add more peat moss before adding the new batch of worms. 

The new batch arrived and I added them to my toilet yesterday. As of today, they still seem alive and healthy, so we'll see how it works this time around. More updates as things progress....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A "Lived In" Tiny House

One thing I have heard several times is that many of you appreciate seeing a tiny house actually being lived in, not just photos of it looking like a showroom. Well I do actually live in mine. And I do actually like keeping everything neat and tidy. But life does happen and things don't always stay that way. Here are some of the messiest shots I have of my house. Or at least the ones that show activities going on in my house during day to day life. Like getting ready for dinner above. Or hanging out with my friend Seth (who due to a back injury doesn't do much typical sitting right now ;) and watching fishing clips on youtube.

There's sometimes food cooling on my porch along with the snow shovels, grill, and ski polls that reside there most of the time.

Working out can happen. The loft edge seems to work for doing pull ups if you are strong enough. And there is usually food on the stove.

Hanging out on the couch while browsing the internet, and making plans for the backpacking and fishing trips this summer.

Items get dropped on the chair or floor when I come home sometimes and the sink drainer seems to have dishes piled up most of the time thanks to cooking a lot.

Some construction projects happen and the house gets totally disorganized, tools are everywhere, and sawdust covers the floor. 

More dishes and dish washing, and just the random coats, laptops, and cameras laying around. Just in case you thought my house always looked perfect, you are now disillusioned. Though I do really find having much clutter around stressful, so most of the time my place really is tidy. ;)

New backup heater

Especially after the weekend when my heater when out, it seemed like a backup heater would be a good plan, especially in my climate. On the recommendation of the gentleman who fixed my heater, I purchased this model. It's a Camco Wave 6 radiant heater. It burns propane, but without a flame. I don't know enough about the catalytic process to tell you more than that. But we installed it on my wall yesterday and it seems to be working quite well.

 It does not use any electricity, a serious advantage over my other heater. And the radiant heat, while not quite so even as the other heater, feels really nice. Kinda like the feeling of sitting in front of a wood stove. My little brown chair is right across the room and sitting in it to read with my feet propped in front of this is really nice!

 Left on medium, it kept my house at 65 all night long with the outside temp around 7 degrees. And since it does not use any electricity, this kept my other heater from kicking on and therefore my house used very little power in the last day. I think this is going to be a very good thing for my off grid setup. As I still have the other one, they can also back each other up and I'm much less likely to spend a weekend without heat. We'll see if it changes with longer term use, but so far I am really liking this little thing.


I just participated in my first podcast interview ever! It'll be up sometime in March and I'll link to it as soon as it's available for listening. We'll be one of the first three guests on a new podcast dedicated to tiny houses.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Couch Covers

After hoping that letting the fabric and the foam cushions sit near each other for a while (months) would somehow result in the covers sewing themselves, I finally decided that was not working. I can sew. I grew up sewing all my own clothing. And I hate sewing. I genuinely enjoy many household chores like cooking and don't mind many of the others. But sewing I have never enjoyed. However, after getting tired of looking at the ugly shade of green foam sitting there and getting a quote that someone else would sew them for me for about $400, I decided I'd better just do it. 

Thanks to a friend letting me use his sewing machine and a few evening of work, they are finally completed. Not the most professional job I know, but I am satisfied with the way they turned out. There are zippers in each one so the covers can be removed for washing or to replace the foam eventually. 

I am now much happier with the appearance of my couch for sure!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tiny House camping

My excuse for not writing much here for a bit is a camping trip a little south of here. While we are having an unseasonably warm winter in the mountains where I live, just a few hours away in the desert, it was really warm last week. Like tee shirt and shorts and a sunburn warm. Very nice. We got to take my new-to-me van on it's first camping trip and while I still like backpacking more, it's pretty sweet for car camping. So this is my tinier house while on the road. 

For the middle of February, this is crazy warm!

And we got to see lots of stuff like this...

Not having to carry everything on your back does allow some touches to a breakfast that would be too heavy for a backpacking trip. We enjoyed the sunshine, the area, and the comfy camping and plan on getting that van out on a lot more trips soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


A little while ago I asked what you all had the most questions about. I'm still working on writing posts on all of those things. But I'd also like to know, what do you all most want to see photos of? I enjoy photography as a hobby and would do my best to show you what ever you'd find helpful or interesting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Worms and toilets

So, if you don't want to hear details about poop and stuff, don't read this post. Otherwise, here's my latest experiment going on in Fy Nyth! I have a composting toilet (a Natures Head, see my post with detail about that here) and one day wondered what would happen if I added composting worms to it?

 Some background, I have had composting worms as "pets" for a while. They eat my biodegradable kitchen scraps and turn it into great fertilizer. And they turn big piles of stuff into little piles. It occurred to me that would be a helpful trait if I don't want to empty the solids bin in my toilet as frequently. (So far it has been in use about three months and has yet to be emptied once.) And the worm castings would make a more compleatly composted material much faster.

Over my move into my new place, my old batch of worms got mad at me for neglecting them I think, and decided to all die on me. So I ordered some new ones. These are red wigglers, they are tiny and reproduce rapidly. They arrived healthy and live as you can see below. I added some water as soon as the arrived so they could start to recover from being shipped and then added them to the solids bin.

This is what the compost looks like inside my toilet after more than two months of use. Below is just after adding my worms to the mix. Now they are all burrowed down into it, and harder to see. I'm curious to see if they like it there and stay happy. I'll update this info once they and I have some time to decide how it's going. 

In case you are interested in a similar set up for your tiny house or RV, following are links to some of the items I use and describe in this post. If you buy them through my link, you will be helping me pay the bills here in my tiny house!