Sunday, August 30, 2015

Things That Go On In A Tiny House

What happens in my house? Other than emptying toilets, canning things, watching wildlife, and blogging about it all? Often, having dinner and spending relaxing evenings with friends. Either out by my fire pit if the weather is nice and warm, or inside Fy Nyth. 

This is one of the best parts of living in a tiny house and the smaller amount of work, bills, maintenance, etc that come with it. Having time to do things I enjoy. Like sitting around a fire or in my cozy little house, eating good food, talking to some of my closest friends, and having a glass of wine.  I remember hearing someone else say that their favorite thing about their tiny house was the people they share it with, and I second that. Here is a collection of photos from a some of those evenings. 

Many people want to travel etc. which is fine, but this is some of what I enjoy. What would you choose to do with more free time in your life? 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Laundry Day in a Tiny House

There are many options for laundry in tiny space. From laundry mats to all-in-one units, to your mother's house. This is the setup I've been using since before moving into my tiny house actually. I used it while living in a motel as well. It is more manual than many options, but  I don't mind this. 

I have a wonder wash as my washing machine. You just fill it with clothes, water, and your choice of detergent. I use soap nuts since they do not irritate my skin and keep my water totally safe for dumping in my garden. More about them in my post here.

Then you simply close the lid tightly and spin the machine back and forth to tumble everything. Drain and add fresh water and repeat to have a rinse cycle. When it's warm, it seems most handy to do all this on my little porch. In the winter I stay inside.

To drain the machine, you stick this little spout in, and it drains from the bottom. I collect the water in a bucket and pour it right on my plants.

Once everything is rinsed, it goes in my Nina Soft Spin Drier. This works like a giant salad spinner and gets an amazing amount of water out. Clothing is nearly dry to the touch when it comes out, but still a tiny bit damp.

Out of the spin drier, bigger items go outside on my wash line like the very first photo, and little things or delicates hang on the folding rack I have inside. At least with the dry air we normally have here, things only need to hang for an hour or so to be totally dry.

And that's my laundry day here at Fy Nyth!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Emptying My Composting Toilet

I live off grid and have no sewer connection. So I have a composting toilet. Pretty simple. "But how do you empty your toilet?" 

This is a very frequent question I hear. At least in the world of tiny house people. I suppose the rest of the country probably does not discuss this. Ever. And if poop grosses you out, don't read further! While I do empty the liquids container every week to ten days, the solids bin only needs emptied about every 4 months with mostly just me using it.

There are several ways to deal with this, but I am just going to describe the one I use. The urine I dilute with water and use to fertilize all my plants around here. They love it! And in the winter, it just goes around the base of my trees, who also seem happy with the arrangement. But what do I do with all the four months worth of poop? 

Eventually it will be used as fertilizer as well. But to be safe, I'm giving it lots of extra time to break down after leaving my toilet. I have two compost bins outside. One for all my kitchen and garden scraps and one for my toilet. The toilet one will get heated up before going on any plants just in case there are any nasty bugs in there, which I doubt, knowing my own health and diet.

 With a Natures Head toilet like mine, all you have to do to empty it is slide the lid/seat off the top. Then you can pick the whole base up and simply turn it upside down to empty it. You can hose it all out then if you want, I did this once, but there is really no need. Below is what the most recent four months worth of poop looked like when I dumped it. (I already warned you to stop reading if you are squeamish about this!) Mostly, it looks like slightly damp dirt or potting soil. In the very middle of the photo you can see a lighter spot, that's one of the most recent additions to the toilet and is not completely broken down yet.

And this does not smell like anything other than moist dirt. For real. If you can change an average baby's diaper, this is less gross and less smelly. Plus my toilet never kicks or tries to put it's fingers in there while I'm emptying it. ;-) So it's much better!

Now I put fresh coconut coir (or peat moss if you prefer) back into my newly empty toilet. This is what surrounds each "deposit" I make into my toilet and helps keep there from being any odors. As you can see below, my whole toilet is sitting outside on my step. Now it's almost ready to put back in my bathroom.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know (And again, you were warned if you find all this gross!) that I keep worms in my toilet. They speed up the rate at which everything breaks down and help reduce how often I need to empty the solids. But I just dumped them all out when I emptied my toilet. And now I need some back in there.

Worms do not like being exposed to light, so they had quickly all retreated deep into the pile. I just used a shovel to scoop a hole in the middle of that pile and grabbed a handful of worms back out. Touching worms does not gross me out. (Spiders are a whole different story though!) And I added these back into my freshly emptied toilet. Where they quickly retreated out of sight again. This process did leave a lot of worms in my outside bin, but this is no problem, they just keep multiplying in both locations.

One note, based on the experience of someone else who tried this. If you plan to add worms to your toilet, make sure you keep the solids bin from getting too wet or too warm. If either of those condition occur, your worms may try to flee for their lives. I have never had this problem and as long as the conditions in there are good (for worms this means slightly moist, dark, and lots of poop to eat) they will stay out of sight and you'll never even know they are there.

I do keep a little spray bottle of vinegar and water in my bathroom to give the bowl a quick spritz after each use and help keep everything nice and fresh. You can see that in this shot with my toilet back in place and with the lid and seat back on top.

Now I have a toilet that's ready to go for months again! See, composting toilets really are not that scary. I am very happy with mine.

More Canning - Spaghetti Sauce

It truly is possible to cook and can a good bit in my tiny house! After wrapping up my pickles, I started on the tomatoes. I really like home made spaghetti sauce and don't like the store bought versions very much. I started out with 50 pounds of tomatoes.

I had to cook them down in several batches since they wouldn't quite all fit on my stove at once.

I added lots of onions, garlic, and fresh herbs from my garden.

After cooking everything soft, I ran it through this strainer which takes out all the seed, peels, onion and garlic skin, etc.

Then the sauce was back to simmering on the stove to thicken up.

And finally canned. I think next year I may be able to do a few less pickles, but I probably will need a few more tomatoes. This should last for a while though.

And then, expecting a freeze which did happen, I picked all my basil and made some pesto.

Now I should be set for a little while. At least until I start canning pickled beets anyway!