Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tin Lizzie

We're making progress in the tiny house lav now that the kitchen is finished (minus the flooring, scheduled for warmer weather) and Keith's finished mudding, taping, and sanding the sheet rock.

Yesterday we went shopping for supplies at the salvage yard and feed store. The salvage yard was a score - we bought 5 sheets of galvinized corrugated tin (like we've used inside the tiny house) that were technically free and technically bartered for with a 12-pack of Miller High Life. (Love that small town economy.)

At the feed store we went shopping for shower pan/bath tub ideas and found what we think will work really well---a stock tank.

After considering the size of the shower pan we already have (3'x3') and the work that comes with laying tile, etc. we wondered what other kind of set up we could come up with that would require less labor. Because we like to walk that line of minimal effort for maximum utility.

So for less than $75 I will have a small tub that will also be the drain pan for a shower. We picked up a piece of copper tubing at the Moscow salvage place a while ago for a shower curtain rod. And tin on the two walls that will be behind the tub + bamboo flooring, it's all coming together.

But first, we had to paint. We chose the color to tie the different colors of materials together (bamboo, tin, barn wood) and came to an agreement on Tin Lizzie, a VOC-free paint from Pittsburgh Paints.

And here's the first coat! Hoping for a second coat on Monday. Probably will have to wait until next payday to buy the tub, but after that we'll ready to lay the floor and finish the composting toilet cabinet. Looks like I'm getting a bathroom this year!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The last corner

The last corner of the house needing major construction is now ... somewhat finished. Useable at the very least.

We're quite happy with how our plywood cabinet turned out, though there were - as always - some obstacles along the way.
The table folds up to cover 2/3 of the shelves to keep the main dishes free of dust and dog hair. It has a simple hook and eye keeping it closed on one side. If we can't find the map of Mexico that we used to plan our route in 2006, I'll buy another one and spray mount it to the underside of the table so when it's up (which will be most of the time), the map will show.

Table down - planning on having our first meal at it this evening.

In the triangle space between the cabinet and the window over the sink, Keith built another small shelving unit which we've already filled. Also, a magnetic knife bar going vertically holds our measuring cups and utensils. Another magnetic knife strip mounted to the underside of the bottom shelf holds our knives. On top of the cabinet we have some copper canisters, a collapsing wood dish rack, and a couple of vases.

There's still no flooring in that section of the house (since we'd intended on it being a shower, we left it just as subfloor). But Keith plans on taking up some of the laminate at the entry way and putting under the cabinet/table. We found some beautiful blue tile at Habitat for Humanity some time back that will look great in the entry. But that's definitely after the bathroom is finished!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring / Water

Is this a continuation of the mild winter we've had or the actual start of spring? I can't be sure, but the robins are back and crocuses are sprouting under the apple tree. Barring a snow/ice storm anytime between now and June, which is bound to happen, we're playing along with the warmer weather and longer days just like it's actually spring. 

There's a possibility that Keith is going to take a job that will take him out of state for a good portion of the summer, so I have been thinking about a) what I am going to do to stay occupied and b) a garden. 

A big garden like we've done in the past is not something I feel comfortable tackling by myself, so when I saw the book One Magic Square at the library I thought that sounded more doable. Plots that are 3'x3' and planted with complimentary veggies - I picked 3 different plots (each with a corresponding fall/winter line-up) and made a list to order seeds.

Which brings us to compost. The poor compost bin has been neglected for a while now and needed some TLC, so last weekend Keith helped me pull all the weeds out of it and give everything a good stir.


Keith and I don't have much in the way of food scraps but my mom does so I enlisted her help in collecting materials. I raked up some leaves to put in there, too and gave it a good watering. There's not enough to use quite yet, but it's a start.

While Keith waits for the drywall mud in the bathroom to dry between coats, we're working on the least developed corner of the house. This is the space that was originally going to be a shower with a half wall diving it from the kitchen counter. Somewhere along the way that plan was revised to include a place for us to actually sit down and enjoy a meal (as opposed to eating in bed which is not too bad once in a while, but gets old) or do work/play Scrabble on a flat surface.

We've always talked about having a booth, like from a restaurant, but they're hard to find and expensive and bulky, so we're making our own out of a nice grade of plywood. I've sanded the bench seat and back smooth and applied 2 coats of tung oil (not tongue oil like I originally imagined when I heard the term, eww). The back will pull forward to allow for storage behind it (on the backside of the barn wood/window wall). Across from the bench is a cabinet we built out of the same kind of plywood that will have a fold-down table attached.

Another good development for ease and comfort is our water bottle hand pump arrived so we took our two Culligan bottles to a spring about a mile and a half up the hill to fill and now we have about 10 days worth of water. Granted, this is not bathing water - mostly it's for drinking and making the occasional batch of cous cous or pot of tea, but it does help us feel a bit more self-sufficient.

I was astonished to read recently that the average person uses over 1,000 gallons of water a day (including the water that is used to make energy and all of the products we consume). There are some very interesting infographics about this here and more info from the National Academy of Sciences here. It's no secret that access to clean water is a struggle that many people all over the world deal with each and every day, so having this free source of good, clean water is not something we take for granted. If anything, I hope this system will help us monitor our usage.