A lot of building, learning and living happened in 2015. Sarah and I got engaged (woo-hoo!), we toyed with the idea of committing to a beautiful eighty-three acre property in southwestern Oregon (not this time!), I did some theatre, Sarah got a promotion, we both met some really wonderful people and friends, we helped others build their tiny house, and through it all our little abode has continued to grow. It feels more and more like home with every nail 😉
Oh, and one more thing, we have decided to move back to the Petaluma, California area, or the greater Bay Area in general – please do let us know if you know of a place for an off-grid, self-sufficient tiny house and two tiny-house-dwellers!
Our latest building accomplishments have been: insulating, which took longer than expected (we did loose-fill wool and some denim), installing the interior siding (excluding trim), and my dad came to help for a wonderful week of cedar-sanding and putting on the ceiling. Pictures…. everybody wants pictures. So, here are some that detail the progress.
Sarah stuffed some wool into the wheel wells proving once again that small hands are a real plus on a build!
One step at a time, nail-by-nail, lesson-by-lesson, I get schooled and learn new humility and respect for the people that do this for a living. Maybe, someday, these skills will translate into something that will benefit the world at large.
Have a happy and humble new year, one board at a time.
March has glided into the Oregon bringing plum blossoms, morels and humming pollinators.
Sarah is working happily away with Sum Of Us, and I’ve been working on the land here gardening, building ‘A’ frames for a green house, and re-roofing the cabin we’re living in while we finish the Tiny House. It literally blew off in a huge storm that rolled through. This required peeling it off, scooping out the rotten old fiber-glass insulation (worst part…most def.), replacing and sistering in rafters, re-sheathing and putting on standing seam metal roofing and flashing a chimney. While it took longer than I thought it would, it didn’t take long at all…and the next metal roof that I do will be even better.
The good news is the tiny house is bone dry. That storm didn’t even come close! WOOT! While we were gone, there were some woodpeckers that made a home in the house, but then a ring-tailed cat moved in and took care of that problem! I evicted them plus a few wasps with a little sage smoke and we’re off to the races.
I feel like I’m continually finding ways that the house ‘could be better’ if only x-y-z, but at the same time I’m charmed by the little mistakes. I have even started laughing (lovingly) at ‘Past-Joseph’ when ‘Present-Joseph’, who has excellent hind-sight, comes upon something that his predecessor did that made the next step SO much more difficult.
The ridge cap is a perfect example of this. I know what the roofing directions told me to do, but the stock ridge cap that came with the roofing material was too small for our massive ridge beam and I just HAD to do it my way *eye-roll*. So I made a bigger ridge cap out of the metal sheeting, bent the edges a few times to mimic the original cap thinking the “z” channeling that we put on for ventilation would snug into it nicely.
This was dramatically foiled as I precariously tried putting a 25′ long 65 lbs piece of steel on in one long ‘home run’ and, after dropping it twice, hollered for Sarah to come up and help. She did, we got it on, but the piece was bent all over the place, and it was foolish to think that I could make a machine-straight bend in a piece of metal with only hand tools, then put it on while precariously straddling the roof.
Well, we’ve come this far!
I move forward knowing that this self here IS the past self, and will have to contend with/fix/accept the choices I make again and again as the learning curve winds on. It’s always a funny feeling to be SO SURE of what I’m doing, knowing full well that there will be something that humbles me coming down the pipe. There WILL be some part of the task that is unexpected, it’s never what I think it will be. After all, ‘these are the stones on which we choose to whet the keen edge of our spirit.’*
Next week I’ll start running electrical, and now that we’re a little more settled in this life, be more diligent about updating the blog. Thanks for reading!
We’re back! Sarah and I took a hiatus from blogging and building and are just now getting back into the swing of things. The last three months have been a whirlwind of blustery New York weather, Christmas trees, and baby lambs. Yes, baby lambs and don’t worry… I come bearing pictures!
Every year (for the past three years) a friend and I run a Christmas tree stand at St. Marks Church in the Bowery in Manhattan. It’s a month of preparation followed by a month of fourteen-hour days slinging conifers in the cold. The stand is open twenty-four hours a day from Black Friday until Christmas Eve, and is such a unique, enriching community-building experience. This year a highlight for me was having Sarah come work with us at the stand. She not only heaved Fraser firs over fences with the fellas, but also put her superb eye towards making wreaths for us.
I also realized that as part of my work for the stand I’ve been building a “tiny house” on the street each year. It’s a 4x8x8 structure that can cozily hold three people making espresso (yes…there’s been an espresso machine). This year I upped the ante with my newly-acquired building skills, and framed this little house in panels, built in a loft, and salvaged and installed a real door (in the past the door was hinges on a warped piece of plywood). Next December…when our house is finished…who knows what new additions will be found in the tree stand shack? Sky-light? Running water? H-VAC? We’ll see.
Christmas trees wrapped, we flew back to California for some R&R at Tassajara, then back to the sheep ranch,where we had forty new baby lambs to keep track of. Laaammmmbbbiiinnggg Speeeeed! Out of the pot and into the fire we go. Two of the new babies didn’t bond with their mothers (a pretty common occurrence with first-time ewe mothers) so we are feeding them twice-a-day by bottle.
So the last month has been spent catching up on work with the sheep and lambs and observing the cycle of birth and death (to be continued in another post I’m sure). We’ve also been tying up loose ends from 2013, and doing some all-important planning for 2014 – house planning, work planning, well-being and health intention-setting, financial planning, and more. We erased our window, re-categorized some things, and believe that we now have a plan that will take us at least until July of this year…if not Christmas 😉
The tiny house is back to being built nail-by-nail, and Sarah is studying to be a certified interpreter (English-Spanish), and we’ll be posting here as we go…