Been a long time since I updated this. It’s been really busy, we’ve done a ton of work and I’ve been offline for a few months (!). And now, we’re officially moved in!
Some highlights from the photo album:
New Truck: I bought this 1998 Toyota T100 4WD. Got an awesome deal on it, clean rust free. This truck can go practically anywhere on the farm, and haul most of my trailers. Simple, sturdy, capable. And yes I have woodgas plans for it, but not right away.
We sent the Ford Ranger back to Ohio… it tried hard, but it really was too small for the work we were asking it to do.
Bathroom: This was a learning experience, but I’m happy with the results. We aren’t “bathroom people” ie I don’t want to devote any more living space to bathroom facilities than absolutely necessary. So to maximize utility, I separated the tub/toilet from the sink, and put a hallway down the center. Here’s the “cross section”:
For the surrounds, I went in a very different direction. After pricing out the cheap plastic, expensive plastic, and expensive hard-to-clean tile options, I came across a few DIY’ers using corrugated metal roofing. The end result looks like this:
It’s not for everybody, but I like the look. For details on what exactly I did, check out this video (not mine, but I followed it closely).
The finished shower works great, it’s cheap, water tight, sturdy and won’t rust. If you’re wondering, it does NOT sound like rain on a tin roof - that was a concern I had. The backing layers absorb all the sound.
Living room floor: This came out very well. These are the $0.99 / sqft floors mentioned previously.
I got to make a nice little border around the hearth pad.
Kitchen: New counters have been finished with a spar urethane. Shiny!
All moved in! First night in the new house:
Yes we’re sleeping in the living room. The other rooms haven’t got flooring yet. Besides, it’s cold! And the stove is warm!
It actually got colder, we saw -1 F on two separate nights. The house stayed warm, sort of - the curtains you see above kept the heat concentrated in the living room. Partitioning turns out to be a wonderful method of heat control with a wood stove.
Still, some more insulation is in order. Load up the truck!
30 bales of blown fiberglass insulation over about 1000 sq ft. All together about 18-24" on top of what was there. Something around R-60. The house is toasty now!
Because of a mis-marked price at the store, we got the whole shebang for about $480. That’s a lot of fluff for your buck.
Now the roof is warm, but the very old single pane windows leak badly. I’ve sealed them but there’s a draft coming off the cold glass. So, the next step in keeping warm is making insulated window quilts. Here’s what’s inside:
The layers will be: muslin, batting, mylar (space blanket), 4 mil plastic, batting, muslin. All attached to the window with velcro. We had to glue the mylar to the plastic to stabilize it, it is too thin to sew.
Water supply: This has been the other marginal area. We’re currently on a 300 gallon water tank. Short showers and no old-fashioned automatic washing machines. Mary has been experimenting with hand-washing the laundry, because she loves doing laundry. It’s an interesting process and not nearly as hard as you are imagining.
And always, run the initial hot water into a bucket and send it back to the tank.
I’ve been collecting rainwater that drips off the eaves in 5 gallon buckets. This works pretty well, but carrying buckets around is a challenge.
I’ve invented a bucket water filter, which is a bucket lid with a hole on one side, and a piece of gauze that the lid seals over. We strain all the rainwater through this fabric, into the tank. It’s still not clean enough to drink or cook with, but works fine for washing and showering. However, a gutter system and rainwater filtration is high on my list.
Our next target date is May - not for the Argos meetup, but for the baby on the way! We need to have a nursery set up and a clean place for baby to play. Progress is slower when you live in the house, but we’ll make it happen.
We’re enjoying being out here now. There have been some challenges, like when the water pipes froze up (it was -1, remember) but we got by.