Monthly Archives: September 2013

Finally moving in!

Saturday was a productive day- I got half the house skirted, rememered (finally!) that if the floors are too cold in winter some eco friendly, non toxic denim insulation can be laid on the floor as a ‘carpet’ as a quick, temporary fix, trimmed out a bunch of poison ivy and brush, and got a third of the trim hung or ready to hang.

I didn’t get moved in completely this weekend, but did make definite process, and after hearing for months how cold the floor would be from my worried dad, realized that I was better equipped for winter than he thought. The house won’t have the highest possible amount of insulation; it only has 2×4 walls. However, it will have R-20 of pink styrofoam insulation under it, plus a 6″ skid on the north and south sides, and loose gravel/dirt against that. Maybe some landscaping bricks too. I’m thinking of building a pet house to add additional insulation where the pipes come closest to the wall (on the south side) and designing the pet house so that it is a passive solar heat collector.

I also realized it’s 45 in the morning and my windows are still open. I think I’ll be ok. The cabin warms quickly, and once all the skirting is on, the floor should be warmer. The walls are only 2x4s, so there is only R-13 in them, but with bookcases against the walls and quilts hung on them, they should be fairly well insulated. At least as much so as many other houses I’ve lived in.

I also met a builder this weekend. I’ve hurt myself too many times on this project to maintain any dreams of building alone. But if I can build for a reasonable price and get a very well insulated house with solar capability, I’d be very happy.


Random thoughts and updates

I’ve almost finished enough to move in and get my occupancy permit. I still need to insulate the floor by winter (skirting, somehow), and winter is predicted to be long and hard. I’m a bit nervous about the winter, even though the space is small and should be cozy.

I got my second utility bill-$42 for 32 days of electricity. Approximately 300 kW for the month. I could really go with solar if it weren’t for the fact that I want electricity mostly when the sun is down and am not eager to learn about batteries right at the moment.

I’ve checked into the cost of a foundation for a permanent structure. Less than $3000 for a slab with a 12″ wide footer under it. Since a square cut log cabin would be approximately $15,000, I could build for an outrageously small sum. Log cabins take a lot of maintenance, and I’m not sure that’s the direction I want to go, but it is a possibility. Actually I secretly would prefer a composite log-look. I know it isn’t as earth friendly on the outtake, but over time I think it would be much more earth friendly than years of stain and power washing.

It’s 10 miles to work. Someone recommended a piece of land that’s less than half the size of the one I own for almost twice what I paid per acre today. I’m still being told that I wouldn’t get that price, but the two pieces are very comparable, only mine’s closer to a road that would be cleared in winter and nearer to a town and fire station. It would seem I didn’t do badly on my purchase, considering that and what I’ve seen other land go for in this area.

The house is too white inside now. I’ll be glad when I get some quilts on the walls (both decoration and added insulation, book cases up (which also add insulation), rugs on the floor (which again add insulation) and decorations on the walls. I’m hoping to have some time to unpack some things tonight. And put up some of the trim, since there isn’t much to put up at this point. Maybe I can get the occupancy permit this week. Hopefully soon, at least. It makes me nervous, having someone inspect my little cabin. People in the area think it’s nice, at least until they learn I live there. But to camp in, to have as a weekend place, they think that would be great. But will the fire marshal think the same? Apparently they won’t nix it based on size, though, and I’ve met all their requirements, or will have soon, at least.


Once I get unpacked I’ll post some pictures. Right now it’s not very attractive, with tools scattered around on the floor. It’s time for a thorough cleaning and some decorating. Then I’ll see what I have. Wish me luck!


Just to update, one of the hardest things for me right now is that I don’t have any family or friends supporting me in the idea of living small. My dad is adamantly opposed, as well, and has been very clear on all the difficulties I will face living small and all the money I will, in his opinion, lose because I can’t sell it for much. Of course, he can’t sell his for what he thinks it’s worth either, and he’s stuck in something he can’t afford or maintain as a result. Still, it’s been wearing, hearing his discouragement, not having others who encourage me or work with me on it, and facing two months living here now when I haven’t even unpacked because I’m still working on getting the occupancy permit that will allow me to be legal. And now I’m concerned about this winter. It’s predicted to be a long, cold, wet winter. By the end of that season I will either have grown to love or hate living small, I suspect.

None of this is the fault of the little house. I’m happy in the little house. I do wish it were closer to town, but I like living in the country. Yet I feel I’m in a state of flux because I haven’t unpacked, am uncertain if I should sign up for internet, and am still remodeling-er, actually not “re”, since it was never a house before.

I get mixed messages from others about the small house. Eventually, I would prefer to build. Whether it will be on that land or not, I don’t know. Ten miles isn’t far to drive, but it does add up, and I would much prefer walking. However, the town I work in has high minimum square footage requirements, and the county has none. I could live in a cardboard box as long as it had a 911 address, smoke detector, and GFCIs near water sources, I guess. Hmmm… that might be an interesting experiment, if the inspection didn’t cost $75!

And so I’m nervous about the winter, a bit stressed by my Dad’s insistence on big, and yet I do enjoy my land. I enjoy hearing frogs at night and looking up to see stars instead of street lights. It’s nice to see the bats at night, to have cooler evenings in summer (cities are hotter), to be able to sit on the front porch, to have a big garden. There’s just a lot to do right now to prepare for winter and to be ‘legal’ with the occupancy permit, and it isn’t getting finished nearly as quickly as I’d hoped.