Monthly Archives: October 2013

Finishing up

The last of the walls was redone Sunday, thanks to the help of my parents, and the cabin has been fairly securely skirted for winter. I’m hoping that I won’t even need the heat tape so carefully wrapped around pipes below it since it has 30R skirting around most of it and even more than that on the west wall. The 11-12 cats who’ve made their home under it seem to think the insulation is sufficient, at least. (I haven’t skirted completely under the deck yet because a cat probably had her kittens there, but there is little room for wind to get through at this point.)

It’s warm in the little cabin at night, even on the coldest nights we’ve had. I do turn on the heat when I get home from work, but on it’s lowest setting the house stays around 70 degrees. Most nights I wake up during the night and turn it off. It’s too warm for me to sleep well. My electric bill including AC/heat has averaged $45 through the last three months. For October it was $38. On average I’m using 250 kW a month. I wish that meant I could easily switch to solar, but sadly the sun doesn’t shine during the times I need power the most, and I’m not knowledgeable enough yet to switch over to an off grid system. Tuesday it’s supposed to freeze. We’ll see then what the little cabin can do.

I’m interested in building a couple candle heaters (http://www.instructables.com/id/Candle-Powered-Pottery-Heater/). So far I have two of the pots for $.35 total. Tomorrow I may hunt for the middle sized pot and “turn one on” to experiment. It’s not a good idea while asleep or away, but a couple of them might diffuse heat well most of the evening for a fraction of the cost (and pollution) of electric service.

Now to begin unpacking and decorating in earnest.

The most difficult thing at this point about the cabin is knowing that others don’t like the idea. It’s not elegant on the outside, and I’ve experienced quite a bit of peer pressure by bucking the 1500 sf norm.

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Floor temps and random thoughts

The first cold nights have arrived. Not freezing yet, but definitely cool. And I haven’t finished skirting the cabin. So the floor is cold, right? Not really. It would be in the winter, I’m sure. But right now, with just one side skirted (and no harsh winds to push the cold air under) in the middle of the house the floor is warm, but toward the edges it gets noticeably cooler with each step.

I’m still debating whether to buy something closer to work or build a permanent house next summer. It’s very difficult to decide. There’s a 900 sf, no basement, storage area included in the footage, house 6 miles from work and a couple in town. There’s also another about 6 miles from work that seems like it would be easy to make into a house with an apartment. I could rent part of the space… I doubt I would though.

I love the land. The house isn’t laid out right though, which is a huge problem. So is the fact that I’m trying to work on it and live in it at the same time. I want more cabinets. I want 6′ of closet space. And I want a real bedroom, not a place for a bed-which is something I’m amazed I miss at all.

I’m glad I opted for something temporary for awhile. It’s taught me a lot about myself and what I really want. I love the land. The location is terrific except for the commute to work. It’s cost more to do everything than I’d hoped, and taken longer because I got hurt a few times. And I still contend that I don’t have the skills to build and decorate like most tiny house people. I also have, sadly, way too much stuff for a tiny life even after downsizing so drastically.

Even if living small turns out to be a short term thing, I think it will have benefited me significantly. I’ve learned a lot about myself and some things about others. My views and habits on accumulating have changed quite a bit. I’ve known I’d prefer to live in the country, but I didn’t realize just how much more relaxed I’d be as a result. I’ve also learned that all the creative storage I’ve seen in furniture doesn’t work for me in real life. I’d rather have the extra closets than a bench with cushions on top for a couch, and would rather have my bed at the regular level and not get on my knees to find my socks in a drawer under it.

Although I like my little house, I think I’d build something about 100-200 sf larger… for a total of 400-550 sf. Enough larger for a bathtub and a bedroom and a few more cabinets in the kitchen, but still small enough to be cozy and efficient.

So, living small has been fun, but 300 sf seems a bit too small for me. I feel like I’m camping, not settled, and for me that leaves me a bit on edge and makes me feel disorganized. Hopefully next summer I’ll either have a 700 sf house in town or a 400-550 sf house on my land. In the meantime, I’ll organize the space as best I can, watch for the right opportunity of a house or land for sale nearer to work, dream, plan, and consider. And maybe me and the little house will learn to like each other better, or maybe we’ll part ways sooner or later. Either way, I’ll be the wiser for it. The little house has taught me a lot, and I expect it’s still got a few more lessons in store.