Friday, March 7, 2014

An Interesting Land Lease Opportunity...

For the past several days I have been reviewing properties online and over the phone with various folks. I came across an interesting prospect for a land lease but I have some research that I need to do. It is ideal timing as my preference for a four year term is acceptable.
The property is 2.6 acres and has some character. It has some rolling hills and a tree line on one side. There are a couple of fenced pastures which is also nice. The dilemma I am having is that when I looked at the property on the County website I discovered that it is surrounded by active crop fields / farmland on three sides. The fields are abutted right up against the property lines with no buffer.
I am concerned about airborne pesticides when the wind is blowing and the crops are being sprayed. Is that silly? I was planning on having rain water runoff, but I'm uncertain if the pesticides will blow upon the roof when it is windy and be washed into our water supply. We would be drinking bottled water but still the thought of bathing in pesticide laden water doesn't sound like a good idea.
I'll ask around the university to see if anyone is knowledgeable in this regard. If any readers know of any resources or have any information regarding this topic please feel free to comment below. I can use all of the help I can get on this one.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Excuses, Excuses...

Wow, what a winter in Iowa this year. I can not believe that it's been since October since I've updated the blog, but the reality is that not too much has happened over the winter.
My grand plan of getting buttoned up and in before the snow flies actually flew out the window in October. Shortly after my last post I tore some ligaments in my right elbow. I actually attempted to work with the injury as I was not aware of how bad it was.
Needless to say I was in physical therapy all winter. I only have one more session and I think I will be good to go. But it has become obvious to me that I will need to get some help with some of the heavy lifting as I can not afford to get another injury like this last one.
So, my plans for living in the tiny house with the kids through the winter did not come to fruition. My land lease is up in June so my thought is rather than finish building it on site where it is now I should move it to where it will be residing for the foreseeable future, then finish it.
So I am in the market again for the perfect tiny house parking space. It can not be within city limits as the minimum footprint required by local ordinance/zoning is 1,000 sq. ft. in Fairfield. Luckily there are a few options here as there are some tiny house communities cropping up around the outlying areas. I have made some phone calls and had some conversations and believe that a solution will present itself within the next few weeks by the time we get the thaw we have all been looking for!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wall Raising was a Long Evening

The floor cavities were finally insulated and sealed. So last night ten of my friends came over and helped raised the walls.
We first erected the East facing wall. Then the North wall, which ended up being the heaviest and most difficult. When the West wall went up we were pleased because it was the easiest.
It was a chaotic evening that took a lot longer than I expected. We needed every person's muscles and efforts, so much so that I couldn't break away to take pictures until the very end when we were wrapping up because it was getting dark.
We finished by leaning the South wall up against the floor panel and securing it in place with some cross bars. The South wall will need to be hoisted and secured another day.
The evening sunset was beautiful from inside the tiny house. I shot this picture before we left so we could remember the moment... it was gorgeous.
I'd like to extend a special thank you to each of the following people who helped out last evening 'taming the walls'... Susan, Karen, Natalie, Mandi, Kabian, Trevor, Tiger, Henry, Ellie, and last but certainly not least Avi who walked out of the woods to help out when we were all just about done in!

My First Dumpster Dive

Okay, so I HAD heard of it. But I had NEVER considered doing it. Now I have to admit that I am completely addicted to dumpster diving!
I tried my first dumpster dive a couple days ago. I had just dropped off the kids at school and was headed out to the TH work-site when I drove past a demolition dumpster with brand new plywood sticking out the top.
I U-turned and went to the house to inquire about the plywood in the dumpster. It wasn't a full 4'x8' sheet, however it was brand new and a pretty good size. After speaking with the construction foreman I discovered that not only were they dumping a bunch of good pieces of new plywood, but they also had a smorgasbord of really cool vintage items they were dumping from the house's renovation.
In the past couple days I scored some beautiful shutters with custom carving that I will strip and probably use for unique loft doors for our three bunks. I also landed some crates that I will use to construct the reading nook and guest quarters. My find also included some new and old crates. The older crates look like they were constructed from aged barn boards so I'm thinking I'll use the slats to finish the bathroom walls. 
So, as the old adage goes, Don't Knock it Until You Try It!

Working in the Weather

This past week has been rewarding. Not because I got so much done, but because of what I accomplished despite the obstacles.
I ran out of recycled foam insulation so I researched some options. I called Freedom Foam in Fairfield to see if I could recycle their foam trimmings last week and was in luck. Thank you Freedom Foam... you are awesome. While I was there visiting I learned that their foam is created from recycled materials! So if your looking for blown in insulation... Freedom Foam of Fairfield is your place to go.
I ran over to a fine furniture maker in Fairfield and they offered to provide me with some sawdust, but it will not be ready for pickup until tomorrow. So then I decided to also gather some hemp to use in the interim. Luckily I have a lot of wall panels in addition to the floor panels that need insulation.
So during the past week, despite some raining and windy days, I got all but a small corner of the entire floor panel insulated and plywood installed. I cut the final piece of plywood down from a 4x8' to a 4x4'. And I also took some clear indoor/outdoor caulk and began sealing some of the cracks in between plywood sheets.
I was able to obtain a great collection of some recycled wood and hardware by a posting I placed on FaceBook, including a reused breaker box and some really great screws. I think I collected enough trim board to finish out the trim throughout.
Buddy still comes with me to the work site to make sure I'm working hard. Apparently he is not the only one keeping an eye out on me. Last week when I was at the ReStore mid-day gathering some supplies a lady that I did not know came up to me and asked me why I was out shopping and not out at the Farm building my Tiny House! I guess this is what you need to expect if you have a blog online that discloses your TH activities. Ha, it was pretty funny.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And We Are Dry

After a meeting with a lovely woman this morning who is interested in building a Tiny House Community for single mothers, I ran over to the farm to see how the floor panel was doing. I hadn't been over since the rain storm the other night.

For the most part, the plastic cover stayed in place and the panel bays were dry. I removed the plastic to let the dampness, mostly condensation, out. Tomorrow morning I'll head over to finish stuffing the floor panel with insulation after I meet with Mark. Hopefully I can get him to commit to an afternoon this week to get some hands together to raise the walls. That would be awesome!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Rain on my Parade

The day after I last posted, a rain storm blew through Fairfield. I had the foresight to get a large 20'x25' piece of plastic (3 mil.) to cover up the floor boards prior to the storm. I covered the floor with the plastic, then placed approximately 8-10 miscellaneous pieces of 2"x6"x2' wood, and then stapled down all of the sides of the plastic. I was so proud of my proactivity. Planning is everything, so they say.
After the rain storm I returned to my TH to find that all of the plastic had blown off and the floor cavities and insulation were soaked. Ugh!
That was nearly two weeks ago and it is suppose to rain tomorrow. So Ellie and I headed over to the TH tonight to cover it up again. This time I placed 2"x8"x14's, which are the rafters for the roof, over the plastic in an attempt to keep it from blowing off. We also disbursed the miscellaneous pieces of wood in between the rafters.
Hopefully the plastic will stay in place through the day tomorrow. If the floor boards stay dry through tomorrow I will be able to begin my Senior Project work on Monday and finish insulating the floor boards. The next projects will be erecting the walls and start placing the rafters to install the roof.
 I still haven't decided on roofing material yet. I'm trying to locate some recycled materials but I haven't had much luck. I may have to go with insulation and purlins covered by a large vinyl tarp temporarily if I can not find any recycled roofing. Ideally I would like to find some used or scrap metal roofing. I'll spend some time online this weekend looking.