Monday, August 26, 2013

The Floor Joists

The past couple of days have been spent on the floor joists panel. The panel has been sitting upside down on blocks over the past several weeks. Since we are building "inside-out" the bottom of the floor panel has been facing up so it needed to get flipped to be stuffed.
Friday we flipped it over so I could get ready to stuff insulation between the joists which would be followed by installing the subfloor which will be 3/4" untreated plywood. There were only 8 of us and once we got the floor panel up on its side we realized that the panel would probably slip when easing back over. Luckily there was a back-hoe working on the library nearby so we talked them into helping us complete the floor panel flip. It was very exciting.

Saturday I spent the morning with Henry un-packing recycled insulation from the North Shed's attic. We took a couple trips and took the 15 bags of foam insulation scrapes over to the floor joists panel which spent the summer at MUM's Sustainable Living building.
Sunday morning Mark (one of my Sustainable Living Instructors from Maharishi University of Management) and I loaded the 12' x 20' x 8" floor joist panel onto a trailer by ourselves and transported it over to the new TH site.

We utilized a wide array of crude lever and pulley systems to maneuver and lift the 800 lb.+ floor panel onto the trailer. We then loaded up the pre-cut roof joists/rafters along with the sub-floor plywood and headed over to the building site where there were 3 other sets of hands waiting to assist us in unloading and placing the floor panel on the leveled concrete foundation blocks.
Once Mark and I took some time to review the foundation system that was created earlier in the week, we decided that the pilings really needed to be moved out to the four corners opposed to the original 28" insets. So within the next couple days I will head over to Ottumwa to grab 26 more cement blocks that we will use to support the four corners of the tiny house. The left over blocks I will use to level the south facing deck.
This weekend I also hit a few yard sales looking for small and recycled furniture. I found a 7"x7"x4' cd case with 8 little cubbies that I will use bedside in the master loft for alarm clock, tissues, books, iPhone, notebook, and ear pods. I also found a metal strainer, some twin sheets, couple hand towels, a beautiful hand made quilt, an ottoman with storage that can also be used as a nice cushioned stool to sit upon, and finally a small half circle wall table that I'll place in the front entry for keys etc.. A great find this weekend for only $15 total. A special thank you to my friend Mark who gave me a great deal on the CD stand as a Tiny House warning present!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Foundation

The past couple of days I have been working on the foundation. After selecting the general site over the weekend, I walked the area and staked out the four corners of Heather's Tiny House. There are many factors to consider when selecting a final location and placement for a Tiny House. These were the Top 6 Factors, in my order of priority, for my selection process. 

Top 6 Location Considerations for a Tiny House
1. Energy Flow of the Land
2. Passive Solar Gain
3. Winter Storm & Wind Protection
4. View
5. Land Topography
6. Property Lines Set-Backs and Easements

Taking all of these factors into consideration I staked out a south-facing location which was bordered by trees in the Northwest corner.
The next step was taking landscaping cloth and covering the area where the stakes had been placed. This would provide a "clean" area from which to lay the foundation blocks and also retard an growth coming up from underneath the TH once it was in place.
Today we took three hours and set up and leveled the blocks that the TH will be set on this coming Sunday. We first took a fine limestone sand/small stone by-product to make a smooth level surface in which to place each of the pillar blocks.

The next step was to level each of the pillars so the TH would be level. Our Northeaster corner was the highest and the Southwestern corner was the lowest with a 16" difference between the two.
We had a lot of fun hauling out the limestone sand to the site and getting everything all level and then finally squared. Ironically when we first starting paying the blocks we did not have a level with us. So we came up with the brilliant idea of utilizing our water bottles as levels. We were able to completely level the blocks in place by using our water bottles alone.
 When it came to leveling each of the posts with each other the electromagnetic level came in really handy. It was a great idea to have our dog Buddy managing the process. He really kept things going smoothly!
Tomorrow or Saturday I will be sinking the wind strap anchors into the ground and get them in place for when we bring the floor and wall panels out to the site on Sunday. It is going to be a very exciting week!

The Final Resting Place

The summer flew by and now I have begun a new semester at Maharishi University of Management (MUM). It is hard to believe that three years ago I began the journey to obtain my Bachelor Degree, and now I am a senior. Raising two teens and going to University full-time is no easy task. Now here I am and it feels great.

So our Tiny House final destination ended up being at a small farm in the outskirts of Fairfield. I have leased some land to place our tiny house on for the next 10 months. It is a beautiful piece of land. A great combination of woods, prairie, and rolling hills.

The site I selected for the tiny house is in the Northeast corner of the farm. It has a nice growth of trees to it's Northwest to protect it from the wind and storms. To the south is an open field which is perfect for passive solar in the winter.

The farm is a perfect little growing tiny house community. The main house being built by the property owners is in it's second year of construction. It is a straw bale house with earth plaster. Most of the beams and interior wood is recycled from downed trees on the farm.

Over the summer a couple of my fellow Sustainable Living classmates built a Tiny House through the woods on the far Northwest corner of the land. I believe there's is a 12' x 16', so just slightly smaller than my tiny house is. At this time they have the frame, roof on and windows in.

The farm has a swimming hole with a zip line. I think this was the biggest attraction for my teens. To the North of the swimming hole is a platform that originally was slated to be a little entertainment hut. At the moment another Sustainable Living classmate who just registered at MUM has pitched a tent on the platform overlooking  the water. A beautiful spot while he determines where his final living quarters will be.

There is yet another person on the land who has built a stone garden in the Southeast woods on the farm. I believe she is also building a Tiny House for mediation in the woods.

Needless to say, a lot of exciting things going on. A perfect place for us to participate in some Tiny House community building!