Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spring Farm Clean-up

Upon moving back in this Spring quite a few chores had to be completed...

Repairing the Generator Shed, which had collapsed over the winter, was a top priority. The square hay bales were temporarily propped back up and the plywood roof reattached along with the tarp for water-proofing. This is only a temporary setup as the generator and the air compressor which currently reside in the little shed will be moving into the 10'x30' shed upon completion this Fall.

Fallen Limb Collection is necessary for path mowing but will also come in handy this winter when kindling is needed for the wood stove. A small kindling and wood pile will be placed immediately under the front of the micro mansion for easy access during the winter; with the larger winter supply being housed in the shed.

Outside Kitchen Up and Running was another necessity as the mice had taken it upon themselves to make little nests around the outside kitchen for shelter during the winter, not to mention the big nest that was built in the outdoor grill. Ugh! that was an undertaking to clean out.

Creating Work Benches for the New Shed will also need to be completed, but probably won't occur until late summer due to the fact that I have been called away for several weeks this summer to go help family back East.

The final Spring Clean Up item is repairing the center shed piling support. I may need a jack for this one. I found a 4-ton jack for sale online at TruValue Hardware for only $10, with a free ship-to-store offer which I will order online to help out with this project!

Walking Paths at Heather's Hollow

I spent some time this spring and early summer creating walking paths around the land, which I have fondly named "Heather's Hollow". Mini solar path lights were purchased for a $1 each and strategically placed along the walking trails. The paths were cut to curve around beautiful flowers, under and around trees, and of course by the Mulberries. At night with the lights flickering the paths looked magical, and frequently reminded me of what Fairy Paths might look like. Down behind the big Oak Tree a path was cut and a 10' dome screen room was nestled in for lunches and quiet times. The Screen Room is hidden from nearly every vantage point around the property and is a pleasant little surprise for anyone wondering along Heather's Hollow walking trails.

Mini-Bridge for Easier Move-in

This Spring, at time of move-in, the ground was still too wet to drive in and down to the MicroMansion(MM). So I gathered some fallen limbs and bridged a chasm on the land to make the walk to the MM shorter for moving in. A pallet was placed over the limbs for a sturdy walking platform for the little bridge.

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Very Exciting...

Three days to move in. Lots to be done this week. Primarily cleaning as the field mice decided to hunker down in the micro mansion for the winter!

Yesterday was spent cleaning and today installing some of the subfloor and hauling out linens etc., to clean and return. Tom and I had a delicious organic vegetarian stew tonight for dinner which was prepared in the sun oven this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Blues...

It's been hard not being able to live out at the Micro Mansion. Primarily because the 1-5 year plan has been created and we are chomping at the bit to get out to the land and get started.

We have been planning and budgeting for the past couple weeks and the results are impressive. We will have 2-4 internships available beginning in April to help on a great assortment of farm projects which range from infrastructure projects (e.g. barn and 3-season outdoor kitchen) to agriculture and energy projects including hoop house, organic garden, swales, new fruit trees and solar arrays. We are hoping to add chickens and bees as well.

We have finalized the name for the property... Walton Farms. Since the land is an old Oak Grove that has been in existence for hundreds of years we felt that the name should not be altered from the location that it has been referred to for so long. It would seem arrogant to place a new name on such an historically established piece of land.  

Change in Plans: Floor Insulation

In Fall, the plan was to build a 2x4 frame on the micro mansion floor to stuff with insulation. I've decided to take some left over pink board and lay it down on the existing plywood floor then top it off with 1/2" plywood. I was able to find the plywood needed at the local ReStore for only $25. With the pink board being left over from another project, this is a better economical choice for the micro mansion and the overall budget!

As soon as the weather reaches above freezing, hopefully by mid-March, the floor will be able to be insulated and installed.  

Winter Wrap Up

So the original plan was to complete the micro mansion insulation prior to Iowa's deep winter freeze so we could live in the micro mansion throughout the winter. As we all know, plans change. The largest lesson that I have learned with my Tiny House Project is that having expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, I've learned to roll with the punches with the only true expectation being "This is going to be an unforeseen adventure, and I'm going to enjoy it no matter what happens!" This frame of mind has served me very well over the past several months.

The winter freeze came late but unforeseeably quick. For most of the Fall overnight temps were in the low 40s to high 30s which is very doable. Without warning the temps plummeted down near zero resulting in the micro mansion being uninhabitable with out the insulation completely finished.

Before the winter move-out we were able to install the wood stove, which was a blessing as it extended our stay several weeks. In early December we packed up the three cats and the dog and moved everyone out for the winter, in GREAT anticipation for a return as soon as temps rose in March...