Monday, April 28, 2014

Called On Account Of Rain

We got rained out this weekend. Boo.

There was a wonderful flurry of activity last week as we dug in and got the strapping up. Now, there's just the one.... thing... left... pallet siding. We had planned to get started on prepping the pallet pieces that have already been dismantled, and also tear apart a whole lot more pallets. Well, rainy weather makes that hard work to accomplish. I even had a friend all lined up to come help!! Let's hope her gusto remains until better weather. ;) 

With Dan's classes coming to a close, he's been quite busy studiously studying, writing, and all those other things I'm so glad I don't have to do anymore. Heehee! I, on the other hand, have been just as busy hashing out our solar needs. I've been in near constant communication with a great representative from the AltE store. From the get go, customer service with this company has been phenomenal. I've had some recent customer service horror stories, so it really made me appreciate how these folks handled my inquiry. 

While many tiny houses feature panels on the roof- we plan to
use a ground mount like this couple did.

These folks are very happy to discuss solar power needs with any person, regardless of their level of knowledge. They have endless online education articles, calculators to help you figure out your power load, and much more. I would highly recommend this company to others! They are no strangers to creating systems for folks with tiny houses. I heard of AltE through Laura LaVoie of Life In 120 Square Feet

I had a nice chat with Greg, a rep, after perusing the sight and fiddling with the calculators. I had a rough idea of our daily watt-hours, but that number really didn't mean much to me as far as how that translates to COST of system. haha I knew the bigger the power load, the bigger- and hence- more expensive the solar power system. I got off the phone feeling pretty good about my knowledge and knowing we would have everything we need to put together a good system. Greg said he would email me a quote once he worked up the numbers. 

WELL- that quote came back and I about fell out of my chair. With the power load I described, our system would have been almost $13,000. Wooooooooooh. After I picked up my jaw, and rubbed the huge slap of reality off my face, I immediately went back to the drawing board. I laughed at myself several times as I reworked our numbers- here I was thinking it was conservative use! HA! Not conservative enough! Our HOUSE didn't even cost that much. It's amazing how much you can take power for granted when you're enjoying life on the grid.

One small thing I did this week that has brought
me much joy every day since! Hanging pots!
It's the little things.. :)
I drastically cut our numbers, but we would still be able to run a laptop several hours a day, run lights, the cooler, a clock, a window fan, and a few other little things. With those numbers widdled down, our quote came to a much more palatable $3700. I also asked for a quote to include the use of a mini-air conditioner for the summer. That power system would be around $6500. Still manageable...and as I think back to the summer in my apartment when I thought I could live without an AC, I'm really considering the higher price tag. I was trying to play guitar totally naked, covered in sweat, and after the instrument slicked off my legs and I slid right off my faux leather couch, I threw some loose clothes on, marched right out to the store, and bought myself the magical cold box.

I'm remembering this and imagining those details PLUS being in barely 130 square feet. The more I think of it, the more I feel the price is worth it. Not to mention this will also allow additional power in the winter to run the eco-heater. What do you think? Would it be worth it to you?

Now, a quick story from life in The Pod.__________________________________

I woke up one day last week, and to my surprise discovered the front door locked and bolted. I found this strange since we typically don't. I asked Dan why he had locked the door.

"You know how you can just freak yourself out about something?" He asked, "Well, I went out last night to pee and I felt like something was out there. Like someone was watching me." 

I started to roll my eyes and say something about the wind when some movement out the big window caught my eye. There was a turkey, quietly tip-toeing around the yard. "There WAS someone out there," I smirked, "it was Tom."

"Tom who?"

"Tom the turkey!"

"Well he's a peeping Tom too! Pervert!" Dan joked.

Since I'm in the rhythm of quoting Dan right now, I'd like to put the following in writing:
"Every afternoon this week, except Thursday, I'm just gonna be collecting and ripping apart pallets."

I'll let you know next week what happened. ;)

Oh Hey! One more thing! I'm published!! Okay, it's just one article in Tiny House Magazine, but I feel pretty fantastic about it! Check out Issue 16 of Tiny House Magazine! You will find my article on Passive Cooling. 

Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Strapping Is Complete!

It's almost time to put pallets on! ..Guess we better get collecting!

Throughout the past week and on Saturday (no work on Easter) we took a big chunk out of the siding prep stage. Then, last night, Dan pushed through and completed all the strapping! We are now ready to slap on some siding- YEEHAW!

Last week, I came home from work to a wonderful sight- things getting done on the house by someone other than myself. ;)  Sure, in the beginning I reverted back to my toddler days of, " I CAN DO IT MYSELF!" And insisted on carrying out every last task, but a solid year later, I'm MORE than happy to step down and watch someone else work on our pet project/home. haha So, Dan and Adam were cheerfully pounding away at the roof line of the house when I arrived. We had installed EPDM rubber roofing, but we didn't fully complete the work. The rubber still needed to be tucked and secured around the perimeter. 

The guys put a solid edge around the roof using 2x4s. The hanging rubber was tucked tightly around that edge and then secured with termination bars- the little metal strips. It's looking like our roof edge won't come out much further than the siding, which isn't ideal, but if we have to get gutters to catch the water and keep it from slipping down the house wrap- we will. In fact, for water collection purposes that will be happening anyway! 

On Saturday, Dan and I completed the right end wall and the remaining pieces needed on the front wall of the house. We started the left end wall, but the sun was starting to sink and we were ready for some food and a little bit of time to make it feel like a weekend. We cooked on the grill and enjoyed our first outdoor meal around a fire. :)

Yesterday, Dan finished up the left end wall and cruised through the back wall. Without any windows or other interruptions, that wall is always the easiest to handle. Now, we start putting up the pallet siding! We are a little nervous, but I am confident we will make this work!

We just need to collect A LOT more pallets. Break them down, fill the holes with putty- rip them, plane them, and then put them up. This is yet another situation in which I am exceedingly thankful that our house is so small and manageable. I couldn't imagine applying this concept to a 2000 square foot house!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Exterior Work Begins!

What a couple of weeks it has been!

I'm a little embarrassed to explain why I have been blog-silent during perhaps one of the most exciting times in our journey thus far! The weekend before last, we began work on the siding. I set up my tri-pod and took shots all throughout the day with plans for a sweet little time lapse. I love all kinds of media and I know you all do too- so I was hoping to bring another video into the mix!

Well, my Windows Movie Maker program decided that it would happily let me spend over an hour editing and getting the video just right, only to crash any time I tried to save. I have spent the last WEEK researching, trouble-shooting, installing/uninstalling, looking at other programs, etc. I now know what programs NOT to use. Alas, my senses came to me. I can't hold back sharing our progress and work just because I can't make the cool video I wanted. BUT I PICKED THE BEST SONG EVER! The pictures changed with the beat and everything....sigh. Oh well.

ANYWHO- back to the progress made. On Saturday- while Dan was in class, I took the time to give The Pod a good cleaning so I could take some decent pictures. So many people have asked to see the interior! Go check them out if you haven't- they can be found under the "Photo Tour" tab of our blog.

On that Sunday, we started with the front wall, considering it's the one we stare at most. We are putting strapping at roughly one foot on center so that regardless of the length (hopefully) of the pallet pieces, we should be able to secure each one properly. 

It was a decent day out and we worked happily and steadily. That morning we got the supplies we needed to apply the trim as well. So while Dan worked on cutting and putting up strapping I painted the trim pieces. 

We haven't even put one piece of pallet siding up, but we both remarked more than once that it looked great. I think it's just that we've stared at that ugly house wrap for so damn long that even some skinny pieces of strapping and a few trim boards makes it look great....because it looks like PROGRESS.

This sudden flurry of activity was inspired by two things- one, moving day is not getting any further away. And two, a reporter from Yahoo Finance contacted us for an interview. I spoke with her that Friday and the article was posted that night! Talk about overwhelming and motivating!

I remember when I used to geek out about getting 500 hits in one day and getting about 1 comment every month. We were also ecstatic about nearing the 300 likes mark on our FB page. With the publishing of this Yahoo Finance article our numbers, our traffic, our SUPPORT, has boomed. 

I almost fell out of the loft when I checked our blog stats the next day. OVER 35,000 HITS! And blog comments up the wazoo! Within 48 hours, that 300 like mark was blown out of the water. We are at 598 likes now! So amazing! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Along with the awesomeness does come some not-so-awesomeness. This world is full of people with opinions and some opinions are offered, some shared, and some spat at you...or on you. I had just read a post by Macy over at minimotives talking about how she handled all the insensitive comments, judgments, and intrusive "you should be living your life THIS way" declarations. It couldn't have been more timely- and I decided that I would not read any comments on the Yahoo article- I would only respond to comments on our page or our blog. 

This advice has served me well- as I suspected, cantankerous negativity-spewing trolls will gladly shart out (that's right I said shart- I like the random messiness it implies) their hastily formed opinions after a 45 second read into an article that covers maybe 4% of the whole story. Then they move on with their day, leaving behind a trail of spotty smeared remarks until they manage to feel a bit better about themselves. 

I have a secret for you trolls- it will never make you feel better.
 You'll get back what you put out there. 
So maybe try some positivity?
  I digress! Clearly preaching to the choir!

We have received so much love and support on the blog and page from all over the world. Being a source of inspiration for others has always been a continuous life goal of mine. It's amazing knowing we have this platform to reach out and touch so many others. I can't tell you all the people who have told us they wanted to do something like this and now have the courage to get started. MY HEART IS BURSTING!

Speaking of things that make your heart burst- this weekend I went back to the farm to get better acquainted with our future parking spot. Dan went to NYC for a birthday weekend with his brother, so siding work was put on hold. When I visited the farm, I got to meet several new arrivals! Baby goats! And the one that stole my heart was this guy right here.... he keeps escaping simply to follow you around. His little tail started wagging like crazy when I met him. I think I will name him Wiley...even if I'm the only one who calls him that. ;) 

I am quite pumped about our future location. Not only will we be obscured from the road, we have an amazing view! I can't wait to see what it looks like once all the trees have their leaves!

Since we plan to move at the beginning of May - it's definitly crunch time. We will be starting work on weeknights again...I can feel it. Considering the siding is really all that's left, I think we can manage.

Thanks for reading!!
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