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Archive for June, 2015

The finished tent, minus the tie downs

The finished tent, minus the tie downs

The #1 goal of this year is to get our wall tent up to live in until the tiny house is livable.  Not finished, but livable.  Today was the very special day that we started, and finished, the wall tent construction.

The foundation

The foundation

The angles all laid out

The angles all laid out

The rafters

The ridge poles

The ridge poles

The rafters

Luckily, our logger asked if he could help right about here.  Made things much easier for us.

The legs on one side, the canvas, and the rainfly part way on

The legs on one side, the canvas, and the rain fly part way on

Just need the ridge poles and rafters for the awning

DSC_0223 This is where we realized it was inside out and had to take it back down.  There were hints along the way and nobody noticed.

Turning it right side out

Turning it right side out

This looks a little familiar

This looks a little familiar

This is where we had a little accident and some bad words. (more to follow)

It was easier the second time

It was easier the second time

The angle blew right out the wrong spot

The angle blew right out the wrong spot

It needs some interior work, but that will come tomorrow  or the next day, tomorrow is supposed to rain.  We also need to work on the outdoor kitchen and all of those fun projects.  We have about two weeks to do all this before the logger is done in the spot where the tiny house will go.  If anyone has any tips on canvas repair or how to divide the tent so the kids have a bedroom at night please share!

The finished tent, minus the tie downs

The finished tent, minus the tie downs

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The Logging Begins

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The soggy driveway

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These trees were already dying

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DSC_0195This is my favorite tree on our lot.  I have loved it since the first time I saw it.  However, the tree is dead in a few places which may or may not be a falling hazard.  Basically, I don’t know if we can keep the tree.  If it has to go, I will do something nice with the stump but if it can stay I will be thrilled.  I guess I will know once we start getting some clearing done.

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We found this nest built on top of the wheel of the tractor and had to move it.  I didn’t really know anything about moving bird nests, but I tried to put it in a safe place.

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Our luck has not been good at all.  We also are learning everything as we go.  Not the greatest combination at tall.  Since we are already in the apartment for another month, we made the decision to get the property logged before we move out on to it.  We have been completely against this idea the entire time we have had the lot.  Considering how things have been going, we needed to do something rather drastic to get things moving in the right direction.

We went with a logger that our neighbor had recommended.  He came out and walked the lot with us and asked us how we wanted to do this whole thing.  Just talking to him made me feel better about it.  He does not come in and cut out every single tree on the whole lot.  Instead, he comes in and takes the very large trees that are worth money.  The smaller trees really aren’t worth taking and they would only get cut if we wanted them to or if they were in the way.  He does need to make some paths to get the trees he cuts out.  We will be out there and will get to direct how things go along the way.  Yes, the lot will look very different when he is done, but it won’t be totally devastating.

Reasons we decided to log:

Extra money to get the house built in time for winter

Open the lot up for sunlight to get in and allow my garden and my orchard to grow

There will be space to plant fast growing trees that we can cut to build our future house

The trees that are too much for us to cut will get cut by a professional

Taking the larger trees out gives the smaller trees more space and sunlight to grow healthy

I won’t have to worry about trees near the tent or the house

The trees that are dead and in the pathway will be cut by the logger so he can get through so we won’t have to worry about them

Overall I think it will be a good decision.  Before we talked to the logger, I was rather upset about it though.  It seems like we found ourselves a good one though.  That will help a lot.  It also helps that he is going to clear the area that we want to build first so that we will be able to move out there before another month of rent is due.  The only downfall right now is that I will have to dig up all the things I have planted so they don’t get smashed in the process.  I don’t even know what I am going to do with the bath house.  It has to be moved, but t is too heavy to move.  It may just end up as fire wood sooner than I thought.

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DSC_0172My practice bath house is all finished.  I made some good mistakes, and I didn’t quite finish as I had planned, but it will work for a few weeks.  We have privacy to shower.

I built the whole thing out of the small trees that had to be cut to make room.  I did almost all of it with a hand saw, a chisel, and a sledge hammer.  I cut notches and fit them together (poorly) and ended up with a big heavy frame.

DSC_0109Here I am making the notches.  Now that I have put this frame together, I know how to do a better job next time.  I assume this frame will end up as firewood, but like I was saying before, we have privacy to shower.

 

Here is a look at the finished frame.  The picture makes it look like the man built it, but he just hammered in the couple nails I couldn’t reach.  (Sorry for the lousy picture, this was on my camera phone and it was the only picture I had of the frame.)
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Nothing too pretty or too fancy, but it will work.  Given my inexperience, it is a bit wobbly.  I’m pretty sure that if I make the notches fit together more tightly, this won’t happen on the next one I build.  I think that is all it should take.  We will find out when I build it I guess.

Once the frame was up, I planned on using branches to make a wattle type of a wall on it.  If it had turned out perfectly, I would have put the time into that.  It didn’t, so I hung some tarps up just to get it finished.  When I build a good bath house, I will finish the walls.

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In the final picture, you can see the rain barrel sitting under the roof tarp.  It is filling up nicely with rain water that we can use for the shower.  It’s a 55 gallon barrel and a 4 gallon shower, so we should be good for a while.  The shower we got was a propane hot water heater so we can use it for washing dishes and things too.  It is a good start and some good practice and learning.  I should be a pro any time now…

 

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There are so many wild plants around that we don’t really know much about.  I am talking about wild plants growing right in our own backyards.  I don’t know about you, but I used to think dandelions were weeds.  They are not only edible, but medicinal and great toys for the kids!  I have decided that before I start “weeding” I need to know what I have around me and be sure to keep the plants that have “value.”  If you try hard enough, you may be able to find “value” in every single type of plant around you.  I’m not just talking about edible, there are so many things you can do with wild plants.  The crazy tangle of vines you have can be used for basket making.  The over abundance of ferns may be great for coppicing.  I want to take the time to learn what all the plants are around me so I can incorporate each one into my homestead in the best way possible.

I plan on taking my time and doing this right.  I want to do a couple plants at a time and actually learn about them all.  This past weekend, I collected 3 different types of ferns.  I spread them out flat in a book to dry them.  This is harder than you might think.  The ferns started rolling up pretty quickly and the edges bruised and turned brown.  I had to try a second time.  This time, I put them in the book right away and closed the book so that they would dry flat.

DSC_0171 DSC_0172 DSC_0173They are drying very nicely this way.  Once they are mostly dry, I will glue them down, each to their own page.  i will make the pages from recycled cardboard boxes mostly.  The front of the page will be the fern (or any other plant) and the back will be a place to collect information about the plant.  If I find magazine clippings about the plants or maybe printing things off of the internet. Even if I could find an cheap book about the plants I can use the pages from that.  Whatever I can find.  I will find useful websites and keep a list of species that I can refer to, but the book will be something to refer to when we are off grid and can’t use the internet.  I plan on making it somewhat decorative as well.  If I am able to get dried plants in different seasons that would be great information as well.  The spores on the back of the ferns should show up later in the year and this would be an interesting form of the plant to have.  Seeds I can collect will be helpful.  Bark or pine cones would be great too.  Anything I can glue to the page I will.  The only exception will be rare plants I find.  I have flowers like lady slippers that are not legal to pick.  If I happen to find a broken one that I can dry, I will, but otherwise I won’t.  I found a Jack-in-the-pilpit this weekend that had been stepped on and broken off at the stem.  I scooped that up and put it in the book to dry.  This should be sure to keep me busy on nature walks for years.  I may never finish it!

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