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Archive for September, 2015

Reflecting on Wall Tent Life

I will start this post by saying that we have wimped out a little bit.  We have had thunderstorms and flooding in the past two days so we decided to get a hotel room.  We don’t spend a ton of money on bills, so we could just afford to get a room.  It isn’t too painful to take a hot shower with water pressure either.  The painful part was spending money on the room when our house is about two days away from livable.  Either way, I figured I would take this opportunity to reflect on life in a tent.

Everything about living in a tent is different.  Nothing like living in a house at all.  Most of the differences were good ones though.

On the days I don’t go to work, we get up in the morning with the sun.  Canvas is not as good at blocking the sun as solid walls so the sun shines through bright.  Waking up to the sun and not the alarm is a wonderful thing.  The man goes outside and makes coffee in the percolator on the propane stove.  We all go out and sit around in our camp chairs and have our scrambled eggs and bacon.  We have bacon at least once a week so that we have the bacon fat for cooking in the cast iron.

If it has rained the night before, we hit the puddles immediately.  It is the kids favorite thing to do to find every speck of water there is to play in.  Otherwise, the trucks get straight to digging in the dirt.  Making roads, filling dump trucks, digging fish ponds… We also collect a lot of sticks, rocks, leaves, pine cones and anything else we can find.  We also like to watch bugs and chipmunks running around the property.

The man gets to work on the cabin or whatever other project we have going.  He finds ways to incorporate the tractor into everything.  There is a lot to do to get everything set up.  We spend a bunch of time looking for things.  Being in such a hurry to get the cabin built we haven’t had much chance to set things up in any sort of organized fashion.  I look forward to getting into to the cabin and forming some semblance of permanence.  Maybe a tool shed, some shelves and cabinets.  Somewhere to put all the stuff so that the stuff isn’t everywhere.

When lunch time comes we tend to eat sandwiches.  Every day.  We don’t really have much cold storage because we are using a cooler.  Sandwiches are easy to store all the ingredients for and the kids will actually eat them.  We drink tons of water, which works out well because we have really good access to water.  We have a large water filter that we have to fill up every day.  After lunch, if all the work is done, we head down to the stream.  It is a great way too cool off, just being near the stream is much cooler than out in the sun.  I can always use the excuse that we need to gather more water.  We collect stream water in gallon jugs for all of our water needs.  We haven’t done a great job setting up rainwater collecting due to lack of time, yet again.  But I love to be down by the stream for any reason, so I love to go collect water.  And the Man gets to truck the 30 gallons of water up to the tent site in his tractor, so it works out well for everyone.

Laundry day is always interesting.  We have figured out that the laundry needs to be separated into “clean dirty” and “dirty dirty.”  Otherwise the muddy clothes make my work clothes come out dirtier than they went in.  We have to go to the laundromat until we get something set up at the property.  When we have a chance to.  I lug all the dirty clothes down to the car and to the laundromat.  Then I lug all the clean wet clothes up the hill across the lot to where the clothesline is.  This, of course, means that I have to do laundry on nice sunny days.  Which I feel is a waste of a perfectly good day.

Dinner time is always a busy time.  Boiling water to wash dishes and sometimes to take showers.  Getting the kids to sit still and eat.  Gathering any trash from the day and bringing it down to the trash can so we don’t get critters.  Packing all of the food away.  Refilling the water filter.  The list goes on.  We have no luck trying to get anyone to sleep before the sun goes down because it is so bright in the tent.  The kids took a while to get used to the loud owls and so we used to be able to get them inside pretty easily.  Now all they want to do is stay out and look at the stars.  On nights when I don’t have to work in the morning, we do get to stay out and look at the stars.  We all love to do that.

This tends to be a typical day.  On days that the weather is bad or if we need supplies we have to head in to town.  I don’t like to go in to town if I can avoid it.  It is much nicer just to stay home.  On days that I have to work, I have to get up in the pitch black, get ready for work, and hike down to the car.  I have to add that the mornings are getting way too cold for this sort of thing.  I do look forward to having the cabin up and warm for when I have to get up so early.

The only complaint I really have about the tent is that I get nervous about the trees around us.  We took down all the dead ones and there really is no worry about the trees, but I still do.  I’m fine until there is lightning or heavy winds.  The trees are all healthy and will likely be standing for many more years, but I still don’t like it.  At least the cabin is a solid structure.

I really will miss the tent though.  It is nice being out and hearing all of nature.  I love the shadow of the trees in the moonlight.  I love that there is almost no point in cleaning.  You can not keep a tent that is set up on gravel, with two kids, free of sand.  I don’t even bother trying.  I love eating outside every meal.  It will be a little sad moving into the cabin, but I think the cold that is just about here will make it a little easier.  We are also talking about setting the tent up on a platform closer to the stream to have a summer camp.  Then we can sleep down there on clear, calm nights and just enjoy it.

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More Walls and the Lofts

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The other two walls are up!

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This will be our kitchen window.  I’m not sure why the window ended up so high.

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The bathroom window and the livingroom window.  To the right of the window will be the wood stove.

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This back wall will be the kids’ room.  The window will be for them to watch everything going on outside, one of their favorite things to do.

DSC_0037This is the loft over the kitchen and bathroom.  I’m not sure how I didn’t get a picture of the other loft.

We are going to have a few days with tons of rain and thunderstorms, so it will be just a little bit longer until the roof goes on.

The first walls

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This is the extent of our leaves changing so far, however I know it’s fall because I spent the early hours of the day in search of a warm spot in the sun. 
I also spent some time admiring the spot where our wood stove would go.
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Lots to do around here, so that’s all for now. Enjoy your day!

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Walls are Going Up

DSC_0495The first portion of the smaller walls.  The wall to the right will be the North wall.  No windows.  This is where we hope to put an addition on next year.  The other wall will be the South wall.  One smallish window.  Not ideal, but this is the way it has to be I am told.  If we were rich and could afford many windows, we would have.

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The peak added to the first wall.DSC_0002

And then the paper.DSC_0007

Upright and braced.DSC_0008

The other view.DSC_0009

Wall number two, ready to go.DSC_0013

Two up, two to go!

The platform build

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Tiny House Platform

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Here is the platform build for the tiny house.  My job during the build is to watch the kids, so forgive my lack of details.  They started out by laying the beams on the cement blocks.  Lots of measuring to be sure everything was square.

DSC_0410The beams don’t span the length of the cabin, so they clamped and then fastened them together.

DSC_0411They used temporary posts and stacked them until everything was flat.  Lots of checking with a level and lots of measuring to make sure nothing was moving.

DSC_0412Once everything was flat, they put the joists in.  Then they went around and made sure everything was flat and square again.

DSC_0414The smaller pieces of wood are attached at the bottom of the joists to hold up the insulation.

DSC_0416The posts are still the temporaries because it is better to put the final posts in place when there is more weight on them.  I assume this helps ensure that it is flat when it’s done.

DSC_0417The insulation going into place.  There is enough room between the insulation and where the floor will be for piping and maybe someday wiring.

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DSC_0419The floor boards start going in to place.  More leveling and squaring.

DSC_0421The final floor boards in place.

DSC_0493The walls have been started here and then they finally put the final posts in place.

DSC_0494The “foundation”

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