We decided that the next most important thing is to install the toilet upstairs. Both C and I were tired of walking downstairs to use the toilet. In order to do that we had to start the flooring in our bedroom and extend it all the way to the bathroom. It took 13 boxes of bamboo flooring to get to the toilet, but it’s in!!! Now we are going to take a break upstairs and work on finishing the downstairs bathroom. It would be nice to have at least one shower!! Once the bathroom is finished we will work in the driveway, the front wall, the front of the house, and possibly the floors downstairs. There is so much to do!! We have been doing little bits as money comes in.
We have placed our first seed order of the year!! With the move we were unable to start seeds early like I wanted to, so we are buying the plants and ordering the direct sow seeds. I still need to go through our seed packets from last year to figure out what else I have to sow, but I do know I used all of my carrot, lettuce, spinach, and beet seeds, so I ordered those. I also ordered some onion and shallot seeds. I haven’t grown then from seeds yet but I ordered a few to try them out.
We order all of our seeds from Baker Creek (www.rareseeds.com). We really like the quality and the ability to get really different heirloom varieties that should be good to sell at the market. The spinach and lettuce like the cold weather so I’ll order another round of those in the fall, but the carrots and beets can be grown for the entire growing season so I’ll be getting more of those with every order.
Here are some of the plants we ordered. the rest you will have to stay tuned to get a look at!
Photos custody of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Yesterday morning I threw a couple pieces of wood into our wood burning stove before leaving to take the kids to school. I didn’t have a substitute job so I treated the littles to donuts. As we were finishing up our donuts I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. Normally I wouldn’t answer but this time I did. It was the police station in the next town over informing me that our house was on fire. I freaked out, rushed the kids to the car, and drove entirely too fast back to the house. As I pulled up I see about 6 fire trucks of various shapes and sizes along our road and down our driveway. They have me pull to the side and talk to me about how my house was on fire and the local newspaper is here and I can chose not to talk to them if I don’t want to. After sitting and waiting to hear what is going on and if I even have a house anymore (although I can see the roof from where I was sitting so I knew it wasn’t that bad) they had me come down to the house. The house was fine. When we installed the stove we didn’t have enough money to put in the correct length of pipe so our chimney stopped about a foot or so from the roof. The smoke comes out of the chimney and follows the underside of the roof up. The smoke had stained some of the roof and side of the house black in January when we burned our Christmas tree. Our plan was to fix the chimney sometime in the next month. Apparently someone had seen the smoke, thought it was a fire, and called the fire department. Not a big deal, at least we have neighbors who care. However, the fire department (without seeing any flames, because there weren’t any) decided the house had been on fire and had gone out, sprayed the outside of the house, took apart part of the chimney, removed everything from the stove, and filled the bottom with water. Then they wouldn’t let us on the property for at least an hour. Needless to say we fixed the problem.
The first winter here has been hard. We are able to keep our house between 50 and 70 which is fabulous. It’s been a struggle and has cost us more than we would like (which has pushed some of our proposed improvements back a bit), but we have been more comfortable than we have been in several winters.
The current struggle has been between keeping the electric on and the water pipes thawed. This winter has been unusually cloudy, which has not helped keep our batteries charged. We have a generator but it has been having a tough time connecting to our inverter properly. It will start charging the batteries and then the inverter kicks it off charge. We should hopefully have the issue fixed in the next week, but for now we have had to have nightly blackouts where we turn off the inverter and turn it back in in the morning.
Due to these blackouts we haven’t been able to run our pipe heater when the temperature gets below freezing. Every few days we have to thaw out the pipes. Thankfully it’s only happened on nights when the temperature gets over 40 the next day or when the sun is out enough to run the heater during the day.
The plan for this year is to get a wind turbine connected to the batteries. That was always the plan but it wasn’t in the budget of things we could get done before we moved in. Once we get that hooked up we should have no issue running the heater all night.
I am not a fan of winter.
There is so much to post about but… winter. I have no drive what so ever. I can’t wait for this cold spell to be over.
Anyway… we had a goal to have the inside doors up by Christmas Eve. In order to do that we had to finish missing the wall, spray mud it, and paint it. Three days before Christmas and we had done absolutely none of that. Yay us. So the desperation that follows procrastination set in and we got it done! It’s not fully painted yet but it is painted enough to put the doors up. we also sealed the floors in the kids’ rooms which greatly reduced the dust.
Here is how it went:
I have more progress to post. It has been quite a holiday break here! Before I do that, however, I would like to take the time to reflect on the gigantic strides we have made in this past year. The last thing we did on the house before winter hit was December 21, 2017. We had just backfilled for the second time (the first having resulted in the massive collapse of the tire wall). The loft had been built and we were putting up the walls of the second floor. The amount of work that has gone into getting this house ready to be moved into is fairly astounding. We put up wall, put up a roof (and to tell you the truth I am very surprised one of us didn’t die while putting up the 32 foot long trusses). We also installed our solar panels and put in our water cistern
we installed all of our windows and doors
C put in stairs. We put in insulation, put up almost all of the drywall, painted most of the rooms,
C installed a bathroom
We put in almost al of our appliances. The best part of all has been us finally being able to move in. This has been the most amazing month of my life so far. There is so much more that needs to be done but we are here and we LOVE IT!!
I don’t have any New Years resolutions for 2019. I like who I am, I like who we are, so I think instead I’m just going to make some goals that I would like accomplished by this time next year.
First I would like the kids/guest bathroom finished. We need to finish the tile, finish the drywall, paint, and add the shower. Compared to what we did last year this really shouldn’t be hard to complete.
Second I would like all of the subfloors in and at least the downstairs floors installed.
Finally I would like all of the drywall put up. There isn’t much left. We have to finish putting in the ceiling of the main room, finish the bathroom, pantry, laundry room, and the kids closets. They are all pretty small areas and most are at least partially done.
This should leave the flooring upstairs, the trim, our bathroom, and the outside to complete in 2020.
Living here has really slowed down the amount of work we are doing, but it’s nice because we also don’t feel rushed all the time. We are also concentrating on paying off some of our bills. Buying the new car before school started has been really hard in the pocket book, but we are actually seeing some light at the end of the tunnel which is really refreshing.
We were able to finally move the stove we bought into the house. We can’t fill the hole in front of the house yet so instead we built a really sturdy bridge to help us move giant heavy things into the house.
The moving of the stove was actually sheer genius on C’s part. He took apart almost every part that could come off. The burners, griddle, back part, doors, until it was basically just a shell. Then we jacked it up, put a furniture dolly underneath both sides, removed the legs, and strapped it on the dollies with straps. We could wheel it right into the house after that. Putting it back together was super easy too.
and VOILA! We now have a $4000 commercial stove that only cost us $1000 (we bought it from a restaurant that went out of business after a year)! We need to clean it up a bit still but that’s not a huge deal.
Pancakes are so easy now.
We have been in the house for about three weeks. There are still a few things that need to be fixed, like the big hole in the front, the concrete floors covered in dust, and the lack of a stove, but all in all it’s quite lovely. The worst offense, however, has been the discovery of giant holes where the insulation has blown out from around the eaves. First we bought a kerosene heater, which has been fantastic, and helps with our lack of a stove.
Then we bought a propane heater which worked great for the two hours it took to use up a small propane tank. Way too much money than we wanted to spend. We are selling it.
Next we decided to suck it up and invest in a wood burning stove. I hate wood burning stoves. Have I mentioned they are my arch nemesis? I fought hard against it but in the end it won. C brought in this neat little thing that is about half the size of the one in the cabin. It’s also way easier to start a fire. Fifteen minutes is the longest it has taken. the only issue is that we need to use vice grips to close the door.
The stove helped a lot, but our main problem was the holes with no insulation. We had bought a small set of spray foam a few months ago and had the great idea to hold the fiberglass insulation in with it. This would have worked wonders if the spray foam hadn’t malfunctioned and sprayed foam from one side all over everything outside. We were still able to get about a third of the outside of the house sealed. Today we went and got more insulation and a replacement spray foam. Thankfully we only had to show them the pictures for them to let us take another. We did the easy fixes today and tomorrow will be going after the rest. It’s already so much warmer in here. This is exciting.
We are officially living in our new house. It’s not as ready as we would have liked but it’s ready enough. The toilet and sink were installed last week by C which, other than installing the stove, were the last things needed before we could move.
We did learn one very important thing after moving: priorities are definitely changing. At first we were going to focus on getting the front room and kitchen finished. Instead we had to fix some insulation issues after the first night and pick up a temporary heater for this winter. A typical earthship has a large greenhouse facing south southeast in order to get full sun all day. This keeps the house heated all winter and then you vent it in the summer. Once we got the wall of windows up we realized that we really lived the view and didn’t want to obstruct it with a greenhouse. Instead we have decided to invest in a pellet stove, but the heater works for now until we can get that installed. We also decided that we needed to finish one of the two pantry walls so that I can start putting things away and use the kitchen more effectively.
(This is the view from one of our windows, we are working on getting rid of the pile of wood garbage and will eventually be building a back patio too)
We still don’t have the stove installed, but that’s mainly because we are waiting on the conversion kit to change it from natural gas to propane. The company was missing a few parts buts they said it should be shipped out by Monday. Hopefully that means I could be cooking on my new stove by next weekend.
We had bought a futon before we moved that was going to be used as a couch during the day and a bed for C and I at night. We slept on it the first night, then woke up thanksgiving morning and headed to Walmart to get us a queen size inflatable mattress, yes it was that bad. We have a king size bed but we were able to put down some plywood to put the mattress on until we can afford to get an actual mattress that fits.
Probably the worst thing though is the amount of dust in the house. The concrete floors still have residual dirt ground in which create a fine layer of dust on absolutely everything. I have been vacuuming 1/4 of the concrete everyday which has been helping a ton. Once we get the subfloors down (I’m the next few weeks) the amount of dust should start to subside too.
It’s not going to be easy at first but we definitely love it, and we can really envision what it is going to be. We are so glad to finally be out here too. We still have about half of our stuff left in the cabin but it won’t take long to move it.
Now that we are to the little things it’s going pretty quickly. This past week not only did we get our gas installed but we also had our septic hooked up too! I didn’t get pictures of those, sorry. C has been doing far more work than I have too (because most of my work is piddly stuff that can be done after we move and requires his help). He installed the bathroom subfloor, laid most of the bathroom tile (enough to be able to put in the bathroom vanity and toilet), and did a whole bunch of behind the scenes plumbing stuff that I can’t keep track of.
I sanded and painted the living room wall where the tv will go. I was nervous about the color but it ended up looking fantastic! The color is called “software” which partly helped with our decision making. It will go really well with the kitchen wall which will be painted a pinky- orange. the kids were really excited and wanted to be in the picture.