Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Living in a construction site

Now that school has started up again, it is back to working in short spurts when I get home, usually still in a skirt and smock. I was originally thinking that moving in before things were finished might be a bad idea - that it would just make things take longer or that it would be uncomfortable without certain utilities set up yet. What I have found, however, is that instead of seeing things as missing, this backwards process has been making me grateful for each convenience that is added. 
Every new step is like a present. 


My aunt and uncle who were visiting in the beginning of September helped put together the compost bins from used pallets. The center area will eventually have a roof with rain water collection to a barrel. The left side will be used for wood this winter and then be converted to a compost bin when the wood shed is built next summer. I have also finally had the pleasure of emptying the buckets, without any issues.

This retrofitted water storage tank is still very much in the experimental stage.  The top spout is two pieces of pvc that screw together through the hole, with thick rubber washers on either side to account for the curve of the tank. It sits under the trailer, the little spout on the top attaching through the floor to the bison pump inside by way of a flexible pvc pipe. Once I have the gutters up I'll be drilling another hole for an inlet. For now, I have a second tank that sits on a cart, gets filled at the main house, and then crawling under the trailer syphon the water in like I'm stealing gasoline from a gas tank. Next step is to build the solar collector and insulated box, to see how I can make it work in the winter time. 

Inside is all rigid piping with a foot valve attached at the end for large particle filtration. This was at the recommendation of the folks at bison pump. Just had to make sure to remove the check valve first. The whole thing sits off the bottom by an inch. The factory installed outlet at the top of the picture is plugged up and will be used when needed to be drained completely.
In retrospect this stand is too short (but fine for this winter, so it stays for a while). I also have to decide if I want to change the direction of the pump (the handle can change direction too) since once I have the hose connected to the water tanks above the shower, it might be awkward looking.
Although this setup allows the kitchen sink to drain, I should note that I am NOT happy with this design, and will be changing it soon. I will most likely just use two separate lines, one for the sink and one for the tub. That way the slope can be more consistent and less attachments to unattached. Right now though it works, so yippee!

My friend Paul who was visiting from Buffalo went and dug me the trench for the grey water filtration. When I have my own land I am planning to create a system that works within specific landscaping. For now though I figure the most direct and simplified design is the way to go for this first winter. Apparently there is not much concern for freezing with a system like this, so we'll see how it goes.



My aunt and uncle also put the black polish on the stove. Now I am just waiting for the stovepipe to arrive and for my brother to finish welding the stand, and then there will be heat. I tried to get the stovepipe locally, but everyone at the local stove places here told me there was no such thing as a 4 inch stovepipe, so had to go back to the original source. In the meantime I am cheating and am using the one electrical line from the main house to run a space heater when needed, which is not very often. This little box retains heat very well. 


So exciting when I could install the stove and actually make tea in the morning.
Soon it will be time for apple pies and pear cake.


The sink....... that drains! Right now the faucet is just for show, but the berkey filter to the left is doing a great job. It did take me a while to find a place to get grey water safe dish soap, however. Even the local coop was no help, with most "natural" products still containing sodium lauryl sulfate or not listing all of their ingredients. Was finally able to get my hands on some of the Oasis brand after some heavy searching. 
The one foot deep closet in all its glory! The hangers are on little eye hooks, and I was able to comfortably fit about ten hangers in all. One of the first things I did when I decided to build this house was cut down my wardrobe. I'm glad I did it beforehand, otherwise I might have eliminated according to what space I had rather than what I needed. As it is there is plenty of breathing room. I am fairly certain that I will eventually be adding a curtain as well as some ceramic door knob I made two summers ago on the sides for scarves.

Some photos taken before the move by my friends Cheech (the first two) and Melanie (the last one). 







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  2. I have to say the interior of the house with the sun shining in looks amazing. I would love to build myself one of these but unfortunately wouldn't know where to park it.

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