Monthly Archives: October 2013

We Bought Property!

Our most frequently asked question since we started building our tiny house has been, “where are you going to park it?” Our response has always been that we’re looking for land, but hopefully we’ll find a backyard that we could put it or if all else fails we could park it at the local RV park. I am extremely happy to report that as of last Thursday, which happened to be our 5 year anniversary, we can now call ourselves land owners!

Pete and I have been looking for land the moment we left college and headed out west. We would be driving down the road in Garden Valley, Idaho and I would say, “look at that land, we should buy that.” Pete’s response was always the same, “is it for sale?”. No, it wasn’t for sale but it didn’t matter because we weren’t in a position to buy anything anyway! We didn’t have permanent jobs and we knew we would be living in a new town in 6 months, but it was still fun to daydream about our future land and the farm that we would start.

To make a long and probably boring story short, the land we purchased (40 acres) had been for sale since we first moved to Marquette and probably for a year or so before that.  We had checked it out when we first moved here but the timing was never quite right for us.  At the beginning of the summer we finally decided to look at it for real and make an offer but it was no longer listed.  At this same time we found another piece of property that we liked but the seller was not yet ready to accept our offer, she was holding out for something better.  Because of her unwillingness to negotiate with us, I started checking the listings again and this time checked Craigslist (which I rarely look at for property).  Low and behold the original property was now being listed on Craigslist, not with the realtor.

Pete was in Montana fighting wildfires and when I told him the land was still for sale he told me to go check it out and make an offer. I thought I should wait for him to come back before looking at the property, but at his insistence my mom and I went and walked the property. I made an offer and waited to hear back from the seller. Then we found out that the seller who was not ready to accept our offer on the other piece of property was now ready to accept. There were pros and cons to both places, but ultimately we liked the 40 acres the best and we were able to settle on a price and proceed with the purchase.

Our goal is to start a small farm. The property is about 20 acres of pasture and 20 acres of woods, with the woods being mostly sugar maple. We hope to make maple syrup, raise laying hens and meat chickens, have a dairy cow and pigs, as well as a large garden. The property comes with its challenges; mainly it is off grid and it would be rather expensive to have power brought in. We also have to have a well drilled.

We are now under more pressure to finish the tiny house so we can move it out to the property when our lease is up on our apartment next spring. We’ll be roughing it for a little while. We’ll have to haul in water until we get the well drilled and we’ll have to rely on solar panels and/or a generator; we’ve been doing a lot of research on off grid living. We’re no strangers to backpacking and roughing it though, so this will just be one more adventure to have fun with.

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Categories: Farm Tours, Tiny House Living | Tags: , , | 32 Comments

A Productive Vacation

Pete and I had every day last week to work on the tiny house; typically we only work two days every weekend.  While we didn’t accomplish everything we had wanted to, we got a lot of little details taken care of and are that much closer to having the exterior complete.  My mom also spent the week with us and she got busy staining boards and sealing the door when she wasn’t working her own job.

Here is what we managed to accomplish:

We installed the Denver gable trim on the back of the house, but still need to trim it at the top; we installed the soffit boards at the front of the house along with the Denver gable trim; we installed the soffit boards on the dormers; we installed the end wall trim under each of the dormer windows; we installed one 10′ 6″ section of ridge cap over the 12:12 pitched portion of the roof; we framed in the dormer windows, storage loft window, and finished framing the window opposite the porch window (we still need to frame in the porch window but we were waiting for the door to be installed first); we installed sidewall trim on one side of each dormer along with the fascia boards and Denver gable trim; we put up more corner trim in preparation for siding; we stained the porch ceiling; we sided the back of the house; and had the door installed.

We brought the door over to the tiny house for the first time since we picked it up from the door people.  My mom was going to start sealing the door and before she got there we decided to put the door in place and see how it looked.  The company that made our door did a fantastic job; however, they apparently didn’t pay too close attention to our rough opening size because the door/frame was a half-inch taller than our opening and it just barely fit from side to side.  We figured our only option was to sawzall the door header.  We borrowed our friend Eric’s sawzall and Pete went to work taking out an extra inch.  We then proceeded to put the door in place and start leveling it.  After messing around for about half an hour, we decided installing a door was beyond our skill level and had my mom call for help.  She called our long-time family friend John who runs his own carpentry business, JW Ferguson Contracting here in Marquette.  John showed up just before dark as Pete and I were still putting siding up on the back of the house.  We watched John quickly go to work and while he said we could continue doing what we were doing, we wanted to see how a door is supposed to be installed.  We had watched a few YouTube videos, as usual, but quickly admitted defeat.  While we watched John work, we realized we were on the right track to start out, but he knew the order of how to go about screwing and shimming and in no time the door was installed.  When I asked him how much we owed him, he said one hug!  Apparently that’s only his rate for long-time family friends; he has after all known me since I was a baby!  Thanks John for showing up in the evening after a busy day and installing our door!

We had really wanted to get the roof completed this week, but realized we still needed to order a few trim pieces and that would take a week to come in.  We also had to get more trim boards and since we cleaned ProBuild out of their stock of 5/4 cedar we were going to have to wait a few days for that to come in as well.  In another couple of weeks we should be able to declare the exterior complete.

Categories: Door, Dormers, Fascia, Framing, Porch Ceiling, Roofing, Soffits, Trim, Windows | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Since the Last Post

We’ve been slowly plugging away at the tiny house making small accomplishments almost every weekend.  I’m on annual leave next week and Pete has been laid off early due to the government shutdown so we’re hoping to get the exterior completed on the tiny house.

Since the last post, we’ve continued putting metal up on the roof and as of yesterday, have all the metal sheets installed.  All that’s left for the roof is the ridge cap, end wall trim in front of the dormers, sidewall trim along the sides of the dormers, and the Denver gable trim along the edges of the roof.  We’ve had to stair-step the metal roof panels in places due to things not being perfectly square and we discovered how much harder it is to keep the panels square when you cut a huge section out to go around a skylight.  So the roof is not perfect, but like I probably mentioned in the last post, it will keep the elements outside where they belong.

We installed all the windows in a day and a half.  Putting in the windows has been by far the easiest part of this building project.  We decided that if we have to find new careers, we could be professional window installers.  We did have a close call with one of the windows though.  The instructional video that we watched said to make the windows level horizontally and put a couple nails in.  Then it said to check the level vertically and prior to nailing in around the rest of the window, open the window and make sure it opens as it should.  So we did this on all our windows, sometimes forgetting to open them before nailing on a couple, but we didn’t run into any problems.  On the final window, one of the big ones in the dormer; we did exactly as the instructional video said.  Well, we’re just lucky that I was sitting on scaffolding and not balancing on a ladder!  After putting in our two nails at the bottom and making sure we were level on the sides, Pete started to open the window. When the window was open most of the way, the window proceeded to fall out of the opening!  I was able to stop it from falling all the way out while Pete was pulling it back from the inside so all ended well but it definitely got our hearts beating a little faster.

We also put the trim around most of the windows, got the fascia up along the sides of the house and at the front and back of the house, and put soffits in along the side of the house and at the back of the house.  We also have the fascia installed in front of the dormers because we had to do that before we could put the drip edge on and the rest of the metal panels on the dormer section of the roof.

Our local Menard’s is having a lumber sale, so we took advantage and picked up the bulk of our beveled cedar siding at the lowest price you can buy it in town.  We spent over an hour at the store opening up each package and picking out the best boards.  After going through everything they had in stock, we wound up with forty-one twelve-foot boards.  We’ll probably have to get a few more but this is a good start.

Once we put up all the roof trim pieces, we’ll get the last few windows framed in, finish framing in the corners, and start putting up siding.  We’ve talked my mom into coming and staying with us next week; she’s very good at staining boards! 🙂 Here’s to a productive vacation!

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Categories: Dormers, Fascia, Gable Walls, Roofing, Skylight, Soffits, Windows | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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