Summer 2020 Plans Have Changed…
Go figure, right? We had planned on spending most of the summer building an addition on the Boise house to then sell it. We finished our building plans, held the neighborhood meeting, got ready to start finding contractors to break ground and BAM: Pandemic!
We’re grateful that we hadn’t actually started in on construction when things got this troublesome. It’s saved us a lot of stress and headaches. Long term it’s hard to tell how the world will be impacted so that project is on hold indefinitely at this point. Fortunately, James has been looking into refinancing that loan which will get the payments down so he’s not supplementing the rent payment quite so much. That will help us be able to carry on with our new homestead.
Idaho has been very slow to respond to this pandemic. Frankly, we’re not a dense state so pandemics like Covid-19 lag behind a little. Our governor followed WHO recommendations and closed down non-essential businesses as soon as there was a community spread case in the state. In the time between that and all the other states shutting down we were trying to redirect our summer on the fly. We had to order some parts, figure out how we could get water, internet, trash service (required), pack up our stuff along with trying to track down the normal stuff, like toilet paper and groceries and then get the heck out of Boise. It seems to spread much faster in populated areas, even though Boise is a smallish city it’s still much more dense than our new location in Moscow. And we live right in the downtown core. We just felt safer getting north. So we made it happen.
The first thing I did was try to order a Berkey water filtration system. I figured worst case, we could get water from our pond and filter it to drink… It turns out mass panic caused them to run out of stock entirely! That set me back a little. I searched for alternatives and found thewatermachine.com which is very similar but a glass container instead of metal. I liked that idea. I figured worst case it is compatible with trusted Berkey filters. It was supposed to arrive in Boise before we left but was very late. With the state shutting down we didn’t feel comfortable staying in Boise so we took off without it. The seller was able to have it redirected to Moscow and we hooked it up a few days after we arrived. We had 7 gallons of drinking water and it arrived as we finished up our last one! Fortunately it works well and we’re grateful to have it!
I did find some food safe, 275 gallon totes on Facebook Marketplace for $50. We decided we would go grab two with the thought we can hook one up to the tiny house and find a source to fill the other for transportation. Our first call was to the fairgrounds because they have RV hookups and parking. They weren’t a fan of us paying them for water so we went straight to the source and called the local water company. It’s pretty odd apparently but they were up for it if we were. We had to pay $120 to set up an account and now it’s about 2 bucks to fill up our totes as we need.
Right now, drainage is our main concern so having semi-limited water helps us keep that in check. The tiny house is set up with our composting toilet so there is no black water to be concerned about but we still have our grey water from showers, dishes and laundry. Until we have our drainage field set up for that we’re going to be very careful about not flooding the hillside.
Trash service was easy. We actually got a call over the winter that said we needed to sign up as it was required. I questioned that since we don’t live up there in the winter. The gal who called was not aware of that and so backed out of the conversation but provided me all of the info I needed to get it set up for the summer when we came back. I gave her a call first thing and she got us all set up for trash service.
One of our other ‘first calls’ we made was to the local internet provider. They didn’t know when they could come out for a site visit and wouldn’t let us sign up until they could do that. They said they might be able to make it out that week or maybe the next. They would give us a call before they came. Eight days later they came out and told us they couldn’t help us because there was no line of sight to their tower. We pointed out their tower way over yonder, as our neighbor is connected and showed us the tower he connected to. The provider assured us that was not their tower and left.
We found an alternative through www.visible.com. Since we have a Verizon tower right out front we figured we should be able to find something that would work. For $40 a month we signed up for an unlimited cell service. We ordered a cheap little phone through them to act as our ‘hotspot’. They included one day shipping. By the time we pushed ‘order now’ the original cell provider drove back up our lane to tell us we did have line of sight now that he thought about it… but he told us our line of sight was too far away from the tiny house to ‘make it worthwhile’.
Not a big deal and in fact we feel like we dodged a bullet. Their service was about half the speed as we’re now getting with Visible and cost about twice as much. Visible doesn’t have much in the way of customer service if things go wonky, that’s how they keep their prices low. It turns out the local company didn’t have much in that department either, though! Right now we’ve used 100 gigs of Visible data and its fantastic!
We got more comfortable, too
We brought up all of our houseplants and our couch. It’s a game changer. The transition seems so much easier when you’re putting your butt on the same place at the end of the day. That’s weird… To fit the couch we did take out the bookshelf. We’ll come up with some solution to cover that big hole that leads to our ‘large space’ storage. Right now it’s housing the little half wall that used to be in the loft and a ukelele. The kids aren’t quite so clumsy and we’re not so worried about their falling out of the loft. If anything we’re worried about them having ‘jumping off competitions’… but they should know better!
What’s to come!
Our first step is to finish the barn which is really close! That one set to be done next week with luck.
Once completed we need to fix Daisy, the tractor. Alongside that we’ll submit plans for the tiny house deck/solar panel stand. We’ll be planting our baby orchard and doing some earth forming to make water retention work for our plant layout.
We’ve each submitted one of our designs for our alternative structures to AirBnB’s Unique building fund (https://www.airbnb.com/d/uniquefund). James submitted his floating CNC cut puzzle house idea. I submitted my reclaimed grain silo idea. We hope to be a contender with at least one of those! If so, we’ll roll right into that. If not we might, too. Just at a slower pace :).
In the meantime
We’re still living our best life, rolling with the punches we’ve all been dealt. I’ve cooked a lot of great food that the kids still don’t eat. We haven’t been out to eat in weeks, even carry out. I think I like it! We’ve had epic beef stroganoff, peach cobbler, nachos, salmon, curry. I’ve made a fun game out of making things I don’t usually make with foods I didn’t know went into them :D.
I’ve also jumped so far down the sourdough wormhole that our start has a name, Gumba. I’ve made pizza crust, pancakes, doughnuts… no actual sourdough bread yet though… ha! The kids have had fun learning along with me!
I’ll do a post soon about our barn, it’s turning out SO cool. One way or another I will also do a post about each one of our ideas that we submitted to Airbnb, too. I don’t want to do that until we hear back. It will inform us on which project we jump to first!
I hope you have all been well and that you are managing alright with this economic crunch. Take a little comfort knowing that we’re struggling right along with you, even if it doesn’t necessarily seem like it. James’s business has been greatly impacted. I barely make much anyway but it is helping to shape our kids’ education which I don’t think is a bad thing!
On that note!
If you find yourself interested in tiny houses and with some downtime, there is a great sale happening for the next 3 days only. 20 different tiny house experts have come together to bundle up 33 resources from income streams, to construction to plans and classes (I’ve got my travel ecourse in it!) for 98% off. Over $2,000 retail, for $49. It’s an incredible deal, check it out. If you order it using these links most of your purchase cost goes directly to me… so that would be cool 🙂
I’ll be back soon with a barn update, I am so excited to show you!