Tiny House Happenings
Hello friends. Long time. I still love you. We have been keeping busy on the ole homestead. Basically, we try something. It fails. We try a different way. Sometimes that works. Sometimes we have to keep trying. You know how it goes… that’s life.
I did want to pop in real quick and remind you about Tiny House Magazine. I have been able to write a couple articles in the recent issues which I’ve enjoyed. My topics sort of branch out from the tiny house to talk about the life it’s enabled for us. I feel like I have had some time to reflect on how this whole lifestyle choice has impacted us in meaningful ways. It’s fun to get to talk about that in there! There are a lot of amazing content over there so this is my effort to remind you of that incredible, real life resource that Kent and Andrew put together!
Some Quick Updates, Too
We got a notice from the county about being sure to not live here for more than 6 months in a 12 month period. We were well aware of this requirement and under normal circumstances we would roll with it. Since we got the official notice though, I have tried to take the opportunity to see if there was a way we could legally stay in the tiny year round. I’m not sure I would have bothered without the pandemic but going back and forth to Boise (where Covid is much more prevalent) doesn’t seem like a good idea right now.
The county has been wonderful so far. I wrote them with about four options that I could see working out. Right away they got back to me with a preferred route which is getting a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow a use for a single space RV Park on the property. Because of how RV Parks are regulated that would allow us a full time occupancy on the property if approved. As of now I have filled out the paperwork and submitted the $300 fee. I am on the schedule for a P&Z hearing in August where I’ll either be granted approval or not. I’m hoping for the best!
Rammed Earth Retaining Wall
Each time it rains the mountain behind out tiny house falls down a little more into our driveway. We took the opportunity to remove the deck we no longer need/use in Boise, moved all the lumber up to use to make forms for a rammed earth retaining wall. After it is completed we will then take the lumber off and build a winter shed to store our water tanks and extra food with it.
This is one of those projects that has proved challenging. We are using a mixture of clay and sand from the site with a tad of cement added as a stabilizer in wet weather. After the first layer our clay vein ran dry! WE tried to go forward with less of it but the heat and the breeze kept everything pretty dry. We did an entire layer (about 9″) and then pulled the form off to see if it would stick together. It did not. We had to move all the soil back out and come up with a plan ‘b’. We’re now well into that and it’s working great!
WE bought a concrete mixer where we could add more moisture manually to the mix without breaking our back mixing by hand. It works great, James and I wake up early each morning and get a couple loads in before the day heats up. At this rate we should be able to get it done by the end of August ;-).
All of our trees are surviving! I wouldn’t say that they are thriving. The gal who supplied them sent out an email earlier, apparently this batch of trees has been pretty stunted and the orchard couldn’t really explain why. I think it’s just been a bit unseasonal. The recommendation was to cut them down to little nubs (about 20″ or so) and let them work on establishing their roots this year. We had 4 trees total that weren’t thriving (the peaches and plums) so I did that. The peaches have both made great forward progress since then and the plums are starting to do the same!
Perhaps the biggest news in the orchard is that we started drilling a shallow well and we hit water! We bought a 6″ hand auger and some extensions for it for about $100. James and I have taken a couple evenings, grabbed a beer and started spinning it. It only took about 10′ before we hit standing water. The plan is to go down about another 5′ and then put some casing in and a hand pump so we have water in the orchard to use on the trees. That will save a lot of back and forth to the pond!
Also, the garden is kicking butt! It’s SO nice to be able to walk outside and eat food. The tomatoes actually taste! 🙂
These two seem to be having the time of their life. They don’t seem to mind that there is a pandemic going on, so long as they have each other to play with they are happy!
We never really stopped doing homeschool for the summer, we still do a couple hours here and there. They are both starting to read. Like me, Hazel is a little bit dyslexic we believe. She struggles with reading more than Miles but is relieved to learn what dyslexia is and that there may be a reason it’s harder for her. Instead of getting frustrated now she is able to reframe it and keep trying.
We have started to dabble in taking online classes on Outshool. So far it’s been a success and the kiddos like taking online classes with other kids. Our goal is to get the barn loft set up and ready to be their classroom. We just ordered all the solar components to get power out there. When we get that retaining wall done we’ll be able to start framing up the walls so we can get some insulation in there for this winter. This is all assuming we are granted our CUP of course. For now, we use it as it is how we can!
That To-Do List
I keep thinking our to-do list will be shrinking but for everything we check off we seem to add six more things :). We’re doing what we can to prioritize them. All we can do is what we can do. Right now this is what’s at the top:
- Finish retaining wall
- Build water storage shed
- Add septic (contingent on CUP)
- Finish shallow well
- Build deck
- Frame classroom space
- Add pathways and steps
- Build fire pit
- Set up solar power in shop
- Skirt tiny house
- Design greenhouse on shop
- stabilize soil @greenhouse before wet weather/add gutters