Progress! The walls are half way up!

I finally found time to get back up to the farm for a couple days to work on the tiny free house. I got the walls half way up and now only need 6 more pallets for the walls and 8 more for the roof. The walls are a not exactly plumb but not bad. They should be strong enough but they will definitely have a bit more character than most homes.

King, the dog, kept me company the whole time. Unfortunately this time of year (right after harverst) the nearby fields tend to breed lots of flies, especially the tomato fields, so King and I were constantly shaking off flies… yeah yuck. The shower at the end of the day felt really good.

Katie did come out and help a bit though. I’m not sure exactly what she thinks of the tiny house yet but she seems to be warming up to it. This was the first time she actually wanted to get inside and help her dad.

Here’s one more photo at the end of the day. We needed to move it so I piled up all the pallet wood and pallets inside.

I’m also posting updates on Tiny House Forum too.

Next Steps and Making Time

It’s Sunday morning and another weekend away from the saw dust and splinters of my tiny free house (sob). The last few weekends seem to have been eaten up by other things. This weekend was spent mostly preparing for a work related trip to Los Angeles. So I thought I’d map out my plans for getting the house closed in before it starts raining here in northern California. The little project plan below shows what I think I can get done in weekends beginning with the next available weekend. These pre-work steps are things I can do at home during the week.

  • Weekend 1 Pre-work: Prepare pallets and build steps.
  • Weekend 1: Finish putting up the the pallet walls, three window bucks.
  • Weekend 2 Pre-work: Prepare roof pallets. Scavenge metal for roof.
  • Weekend 2: Put on the pallet roof and sheet in metal.
  • Weekend 3 Pre-work: Scavenge steel for straps.
  • Weekend 3: Anchor everything down with bolts and metal strapping, anchors, and tie-downs (example).
  • Weekend 4 Pre-work: Continue to scavenge plywood
  • Weekend 4: Cover roof with found plywood.
  • Weekend 5 Pre-work: Mill pallet slats with lap joints. Make hundreds of them :-)
  • Weekend 5: Cover walls with milled pallet slats.
  • Weekend 6 Pre-Work: Mill more pallet slats for the walls. I’ll need enough for the exterior walls, interior walls, ceiling, and floor. Yikes!
  • Weekend 6: Finish covering exterior walls.
  • Weekend 7 Pre-work: Scavenge paint and/or exterior sealers (like urethane).
  • Weekend 7: Paint the house with something to protect the wood and make it look cute.

This should get the exterior closed in. Then as winter rolls in I can move to the interior and finish the interior walls, insulate, plumb, and wire it up. I already have house wrap, roofing felt, some plywood, a good lead on some metal roofing from a nearby farm (in trade for pallets no less), and some other stuff so I should have a good jump on scavenging.

I think planning like this will help keep me on track too, especially with the weather changing. It really is starting to feel like fall, still warm here in the Sacramento Valley but definitely starting to cool off.

Poo Payback?

Initially when I conceived the original requirements for my tiny free house I was thinking I’d build it as a ‘park model’ house which simply means it would have a normal flush toilet, water and electric hookups. Then someone posted a comment on my tiny pallet house blog suggesting I look into humanure.

Don’t worry the correct initial response is “WHAT IS HUMANURE!!!”. But after a little investigation I believe you might be overcome by the the idea… no no not the smell. You see there is an ebook you can download right now (yes for free) that explains exactly how to build yourself a $25 sawdust toilet.

The book is by a very funny guy by the name of Joseph Jenkins. I actually have never spoken to him but I have to say his book, The Humanure Handbook is actually a pretty funny read filled with great cartoons so I have to assume the guy behind it has a good sense of humor. I mean… what guy that writes poo books wouldn’t be funny… but I digress.

I haven’t told my wife yet but I think I may want to consider this for the tiny free house. I bet I can even build one of these little jobs for free. I mean its just a 5 gallon bucket, a wood box, a toilet seat, sawdust, and some poo right? There’s always a free toilet on craigslist but the idea of having a free composting toilet that is also great for the environment just seems like a great win-win (and you get to keep the poo!)

Well at least it’s worth some serious investigation as long as I wash my hands with warm soapy water right? Photo credit to Joseph Jenkins and Tom Griffin.