Spring – Not Quite

Hj and I took a drive down to Tiny House Ontario last weekend.  We wanted to try and do a couple of things and to check the place over.  When we arrived Guillaume was there with his friend J.  Great to see them after so very long – and he had a wonderful gift waiting for me too.  He chose to go with the cube stove out of Montreal and when he ordered the stove he thought of me and bought and extra set of tools.  This is not just a very thoughtful gift, but useful too!  It really is time to get that stove in – I can’t wait to try these babies!!!

Thank you Guillaume!

Thank you Guillaume!  These are just gorgeous and useful too… I love useful gifts!

We hoped to get the rain water catchment system all hooked up but unfortunately it was a heck of a lot snowier and colder there then we hoped.  Kingston is only 1° north of Hamilton (about 110 km); even so, they are four growing zones colder than we are here in the banana belt.  In Hamilton the crocus flowers are up and the forsythia is burgeoning; in Kingston area there is a foot of snow still.

Our most recent rescue, Dieter out for a little above the snow jaunt.

Our most recent rescue, Dieter out for a little above the snow jaunt.


The garden barrel being connected by HJ.  Just tie the rock to the chain and we are done!

I guess this will have to wait!

I guess this will have to wait!  With that ice hanging I am sure the barrels will freeze.

The icicles hanging from the eves trough made me realize that I had made the trip to connect the water, a little bit too soon.  Still we placed the gardening barrel and hope for the best. One of the other reasons that we had come was to put the solar panels back up.  Guillaume dug the snow out around them so that they would thaw, and we wanted to assess the damage and get them reconnected if possible. It was a lucky day when I met Guillaume, who is both an awesome, and reliable friend.  Thanks Guillaume! Fortunately the battery is still working and giving power to the house.  The wires did not snap.  The system went right back up with no trouble at all.  The unfortunate thing is that one of the panels got badly smashed at the back. The totally weird thing about the panels tipping is that there were rocks on the base and these are missing.  I am not sure why anyone would steal a bunch of rocks but we put a couple good sized ones that were uncovered back on the base and hopefully this will hold it in place until I can dig a bunch more up after thaw.



Thanks for digging this out Guillaume!

Thanks for digging this out Guillaume!

I am not sure if the broken panel is working at all, time will tell if I need to replace my panels this year or not. The other good news is that the house looks good!  Another winter with no damage and I think we don’t have any mice in the house this year… just in the in-house so I still need to fix this in 2015.  Always a job waiting, right?

THO in the clear blue sky

THO in the clear blue sky

The sofa is still comfy if I could get there!

Come sit on the sofa with us… we will make space for you to cuddle with us!  From top to bottom, Imp, Minnie, Rudigrrr Wolf, Honey and Dieter.

Come sit on the sofa with us… we will make space for you to cuddle with us! From top to bottom, Imp, Minnie, Rudigrrr Wolf, Honey and Dieter.

And HJ is so glad that I am almost totally recovered.

My H

My H

Now we will head out off for a walk.  I am doing roughly five miles of walking a day now.  It won’t be long until I can lift stone – I am sure! Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.  Today I am celebrating good health! xo L

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 18 Comments

Water and Waste

Dwight wrote to me today and asked me about how I deal with my water – black, grey and potable and I thought this was a fair question so here is my answer.

There are four kinds of water that I deal with at Tiny House Ontario: black, grey, rain and fresh.

Lets deal with the dirty stuff first.  Black water.  What I did at THO was to use a bucket for waste in the “in-house”. The toilet waste is being put into a four year cycle in a spot I have dedicated to this. In my case all the black water is dry because I use coconut coir to soak up the fluids.  I empty this waste or black water into a different space each year and after four years it is safe to use on the garden.  Admittedly however, grosses me out so I will use this waste for my flower gardens.  “Don’t s*** where you eat” is something I take rather literally.

Grey water at THO consists of my dishwater, shower water housecleaning water and personal washing water.  I don’t have a washing machine so my water use is pretty small.  Grey water is of course not just water but also the materials I use for cleaning.  In my case, I am very cautious about what I use.  Vinegar, baking soda mild biodegradable dish soap and bar soap is all that is used here, and this is simply poured out in the areas around my house.  i gift this to my flowers and trees and they appreciate this, particularly during the dryer seasons. The soil is thin here and drainage is great. The soil is mixed with limestone rocks and is very shallow – about three or four feet.  Then below this for the next 80 feet down there is a limestone escarpment before we hit the water table. I don’t worry at all about grey water drainage nor about polluting the ground water because my topography allows this.  If I had different land I would have to use different methods.

Rain water.  This I collect to use for washing and watering my garden.  What I use is dumped, just as I described above.

Potable water is carried in.  This is stored in a non BPA 5 gallon jug. I use this for rinsing the dishes, cooking and drinking. I use about a gallon a day per person. This is stored in my cloth porch in my case. When it is below zero I bring smaller containers of water one gallon each and keep one on my counter an the others under the bed and bring them down as they are needed.

One thing I do have to be very careful about is not to leave any containers of water out.  My first year it was a hard lesson because I found a dead salamander floating in my dishwater.  Now I am very diligent about dumping everything and also about flipping over any containers to the opposite side, after I am done with them.

Tiny House Ontario has three rain barrels.  These meet most of my water needs.

Tiny House Ontario has three rain barrels. These meet most of my water needs.

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 2 Comments

Do you want a totally off grid sustainably built tiny house?

photo courtesy of Chris Magwood

photo courtesy of Chris Magwood

Photo courtesy of Chris Magwood

Photo courtesy of Chris Magwood

Okay, I have to say I am pretty excited to be asked to announce this!  Here is your chance to own a tiny house built using 100% sustainable products and to have the labour thrown in.  This means that you will get one of those awesome eco houses that we all dream of (at least I do), for about the same cost of a non-sustainably built home.

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Magwood

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Magwood from a student build


Seeking a Tiny Home Client
The Endeavour Centre is a not-for-profit sustainable building school based in Peterborough, Ontario. Each year, Endeavour completes a building with its full time students, and this year they will be focusing on constructing an off-grid tiny home built with healthy, sustainable materials.
Endeavour is seeking a client for the finished tiny home. The client would be involved in the design of the home, the selection of materials, systems and finishes. Financially, the client would be paying for the hard costs (plans, materials, etc), while Endeavour would provide the labour side of the equation at no cost.
Endeavour is seeking to build a tow-able tiny home in the 200-250 square foot range, but would also be open to discussing a tiny home destined for a permanent foundation.
The home would incorporate renewable energy systems, non-toxic and locally sourced materials, composting toilets, rainwater harvesting and a non-fossil fuel heating option.
Endeavour expects the material and system budget for the home to be in the $30-40,000 range for the completed home.
If you are interested in collaborating with Endeavour on this project, please contact Chris Magwood at chris@endeavourcentre.org.

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 16 Comments

Marching In

It has been a while since I have posted anything about Tiny House Ontario, I also have not written much for Tiny House Listings.  I am not good at pretending to be engaged with things when I am not.  However, I realized today that we are nearly at the end of February and with March around the corner there are things to do.

Guillaume stopped by at THO and found that a storm had whipped over the solar panel.  Given that the temperature highs have been in the minus 20 range and both he and I don’t trust the tensile strength of frozen wire and the panels it will have to stay tipped until spring.  If not broken I will put a log under it to keep it down instead of just rocks.  Not sure if my battery is frozen now too… It all have to wait until spring.

Solar mishap - photo by Guillaume Corbin

Solar mishap – photo by Guillaume Corbin

A nice photo here too of my tiny house and Guillaume’s together.  His sits a little farther away from the camera than mine but it sort of gives you an idea of how much higher a loft can be in a house that sits on a foundation.

It also reminds me that I have to bring the old BBQ to the metal recycle location and buy a new one.  The one at the centre of this photo gave up on me last fall.  I hope to get a smaller one.  This big old guy is left over from the days when we still had children living at home.  I would like one that has the size of a toaster oven but with a side burner.  Any suggestions?

Guillaume checking in on our houses - photo credit Guillaume Corbin

Guillaume checking in on our houses – photo credit Guillaume Corbin

You know, I am so glad to be healing up!  These days I am walking five miles a day to get my resistance back up and I am painting some too.  I am working out because the fact is, I need to be in better shape to work at the house.  And you know, I am really looking forward to getting home to Tiny House Ontario and being once again engaged with with tiny house community.

There is a lot to do there, as always.  So much stuff is left undone, but my primary goal for spring is to get the solar sorted and get my little wood stove in.  After that I will have to see what is, after (what will be) 20 months of absenteeism, most pressing.  I don’t imagine that I will have much time for polishing the sofa with my arse.

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | Leave a comment

Chris Magwood

I want to be sure that you all don’t miss the story that I wrote for Tiny House Listings regarding the ecological tiny house building program in Peterborough.

Too, they have in the last couple of days announced a number of the new programs for 2015.

We are so very fortunate to have such a great program in Ontario!  I hope a few of you will be there this year.  Let me now what you think.

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Magwood

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Magwood


Categories: Building code, Environmentalism, Home, Insulation, Nature, Off Grid, Ontario, Open your eyes, Renovation, Rules, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tools, Trade | 1 Comment

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