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

Exact Cost: Phase 5, Year 4, 2014

The beginning of the year and looking forward to movement.

The end of 2014 year and looking forward to movement in 2015.

This post is about nothing.  Zero.  Zilch!

Due to the fact that it was a year of illness, which is by the way totally behind me now, I did no updates on Tiny House Ontario.  This means that my Exact cost for 2014 was $0 for updates and property improvement.  The only thing that was paid is the now more expensive tax bill for 2014.  This was $862.  I have, however, never included taxes in my costs.  This is because I see this as a bill and not as a cost for house improvement, if that makes any sense.

2014 Phase 5 $0

2013 Phase 4 $2419

2012 Phase 3 $5,124

2011 Phase 2 $8,839

2010-11 Phase 1 $11,740

Total, To Date (on building, driveway, homesteading, improvement & taxes) – $28,522

 Land – $67,000

Investment in THO and Property $95,522  —–

Because of all that, my plans this year are to carry through with some or all of my plans for 2014 in 2015.

My first plan is to get some exercise so that I am fitter to start this spring!

I am evicting Guillaume from THO… That sounds much sterner than it actually is.  He has been brilliant to take care of THO in 2014!  I am happy to have him near me both as a friend and neighbour!  But now has his house closed in enough that he can, with reasonable comfort and safety, sleep in his own loft and because I will be back this year, clearly two separate households can’t share a 93.75 square foot house.

As for the house here is what I wish to work on:

Install the Mini 12 stove.

Update the bathroom so that the mice cannot get in.

Finish the stonework.

Turn the garden into a little green house so that the critters can’t steal everything I grow.

Install the floor on the main level.

Install the floor on the second level.

I will be mighty happy if I can get all this done!

I would also like to move the shed from my Hamilton house to the land at THO.  It would be good to have it there so I could store spare wood, equipment such as maple tree tapping, and outdoor stuff.  I think I would also put off season clothes in bins there.  We will see if time and energy permit.

I am glad to be starting off 2015 with more optimism again!

Categories: Cost, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: | 8 Comments

If You Like It: You Better Put A Lock On It

I have on a few occasions visited tiny houses in the process of being built and found that the owner had not yet put a lock on it.  I always advise that they do so.  I am not sure if most or even if any of them take the time to do it.  A pretty decent wheel lock can be purchased for about $100 and you can also get a hitch lock for about the same price.  It just makes sense to work this relatively small purchase into your budget because if you build on wheels you will always need them, right???

I choose to write about this topic now for two reasons, the first being that spring is coming and now is the time where you will be ordering your trailers and thinking about your build, right?

Secondly, because this was a lesson that Casey and Jessica Friday learned the very hard way when their nearly complete tiny house was stolen.  Unfortunately some jerk just pulled in and hooked up and off they went.

The GREAT news is that the story of the theft hit the news and neighbours of the thieves called the police.  Casey and Jessica have the house back!  Well… it is in Police Impound actually; however, it is in almost he same condition as it was before it was stolen and they will get it back soon I am sure.

Chalk one up for the good guys and people who do the right thing!

I am not going to say too much more because Casey does a great job at his own blog advocating for a couple of locks and I wanted to lead you all to that story.  I will warn you, that if you go on to read more – including the post that he did when the house was stolen that he uses language that some may find offensive.  I ask that if you decide not to heed my warning that you remember that he and wife spent three years of their life, all their extra time and money to make this dream happen for themselves… Don’t be judgemental!  I am sure they were in shock and he was rightfully angry about the loss.


On another topic, I think I have not let you know too much about Guillaume’s tiny house which is being built right next to Tiny House Ontario… Well here it is, all locked up under a bunch of tarps.  I think he will unveil it and I will show you more in the spring.

Yet to be unveiled

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 3 Comments

Insulation in the big, little house

This is a home upgrade post and not related to tiny houses but to give a heads up on how cheap and easy it is to have insulation blown in.  Who knew?

In my little house in Hamilton my second floor studio is always hot in the summer.  Really hot.  I had always assumed that this was because there is a wall of South East facing windows and despite my having blinds up, a lot of heat enters this way.

Very late last summer I salvaged a nice old maple door from a reno around the corner from me and I decided to repurpose the curtains from the closet door in order to block some of the light and heat that was still getting in.  While perched on the step ladder I put my hand on the ceiling and it was SO HOT that it could almost burn…

I moved the ladder around the entire second floor and felt the ceiling and this little area about 2×2 feet was the only area that seemed to be hot like that… so I put it to the back of my mind.

Then we had a cold snap last week and my studio was the coldest room in the house.  I did some on line research and decided that getting it blown in was the least invasive method.  I also learned that sometimes companies have put in dangerous insulations into homes and thus I wanted to go with a company that would use either fibreglass or mineral wool insulation.  Then I called around about getting an insulation expert in to have a look at it and throw in some insulation.

When I did this, I found that most companies charge $0.75/square foot to bring the insulation up from R15 to R 60 which was REALLY surprising.  So what I thought would probably be a job that would cost us about 2K it would fall under $500 for our 450 square foot roof including GST; however, I also found that many companies have a minimum charge of $500 for coming.  I settled on a company that uses fibreglass and also that did NOT have a minimum charge.  I don’t mind paying for work to be done, really I don’t… but I don’t like the idea of paying for something I am not getting.

The owner of the small company came promptly at 10:00 am just as he said he would.  His staff of one, who happens to be  his mom worked quiet, clean and well together.   The job took a full hour less than he said it would.  They were only two hours in and out and in that time he built up the attic entry, baffled the roof and reported that the insulation was not properly installed just in one location… the hot spot on my studio ceiling.  He fixed that, and also explained that for a 1970’s house we had a reasonable amount of insulation: R30.  They blew in the insulation, showed us up into the attic (note this is not easy to see for short portly people like me), then he closed up the ceiling door and left for another job in Cambridge.  Now my R30 attic is about R65 or R70 and the area over my studio is now in good shape too.

Not just the price, the minimal disruption, or the speed of the job was surprising.  What was really surprising is that there was really no mess either.  I had envisioned a layer of fibreglass fluff covering every place they went through, but there were only VERY few tiny little fluff balls.  I mean very little, less than 1/8th of a cup in little fluff balls (that I think came off of Louis when he exited the roof entry).  We did a quick vacuum through incase there was stuff we could not see, in order to protect little dog paws from fibreglass.  That was the end of it.

Due to the fact that I have already done the looking around and I am very happy with the job he did, I am going to pass on his details.  The little company is Boland Home Insulation 519 803 4620.   Any of you who live within an hour or so from Guelph Ontario who who think you could benefit from a little insulation of your own feel free to tell him that Laura sent you.  He won’t know about my blog, so for him I will simply be the artist, customer who has a lot of little dogs.

Now… unlike any other time, I am really looking forward to a cold snap so we can see if there is a big difference in the temperature of the house.  For me, I already think it feels more even, but I am not sure… really… if this is my hopeful tendency creeping in… or reality.

Here is my small house, earlier in the fall.

Just under 450 square feet per floor this little house is now going to be a lot warmer, in winter and cool in summer.  The big window upstairs is my studio.  :-D   Note: The apple trees are new this year and replace two ornamental plums that came with the house.  Sadly they had plum tree cancer.  I tried to save them but they were far too far gone when we got the house.  We got about a half bushel of apples from the two trees this year.  A very big and nice surprise!  <3

Just under 450 square feet per floor this little house is now going to be a lot warmer, in winter and cool in summer. The big window upstairs is my studio. :-D
Note: The apple trees are new this year and replace two ornamental plums that came with the house. Sadly they had plum tree cancer. I tried to save them but they were far too far gone when we got the house. We got about a half bushel of apples from the two trees this year. A very big and nice surprise! <3

Categories: Insulation, Renovation, Upgrade | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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