In and Around My House: Fall 2014

After moving everything from the most Southern cupboard on the West wall of Tiny House Ontario, I tidied the house up a bit and took a look around.  You know, like most houses things are somewhat fluid in a tiny house too.  Things move, and sometimes things are even replaced.  This year, I have not been there too much but even so there are changes.  I thought it was time to update the images from home.

The West Window is the most decorated in THO. also it is where I put things like the little flower pot heater and candles and even the small propane heater from time to time.  Recently, my son did a dumpster dive for me at the countertop manufacturer and got this great piece of 1.5 inch thick marble so now the window sill won't get damaged by damp and wax.

The West Window is the most decorated in THO. also it is where I put things like the little flower pot heater and candles and even the small propane heater from time to time. Recently, my son did a dumpster dive for me at the countertop manufacturer and got this great piece of 1.5 inch thick marble so now the window sill won’t get damaged by damp and wax.  The little heater, is by the way, great at this time of year to keep the place warm after it is already heated up.  The Pumpkin is a size appropriate holiday decoration and thanks Guillaume for putting that out for us!  <3

Out the North Window Guillaume's house is being built.

Out the North Window Guillaume’s house is being built.  A little candle holder in the window casts nice light, and adds a little warmth too.  This is not new.  My son won it with a bunch of other things in a raffle at a fund raiser, about ten years ago and gave it to us. 

The chair got a hand made afghan from my cousin Nora.  I love hand made things and think this looks and feels wonderful on the old chair.

The chair got moved and it also got a hand made afghan from my cousin Nora. I love hand made things and think this looks and feels wonderful on the old chair.   You will also notice that I have a new butane cook top.  It works well, but unfortunately it sets off my fire alarm, so… I have to use it outside which kind of defeats the purpose.  It will be nice to have a wood stove so that during the cold months I can use this to cook on.   *** See the orbs in this photo?

Another wonderful and appreciated hand made afghan from cousin Nora.  They cover the sofa nicely to keep dirtily little paw prints at bay and they can also be used as a cover.  Please note the beautiful work of art in the corner, by the Australian artist Asta Lander.  I grew up with swans and really love this piece.

The sofa is in a new spot and it has a wonderful and appreciated hand made afghan from cousin Nora. These cover the furniture nicely, and to keep dirtily little paw prints at bay.   Too, they can also be used as a cover. Please note the beautiful work of art in the corner, by the Australian artist Asta Lander. I grew up with swans and really love this piece.  The shelves are slightly more full because the shelves on the other side have been removed.

The door to the stone patio at the North and the door to the in-house.

The door to the stone patio at the North and the door to the in-house.  Also the stairs going up.  This is a busy corner with a lot of functions!

A bit of a rainy day here - I left the ground level  rain barrel connected so that Guillaume can use the water until it gets too cold.  He will soon have to drain it and tip the barrel for the winter.  Still hoping he gets his roof on before freeze.

A bit of a rainy day here – I left the ground level rain barrel connected so that Guillaume can use the water until it gets too cold. He will soon have to drain it and tip the barrel for the winter. Still hoping he gets his roof on before freeze.

Categories: Home, Interior, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cutting Holes and Other Stuff You Don’t Plan For

I have a plan to make a little less than two square feet addition to Tiny House Ontario. 22 x 8 inches plus a 22x 5 inch space where there is currently wall will become part of the footprint. It is an absurd amount of work to add such a very tiny 242 square inch additional space, but I think that the outcome will be totally worth the work. The great thing is that this will not actually add anything to the square footage of the house because the addition is a “dog box” that will stick out from the house on the West wall and this dog box will eventually become an enclosed stone chimney. I understand that just like outhouses, chimneys do not count in the square footage in my township, so the “dog box” is a short term coverable solution which will be worked on weather permitting after the dog box goes in.

The fact is that I have to make an addition. I had not included a wood stove in my original plan, but after having used a propane stove to heat, one thing I can say for certain that in a cold climate with a tiny well insulated space like THO, it is a terrible heat source. I really hate the dampness of it and it really is time to upgrade. Once the “dog box” is in place, it will be home to the Mini 12 Grey Stove that I purchased a year ago in December. Too, because the best plan is not always the easiest, the only way I can see to do this and still have a comfortable room is to locate the stove to go in the location of existing cupboards on the West wall in the Southern corner.

I also have another good reason for burning wood.  We live on ten acres of forest and my stove will give me viable repurpose for wood branch debris.

I have been at the house and I have already started the renovation. First, I had to remove all the stuff; I went through everything and purchased a few plastic containers and found that everything is essential, fits neatly in two thirds of the space that I had been using.  Second, I removed and relocated the cupboard doors so that the new plastic storage bins are neatly hidden away. Third, I cut out and removed all the build in shelves.  The nice thing is that the propane heater fits now neatly in the alcove and will stay here until I can do the rest of the job.

Relocated closed cupboard and new plastic tool bins

Relocated closed cupboard and new plastic tool bins

The truth is, there is still MUCH to be done. The wall boards have to be removed.  Then the framing has to be cut out and  reinforcements have to be put in place.   Then the wall needs to have a 22x 60 inch hole cut through, straight to the great outdoors. After this a tiny 27 x 11 inch cement pad has to be poured and cured and the teeny tiny dog box addition has to be built.  Then it will have to be roofed , then the entire thing will need to be sheathed, and steel has to be added to it in order to keep it dry.

After this is done there is insulation to add, and then a deck needs to be added for the stove to sit on. This tiny addition and the existing 9 inch deep alcove will then need to be covered in cement board and then this will need to be covered with something fireproof and attractive.  I am thinking 1.5 inch thick marble remnants might be the option I go with, because I can get these for free from a counter top maker’s dumpster that is close to my house.

Planned "dog box" addition to THO

Planned “dog box” addition to THO

I had hoped to start removing the wall boards and get the reinforcement boards up this week, but a trip to the doctor yesterday brings me some less than stellar news. I need another operation. I will be cut hipbone to hipbone and up to my belly button in a big upside-down capitol T, so they can rid me of tumors. Too the doctor biopsied me again yesterday even though so far it has been nothing malignant. Tomorrow I go for a barium swallow test too, yum yum. The end result is doc says no work for me now, and nothing for 6 to 8 weeks afterward either.  Sadly, despite the fact that I was feeling pretty good and getting things done again until my appointment yesterday, today I feel like I have been dragged through a grinder.

But, there is good news!   They will be chopping me opened on December 2nd so it will be over with soon enough and Doc thinks I will sufficiently recovered by the end of January that I should be good to go.

The crummy news is that February in Canada is not a good time of year to cure cement, nor to cut a hole in a house, so still no stove.

You know folks, I am sick of being sick; however I am glad to have a plan and to have the space in the wall cleared for when I am ready to go.  Too, I have to say, despite the fact that the house is not moving forward much this year, it is holding up really well and looking great.

The dog box addition is to go in on the wall between the window and the door to the cloth porch.   This dog box will eventually become enclosed by a stone chimney.

The dog box addition is to go in on the wall between the window and the door to the cloth porch.
This dog box will eventually become enclosed by a stone chimney.

Categories: Health, Laura Moreland, Off Grid, Ontario, Simple living, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario | 5 Comments

Nathan Cirillo’s Son

October 31 2014 UPDATE:  Here is a scan of the receipt for the donation to the Nathan Cirillo Trust fund.  I collected $345. of which Paypal takes 3.5%.  I had wanted to donate $50 because I got a matching funds pledge from a friend, and then I added what was missing so we would have a nice round $400. donation in total.

I am sorry the electronic receipt does not give more information but the person at the bank said to show her card and if anyone had questions, they are free to call her.  I told her I was from Tiny House Ontario and she had heard of it, so I think she will remember without trouble that the donation was made in cash.

Thank you again to all those who donated here or elsewhere for little Marcus.  <3 <3 <3

We did a good thing here folks!  <3

Here is the receipt to show that funds were deposited into the trust account for Marcus.

Here is the receipt to show that funds were deposited into the trust account for Marcus.

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October 29 2014 UPDATE: Please do not donate to my fundraiser.  The family of Nathan Cirillo asked (in his obituary) that any donations please be made to the Nathan Cirillo Trust at TD bank.  In keeping with the family wishes I have transferred the funds that were donated to my account so that I can access them to bring the funds, plus my own donation to the TD Bank.  I will be posting the stamped receipt for this deposit as soon as the funds arrive to me.

PLEASE NOTE: With Paypal this can take as long as long as 5 business days but according to Paypal I should have these funds by November the 5th at the latest.

Thank you to all of you who donated, here, there or anywhere, for this little fellow.

<3 Laura

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October 25 2014 UPDATE: There are, I have since found out, other places that are taking donations.  There is, for example, a trust account at TD Bank, called the Nathan Cirillo Trust.  If you feel more comfortable donating to them, please do so. I would like to see every Canadian who can spare it, donate a dollar.  If you can spare a little more, I am sure it will be appreciated.

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I had a look around the internet this morning and noticed that there are no funding campaigns that are specifically for the five year old son of Nathan Cirillo, who was recently murdered at the War Memorial in Ottawa Ontario. Like Nathan I was a single parent myself and should my life had been taken, I would hope that others would be willing to assist my child with his future. I chose to use the You Caring site to do this because they do not take any money for themselves. If you are interested in donating something for this little fellow’s future, please donate here.

If people do fund this campaign, I will put all funds in trust for his education and hope that some day he might want to build a tiny house of his own.  Nathan and Marcus

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | Tags: | 2 Comments

Want-Wants

I am on a role, let me warn you.  A little something that you don’t know about me, until now perhaps… that I am a private ranter.  My friends, I think, can attest to this.  There are so many things that bug me.  They are: laziness, people who make the same mistakes over and over again without learning, rude behaviour, thieves, apathy, cruelty to animals, racists, sexists and so on and so on.   These are things that privately set me off.

Here though, at Tiny House Ontario, I really do try not to let this strongly opinionated part of my personality overwhelm you all.  I think there are enough negative things that people hear about in their day to day lives and this is not really the place.  You know, one thing that I really like about the tiny house movement is that largely it is filled with optimism and it offers light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of people.  I think this is why it is so appealing to so many people.

Fortunately for me, this is what I really love to concentrate on too.  If you have read my blog before then you will have a very clear idea as to what really interests me.  For those of you who are just now joining me, the topics you can expect to see on my blog are: easy and inexpensive environmentally conscious projects, off grid ideas, the beauty of nature, art, music, links to history, stories of hope-change-interest, interesting people who are leaders to our movement, building codes, where to build and live in a tiny house in Canada, all things tiny house and of course Tiny House Ontario.   Recently, too I have also discussed my health… which is not a topic that I enjoy writing about, but which I do in order to keep those in the know, up to date on my progress in this department.

Today, again… two days in a row… there is another issue that I have to discuss.  I take on this topic at the risk of alienating people.  It is not just a very sensitive subject.  I want you to understand that my annoyance with this should not be mistaken for a terrible apathy about those who are really in need.  Nor should people who have genuine interest and in going tiny think this applies to them, in fact I was one of those people once. What I mean to target really is the laziness of the Want-Wants – who want your money for doing nothing.

The Want-Wants in terms of the tiny house movement are a breed of people who are relatively new to this movement.  They are people who have just learned about the movement and who see the light and want what we have without doing one single bit of work to get there.  They simply make a page asking for funding and then post requests on every tiny house Facebook page that they are able to Google.  This is the extent of the work they do.

Sometimes the pages of these Want-Wants have hard luck stories, sometimes not.  Sometimes they have well written requests, sometimes not.  Sometimes they are even fraudsters who post a wonderful “tiny house community” idea and try to get people to join for a fee… BUT…  Those who actually do know about bylaws, zoning and building codes, and struggle to get tiny houses legitimized, know that this is something that they will never have researched and will never be able to be seen to fruition because they don’t have the money or connections that it takes to lobby for change.  No matter, the shape that these people take, they have one thing in common.  They all want-want-want-want you, to give them your money.

I feel now is a good time to qualify, that I DO NOT include legitimate tiny house funding proposals as Want-Wants.  Lots of requests for funding are great and I while I don’t have a lot of money (not even enough to complete my own house), I have donated to many of these fund raisers myself.  As a matter of fact, there is a small one called The Hovel (on my Facebook page) that I just donated to.  Other great and legitimate funding requests that I remember off the top of my head, came when a tiny house that was nearly built burned down.  Another was a little girl who was building with her dad and he was suddenly killed in an accident.  Another came from a girl named Jessica who researched for a long time, saved 5K towards her dream and was looking for and got matching funding.  There are a lot of great and worthwhile tiny house funding projects and I certainly do not want to include these in my very pointed annoyance toward the Want-Wants of the world.

Who I mean to include in this are people who hear about tiny houses, want-want-want-want a tiny house and do NOT A LICK of work.  No research, no planning, no clear idea of how they can live in a tiny house, no idea where they will live in the house if if becomes a reality and certainly no started project or even a 2×4 in place.  Who I mean are those who simply post a request for money because they want-want-want-want what we have.

The thing is that as a relatively well known tiny houser, I get quite some number of requests about this.  The Want-Wants post to my wall and write to me privately.  Also my readers often ask about them including not just those who are asking for funding on sites specifically designed for this, but also about ones that are on their own website that look “legitimate”.  The question is, do they really deserve your money just because they want it?   So, I  decided instead of replying to each of these individually, I would instead explain the Want-Wants, post this link back to them, and hope that they understand what it is, exactly that I am driving at.

Which is, to the Want-Wants: we grow tired of people who don’t do a thing for themselves, asking for hand outs.

And for those of you who are donating, please beware the Want-Wants!

Can we fund everyone who does not do a thing for themselves?

Can we fund everyone who does not do a thing for themselves?

Categories: Money, Open your eyes, Tiny House Ontario, Want-Wants | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

King Ludwig Syndrome

In Bavaria there lived a King named Ludwig II who was a dreamer, a patron of the arts and a builder of palaces.  He reigned only shortly from 10 March 1864 – 13 June 1886 until he died.  His death is considered to be a great mystery and some believe he was killed for spending all the royal coffers in just over twenty two years of rule.

That he was raised in castles and palaces and the family already owned many, many was not enough for King Ludwig.  He built, many magnificent and wonderful castles and palaces during his reign: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, A Royal Apartment at the Rezidenze Palace, and before he died he also had THREE others in the works, Falkenstein, Graswangtal, and the Chinese summer palace.  I suggest that you google to see these structures, if you are not familiar with them.  I have been fortunate enough to tour many of them and I can assure you that no expense was spared and they are absolutely beautiful monuments.  Today they are tourist destinations that will remain for centuries.

Ludwig also built a tiny house called Konigshaus am Schachen and this palace is the most little known of all the structures that he built.  Ludwig’s “tiny house” is only 2300m square.  About a half acre spread out on different levels.  Just three times the size of an every day North American McMansion.  When compared to his other palaces, this palace would certainly be tiny.  But, you know, I don’t think this is tiny.  Do you think it is?

800px-Königshaus_am_Schachen_2004

Then, why (you may be asking yourself) am I sharing this house and this story with my tiny house readers?

Well, now for the rant.

We live in a society where most people suffer with what my husband and I refer to as King Ludwig Syndrome.  The idea that people can have their cake and eat it too.  The idea that you can say something and just because you said it means that others must believe it.  That in your own little Kingdom that when the emperor gets new clothes that we, who so happen to live in your Kingdom too, should all somehow pretend that we all see fine clothes and not a birthday suit.

Frankly the idea that anyone, including King Ludwig, can build a GIANT HOME, a moderate home or even a small home, and call it tiny is preposterous.  That you can call your house tiny, just because it is smaller than your other or former house is, simply, not correct.

I am tackling this subject because recently I have noticed on many, many tiny house threads that people want to call their 1200 square foot, 900, square foot, 700 square foot, 500 square foot homes (or not yet built homes) a tiny house.  Simply put, they are not.  They are moderate and they are small and they are hopefully perfectly right sized for you and your family… but again, this does not make them tiny.

The generally agreed on numbers and terminology are as follows.  A tiny house is a house that is UNDER 400 square feet.  A small house is under 800 square feet and a moderate home is under 1200 square feet.  Simple.

Now for the tough part.  These sizes do not mean anything more than being a descriptive term with a certain figure attached.  Clearly to a family of four a house that is 500 square feet will not feel like a big house.  Fact: that house will feel very tiny, but technically it is still a small house and not a tiny one.  You see the house size description is not intended to encompass your family, it is just a descriptive term for the house.

With all that said, tiny housers are NOT trying to say that everyone needs to live in a house that is less than 400 square feet.  It is a movement that suggests that people need to right size their home.  That is all.  Don’t pay for, or use more than you need.

I have said this before, but I feel the need to reiterate today.  It is not a competition to see who can live with the least.  Clearly homeless people win this.  The Tiny House movement is about living with the least amount that you can, and still be comfortable.  We tiny housers are NOT suggesting that every family needs only 100 square feet.  We are simply suggesting that if you live with less space that the quality of your life will improve.

I think that by anyone’s standards, I can say and we will all agree that King Ludwig’s threshold for the minimum was set unreasonably high.  Tiny is not for everyone, but you know what?  Right sized is!

Please don’t be a King Ludwig or to make us believe that you are wearing a fine suit while you are standing in your underwear.

Not tiny

Not tiny

Categories: 400 square feet, Open your eyes, Rules, Rules of thumb, Tiny house | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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