Rain on Snow

I have been at THO pretty much constantly for the last few months because I am working here in Kingston right now.  It has been interesting in a good way because I had only stayed there rarely in the winter before and so I got to experience the place in a different way.

A couple of mornings ago I woke up to rain falling on the snow.  There were big slow drops which on closer investigation were actually snow melt coming down and making holes in the small layer of snow that had fallen during the night.  The effect on the snow was really beautiful.  This photo won’t do it justice since it was just dawn on a dark day but I knew I would not get a photo if I waited for more light.  So here it is.


I think this was not just beautiful, but it signalled the change in season. It is likely the last snow that will fall this season… or at least if we do get a little more… it will be short lived like this speckled batch.

It was a grey and wet day but I took a couple of photos before morning coffee and heading to town to teach.  It is so pretty and peaceful here and I like it very much here in the winter now too, thanks to the new stove.

The pileated woodpecker still does not show himself to me… he teases me by hammering just close enough for me to hear him but never in full view.  Still hoping!


Tiny house, big woods

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I was surprised when my new Dickinson stove arrived.  I am not sure why, but I simply did not have a handle on what size they are.


I chose the smaller of the two but I think I should have chosen the larger one… the stone work that I have on my house is not exactly easy to heat…

Still, if the temperature is not below minus ten it works well.  For colder weather I need more blankets or to vacate to a warmer home.  But it is nice to have heat that feels safe and comfortable.

I decided to put in an additional CO2 and smoke detector when I put this in.  Just to have back up.  It is a nice cheap safety step which I think one might as well do… just incase of battery failure.  So far, either of them have made even the slightest peep.

The heat itself is super comfortable.  Which surprised me.  There is no dampness and the fan keeps the air moving enough that the temperature in the house is consistent up and downstairs.

I feel like this was money well spent.


Here it is before hookup.

See the water jugs near to the heater… They are about a foot and a half away since the stonework is deep.  This is handy to keep the water a little warm so that one does not have to use so much fuel to make tea or coffee.


I wish I would have gone with one of these first time!  Somehow the propane scared me… but I could have saved a lot of money and avoided the whole stone addition if I would just have followed what most do.  Oh well… life is filled with regrets and at least this is now right.



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Artist Drying Rack for Paintings

Have you ever priced one of these things???  UGH!  If you ever thought about buying a rack for this purpose, you will know they cost between $250 and $700 largely variable for size and quality.  On a scale of 1-10 on how hard this was to make, this one is a ONE.  All you need is a saw (or someone to cut four 6 inch long pieces), and a drill.

This drying rack has 8 three foot long bars so I can dry anywhere between 8 and 24 paintings at a time, depending on the size of them.  Cost for this was $0 and the time it took me to make it was 20 minutes.

I got the side rails for the crib from someone who turned the rest of theirs into a bed when their child outgrew the crib.  One man’s garbage is this girl’s happiness!  These two sides, and the  four pieces of 2×2 cut to SIX inches in length were all it took.  I drilled holes through the sides into the 2×2 (to keep the 2×2 from splitting, screwed them together, and that was it.

The only drawback to my free one is that it can’t be folded up and tucked away… but you could hang a blanket on it and leave it in your bedroom or use it for a magazine rack.  it is only 7 inches wide so, it does not take a lot of space and so it could even go in the hallway.

Mine will always be in use!  I am glad to have one and happier still because it was FREE!


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Safe House!

Tiny House Ontario is made up of one tiny house, one blogger and a Facebook page which now has two admins.  Me and Lulu.

The plan here is not to make money (We don’t) but to promote tiny living as a viable option for Ontarian’s.

When I first started blogging it was just about my house, but as more of you started reading and asking questions I started talking more about movement itself and of course the following grew when I expanded my horizons.  I am just about to hit 600K who have put their eyes on my blog, which feels big.  It would be nice to have a dime for every one though, right?  HA!

Tiny House Ontario’s Facebook page has about 6000 followers now but Lulu and I have about 8000 people who we reach a week, so you are a pretty loyal following!   Thank you – it is numbers like this that make me think that we are doing something right here.

But going back a bit… as more eyes started looking at what I was writing about, I decided that I would not advertise and I would try to have all those fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants wannabes at bay.  This was largely to do with three very negative experiences in the very early days.  One from a guy who can only be described as a stalker that went on to ask a lot of people for personal information to build a community, another from a “business” that was threatening me because I would not promote after I had some bad feedback and another from a known accused pedophile (who got off on a technicality because his trial was not expedient enough) that wanted to start a tiny house community… Clearly, with these three cases, I believe that I would not be acting in good faith if I were promoting them, I stood firm and shut them down.   Though one of them is still out there exploiting the hopes of tiny house wannabes by pretending to be a viable option for those who wish to live tiny in Ontario… and the complaints about him are still coming in to me.

So, what do I do with negative comments about these folks?

When I get negative feedback from any sources about anyone who has involved themselves with the tiny house community in any way, shape or form then I am not going to share or promote them.  I also delete comments about them from our Facebook page.  This is not just because I think it is unethical to promote those who I understand to be maleficent.  Frankly this is a new movement – we don’t even have the ability to live in most municipalities yet, but there are a lot of people who think that they can grow cash quick by building and selling houses or by starting a community.  We owe it to ourselves and the community to make this way of life as safe as possible, do we not?  We owe it to those who come after us, to keep this community credible.

Am I right?

I hope so!  I would like to think that this vetting makes the sources that I give as being trustworthy.  I guess, what I see my role as, is that of a dispensary of the people’s information, and because I can only depend on the sources that give me information, I might not always get this right.  But rest assured, that at the very least I try!

Why am I sharing this information now?

Recently the audience here has grown and new people may not have read previous comments and posts where I give warnings.

I am just reminding you all not to spend your money or give out your information to anyone who claims to be a tiny house builder, community or voice of the community before you have fully researched what and who they are!  I was reminded just today that not all tiny house sites take their roll as a mentor as seriously as I do, so use your heads and do your research please!

Stay safe! ❤ L

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Exact Cost: Phase 7, Year 6, 2016

Over the past six years I have fully disclosed all building and update costs at Tiny House Ontario.  I believe that I was the first tiny house blogger who chose to do this.  I was able to because I am organized about what I spend so I had all my receipts.  The reason I posted them though, was not just for my own purposes of keeping track.   I also hoped to give a clearer picture to those who are thinking about building tiny, so that you know what, generally, to expect.  For this reason I also include my failures or lost money, I hope by doing this, I might prevent others from making my mistakes.

My other reason for disclosure though, is that a lot of people comment on tiny house pages what show houses that are for sale… “too expensive” (and some are).  But tiny houses cost a lot of money too and many tiny house followers think that keeping the cost of the house at nothing is the whole point.  I call BS on this.  Unless you have endless time and skills to DIY and lots of resources handed to you then you really can’t build a tiny house for next to nothing.  Resources cost money!  Plus as a rule of thumb, when you think about material cost you need to times this by 2.5 to include the labour costs if you are not doing it yourself.  Labour is expensive!

FACT: Tiny houses cost way more per square foot than McMansions because space is cheap to add… but the catch is, those added feet are what cost you for as long as you live in your house.  You have to fill them, update them, heat them, pay taxes on them and deal with the carbon footprint of them… Space might seem cheap, but it is not.  So now you know the secret, the point of tiny houses is to avoid paying year after year for space.

When it comes to my home, I am a cheapskate, who does not need to have the very best of everything to make me happy… Tiny House Ontario is, by design, a rustic little cabin in the woods.  It is off grid, it is humble, and there are quite a few used and or surplus items that went into it.  Plus, the house is nowhere near complete!  Yet here I am in the 6th year, and I have invested over thirty thousand dollars into the place and this does not include the cost of land.  PLUS… I paid very little for labour because I did a lot of the work myself.  I also made $3800 in mistakes*.   It is not done either!  There is no running water (or cistern), so I still have to carry in all the potable water I need, and the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen are not yet finished.

In short, resources and money do not grow on trees.  And despite what my sister thinks of my handiness, I cannot spin straw into gold – as much as I wish I could!

2016 was not a big year for expenditure nor accomplishment.  Still every little step costs something.  This year I picked up a few things late in the season and have not yet had the opportunity to put them to use.  Here is the breakdown.


Materials for corner bench for the cloth porch. $112.

New surplus solar panels (not yet hooked up) $240.

Antique chamber pot for the (temporary bathroom fix) in-house. $50.

Dickinson fireplace heater and extra chimney (not yet hooked up) $1133.

Picture window (not yet installed in the cloth porch)  FREE

2016 Phase 7 $1535

2015 Phase 6 $5354

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) – $35,411

Land – $67,000

Investment in THO and Property $102.411 —–

This year, all that I crossed off my to-do list was building seating for the cloth porch and purchasing a new heating system which will be installed in January.

As for what I wish to work on next year:

  1. Hook up the Dickinson fireplace.
  2. Install picture window in the cloth porch so that in the winter we can see out instead of having the view blocked by the tarp.
  3. Update the bathroom so that it works
  4. Turn the garden into a little green house so that the critters can’t steal everything I grow. Alternately, I thought I might plant just herbs and Helianthus tuberoses. These are native species alternately known as sunroot sunflowers, or Jerusalem artichokes and they should do well in the sunny spot there as well as produce food for me that perhaps won’t all be eaten.
  5. Install the floor on the second level.
  6. Finish the stone work patio and walkways
  7. 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.


Future Expenses

  1. well and pump
  2. kitchen
  3. bathroom
  4. loft (flooring and built-ins)
  5. shed (move or build)
  6. stonework


*MISTAKES – totalling $3,800 (breakdown below)

  1. $2800 I was ripped off by the cement contractor (Phase 1)
  2. $800 Culvert issues (Phase 1 and 2 – still not resolved)
  3. Roughly $200 bathroom materials which had to be removed because of mice.


THO now


Tiny House Ontario 2016

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