Stepping Up

Next year’s planned job, the stone patio is giving me a bit of grief.  The big issue is that when Hj and I put the gravel dust in place the drop to the East was too large and this began to wash away because of the 1 foot deep drop for the opening at the in-house on the East side (in the image it is the dark place where the boards meet).  I want to put some steps there, not just to keep the dust from washing but also because they will eventually have to go there anyway.   It is early to do this because the dust needs to settle but still getting them in is the only realistic way to keep the dust from spilling way with the rain.  The other problem is that the stones for this are simply too large for me to handle on my own.  So, this was the other job that Hj came down to help me with on the weekend.

We brought in many more wheel barrels full of stone dust and stomped this as firmly as our weight would allow, then the two of us put the large stones in place.  Unless they go out of level, or settle too much, then this will be the last time we ever need to move them.  I am strongly hoping that we put in enough of a buffer that it will be exact, and permanent, because these big rocks are really NOT fun to move!

The two top stones are to be the first edge of the stone patio.

The bottom large stone stair will make a handy place to sit in order to change the catch bucket from the toilet.

Lets hope that they winter well.

***ps: The blue box has kindling in it plus a few pieces behind there too.  It is being picked up by someone who uses it.  Waste not-want not, right?

Categories: Family, Off Grid, Re-Use, Simple living, Tiny House Ontario | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Stepping Up

  1. I’ll message you on Facebook, Fred, so we don’t hijack Laura’s Tiny House thread. ;^)

  2. Hi Colleen, nice to “see” you again too. 🙂 The camera is only as good as the artist, you have a great eye, but you are prob toting a killer DSLR too, what do you have?

    Where r u hanging your hat these days?

    • LOL We are doubling up on our comments here, Fred. I left you a message on Facebook. It’s probably in your ‘other’ folder in your FB email messages.

  3. Last year, I sold three lots on (almost Battersea) Lower Round Lake Road, the retained portion of which was 25 acres and was private and beautiful. It was while I owned this property I started dreaming of an off grid cabin in the woods. I went there recently, and I kinda wished I hadent, as it was slightly magical to me, being there. I will get something like it again sometime and create a magical place yet.

  4. Another thought I just had. With the 108 sq ft limitation, how is that determined, by floor space I presume? If one were to make openings in the walls and create/build areas that are higher than the floor, could one create a window seat, cupboard space etc? That would work really well.

    • 108 is determined by the footprint. I thought after that I could have overhung the whole thing and built the seating and the cupboards in the outside… for a guy with skills like yours, it would likely be doable!

      • Fines are also known as screeinings, or very small gravel. I am assuming that is what you are topping up with, I could be wrong.

        Yes, Tina is a good soul, I also know Colleen. I was not aware of her artistic abilities in photography etc, but it doesnt surprise me as I met her when she worked for Gorway.

        I think Adobe or cob will not last without being covered, thats up to you, and time will tell. Have you seen any locally? I want one so bad. My friend Annie in Brighton built an outside and more elaborate brick oven and makes the most fantastical pizza in it. The temperature is everything when you are cooking pizza, as well as a stone bottom.

        It bothers me too that you would need to build a minimim of 700 Sq ft, and it seems to make no sense then to allow only 100. Seems that in some cases, if ppl dont do it well, it could put them in unsafe conditions.

        You are correct about the space requirements of a thermal mass like a rocket mass heater, the trade off is that long after the fire is out, the heat will radiate into the room. If you cantilevered out some space, that could easily trade off for the RMH (sorry, I am thinking future designs I guess, not that it couldnt still be done) Additionally, the floor slab itself could be the thermal mass in a RMH, (as could a water tank) some ppl use them even under the soil in greenhouses. They use a surprisligly small amount of fuel and you could fuel it with twigs and small branches.

        My mama is from Germany, but I have not been yet.

        If you would like to collaborate on a “ultimate” tiny home design, let me know. That may be another source of income for you, because you could sell the blueprint design. 🙂

        You are right to go to boating stores for lots of off grid stuff as boaters (sailboaters) have the same needs for self sufficiency. Also RV places will also have innovative technologies. I am travelling in my VW camper van at times, thats smaller than a tiny home, but it does have a loft! 🙂

        Thanks for your reply, its nice to dialogue with you.

  5. Beautiful Job Laura! Last night, I read your entire blog, (fascinating to me as a local Kingston Builder) as you can probably tell by my interspersed comments. I also noted that in many cases, you were ahead of me, and as I read along I could see you had many of the very same ideas that I had suggested.

    In the case of this recent stone work, are you going to carry a small retaining wall along that side to keep your fines level? Those fines reach maximum compaction very fast once they get soaked. Your stone patio is going to look amazing!

    I was wondering about utility storage, one can never have enough. Are you building a shed building? Even so, I thought you could get away with “hanging” something on the side of your building, with a small roof over it. Something about 2 ft deep, like an outside closet of sorts. It can be however wide you can make it without impacting your light. In it, you can keep utilities like your batteries etc, as well as anything else that you own that will not be affected by freezing. Even still, for heat sensitive items, (batteries etc), an insulated box can be built and heated with a single lightbulb.

    Also, I wondered in earlier posts if you could build a covered roof for your cloth room. Im sure if it is outside space, it will not be included in your Sq.Ft. calculations. If you wanted, you could incorporate your cob oven (would def like to help building an cob oven too) under that roof, as I am still not sure how cob will hold up in our climate, and it will def need to be covered.

    You will definitely want to get up off that concrete slab. Too bad you didnt put some heating tubes through there when you poured so you could use the slab as a source of thermal retention in winter.

    The propane heater looks amazing, but expensive. I mentioned it before, but you should consider a “rocket mass heater”. If you do, I would love to be involved in the build, as I am fascinated in them, but have never built one yet. has come great video on them also.

    For heat, I also noticed you “liked” a solar Can heater. These can work amazingly well and can be built for next to nothing. This guy does amazing work and this is one of the best examples I have seen. (also built his own wind turbine)

    Awesome you have taken action on your dreams and have the courage to begin and learn as you go. So many will not! You deserve congratulations, and you need to know, you are an inspiration to myself and many others!

    • Hi Fred,
      I knew that you had because my numbers are phenomenal today!
      Not sure if you noticed that we have a friend in common on Facebook. Tina who I worked with at Queen’s. She actually got me my first great job.
      I am not sure what a level fine is for the stone work… I guess I have to read a little more before spring!
      Storage is an issue, for sure. I have not decided if I am going to bite on this or not. I have been considering a pallet build – but still a long way off, since making THO livable is priority one and two is getting the cellar in so that I can can my own and keep it.
      The battery guy on Midland says that deep cycles do not freeze as long as they are being used. This winter is the test for this. I know that my solar lights were all OK. Just keep them working.
      The cob oven will not go in the cloth porch but on the stone work in the front. I won’t cover it, except maybe a tarp in the winter if she is not in use.
      The Dickinson is the right lady for the Tiny House job. A mass heater simply takes way too much space. THO has only 72.25 feet in floorspace after you remove storage shelves, kitchen, stairs. Then with the love-seat, table and rocker there is about 30 square feet left. If I put in a fire there would be two problems… first I would have no floor space and second I would cook like a little turkey in that small space. This said, if I had that 300 square foot interior, straw- on timber frame that I was dreaming of, this would have been my very first choice and it would have gone in with the walls. It makes me quite mad to be a forest with all the fallen wood that I could use in my lifetime, but I can’t access it because of the silly OBC. The mass heaters are very standard in Germany where I lived for a few years. My family there have these in their homes and they are wonderful!
      Thanks for the can heater link, I will check it out.
      Still working on my dreams and always dreaming anew too. Hope you are as well. xo L

    • Hi Fred. Long time, no see. Thanks for the compliments on my photo skills…if only I actually knew how to work my camera. I can do a lot of things but when I just can’t seem to retain how to do certain things on my camera (technically speaking).

      It’s nice that you found Laura’s blog. She and I have been friends for 25 years and have known each other a little longer than that.

      I ADORED being at the Tiny House in that forest. There was no way to take bad pictures. I have to admit, I hugged a few trees. ha! Take care…good to ‘virtually’ see you.

      • Anonymous

        Hello Colleen, yes it has been a long time, where are you hanging your hat these days? Im sure you’re totin a killer DSLR, what do you have? I think the magic in photography begins with the artist themself, one needs to be able to “see” and frame the subject, and take advantage of the elements, therefore your camera is only as good as yourself. I love the photo of Laura with the placement of the sun. It is quite amazing, and you had to visualize it to capture it.

        Nice to “see” you too.

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