Author Archives: Laura

About Laura

Laura is best described as a creative, engaged citizen and has come to the point in her life where she has earned the opportunity to do at least some of what she wishes. Currently, she lives in her remote, off grid, tiny house on an Eastern Ontario Escarpment. In the winter, she lives in Hamilton Ontario. Laura is a working writer who is progressing on the first, and second, of what she hopes will be many novels. She is also a painter who concentrates mostly on Kingston Area as her canvas. She is interested in societal equality, architecture, philosophy, feminism, people watching, dogs, animal rescue, ecology, as well as the generational ties between people. Laura has always been interested in peace and is a vegan, motorcycle driver with some daredevil tendencies.

Kitchener… Lets do it!

Do you want LEGAL tiny house community in Kitchener???

Well you are not alone!  In May of 2016 I was contacted by a person who works for the City of Kitchener, she let me know that this city REALLY WANTS a tiny house community to be developed. Over a hundred comments came in from people who want to make this happen.  We even had a potential investor and this fell through because no developer came forward.  While I am NOT a developer and I sure as heck don’t have money to purchase a 600K property, get it zoned, developed and so on… I certainly want to have one of these communities in this area and I would purchase a lot and build there!



Now it has been about two years and nothing is happening!

I have 700,000 people who read this blog and I ask each of you to donate $5 or $10 or whatever you can afford… DO this IF you believe that there should be a legal place for tiny housers to live.  For the cost of a Starbucks coffee you could be building a community.  If you think you would want to (and can) live in this community let me know and I will be sure that whatever you donate will be considered a deposit for your lot.

What I envision is lots size would be 25×56 feet, houses would not be allowed to be larger than a 500 square foot, footprint, plus single garage.  These houses would never be allowed to grow beyond 500 square feet.  The lots would be privately owned but people would act as a collective corporation so that all services can be incorparated.  In other words, water, sewer cable, wifi, electricity and the running of the central building,  which would have guest rooms, laundry facilites and a large meeting room would be covered by a small condo fee of less than $100 a month.  It would also cover snow and garden maintenance as well as the central building maintenance.  Each house would be on the grid connected to the central system of the central house.

You do not have to want to live here, just to believe in this as a cause!


Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 18 Comments

Cloth Porch Closure

Every year Hj and I close the cloth porch at the end of fall.  This year is no exception to the rule, though we did find it difficult to do it this year because of the rain!  As my friend Colleen points out, we girls with curly hair could expand so much that we will take flight if the wind hits us!  HA!

The problem with the rain though is that I don’t want to capture water in the porch before I close it up tight, because it is then difficult to get rid of the dampness, and it turns into a sort of green house.  YUCK!


Photo stolen from Colleen Murphy (who is not the only one with Moxie)

Though it does not look like a big deal, every year the job of closing up the porch is massive!  Up and down the ladder getting everything perfect and closed so that the tarps do not billow, takes some head work as well at time.  It is not a physically difficult job with the exception of moving and climbing up and down the ladder; just annoying.

So when Hj and I were fixing the porch this year, I was also executing a plan to use a new system for this as well.

What I wanted is a UV protected (to keep algae from growing), clear, reinforced, cover that can can be easily rolled up in the spring and then rolled down in the fall.  For this I needed to purchase some items:

3x clear polyethylene 10×12 tarps @ $15.99 each =$32

1x box of 3 1/2 coated screws @ $9.99 = $10

10x 8 foot long 2×2 pressure treated boards @4.43 =$45

2x 12 foot long 2×2 pressure treated boards @ 2.00 (heavily discounted) =4

60x large heavy duty washers (already had these)

50 feet of nylon rope @$3.38 = $4

1x clear tarp tape @10.  = $10

TOTAL $105.


Should any of you also be considering closing your porch I will share my method.  Over the door, I simply removed the panel that has the cloth in it and covered it with tarp, then Hj put it back in place.  This was done with the remnant of the side tarps that had to be cut to size folded at the edge and taped using special UV and weather resistant tarp tape.

Once they were cut to fit over the existing boards (longer at the bottom and top, they were rolled onto the new 2×2 header boards and stapled on.  Then the header board was screwed in place, paying attention to put the nylon ropes up that will tie them in place in the warm months.

After the header board and ropes are up then a base board is attached to the bottom being careful to roll this up on the OUTSIDE so that the tarp is against the wall tight, the bottom is then stapled on and rolled up then secured with large washers and screws when the tarp is both: tight against the wall, AND down all the way to the bottom board.

After the top and bottom are done, it is just a matter of cutting the 2×2’s to the right size for vertical edges, then use a screw with a large washer to secure these down.  The washers are to keep the screws from going in too far and to create a larger surface tension to hold the boards so that the tarps will stay.  We also put the screws through the grommets where these were available to us.


In the spring, the vertical boards will be removed and numbered… and the tarps will be rolled up tight against the roofline.

Next fall, they will simply be unrolled and screwed down again at the bottom, and the side boards will be put back in place.  I estimate that opening and closing the porch now will be a half hour job instead of a two day ordeal.

With the cloth of the porch and the reinforcement lines of the tarps the porch is not really clear enough to see through (unfortunately); however, the porch is bright and wind free. In the sunny days it will be really warm out there as well.  We don’t heat the cloth porch, but use it for cooking, and doing dishes year around.  We also store our snow shoes there and use the  room to take off our boots and winter clothing.  It is a sort of “mud” room in the winter.



The only unfortunate thing is that I did not think of making roll up tarps much sooner!

















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The Path

For a long time I have been wanting to make a path through the ten acres of woods at Tiny House Ontario.  Nothing drastic, just a two foot wide clearing around the high land so that we can walk through without being mauled by the prickly ash we have on this land.  After all these years my cousin Kenny (who often helps me with the land here) came up with a brilliant solution.  Now, I am not suggesting that you do this.  Kenny is an expert woodsman with thirty years of experience in handling tools and therefore, knows what he can and cannot do to be safe, and was cautious with this tool of his.  He attached a circular saw blade to his large, long, gas powered edger and in 45 minutes he made a path all around the place.  He did not cut anything that was bigger than a finger width around, just prickly ash and a few random seedings.  Now you can walk the upper five acres without a bit of pause!

I tied markers along the path so that we can find the way and keep it up.

I thought you all might like to see what this looks like in the forest now.  We can wander the entire round of the land pretty quickly now, but who would want to.  Wandering is best done slow and mindfully so you can see the woodpeckers, owls and salamanders.

Don’t you agree?


Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 7 Comments

The Cloth Porch Revamp

The cloth porch was looking really super rough!  The cheap fabric that I put on there a few years ago speed installed without any thought of how it would look because we thought it would only last a year and that it would just be a job we had to do over and over again.  BUT… it lasted seven years!


The one wall that was not torn was seriously stained and grotty looking… and lets be frank here… because it was not ever installed right it simply looked like crap.

IMG_2730The other problem was that I had my 3 x great grandparents MASSIVE 12 person oak table in the porch so it was tough to move around.  Thankfully my cousin Albert took it and will refinish it, so I was able to free up some space in there!


So H and I started building panels and stretching outdoor fabric on them, in much the same way that I stretch canvases for painting on.  Build a square and start, stretching and stapling.  All the old fabric had to be removed and many staples had to be pulled out.  Then, one after another up each of these stretched sections went in.  I went with a mix of plain and floral fabric because I used remnants that were on half price (of course) and I thought it would look interesting to have it divided anyway.


So from the outside you can see through it a little bit more but it also looks nicer and matches THO better, I think.


From the front, you can hardly see the porch now because it really blends into the background.

IMG_2820 (1)

The new tiny table that I bought for $40 in a second hand store is certainly more size appropriate!  The bench we build last year and the tiny chairs I took out of the dumpster.    Anyway, it feels so much nicer in the porch for sure!  The project has not yet been finished.   When it is done I will post more about it, including the cost of the project.

What is not done yet:

The back wall.  This will be done in the same fashion but have opaque fabric (because this side faces the out-house).

The roof. This leaks (not surprising since it is made of fabric and a tarp).  I hope to finally cover it.

The cushions.  For the corner bench.  I hope to get these sewn up this week.

The door.  The one I have has finished its life cycle and I have found all of the wooden doors are equally crappy in construction.   I am wondering if anyone has one of the composite doors?  I am thinking of replacing mine with one of these… but if I am going to use that much plastic stuff I want it to last.  Looking for opinions here.




Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 4 Comments

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

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 2 Comments