Posts Tagged With: Off grid

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!

















Categories: Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How big did you say that is?

From time to time I run into people who know me, and they say they’ve heard that I moved home.  Then they ask “have you built on your land?”, or  say “I heard that you were building a house.”

They are nearly always shocked when I explain that it is built, and I am now living half the year in a 9×12 space with four dogs (albeit small dogs and with a little bedroom loft).  Interestingly, there are only two reactions to this.  The first, is that people are so curious and interested that they swing by, or at least hope to swing by, at their earliest possible convenience.  The second reaction is the people who obviously and politely excuse themselves from me, being cautious not to agitate me, and while doing so they make it clear that they have assumed that I have gone quite insane in the time lapse between when they last saw me and this very moment.  This is the reaction that initially I find to be uproariously funny, but also a bit little sad.

When I get this reaction, I make assumptions too. I assume that they have never realized that if they decided to live with a significantly less stuff, then they would not have to spend so much time at a job.  Then naturally it follows, without the need for stuff, one has a lot more free time to do the things that they love to do; as well as see the people who they love.  Ever optimistic about people, I like to think that if they heard this alternate news then they too might want to at least consider life outside of the consumer lifestyle and living in (or hoping to live in) a McMansion.   When I heard about this, I myself had to sell my 4000 square foot McMansion and move to a small 900 square foot home.  I also built Tiny House Ontario, so I really only reduced my footprint by a quarter.  I am not yet ready to make the leap to living full time at Tiny House Ontario.  My husband still works, here in Hamilton, Ontario and frankly the Tiny House is not yet ready for full time living.  I hope to have it ready in a year or two.

As a sort of disclaimer, here I want to say that, I do know that living in the 98 square feet interior of this house is not for everyone.  I also know that living off grid is not for everyone.  Probably, it would also not be much of a leap to say that a bunch of second hand junk furniture is not for everyone.  Perhaps wearing a nose ring is also is not for everyone either, I don’t have one of those.  What I mean, is that I am aware that there are lots of personal choices that we make.  I really do get that.  Even so, I wanted to show that there are other choices in how we live.

I knew some things for sure.  I knew I wanted land at home; I also knew that I wanted to build.  Even more, I wanted to build small but the silly building codes forced me into another even smaller option with standard building materials and thus my choice was made.  I followed through, and stuck to this extreme because I wanted to prove that there are options outside of the box store and one can live very, comfortably.  OK, I admit that comfortably is still a sort of a stretch in Tiny House Ontario, because there are no conveniences, but it is moving toward having comforts.  Still, even without these conveniences there are lots of really comforting things about living small.

So, for any of you who are still here (at arms distance and reading from the safety of your home), I suspect that you may be curious about the space and be wondering what it is like to live TINY.  I knew that you would want to know, so I thought I would show you what the floor space actually looks like with a person in it. Here is my model (husband) standing (somewhat unwillingly) in the kitchen area of Tiny House Ontario while I take a photo from the highest point between floors.  One of the battery operated LED lights is just in front of him, hanging on its hook, if you are wondering what is is… just a part of off grid and Tiny House living, really.

What I really want you to notice is the bamboo floor mat.  This is 5×7 feet with a few inches around it on each side, which is the floor space remaining after the kitchen, storage shelving, entryway, ladder stairs and sofa go in.  Plus, notice too that I added a comfy rocking chair, a table and two chairs into that floor space, which essentially removes a lot of floor space from play.    I was careful to get the sort of chair that could tuck in when I was yard sailing and dumpster diving for the furnishings.  I considered a table that connects to the wall and drops down as well as hanging chairs, but I liked this option best.  It makes for a bit of a tight space for two people to pass through while going in and out of the cloth porch (garden doors upper left) but even so, the table is a functional surface which I need to use often so it is worth that little space pinch.  Even with our dogs, I have found that six people can very comfortably sit here and chat as long as no one is moving around too much.

Looking at it, you would never consider this a roomy space but even so when people come to visit they are surprised because the space moves outward when you come inside.  It grows larger when you sit down and look around.  The huge windows in the place make it feel like you are part of the world around you.  It is ironic really how coming inside of something so small can make you feel like you have entered into something really huge.  I don’t know, maybe you have?

Categories: Dog, Environmentalism, Materialism, Readers, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , | 11 Comments