Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Malcolm Forbes had the right idea...

"I made my money the old-fashioned way. I was very nice to a wealthy relative right before he died.
- Michael Forbes

I know, I know. I've been MIA here for a minute. I've received several emails recently asking for updates. People at work are calling me out on it too. While its great to know that people are interested and ACTUALLY reading my writing, I'm laggin it and I know it. 

So, here's the deal...saving is tough. I've got a plan in place but it's slow going. I searched all around my family for a wealthy relative to pull a Michael Forbes but, alas, everyone else is broke too! 

Here's where I'm looking for your help (no, I'm not asking for donations! paypal account is open and easily accessible). As I mentioned earlier, I plan to purchase my trailer from Tumbleweed because they deliver it already built to the specifications needed. If I buy it elsewhere there will be additional welding or modifications required. I have no welding experience. Also the frame for the sub-floor will already be included with a Tumbleweed trailer. Both of these factors will save me time and energy as well as peace of mind knowing the foundation of my tiny house will be sound. However, this first expense is considerable. I'm looking at over $6,000 including delivery. Incidentally, I looked at driving to Colorado to pick up the trailer instead of paying the $1,300 for delivery but gas + hotel + time = no saving. If I were to do that, it would by solely for the purpose of a quick road trip with my buddies. That's it. 

One of my friends suggested buying a trailer locally and just finding a welder to make the modifications., I have no experience with welding or working with metal at all. When it comes to things outside my area of expertise, I typically am okay with paying a little extra to have a professional make sure it's done right. Especially when it comes to what will be the foundation for my house. Tumbleweed will make sure the trailer is sound as a trailer AND that it meets the standards for my house. That being said, I'm also not above widening my own area of expertise if it is worth my time to do so. What are your thoughts on this? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please share with me any experience you have. By the way, that same friend who suggested using a local welder later admitted to only rushing me so that I can hurry up and help him build his tiny house! Can't blame him though. :) 

Other than that, the compost toilet experiment continues successfully. I am still using it as my only toilet receptacle. I have since emptied it 4 times with number 5 coming up soon. It's not bad at all. I went ahead and built a fully enclosed frame to house my compost heap out of 2x4s and chicken wire and it's working well so far. It's dimensions are 4x3x3. 

Compost pile frame plans
Ready to get to work

Finished product
Each time I add material to the pile, I dig down into the middle and then cover the addition with straw. The last time I dug down into it, steam and heat came bellowing out! I was excited (probably a bit too excited). That means the anaerobic process is working! I was surprised that it was already starting to give off an earthy smell too. I was expecting more of a toilet smell when I opened the pile up. 

In addition to the contents of my toilet, I also add table scraps and any chicken related items as well. The last time I processed a batch of birds, I tossed all the entrails and feathers in there and experienced no issues odor wise as long as I covered everything well with straw. 

However, the other day when I went out I did notice an unpleasant odor and a problem with flies (which makes me glad that I decided to place the pile all the way in the back of my property away from the houses). Both of those things, though, I credit to the recent addition of Cotton Ball, my Cornish Cross hen that was pardoned from the dinner table last year and recently keeled over. I don't think I covered her up good enough. I also feel like I need to reread the Humanure Handbook to see what it says about the presence of maggots in a pile. It seems like they would be a natural part of the decomposition process and of course where you have maggots, you WILL have flies but I'll have to look into it again. 

One thing I am thinking about switching up is the use of peat moss. While it does a good job of masking the smell of the contents of my compost toilet in my bedroom, it has its own smell that I'm not crazy about. Everyone says it smells fine, but I'm the one who has to live with it and I don't like it. So, I was able to find a sawmill that is near by and as it turns out, they will allow me to come down and collect as much saw dust as I need. As long as it's not from chemically treated wood, saw dust is a perfectly acceptable element to use in the toilet and can be composted just fine. I'm also hoping it will have a more pleasant aroma. I haven't found the time to make the trip down just yet but I'm hoping to test that out soon.   

And there you have it. That's all for now. Please feel free to comment. Thanks for stoppin' by!

-Big Jerm