My Tiny House on Wheels

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New Tiny House Freedom found in Spur, Texas

Posted by Jeremy on July 20, 2014 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Hey everyone :)  Check out this new site where tiny house freedom has become a reality.  The web address is:  http://www.spurfreedom.com .  This is what Spur Texas has to say about the tiny house movement:

Spur, Texas is a classic West Texas town on the wide open plains. We are a community of about 1,000 people who are excited about the tiny house revolution! Spur is proud to announce that anyone who wants to build a tiny house is welcome in our town.

 

The tiny home movement in the United States is gaining recognition as an innovative way to reduce costs and live in a more sustainable way. But people interested in this exciting opportunity to re-invent their lives have encountered permitting obstacles in towns and cities around the country.

 

Well, here in Spur, we want to encourage people to consider our town for their tiny house lifestyle. We are crafting a city resolution that clears the way for anyone to come to Spur and build a tiny house without any requirement to obtain special permitting.

 

Isn't that a wonderful thing?  I have searched the country for a couple years now it seems, trying to find land to place my tiny house on.  Everywhere I searched however, all I got was refusals based on outdated codes that no longer serve the greater needs of the citizens.  My hat goes off to the people of Spur Texas.  These are innovators, a people who will be known for creating the first Tiny house friendly city in the world. 

Living in the land of the not so free :(

Posted by Jeremy on April 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (3)

I've been staying at a friends house here in mid Florida so that I could be close to the VA Hospital in Tampa where I'm am being treated for some physical ailments. Not only have I been diagnosed with irreparable nerve damage, but I also have a condition called Atrial Fibrillation which is one of the main causes of heart attack and stroke. For 5 to 7 hrs a day I can get around and do the things I need to do, then my system breaks down and I have to endure enormous amounts of pain from the waist down. I am forced to take opiate pain relievers at night so I can sleep. The heart condition is so bad that I have A Fib episodes almost daily, some lasting through the night into the next day.  I am being prepped for a surgical procedure called an "Ablation" which is quite invasive. They enter into your right atrium with a number of cables and sensors and poke a hole through into the left atrium. Wherever they find a rogue electrical impulse, they zap it killing the tissue of that area of the heart.  I'm on a blood thinner to prevent clots being formed during these episodes but need the surgery.

Anyway, I said that to say this. As a veteran of the armed forces, I enlisted so that I could do my part to ensure the freedom of my fellow country men. Recently, I found out that my fellow country men want to deny me the right to live in a safe and secure tiny house protected from the elements because their codes don't allow it. I can have my house parked where it is but I can't hook up to the water and sewer which is just 2 feet away. My friends 4 bedroom house is occuppied by his family and there would be no room for me. They are good friends but they can only do so much. They don't want me to have to leave. However, I may be forced to. I need to stay at least until the Veteran's Hospital can perform the surgery and  do what they can for my heart. But even then, where would I go. I have to be near to a VA Hospital for the rest of my life because I have to be examined regularly because of the pain meds that they give me, that by law, they can only give it to me a month at a time. And, of course, my heart will need to be closely monitored. Every few weeks my cumidin levels have to be checked so my blood doesn't become too thin or thick.

So the conundrum... What does a man have to do to be free anymore. Why do the people who's rights verterans have defended have the right to put them on the street when there is a perfectly warm, safe and attractive home that they can afford to live in available to them. I dare say I would never enlist again for those reasons, knowing what I know now. The stress that society puts upon us is often more than we can bear. I would ask all who read this if they wouldn't mind going to the white house web site (www.whitehouse.gov) and send an email to the president asking whether anything can be done to help the poor, homeless and disable folks in our country gain a bit of dignity by allowing them the right to live in their own home, on their own property without being told no because of thoughtless codes, mostly inspired by banks, mortgage companies and the need for more taxes that municipalities mostly waste. We are humans too. We bleed and feel pain and emotions like everyone else. If I am force to pull my tiny house away from here, I don't know what will become of me. The price of gas will force me of the road before I can get out of the state. The amount of money I receive on a monthly basis isn't enough to get me very far, and NO, I'm not on welfare and I do not receive food stamps. I survive on disability insurance income. I bought and paid for that insurance so now it is rightfully mine.  If anyone can help. If anyone has any advice, or knows of a place that I can park my tiny house without be forced to leave, please let me know.  I wish you all well.

New Closet Doors

Posted by Jeremy on August 9, 2011 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (3)

Hold it - Hold it - Hold it....  Well. I decided that the first closet doors I made are well.... crappy, so I decided to make better ones and include them on all four openings.  I cut them to size and polyurathaned them today.  Tomorrow I will install hinges and knobs and then mount them.  I thnk they will look a lot nicer.  I also installed my solar connections using 8 AWG getting rid of the 16 awg stuff I used before.  As I learn, I adapt.  That trial by error stuff ends up costing more money tho.  Bummer :(  Anyway, I will post the new pictures of the closet tower doors tomorrow night. :)

(Update)  The photos are up.  Go to pics # 203 - 205.

Just when you thought you were finished...

Posted by Jeremy on July 24, 2011 at 12:01 AM Comments comments (2)

Well, I've decided to fabricate a screen door for my tiny house.  I've put the frame together and have given it some sub coat and finish paint.  Also bought some hardware to install when finished.  Hope it turns out :)  Stay tune for pictures.

Almost Finished Woohoo!

Posted by Jeremy on July 16, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (2)

Maybe a touch of polyurathane here and a touch there, oh... and a little trimwork in the kitchen and I'll be finished.  Oh wait.... there is that pesky thing with the hot water heater.  Everything works fine but the direct spark to the burner for propane ignition doesn't seem to be working.  Or, maybe I'm not letting it do its thing long enough.  I will be more patient tomorrow and see what happens.  They say that it may take several trys the first time just to clear the line of air.  They mention a ECO switch that has to be reset after the third time, but haven't found any such thing yet.  There is a soft rubber cover behind the grill (outside access) and it says reset but I don't feel any switch behind it when I push on it.  Humm...  I was able to light my burner on the drop in range and little fireplace.  That was sweet :).  I lack the funds to get a sufficient Inverter and Charge Controller for my solar panals so that will have to wait.  I bought one of those 45 watt kits from Harbor Freight and although the panals themselves seem to work fine, the control center that came with it went dead on me.  It's a bit fragile I think.  I saw a 1000 watt Inverter (modified sine) at the Tractor supply store for $139.  That would probably be sufficient for my application.  I have also seen charge controllers for about $80.  These bits and pieces eat away at my monthly income and only hold me back from getting on the road. :(  Anyway, little things like some kind of window coverings (blinds, shades etc.) with maybe some vallances and those nifty littlej puffy chairs that Jay Shaffer shows in his little house would be a nice addition.  Also, a few theme worthy and tastful wall pictures or something just to make it look homey (stuff that won't fall or the wall and break during transport) would be nice too.  My sister passed away a few years ago with cancer.  She was a great interior designer.  Wish she were here.  She'd fix it up nice for me.  I'm a clutz when it comes to the finery's of living.  Hehe

What's next?  Ahhh... I'm starting to feel the stress (sigh).  Where to take and make my home.  Home is where the heart is, is a true saying, but my heart can be found where ever I am at so again location location location is the question.  All that's needed is a spot where you feel safe.  I don't ask for much, just a little piece of heaven would be nice.  A little corner called paradise sounds heavenly too.  A few nice people and a couple of friends and you are there wherever there may be.  Our good friend who calls himself the "solar man", (wrote a great book called "Off the Grid" by Lamar Alexander) a true homesteader if there ever were one,  told me not to jump on ebay to buy an acre of land, but to travel the country by way of the many BLM's and public camping facilities.  If you find a place that you really feel good about, then search that area for a piece of land that suits ya.  Probably good advice.  Until I become a seasoned RV'er I fear that truckstops and Walmarts may be my destiny LOL.  But why I ask you... after jumping into the tiny house on a trailer bandwagon, did they have to raise the price of gas to an unbearable expense?  Don't they know that it takes a thirsty gas hog to pull a tiny house on a trailer around?  Well, I don't have to pay rent and I don't have to pay too high a tax, but I still have to give it away to the oil companies.  Alas!  When do we ever win?  Non-the-less I suppose I'll see you on the road somewhere down the line where tiny house meets tiny house.  I'll see yours and you'll see mine and maybe for a moment, we'll feel free :).  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

I will be leaving this site up til next year no matter what.  I think I may use it as a blog to chronicle my adventures.  We'll see.  I may put photos up if I find a place that is photo worthy and hopefully you all can send me emails and comments.  I think that would be rather cool.  If you have any ideas about all this, please let me know.

Hope you all have enjoyed watching my progress.  It wasn't as easy as I hoped it would have been, but it was a labor of love.  All in all I'm proud of the way it turned out.  I'm in debt and I'll be living on the edge for awhile, but soon enough it will be paid for and I"ll be able to rest a little easier.  Life is short as you well know, but for awhile I'll be able to call this one my home.  Hope you all find your home also and I hope it will be filled with joy and peace.  In this tiny stretch of space time there is a place for us all, so let us all find our place and make it count.  Don't worry about tomorrow and waste no time contemplating the past, for right now is all that matters and this moment is all there is.  :)


Grokking the Gas or "Where does all the propane go when you're not looking?"

Posted by Jeremy on July 8, 2011 at 10:52 PM Comments comments (0)

Today was an eventful day.  I tested all my propane connections.  I had a few leaks that I quickly fixed.  After being sure there were no more leaks, I lit each appliance to make sure they were functional.  First the little 2 burner gas range.  It worked!  Then the fireplace.  Piece of cake.  Finally the 6 gallon hot water heater.  It has an indoor direct spark igniter.  The light indicating "reset" was on so I knew there was power to the 12 volt switch, but no ignition.  The instruction plate said to turn off, then back on, then off and then back off.... etc.  No ignition (arrg).  So.... when I finish here I believe I will reread the manual to see what I may be missing.  Lalalala.... Time has passed.... I read the manual and found that I may have missed a grounding "must do".  I will have to check that out.  Dang it!

Weight of my tiny house.

Posted by Jeremy on June 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (5)

I took a maiden voyage with my tiny house yesterday.  It was pretty smooth sailing except I had never had to deal with electric brakes and a brake module before.  For the first few miles I was getting horrible gas mileage (around 4 mpg - Eek!).  I wasn't sure why my gas hog of a truck was being such a hog!  I did believe that my trailer brakes were a bit tight so I kept playing with the controls for intensity and timing and finally got the mileage up around 8 mpg.  I don't think I have them set just right yet so I will continue to tweak them as I learn about them.  I did the ol' sniff the brakes thing to see if they were hot.  They were a little warm but not hot hot.  If anyone has experience with brake module adjusting, I would love to here from you.  I think I should get up to maybe 10 or 11 mpg.  What do you think? 

Anyway, the purpose of the trip in the first place was to find out the weight of my house on wheels.  People kept telling me that it had to be extremely heavy and that the trailer may not be able to handle that kind of weight.  So, I went to a nearby truck plaza with a Certified Scales and got it weighed.  The grand total was a whopping 5,560 lbs.  I will be adding my little refrigerator, and RV Toilet and countertops.  otherwise that's the extent of the weighty items.  I imagine no more than 150 to 200 more pounds if I add a table and some seating. Oh... and how about that mattress? :) 

Also, I am happy to report that nothing shook, rattled or rolled during the journey.  I drove upwards of 60, but averaged 55 on the highway.  I had a small picture frame leaned up against the wall that I forgot to remove before the trip.  When I got home, I found it still leaned against the wall unmoved and unscaithed. :)

Installing switch for grid to solar and solar to grid

Posted by Jeremy on May 28, 2011 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (4)

I have been brainstorming on how to internallize my solar system controls and inverter while leaving the battery outside.  I only needed to connect the terminals to the exterior tongue end of the little house's trailer but have been unable to find such terminals in any hardware store or DIY building supply company. Then I thought... why do I have to have a specific type of terminal.  Why can't I just use a weatherproof AC outlet system to make those connections.  I thought it through and couldn't find any reason why it wouldn't work.  As soon as the weather gives me a break I will be able to test it all out and see if it will, in fact, work.  I have placed some picks of what I'm trying to do on page 3 of the photos.

I've also been looking for a switch box to run both power sourses (solar and grid) into with one out cable to the breaker box.  This way, with one flip of the switch, I can turn the grid off and the Solar on (visa versa).  I have been unable to find one.  My only option so far is to install a regular light switch (2 in 1) fixture and break the connect between them so that each switch would operate independantly with its own power supply (solar or grid).  The only problem hear is the need to make sure that you never have both switches in the on position at one time. that could cause a feedback of the AC power into the solar lines and cause damage.  I will always "secure" one in the off position to remind me to turn the other completely off before turning the other on. I will continue to look for a one switch system.

I am NOT an electrician!  So, do not do what I do until you know that it is acceptable for you and your safety.  I am experimenting.  If you have dbetter, or wiser advice please share those with me.  Simply stated:  "Show me some LOVE" :)

UPDATE!   Well, I kept thinking, which I find tiring sometimes (hehe) and it came to me that the risk would be too great if I were to double switch the grid and solar connection.  Like I said, I am no electrician, but giving myself some time to think, I realized that if even for a split second both switches were to be in the on position, I could be throwing 240 volts of electriciy into my house and system.  Thinking hurts sometimes, but the alternative would hurt even worse. Again... it is a learning experience. :)

Building the kitchen cabinets

Posted by Jeremy on May 13, 2011 at 9:49 PM Comments comments (3)

I am presently working on the cabinet faces for my tiny kitchen.  I think they are going to look pretty cool.  I'll post pics in a few days.  It has been rainy for days... no... weeks!  I'm having a hard time getting much done in the rain lol.


New from Alex and Jay at Tiny house talk

Posted by Jeremy on May 3, 2011 at 10:13 PM Comments comments (0)

This guy Alex is really doing a bang up job over at TinyHouseTalk.com .  Alex is doing interviews with builders like myself and other more important people within the tiny house community that I believe you will find interesting.  Jay Shafer is his first.  You should check it out.  I found it to be quite enjoyable.  Alex, whom as far as I know, has not built his own little house yet but has created this incredible website chalked full of information and resourses to help guide the tiny house enthusiasts along their journey towards downsizing.  You can watch his Skype Video interview with Jay at the following link.  Check it out.  And while you're there, sign up for his newsletter.  http://www.tinyhousetalk.com/2011/05/02/tiny-house-interview-with-jay-shafer/


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