December 2017 Wrap Up

Well, here we are in December already. Things are moving pretty quickly, as we try to get ready for our trip and the holidays at the same time. I thought I would take a few moments to wrap up things here at the trailer and let all of you good folk see how things are doing here.

This post will also serve as a test. As we are heading to Indonesia in January, Kat and I will be updating our blogs from there as well. However, we are not taking our laptops as they are rather expensive and we would hate to have anything happen to them. So what we did instead is we bought a keyboard for our tablet computer, which I am trying to use right now to type this out. The keyboard is quite a bit smaller than your standard one, so is taking some getting used to.

In any event, things up here have progressed pretty much as one might expect at this time of year. It gets colder, things start to freeze and eventually you get snow.

Going back to November 10th, we had a particularly frosty night and woke up to rather stiff looking pond.

It wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it look pretty neat, none the less.

The driveway received a light dusting of snow as well.

By this point we had already put up the plastic shield on the front of the trailer. It can be a bit of a pain to put up, but it is entirely worth it as it gives us a nice clear walk way over to the smurf house.

Speaking of the smurf house (composting toilet room), unlike the plastic shield in front of the trailer which we take down in the spring every year, the shield on the smurf house has never been taken down or replaced since we put it up. This will be it’s third winter and the 6mil plastic still looks to be in great shape. All we did this year was detach the one side and tighten it up a bit. People have told us that 6mil would deteriorate quickly, but so far that has not been the case.

Of course, it wasn’t much longer after that we received our first real snow. This picture was taken on the morning of Nov 20th.

A day early, in my books, as usually it is the 21st (my birthday) when we wake up to the first snow. Of course, if you’re going to mention the first-snow, there better be a picture of some trees with snow on them.

Fast forward to Dec 11th and things are looking even more winter-like.

Interestingly enough, that evening it began snowing again and didn’t stop until early morning on Dec 13th.

We have our bird feeder up now as well and the bluejays and chikadees are regular visitors, especially if you put peanuts out. They can clear out the whole feeder in one day if you do that.

Random picture of snowy evergreen.

Here you can see the trailer, with smoke coming out of the chimney and the solar panels cleared of all white stuff. That is a regular chore in the morning as you want to grab as much sun as you can, what with the days being so short and cloudy most of the time.

To help with the cloudy days, we bought a new generator as our old one died last February. The new one isn’t quite as nice as the old one, and it is definitely louder (unfortunately), but it is a bit more powerful and it gets the job done nicely and quickly, so we can’t really complain.

Lastly we have a shot down the snowy driveway after it was ploughed.

We’ll be heading out on Jan 2nd, but we will be having a friend of ours (and brave soul) come to stay at the trailer to take care of the kittens while we are away. The only small snag we have is that he can’t start until the 4th so we still need to find someone to take care of the cats those first two nights. If you or anyone you know wants to experience winter life in a trailer for two nights in January, please let us know.

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Something fun happened on the way to 2018

Being an Earthship Academy student, I often get emails from Earthship Biotecture about upcoming builds going on all around the world. Most of these are sent with the intention of finding people to come and help build Earthships.

On November 13, 2017 I received an email from Earthship Biotecture indicating they weren’t looking for people to build an Earthship, they were looking for people to occupy one. For a month. In January 2018.

The idea behind this being that they just built this Earthship back in March 2017 and they want to know how it is performing. The duties include taking temperature measurements several times a day, doing some basic maintenance and evaluating in general how well it is performing. Oh did I mention where this Earthship is?

It’s on a small island in Indonesia.

If you click on the picture above it will take you to Google maps so you can explore the island yourself.

Kat and I thought this would be an *amazing* opportunity, so we applied.

We found out ten days later we had been accepted. Last night we had a skype meeting with Mike Reynolds (Earthship inventor) and we go the low-down on what is expected of us while we are there.

Spending the major portion of Canadian winter on a tropical island doesn’t seem like a terrible burden. I think we’ll be able to managed it.

Oh, and to make matters even worse, we decided that since we were over in that part of the world already, we might as well tack on a trip down to Australia while we’re there, just to make life that much more exciting.

We will have internet access on the island, so you can bet there will be daily blog updates on our adventure while down there.

Adventure awaits!

New Kitchen Ceiling

Just in case you thought we were finished all of our trailer projects for this year, we have one more to share.

Kat was never fond of how the paneling on the ceiling turned out when we redid the kitchen area in the trailer. We had put up some thin panels and painted them white. It was fine and it worked, but some of the seams were unseemly, as it were.

In any event, after we refinished the bedroom area in the trailer last year with pine tongue and groove boards, there was quite the contrast between the kitchen side and the bedroom side. So we decided to rip out the kitchen ceiling and redo it to match.

Here is the start on the south side, working towards the north.

We worked in sections, stripping off a row of the panels and then putting up the tongue and groove boards as we went. The first section was a bit slow as I was working by myself for that part, but Kat joined in for the other sections so it went much quicker.

Here is the start of the second section, just after we had ripped off the ceiling panels.

We were anxious to get that center section done in one day as that is where all of the lights are mounted. Not that we haven’t spent time with no lights before, but it would be better if we could get passed that all at once.

I was doing all of the cutting outside while Kat was doing most of the nailing inside. We would both help to put the new pieces in place, as they can be a bit unruly, especially the longer ones.

We were successful in completing the center section in only one day, though with the daylight hours dropping as we approach winter it was getting a bit dark in the trailer when we got to the end.

With nothing to do on a rainy day, I took it upon myself to rip out the rest of the ceiling on the north side. There are no power tools involved so you don’t use up any battery power getting that done.

It wasn’t long after that we hunkered down and filled in the rest of it, leaving us with quite the nice new ceiling.

We even put some of the pine around the inset for the vent box.

There are still a few minor details to take care of in terms of putting in the trim pieces, but the major work is now done. The hardest part was ripping out the old ceiling. It was stapled and glued so we made quite a mess pulling it down. Then we had to chisel off the glue and any remnants that remained before we could start putting the new stuff on. Your arms do get tired after you have been holding them over your head for quite a while.

All in all, it wasn’t a necessary change, but it sure does make the place look nicer.

Kitchen Counter, reprise

Okay, way back in July I posted about finishing the kitchen counter around the sink. In case you forget, this is what it looked like:

As you can see from that picture, there was still some work to do below the counter: namely build some drawers and cupboards. The drawers were finished fairly soon after the counter but we had a few delays with the finishing of the whole thing.

Let me share that particular adventure.

After we had put the counter in, I immediately went to work on the new drawers. I used the same technique I came up with while working on the kitchen cabinet. So it wasn’t long before I had the basic drawers constructed and ready for a fitting test.

Here is Fizgig trying out the first drawer.

He had to try it while it was pulled out as well. He matches the wood pretty well.

The high back on that drawer will make more sense in a moment. Moving along, I made the other two drawers that were to be installed above that first one. We put them in and it all looked good.

Of course, after that they headed out to the staining department. Our staining department (Kat) was also busy working at her new job this summer, so finding time for her to get some of these projects completed meant things were delayed more than once.

In any event, the drawer interiors were all stained a nice red and put back into position.

At this point, I also installed the interior hardware for that bottom drawer.

Yes, we made it a drawer for all of our baking trays and cutting boards. It is awesome because those types of things are a pain in the butt to put in a stack in a cupboard. If you want one close to the bottom, you have to shuffle through the entire stack. We knew when we had put in a drawer like this when we lived in Ottawa that having a similar drawer in the trailer would be really handy.

After that, we needed to put the drawer faces on along with handles and knobs. We also needed cut the pieces for the cupboards, put their edges on and finish them as well. You wouldn’t think that would take very long, but it did.

The drawer fronts didn’t take too long, but the cupboards sat around for quite a while. Part of that was Kat working, distractions of other projects and the fact that several measuring mistakes were made. The cupboards were cut to fit the space, but once you put the hinges on it forces them to sit within a certain small area. I ended up having to trim and redo two of the cupboards because they ended up being too big to fit once mounted to the hinges.

This also meant that Kat had to refinish the edges that I trimmed, which delayed things even further. As a result, it was the third week of October before we reached this stage.

We finished all three new cupboards and everything looks rather nice now.

There is that small space between the center pair of cupboards and the one on the right that needs to have something put in it. I do have a plan for that, but as it is cosmetic, it may wait until next spring as we do have some other things that we are currently working on.

I should mention that the cupboard on the right holds a little secret: I mounted our recycling bin to it and it is hinged at the bottom.

You pull it out and have easy access to the recycle bin, and it’s also kept out of sight which helps to reduce the clutter. You can see I put in some stops to prevent the cupboard door from dropping to the floor (they’re just below the white recycle bin).

In addition to this, while we’re getting caught up on things, remember that bed frame with the drawers we built last year? It looked something like this:

It sat like that for quite a while, with no faces on the drawers. That has now been resolved as well.

Kat painted them green and I put them on sometime in August. It’s so nice to have handles on those things, having scraped the flesh off my fingers a few times trying to get the drawers open without handles.

That gets us caught up with the kitchen and bedroom. We have a couple of other things going on, but time is rapidly running out. It is getting colder, we run the fire quite a bit now and we’ve even had a bit of the white stuff.

We’ve also started into more cloudy weather, so we’ve been trying to conserve our solar power to make it last as long as we can. This means no long days using power tools.

Winter is coming. Are you ready?

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