End of October, 2014 update

As you can imagine, a lot has happened in the last month since we moved up into a trailer on our property. We’re still frantically trying to get the trailer winterized for living, but we have had some big set backs due to weather. I don’t mind working out in the rain, but somethings you just can’t do when it’s wet outside.

We have had some serious rain since we got up here. Getting a full dry day is tough. Getting a full day of sun is even rarer. We do what we can when the opportunity comes.

For instance, clearing more trees. We need to clear more trees so we can get more sun (when it is out), so we did some of that. I don’t have a picture of me in action with the chainsaw, but I do have a picture of us burning the brush.

BurningBrush

Not very exciting. However this was neat. We found this growing beside some trees. It looks really weird, and kinda creepy.

DollsEyes

It turns out this is a plant commonly known as “dolls eyes”. The berries are white with little black spots so it’s definitely an apt name.

With all of the rain we’ve had, our driveway was turning into a muddy quagmire, so we had to get another load of gravel and spread it around. Here is the before picture.

Once we spread it out, it looked like this.

You can read about the finer details of that operation over on Kat’s blog: The continuing evolution of where we live…

I’ve also been going crazy with spray foam insulation, trying to block up all of the drafts, which seems to be an unending process. I also have to say, when they say wear gloves, do it. I had to take my gloves off for a second as I was in a complicated, cramped spot under one of the slide-outs on the trailer, and I got some on one of my fingers. It doesn’t wash off so easy. I had to wait a few days for it to wear off.

We also snagged one of those temporary vehicle shelters that was on sale at Canadian Tire.

Kat put it together and you can read about it in her post Shelter Me.

So, Dave, what have you been doing? you may be asking. All that stuff described above was mostly Kat. Well, I’ve been working on heating. Specifically, installing a wood stove in the trailer.

Now, that might seem a bit risky or downright dangerous to some, but let’s consider the options for heat. Electrical heat is out of the question. Oil and natural gas are out of the question. It really boils down to either wood, or propane. Our trailer does have a propane furnace, but it is sub optimal for several reasons: it takes a long time to heat up the trailer and it burns a lot of propane in doing that; secondly, the blower uses a tonne of electricity which we are short on these days. Also, we are only running off a pair of 30 lbs tanks so there isn’t a lot of reserve fuel there.

When it came down to it, wood seemed like the much better option. For one thing, we have a tonne of wood on the property. Yes, it’s not cut, but that is easily remedied with some work. “But won’t it be green wood?” you might be thinking. Not if you only cut dead trees, and we have enough of those around to accumulate quite a pile.

Some other things that led us to installing a wood stove is that some friends of ours up here have already done it and had it going for over a year now. We also were given a free wood stove from the lady who runs the local bakery ( really good stuff here) so that was a big bonus. Techincally, it’s only a loaner, but she did say we could keep it as long as we needed it.

We did, however need to go out and buy all of the chimney parts and figure out how to put it all together. When I was buying the stuff, I mentioned I was installing a wood stove in a trailer and the guy at the hardware store said, “Oh yeah, I did that with my trailer a few years ago. Works great.” Seems we’re not all that crazy.

Anyway, I have to say that I have never done anything like this and it was intimidating. Cutting holes in the roof and having leaks is not a good thing. So I did a lot of research and I have to say, a lot of the stuff I came across was very lacking in the details I wanted to know. Either the diagrams on the website were inadequate, or the people doing the youtube videos were completely annoying. One video I watched had a guy filming a piece of triple insulated chimney pipe and proceeded to tell us four times how it was rated for 2100 degrees. That took three and a half minutes and didn’t show me anything useful.

There were other videos where it went something like this: “So here is where we’re going to cut the hole in the ceiling and install the pipe adapter.” Great, awesome… cut to next scene and the whole thing is done and installed where the guy talks about it some more. I want to see you doing it! I don’t want a verbal description. I can read that in the instructions. There were a lot of videos that were like that.

Anyway, I eventually got a day where it wasn’t raining and decided it was time to get it done. So I cut a hole in the roof off the trailer where the chimney would be coming up. It’s at the back of the trailer. If you want to know the gory details, I can fill you in, but for this post, I’ll give you the summary.

Once you have the hole in the roof, you need to install the pipe adapter. This is a big ring with a socket where an adapter that will transition between your indoor stove pipe and the outside chimney will be placed. Here is a picture of me staring through the whole in the roof whilst installing said adapter.

InstallingChimney01

That black ring you see holds the chimney adapter in place and provides an airspace around it for fire safety. Once the ring is nailed in and secured, you plunk the adapter into its socket and then attach the triple insulated chimney pipe to it. It’s pretty simple: drop it into place, then turn it so it locks into position.

Up on the roof, you need to install flashing around the chimney. This comes preformed, so you slip it over the chimney pipe and nail it down. Here you can see I have put it in place and I’ve drawn around it so I know where it will be when I attach it. I did this so I know the boundary of where the caulking should go.

InstallingChimney02

Yes, caulking. I got this special caulking for high temperatures and such (it was in with all of the other chimney parts at the hardware store). It’s an interesting red colour and has some pretty high temperature tolerances, both in the negatives and positives.

Also, on top of the flashing goes another metal ring called a storm collar. This is to prevent rain and snow from getting through the vents in the flashing. Here is a picture of it all nailed down and caulked. Kat is doing a final inspection. With something like this, you check each other’s work 😉 It also has the chimney cap on it too.

InstallingChimney03

After that, we had to work out how to connect the wood stove to the chimney. Unfortunately, it wasn’t straight up, as that would have been ideal. We had to put a bend in the pipe as otherwise it would have taken too much room. We also put fire bricks under it and a heat shield behind it to protect the wall. In the end, it looked like this.

InstallingWoodStove01

We made quite a mess getting it installed, but it was SO worth it. With the cold weather we’ve been having recently, it’s made a huge difference in our comfort level. Not only ours, but the cats as well. Here they are, basking in the new found warmth.

BaskingInTheWarmth

Hmmmm, warm kittens. It’s a good thing, because if they aren’t warm, they like to do crazy things, like become back vampires.

BackVampire

Don’t bend over, or you might get attacked.

Well, that’s pretty much it for now. We still have a shelter over the trailer to build, a toilet house and do some straw bale work so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, I’ll leave you with this little premonition of things to come.

FirstSnow2014

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