In order for us to get on the farm full-time now we’ve taken some drastic measures.
First of all, it’s a lot of gas driving an hour and 10 minutes each way from Saranac Lake to our little “broke down” farm in Willsboro.
We’ve been doing long weekends of farm renovations by lodging at the Villa Motel (which we are very grateful for by the way) in Keeseville this Winter.
It’s a fairly inexpensive, but even off-season, those costs start to add up after a while.
So that’s why we’re going the tiny house route.
Even tinier than what our guest cabins will be. Can you believe it?
We’re talking 8′ x 12′ and under 96 square feet.
In addition to the above, there are three main reasons:
- It gets us on the farm quicker.
- It’s cheap.
- No permit required.
A future 4th reason is that an eBook might come of this building experience, but I won’t go into too many details on that just yet.
We rent now and it’s just time to go. Spring is in the air, well for a few days in April it seemed warmer. Actually it is snowing as I write this, but you get the idea.
For a long while we’ve both been feeling the lyrics of “we got to get out of this place.”
Cue Animals song. Nuff said.
“Girl there’s a better life for me and you.”
Our fledgling tiny house is passive solar, well-insulated and air tight with just enough space for two people to hopefully not drive each other batty.
Placed right behind our garage, we can easily hook up to the electric there.
We’re building it ourselves in a classic chicken coop fashion, piece by piece.
When it’s completed, we’ll cart it out to where our posts and piers are and put it together modular-style.
Building it this way allows two people or even one person to build this by themselves. At least that’s the theory!
The walls are load-bearing, insulated and structural, like SIPS (structural insulated panels).
For water, we’ll have a simple 20 gallon tank running through a Shureflo pump and electric hot water heater. Very similar to an RV set-up.
Yes the tank will have to get filled manually, but walking to and from the pump house (where the natural spring is) will mean less trips to the gym will be necessary.
Kimmy is looking forward to this, I can assure you. (OK, not really.)
Wait until she sees the washboard I’m buying us!
Going the Tiny House Route
The excerpt below is my comments on an excellent tiny house blog I follow.
It helps to sum up the experience so far:
“I wouldn’t say that I’m cheap, but rather ‘debt-averse.’
“We’re currently building a well-insulated, passive solar 8′ x 12′ tiny house on piers with a loft and it’s going to cost us less than $3,000 turnkey.
Yes, we are doing this with some amount of salvaged, reclaimed and recycled materials and DIY ingenuity – but that’s what fires me up on the whole tiny house thing.
I’ve been collecting materials and “cultivating coincidences” for over two years to build up a house parts inventory: windows, doors, rough-sawn wood, sinks, a counter top, etc…
None of these items are brand-new, but neither are they low-quality. They are just pre-owned and un-loved 😉
Just like food waste, it is astounding how much good, usable building materials are thrown in the dumpster and landfills. Sure, you can put a monetary value on them. But as already pointed out, value is subjective.
My golden ticket wasn’t so much Craigslist and Freecycle, but befriending a local carpenter. I told him what I needed and whenever he is on a job – he puts good items aside for me versus pitching them in the trash.
A case of beer and a few handshakes later, I got some decent materials this way. Having a truck helps of course.
At our current phase in life, we cannot afford to hire skilled experts. But even if I could, I don’t think I would go that route. The value of sweat-equity and hand-crafting something is a key part of our story.
This DIY tiny house will enable us to put our time and funds into renovating an 80 acre farm so that we can get that business off the ground. The only way the farm will work and keep us gainfully employed is by being debt-free.
Like chickens are a gateway drug to deeper farming exploits, this tiny house is our gateway to entrepreneurship and a modicum of financial freedom.”
More to come in the next few weeks… a tiny house, an eBook, actually living on the farm full-time?
Find out next time… in the journey!