Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

Today was quite a day in the life of homesteading.  It started with retrieving a blue bird from our wood stove pipe.  The tulle leftover from my daughter's wedding has been used to catch birds three times.  Before, a bird would get completely down to the firebox.  This time, we had to raise the flue, as he had kicked down dust and creosote that blocked his way into the firebox.  He was quite happy to fly away once I carried him outside.

Of course there were usual chores such as making sure my husband had a lunch and to go breakfast, dishes, laundry, and mopping the floors along with all the extra dishes from rendering the pig fat.  I rendered the leaf fat inside and the back fat outside.  I don't think the heat was low enough on the fish fryer, even though I turned the propane as low as possible.  To lessen the time/electricity used/propane used, I first cut the fat into strips, then ran it through the food processor.  It only took about an hour to render.  It wasn't the best way if you really want cracklins, but we didn't care, so I gave all the little left over pieces to the chickens.  I got about two pints of rendered leaf fat (for cooking), and enough rendered back fat for about a batch and a half of soap, so I was happy.  Then there was the continuation of the work on the smokehouse for smoking the bacon and hams once they are finished with the salting process.

Today I dug out and poured the concrete base for the fire pit.  That was quite the adventure.  Once I finished digging and leveling the area I wanted to pour the concrete, I mixed one 80 pound bag of concrete at the time.  With the first one, when I started stirring the concrete mix with water, the axle came out of the wheel on the wheelbarrow.  I had to haul it to the hole to dump it in (without a working wheel) before I frantically had to fix the wheelbarrow before the concrete set up.  I ended up needing only two bags of concrete for this space.

Once I finished that, I went to put up the wrenches in the tool kit, and I made the mistake of closing the wrong side, so all the sockets rolled out and went behind the workbench.  Then I had to crawl on my belly and use the broom to try to get them recovered.  I somehow tore my jeans in the process.

The two pigs that we grew (Red and Freckles) grew well.  One was 406 pounds at processing time, and one was 377 pounds.  Our freezer is overflowing with the beef and pork, and we ended up borrowing freezer space from a neighbor.  I wish I could pull out some pictures, but my computer crashed.  We didn't have any trouble getting them to go into the horsetrailer for transport.  We just started feeding them several days ahead in the horse trailer.

Still, life is good.

March 18, 2019

So this last six weeks, I had volunteered to help someone re-design a 23 foot rv as a temporary living space.  I came up with lots of new ideas and used some old ones from Pinterest.  I learned alot, stretched a lot, and figured out that while I might want to redesign another RV, I would prefer to do it on my own.  I may want to buy one, redesign it, and then sell it.  That way, there are no misunderstandings about who is to do what when, and no waiting time when someone else's schedule get's busy and they can't do the part that your part is dependent on.

At any rate, a flaw for living in an RV, is that they are really not designed to be lived in, they are designed to stack as many sleeping spaces in as possible.  When you are planning a living space, you want to go back in and take out the extra sleeping spaces and other spaces that are not needed, and put back in those that are desperately needed.  In this RV, we took out some partial walls in a very tight bedroom space, a dinette that jutted way out into the middle space, a huge closet, the water tank, and a bunk area.  We added a table/bar, a huge storage area, a pantry, a new closet, and added about 10 inches to the bathroom.  While the RV is not quite finished at this point, much of the design part is complete.

First the storage wall was placed to take advantage of an oddly angled wall, and the outside storage was made into inside storage.  It is just behind the futon that will serve as a couch and a bed, that has storage drawers below it (not visible in the picture.  The storage wall will serve as a table for your coffee cup or whatever, and also has a hinged lid.  Trash cans will fit in it nicely to categorize the storage.

Secondly, the dinette table that took up too much space and was too short to be a bed for adults, really, was taken out and replaced with a bar top table which folds down into a longer single bed (using the old dinette cushions the long way end to end, which are stored inside.)  As you can see, it has not been painted (white at the bottom), nor the table top stained and polyurethaned.  Final decisions are still pending about the light.

Thirdly, a pantry area was put in over the wheel well which will house the fuse box at the bottom.  At this point, the edge trim has not been added, nor has it been painted white.  At 16" deep, there will be plenty of storage for food, or whatever else needs storing.  You can also see in this picture the book shelf that has been secured over the bar table.

The only place to hang a picture was the bathroom door, and since the color scheme was peacock accent colors, I painted a picture of a peacock on an old canvas that I bought for .99

10 inches was added to the bathroom, because when you walked in before, you would run into the toilet.  enough space was added to scoot back the composting toilet and a sink cabinet was re-designed and will have a sink made from a stainless steel bowl.  At this time, the sink is waiting for the plumbing to be installed so it can be completed.  I used the old plastic medicine cabinet mirror to make a new medicine cabinet that even comes with a shelf to store extra toilet paper.  A bucket was hung on the wall made from a laundry detergent bucket with marble contact paper.  This will house composting medium.  A matching bucket will be placed on the floor for bathroom trash.  Also, as you can see in the mirror, a metal wall basket was painted and installed as a towel storage space.

Lastly, a new closet space was added in with hanging bar, baskets, and it will have two shelves, one of which will be over the new hot water heater.

The kitchen area, was left as it was, with just a coat of white paint to open out the space.

What is left is a much more functional space for temporary living.