Hello everyone!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by TinyDreams, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. TinyDreams

    TinyDreams Monkey+

    My name is Kendall and I've wanted to build a tiny off grid house since middle school when I first came across the idea (I'm 22 now). I have a very vague plan of what I want in it right now (electricity, water, heating, a tub), I joined here just to try to learn more about all of this before I start looking for land in a couple of years.

    I know this isn't the type of lifestyle for everyone but I don't want to work the rest of my life somewhere at a job while I can be happy living in a tinier house working only minimally to buy the necessities.

    When I finally get the money for it I was thinking I might want to build it in Maine.
    Not sure if that's the smartest place to build it and definitely isn't the cheapest but from the pictures I've seen of Maine it is beautiful there.
    sarawolf, Marck, Cabin Lady and 4 others like this.
  2. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Firstly, Welcome to the Monkey Tree! Glad to have you with us. Have a look around, I think you will find a ton of very helpful info and a great group of folks to share and bounce ideas around with. Good on you for choosing to start down this path, it's quite an adventure to be sure, and many folks here choose this willingly, cast off the yoke of working to live while forgetting to actually live! I like to think of it as working to build MY life the way I want to live it instead of the way the Jones's all do it. Its a really rewarding experience building your own little place exactly the way you want it to be, and not having to rely on or count on others to supply you with things you need like Electricity, Water, Gas, ect. having methods of providing things on your own, and not having to pay some one any thing for them is awesome. Its an Adventure to be sure, and a fun one even with the challenges both good and bad! Best of luck to you!
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  3. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    If it was me, My tiny house would have wheels!
    Mindgrinder and chelloveck like this.
  4. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Hello and WELCOME!
  5. TinyDreams

    TinyDreams Monkey+

    I don't mind travelling but as long as it's not on permafrost ground I was planning on putting it on a foundation...it can't be stolen as easily that way :p

    I like the idea of standing on my own two feet and not having to rely on anyone else. Don't know how long it'll take me to get there but this forum is full of people that are there or on their way there and it seems like a really informative place. :) I'll try to keep you guys informed when I start building this thing, maybe it'll help someone out.

    On a side note a composting toilet won't overflow like a typical one will, nor will it clog up. <-I do plan on having one. Toilet is solved. I can sleep on the ground so the bed is solved too. I'm struggling with the electric and water part though.
    RightHand and chelloveck like this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You might want to look at the "Alaska Wilderness Building" Blog I wrote a few years back... It is in the Blog Forum.... Most of the ideas presented can be used ANYWHERE.... Not just in Alaska...
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Have you ever been to Maine? Yikes! It is beautiful there but it gets real cold and can get lots of snow.My Aunt lived up on Moosehead Lake one winter. She moved after that. It was a rough living.

    FYI- I just saw a story on one of those tiny houses on wheels. Someone hooked it up and stole it. I would love a tiny house when I get older but I would not have it on wheels.

    Welcome to the monkey @TinyDreams
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Welcome to the Monkey.... and for going towards living a self sustaining lifestyle!!!
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. Meat

    Meat Monkey+++

    Hi. [afro]
  10. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    chelloveck and Yard Dart like this.
  11. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    I have actually just started building a tiny house for the daughter of a family I did an addition on their house around 15 years ago. The girl is kind of hard headed and has her own ideas and doesn't really want to make any compromises on her design. I'm building it on a trailer. I'm kind of looking forward to the build, and I'm hoping she will budge a little as I've got a few ideas that may save her some room. She's going with a composting toilet as well. She bought a tandem axle trailer to build on, with a deck height of approximately 22inches . I wish she would have talked to me 1st about it as I would have had her look into a drop axle trailer , which could have got her a little more headroom. She also wants plenty of windows in it, and has already bought most of them from the local habitat store. But some of the windows she bought may not work because of the limited head height, and the loft. But I'm looking forward to being able to try and get a little creative with the design and trying to utilize any and all room possible.
    Motomom34, chelloveck and RightHand like this.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Regarding Maine. Yep, a beautiful place. After you live there for 20 years, the natives will finally accept you as a local. At least that will be so up away from the MA and NH borders. Study the politics as well, there are some oddities. But if the outdoor life suits, you will like it until you can no longer shovel snow and carry wood. You will drool in the Kittery Trading Post.
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I'm from maine. That's why I don't live there.
    The more beautiful the particular area the less jobs it seems there are.
    If you want to live in the pretty part of the state the good paying jobs will either be seasonal or out of state or if you are lucky in the southern part of the state.
    In the nice part of the state the only thing that's really year round will be retail, food services and old people care.
    Maine has been an open carry state for many years and went to unrestricted carry on concealed handguns in late 2015. They also just legalized reefer this election cycle.
    The winters are not brutal cold like you get in AK, ND, WI, MT and SD. But they can get a lot of snow and some years you can get a lot of freezing rain.

    To make a tiny house that could be placed in Maine build with 2x6 or 2x8 walls and 2x8 or better rafters.
    The roads in Maine suck so sheath the tiny house in plywood, not OSB inside and out.
    Realistically you are looking at something like up to around $200 per square foot, unless you build it your self, then you are just looking at well over $100 per square foot.

    The only thing I don't like about tiny houses is they are a small ass houses with normal-small size home cost.
    Then IMO it's absolutely not worth it to get one in tied to a fixed location. At least if it's mobile you can take it with you when life changes.
    If you want to go off grid do not buy anything with out checking here or the northern Arizona wind sun forum first there is a lot of off grid crap put there.
    Between here and the wind-sun forum we have identified most of the non crap.

    Most of Maine does not have natural gas which is the cheapest most efficient way to heat. So your choices are propane and wood. Best bet is wood for indoor heating and propane for water.
    Forget about solar heating water in maine. Solar power is also difficult with maine's tall trees and low winter sun.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  14. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    Welcome to the Monkey tree!
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    That would be the ship yard. Very dot gov dependent.
  16. TinyDreams

    TinyDreams Monkey+

    Oh my lots of good responses (thanks for the blog link)! The point of making it tiny was to be energy efficient. I know for some it's so they can hook it up to a big truck and travel with it but for me I figured...the smaller it is the less I have to heat/cool and the less light it'll take to see at night.

    I have been debating on a fridge for the past year and a half now (I don't think I need one?) so really I only hoped to use solar panels for lightbulbs or charging cellphone/laptop which I don't plan on using often, good to know about the trees blocking the sun bit.
    For the heating I was thinking tiny wood stove (1-2 spots for a kettle/frying pan up top & fire below) I know propane is a good option too.

    I know jobs there are tough to find from what I've read online, I don't mind going out of state to work but at the same time if I could I would like to sell or make stuff in state to be able to support myself (like growing and selling produce/working for someone on a farm). Honestly I am waiting until I go on vacation there (might not be until the late summer/fall of this year) to decide if I really want to live in Maine or abroad. I don't really want to live in many other states (Oregon would be fun because of family, and Arkansas/Louisiana would be options if they weren't so rednecked and the crime rates were lower). Outside of the US I have sadly no idea. I would like to build this someplace preferably near the sea.

    Funny thing about extreme weather. I have lived in Texas my entire life (visited Idaho a few times in the winter when I was younger). From my point of view I'm exchanging hot as you can get out summers with some freaking cold winters where there will actually be snow. Ice on roads is all Texas gets in the winter so that really isn't anything new, the snow will be new though. It is a bit late now so I am going to go to bed! It was nice meeting all of you!
    Motomom34 likes this.
  17. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Maine is usually the #1 or #2 most peaceful state in the union based on overall crime rates.
    AK and LA are up there a bit in crime.

    What part of Texas are you in since Texas is only about 5 miles from me now and I lived in the witchataw falls area for about a year.

    I think you will want a refrigerator or some type of food cooling like an ice chest.
    Maine does have black bears, but they keep the population down pretty good because every hunting license has a bear tag and Maine is the only state where you can bait, tra and hunt with dogs. But you will likely see some eventually and if you leave food in a cooler outside something will try to get into it even if it's not a bear.

    Farming in Maine is very seasonal. Pretty much limited from about April to august or September. The daily farms go year round.

    You may still want a propane burner for cooking so you don't have to fire up the wood stove in the summer.
    When I lived there one spring it rained for 9 days straight, so cooking on an out side fire could work depending on how much you want it to suck.
    Also don't go too small on the wood stove. Been there done that you can double the amount of time working on the wood pile by having to cut and split it into tiny pieces, then those small wood stoves don't hold very much wood so they burn it all up in about 4 hours or less.

    Solar panels can work in Maine you just have to be on the side of a mountain or hill facing south.
    Other problem there with solar panels is you will only get around 3 hours of good panel production in winter. Problem is that's just not long enough for an absorption cycle on deep cycle lead acid batteries.
  18. TinyDreams

    TinyDreams Monkey+

    Im from the DFW area, about 15min from the airport.

    The fridge is a touchy subject. My logic says I need one (for milk), but honestly I would rather like one of those freezers that open upwards (for chicken/fish) instead, and an ice cooler in the winter might work better. I've looked into growing food to eat year round and I know it might not be possible because of how cold it gets (my grandma farms in Idaho) but from what I have read about it isn't impossible if you grow the plants near the house, in the house, or underground. There is even an article somewhere on google about a farmer growing plants near a stone wall in maine year round.

    I'll have a generator and use that instead of the panels for the winter.
    I wasn't thinking about any extended chopping time so Im glad you pointed that out, I'll look into bigger stove options. For the warmer months I definitely could cook outside or inside doesn't really matter because Maine is beautiful in the summer (it doesn't hit 100*F there!).
  19. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    You can convert a freezer to be a fridge with a simple plug and play thermostat setup. These freezers turned refrigerators are very efficient, using 1/2 to 1/3 the power of a normal fridge.
    I put together one of these setups and tested it out. I have a freezer full of wine that stays unplugged, in the event of the refrigerator quitting the freezer will become my backup fridge. The rig to do this only cost me about $40. There are cheaper freezer to fridge conversions out there, I went old school electro mechanical simplicity.

    Interesting because I go to Carswell naval air station once a month roughly.

    It almost never gets to 100 on the summer in maine. But it gets real humid.
    I think it was 2015 the dfw area had something like 90 days of near 100°F. It will be nothing like that.
    There was a bad snow storm in northern Texas in 2011 I think it was, it dumped 2 feet of snow on whitchata falls, not sure what it did to dfw area.
    But that's pretty much what 2 to 3 months of the year looks like in maine.

    Find the biggest stove you think you will be able to stand.
    Be prepared to burn up to 3 or 4 pounds of wood per hour on the coldest windyist nights.
    Avoid running water pipes inside of exterior walls.
    Ganado likes this.
  20. TinyDreams

    TinyDreams Monkey+

    Cool, I haven't ever been to the Carswell naval air station.
    That snowstorm was really bad for the dfw area because the temps went above freezing (high 40s) AFTER there was all that snow...and then it dropped back down to below freezing creating a layer of ice over the snow and roads. It was fun letting the dog walk me around the block for those couple of days.

    I thought about doing that freezer to fridge idea. The only downside I have read about is that the freezers aren't built to withstand running that hot and you'll burn them out faster that way. Most things are ok at room temperature or frozen except for milk, and I'm not sure I am ready for a goat or cow.

    I definitely will on the stove!
    Not sure on the water tank/shower or tub idea. Not sure about how I'm going to heat that water.
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