Whirlwind Work

Working kitties use ladders

Okay, okay. I haven’t written a blog post for over 2 months. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

For the Felton House

We finished revamping the bathroom, which involved tearing the old shower out, leveling the floor, installing new backer board, tiles, faucets, tub, and shower door. Our original tub had a crack in it, which Jon repaired once, but because it was sitting on an uneven surface, it cracked again. Alcove tubs have little lips that sit behind the tile, so you have to remove the tile to remove the tub, hence the very large project.

Also in the bathroom, we installed a new vanity sink over the existing cabinet, which I painted a lighter color. Oops, the new sink top is less deep than the old one! I had measured the width, but forgot to measure the depth! So, new vanity or fix the old one? We decided to fix the old one, which meant Jon had to take some cabinet off the back and get new drawer runners. The drawers themselves didn’t need to be altered. I’ll be more careful next time!

Installing the drawers

We installed cork floor in the kitchen. Oh my goodness, cork floors are the best!!! (Some of you know this already and have recommended them to us- thank you!) For various reasons, Jon and I get achy joints from standing on tile or concrete floors, and we spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen chopping and cooking the mass quantities of vegetation we consume! We also wanted to try living with cork before we commit our entire future dome home to it. We’re absolutely sold. No achy joints, and it feels very warm under our tootsies. Plus, I’m a bit clumsy, so when I drop mugs and bowls on the floor, they now have a fighting chance.

I love cork floors!!!

Jon also installed new trim and thresholds for the kitchen floor. The tile and its backer board had been installed over the original linoleum, which was level with the hardwood floor. The cork we installed is thinner than the tile plus backer board, so it isn’t as big of a difference in height. We couldn’t find a premade product that worked, so Jon fashioned them with his tools.

“Noice thresh!” – Ziggy

After we returned from the fire evacuation last year, I went a little wild removing under brush and smaller trees to thin out the fire fuel and make more defensible space around the house. As part of that, the garbage bin hider needed another side. We finished that. It was such an easy project now that we have a nail gun, so we decided to finish the front of the house like we intended when I first made the street sign and garbage bin hider years ago. It didn’t take us too long to remove the old lattice, paint the supports and install the slats, and we’re really happy with the results.

A few boards on our gazebo bridge were taken out by a large redwood branch during a storm and a couple near those were rotten, so we replaced them for safety.

Our big deck also had some rotten boards, so Jon replaced those (they’re 2x6x16′ each!) and I repainted the deck while Jon painted our driveway retaining wall.

Yet another late night!

The original door knobs didn’t all have the same keys and some exterior doors didn’t even have an exterior key hole, so Jon replaced all of them with sturdy new knobs and dead bolts with a matching key.

The nice new knobs and locks make this door look like it needs a touch-up!

Meanwhile, I painted the dining room, bedroom and computer room a very very pale green. Jon calls it white. Neither of us like boring white walls, but we aren’t going to live there anymore. It takes about one day each to prep a room and one day to paint the coats.

Jon also replaced a triple pane acrylic window in laundry room. The old windows had a frosted finish and then someone had painted a happy sun with the word “Smile” above it, like every kid in the late 80s or early 90s drew. Those windows were always a little loose and, when one part broke, we replaced it with visqueen (super classy, hahaha!) So Jon bought new clear acrylic window panels and fit them in the slots. He also filled the gaps in above the window and door with properly fitting pieces of wood. A racoon came in the laundry room when we first moved in and I haphazardly tacked some scraps of wood to block the gaps enough. Jon’s work looks much better. I still need to paint the laundry room.

There really is acrylic in those 3 panels!

We stored a few pieces of our big house furniture for later, but gave away the rest. A young neighbor and his friend happily took about half of our furniture, and then the rest went to Goodwill. We did this and a final dump run right before our last trip with the utility trailer. Then I parked the trailer on our Starlite property to make room for a longer rental trailer. Stay tuned for a blog about moving Jon’s airplane on a flatbed. Now the only furniture in the house is a mattress on the floor.

Are you tired of reading about our house work yet?

“Yaaaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnn” – Ziggy

For the Tiny House

When I ordered the tiny house, I asked the builder for some measurements so we could plan for our furniture layout, but he said each house is a little different and internal dimensions depend on features. Little did I know that the company was so backlogged that it would be months before they’d think about starting working on ours, haha. So when I received the tiny house, I took loads of measurements and it turns out that I did a better job than for the Felton vanity. 🙂 I had found a tiny couch at IKEA and Jon made a wooden box on coaster wheels that fits under it for extra storage or if we want to put our feet up. Then Jon made a tall table that we can sit or stand at for our dining area in front of the big window. And a computer table with shelf for working. Jon’s computer monitor is so big and the house is so small, that, once we push our computer chairs to the sides, we can watch movies on his monitor while sitting at the couch.

Making the tall dining table
Coming along

During all the Felton house work, I also made several more trips to the storage unit and I got to stay overnight in the tiny house because it is such a long trip. I wasn’t happy with the plastic zig-zag ramp I purchased for the sewer hose because the heavy hose would flop out and there would be a coil of hose lower than the ground drain inlet. There hadn’t been any drainage issues, but what if there was! So one trip I built a continuous ramp with wood. Later, I was talking to our neighbor on the sewer side, and he asked if I was sharing this trailer with someone. He thought the sewer ramp looked like it was made by a man because it was constructed so well. That a co-ed made it all by herself will be our little secret, friends!

A man must have constructed this fine looking sewer hose ramp!

One day, I received a text from the owner of the trailer park that some alarm was going off in our unit. She doesn’t live onsite and didn’t have any details. It was -ehh- alarming to say the least, being a day of driving away with previous engagements to attend to. After a couple days, I drove over to investigate and it was the fire alarm. I can’t remember if my Alaskan peps experienced smokey days from wildfires this year, but down in the Lower 48, I think most of us did. Our air-to-air exchanger’s filter must have been overloaded, so it was smokey inside our unit from the wildfires a 100 miles away or more. I took the alarm down but couldn’t take the battery out because it was glued in, all the while the BEEP!-BEEP!-BEEP!-break repeated incessantly (my poor neighbors! I’m mortified.) I covered it up and once again enjoyed the blessed silence.

Another visit, I saw that Bishop was going to have a cold snap below freezing, so I drove all around to find RV-grade antifreeze and winterized the Scamp. It had been 8 years since I had winterized an RV, so it took me a while to figure it all out. I was also on a time crunch because Yosemite Park, through which is the fast way to Felton, was going to close their gates at 5 pm for the storm. I wasn’t sure if they meant they wouldn’t let anybody new in starting at 5, or if they’d turn me back because they correctly didn’t think I could drive through the park in less than 1 hour, but it was the former, whew!

Emptying the hot water heater tank, which is Step 2 of 8 on the Scamp Winterization Checklist


For the last couple years, I had volunteered at Jean Kvamme Center for Adaptive Riding. It was so fun and I really enjoyed my friends there. Unfortunately, it was getting difficult to plan house projects and moving loads to Bishop around my horse time, so I had to stop. Sigh! I made scrunchies with horses on them for my horse friends to put on their pony tails as a going away present.

The horse scrunchies beside the mom-made-mask I’d wear that day

One time, when Jon and I were working outside, one of our Felton neighbors walked by and asked us if we’d contribute to her community art project for the library. There was a week left and not enough people had submitted art yet. I was about to say, “No, thank you,” because, I mean, I don’t have any stinking time, but Jon said ok. !!! It was a packet with tissue paper and a sticky frame to put the layered art into. I knew Jon had less time than me because his work project was still looming over everything, so I spent the week thinking of a design (a cool thing about manual labor is that I can daydream while I work) and made it the morning it was due and then we walked to the library to turn it in. We saw another neighbor who is an artist and was turning in her beautiful butterfly. I’m sure we weren’t the only neighbors chatting at the library that day. So the community art project did work to bring the community together more. Felton is a lovely town with sweet folks, but it just isn’t close enough to the Eastern Sierra.

If you’re having a difficult time deciphering this, it is our 3 cats in our red house watching monarch butterflies under the redwoods.

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