a cosmic leap

the.semitrailer.project

day 079  : :  blog post 003

OK, so there has been a month between blog posts. Good reason for it: the “cosmic leap”. That being: the epic gulf between living in a unit with running water, electricity when you flick a switch, a place for your poo to go when you flush, things like solid walls and so on. It’s a reasonably big deal to have to fabricate this stuff quickly in a manner that will last the better part of a year of building our tiny house without feeling like we are perpetually camping. Thus the span between blog posts: I’ve been busy dammit 😝

Not only busy, but fretting about my capabilities not only in terms of our little tent village, but what I’ll be like building a “proper” dwelling. I spend countless hours frustrated with stupid tasks like figuring out how my solar panels should be mounted or how plumbing works or what a good composting toilet should function like. Everything takes WAY longer than I feel like it should. WAY.

Added bonus: it’s winter and cold with random moments of inconvenient rain and intense wind. I’d have my frustrations no other way…pile it on!

It’s not only the time taken but my mental anguish of not knowing how some basic stuff works after many decades of being on this planet. The dumbfounded looks I got at the electrical shop when I was talking about how 12V set-ups work or what material my ground wire should be makes me feel like I’ve been living in a cave. Of course it seems like every Australian goes camping and so they all are experts at 12-volt everything, but I’m just a noob who knows how to use a camera and his computer and that’s about it so it seems.

I also made the decision not to post too much about this part of the process as I wanted this to be about building a tiny house on a semi trailer, even though my new friend Rob believes that I should be showcasing the whole experience. I can say that it is definitely not for the feint of heart and I give Heidi credit for stepping away from homely comforts and embracing living in a tent for a few months and then in a tiny house. She’s taking it slowly and occasionally shakily (we did a re-design of our sleeping set-up after a recent blustery wind storm that vibrated our bell tent too much for her liking) but is still on-board with the adventure…for now! I agree with Rob in the sense that while this adventure is a definite challenge, it is worth doing these things in life to shake ourselves awake from our routine. It is good for people to see that it is possible to break loose from convention and follow our dreams, even if they seem crazy to others.

And so I continue to shape our temporary home. It is taking longer than I hoped for but I do realise that it has to be emotionally sustainable for us to do the tiny house build, and therefore has to be comfortable enough, functional and not a hindrance on a day-to-day basis. So if getting running hot and cold water, a fuss-free toilet, warm and safe shelter and reliable power takes me a bit longer, I guess it will pay off in the coming months. And I suppose (he says, trying to convince himself) I am learning transportable skills now for the tiny house, so hopefully it’s not at all going to waste!

Home-made stuff

There’s a handful of people that my lovely girl introduced me to through her friend network when I moved to Adelaide, and they are into living simply. Not too many people are building their own furniture from recycled materials, but this idea appealed to me as I’ve always liked making my own things. I am not a carpenter or have any trade skills at all, really, so the furniture that I have built is lovingly considered “rustic” which happens to be a style I love and is all I can really build 🙂

Anyway, when I moved into my own place after housesitting for a few months, I was inspired by my girlfriend’s housemate who was starting to build things out of discarded wooden shipping pallets left in piles of hard rubbish on the side of the road. If you find one in half-decent shape, it contains a lot of hefty quality hunks of wood, certainly good enough to build a strong structure. And when you start looking, they are everywhere!

Here’s a few things I’ve built from wood pallets:

Pallet table and crate n' pallet daybed/sofa

Spice rack made from pallet pieces

I also made my computer desk out of a pallet.

…and some stuff from other recycled bits of hard rubbish I’ve found around the neighbourhood:

Bits of a discarded dining room table and loose metal scraps

Crate seats with op-shop fabric seats and found wood for the tables