I arrived at the building site just over a week ago: Sandpoint, Idaho, the South-East corner of an industrial lot, right up against a very active railway track. Home right now is an 18-wheeler trailer being transformed into a tiny house. It’s not mine. There is no running water, no electricity, no internet, and scarce phone signal. There is a propane tank for cooking, which is nice, and a big battery that is sometimes charged to power the LED lights after dark. We have a Styrofoam cooler that works with ice bags to keep our groceries cold, and up until yesterday we collected rainwater to wash dishes.
The piece or asphalt that the trailer is parked on is part of an internal traffic circuit of the industrial lot, so cars and trucks of every kind can and will drive past at 25 MPH around a corner with no visibility. The only safe spot is a tiny triangle of gravel and grass that climbs right up the tracks. That’s our backyard. It is finely decorated with steel c-channels and wood cuttings from all the work that has been happening or is about to happen to turn this hauler into a home.
So far, the floor, which is an elevated floating layer of thick plywood, has been extended by one 4 x 8 foot board, and a door was placed at the end to mark the boundary between living space and workshop. This side is full of pots, pans, jars, and terry cloth towels hanging to dry, that side is crammed full of finger-thick cables, clamps, tool boxes, saw-blades, and ratchet-straps.
Today we are making a counter for the kitchen, and a shelving unit for the bedroom. Yesterday we made a big shelf for the kitchen so we can use the table to sit down and eat. All civilized like. Today we even put carpets down. It might be just a little bit better than camping now. Yesterday we cut down a dead aspen from the railway easement to make stakes for a small raised bed that I’m going to call my garden. It’s about 4 feet long and wide. Today I might look around for some available dirt to fill it with… the weather will turn wet at some point, so we must build until then.
The hardest part is not having a community to interact with. We don’t know anyone here, and we are too busy to go out and socialize. We are pretty friendly with the library ladies. Maybe I’ll start there. Hopefully, by the end of summer I will have a house, and a community to call my own. Until then, I must make due.
(I miss you guys so much!)
Update: these posts are delayed by a few days, since I am writing them in the trailer/home and I am publishing them when I get to the library. My raised bed is now full of dirt and has three tomato plants and wild flower seeds waiting to sprout. A good birthday gift to myself.