A Tiny Tale: Part Two — The Move

Warning: Oversize blog post ahead!

Last week I told you about my unexpected purchase of a cabin called Tiny. If you haven’t already, you might want to read that post in order to marvel at the sheer fiscal recklessness of ChrissyB. In the same vein try this post, and this one, about other unplanned and daring purchases, and get a taste for what the Forbearing Husband has to put up with.

Enough about that. I’m generally very sensible. The sort of person who checks twice that power points aren’t live before messing around with wiring, and always wears their riding helmet. Great, now we’ve got that out of the way… would you like to see Tiny? Thought so. Look!

Tiny house moving

Sitting on the trailer at Waipu ready to move.

Cute, no? Well, cute is as cute does, and by the time we’d hauled our new friend 60kms or so up SH1 the Forbearing Husband wasn’t feeling the love. Here’s how it all went down.

When we bought Tiny she was based at Waipu, and we were fortunate that the person selling her knew quite a lot about moving oversized loads. He had offered in the Trade Me listing to actually deliver her within a 30km radius. Unfortunately the farmlet is outside that limit. Nevertheless, the seller (let’s call him ‘The Man From Waipu Cove’) seemed confident that with his help we could get the job done without paying professionals. At a saving of $1800 on renting a hiab that seemed like a good idea.

Tiny weighs one metric tonne. She is 5.2m long, 2.5m wide, and 4m high. The plan was to jack her up on blocks and put her onto a borrowed trailer. After adding the height of the trailer, our load would be up around 4.6m. That’s a tad over the 4.3m legal hight limit on NZ roads (shhh, she’s here now, and no harm done).

Our main concern was overhead power lines. Mostly they are 5m above the ground, but that’s not guaranteed especially on small rural roads, and telecommunication lines can be lower. We live on a small rural road. Thus in the weeks between buying and moving Tiny, I became obsessed with looking at power lines as we drove along roads near the farmlet, panicking myself about how VERY low some of them looked. Full disclosure, I’ve only just kicked this habit.

Tiny house loft area

The loft sleeping area has a double glazed stained glass window.

Not to worry. The Man From Waipu Cove (henceforth TMFWC) decided that if we were to get to his place at 4pm we could get Tiny settled on her trailer by 6pm. That way we could drive home in daylight, and at what we hoped would be a nice quiet time on the roads. We were doing the towing in the newly-acquired Beast, with the Forbearing Husband driving, and me riding shotgun; TMFWC was to follow us. He would be looking out for low power lines and maintaining walkie-talkie contact so that he could warn us to stop before we hit them. Confidence was high.

On the day, we arrived at the appointed time and set to jacking Tiny up. It was a fully absorbing process, and quite satisfying; a couple of two tonne hydraulic jacks lifted one end at a time, and she was gradually blocked up higher and higher until we were able to slide the trailer right underneath. Brilliant. Until we looked at the time — 9pm! Oh frak. Best get on the road then.

Away we went, and for the first 15 minutes, just enough time to get us out of Waipu itself and headed towards the main highway, all was going to plan. At every low looking line we came to we would slow down and TMFWC would talk us through “Yup, keep it slow, looking fine, okay you’re good”. It was still scary, but a sort of controlled scary. Someone was looking out for us. And then the inevitable happened.

Jacking up the tiny house

Lifting Tiny up on blocks. The trailer is on the left of the photo ready to slide under her.

It got dark. Too dark for TMFWC to see the power lines any more. Too dark for any of us to see them. Advice from our expert mover ‘Just drive, and keep driving’. Holy cow!

So we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove very s-l-o-w-l-y. Once out on the highway things were better in one way — underground power lines, yo — but speed was our enemy. If we got up over 70kmph Tiny started swinging around and fishtailing as if she was going to throw herself right off the trailer. Even though Forbearing Husband was pulling over when he could, and driving at a crawl when it was safe for people to pass, we were still officially holding up traffic. At one stage a police car drew up alongside and we all held our breath waiting for the siren. Then, after a second or two, the long arm of the law accelerated away. The Forbearing Husband and I (at the pointy end), and TMFWC (over the walkie-talkie), all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Tiny house move 3

Ready to roll! We taped the top triangular window in case it cracked en route.

Making our way off SH1 and along the final segments of rural road towards our house presented more challenges. The road is winding and hilly. As we negotiated a tight bend on one particularly steep section, TMFW, who was still trucking along just behind us, feared that if we ran out of grunt Tiny would pull us backwards. Fortunately The Beast has staying power and a manual gearbox, and we swept up that hill (forever known to us now as ‘Tiny House Hill’) without breaking a sweat.

In a way the worst part of the whole trip was the 8km section before home where I knew for sure (remember those obsessive observations?), that there were some very low power lines. There was nothing to do though but to follow TMFWC’s earlier advice ‘Just drive, and keep driving’. Forbearing Husband drove, and I tried to mentally lift power lines in the places where I knew they were lowest. We didn’t hit a single power line, and I’ve since added telekinesis to my resume.

Tiny house move 2

Tiny in her new spot at the farmlet. She just fits right in.

Well, we finally got home at midnight, and by the time we’d shoe-horned Tiny into her new situation between CEDARS house and the top paddock (here’s the farmlet map for orientation purposes) it was close to 2am. After returning the borrowed trailer, and offering profuse thanks to TMFWC (we delivered him some more tangible tokens of our gratitude later that week) we fell into bed. It was all worth it to me though for the view from the kitchen window next morning.

There was Tiny, nestled between a tree fern and a willow, and looking all the world as if she’d been settled there for years. The Forbearing Husband even forgave me just a bit for that hellish trip when he saw how pretty she looked. As mentioned in my last post though, he did make me promise faithfully that we would never have to move a tiny house again. In fact he went a step further — he said that if ever I even contemplated such a thing he would …

Tiny house move 1

Tiny, ready to welcome visitors. The unattractive tape on the top window has since been removed.

… pay whatever it takes to get the professionals to do it. Have I mentioned before that the man’s a saint?

What’s the scariest load you’ve ever moved?

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

A Tiny Tale: Part One — The Purchase

As promised, this is the story of how I sort of accidentally bought a tiny house on Trade Me, and how the Forbearing Husband and I moved from it Waipu to the farmlet. What, you’ve never accidentally bought a $23,000 item on Trade Me? Well, where on earth is your sense of adventure?!

Ok, full disclosure, the purchase wasn’t unplanned, just unexpected. The story goes like this.

Way back before we moved to The Land I had decided that it would be fun and functional to have a shepherd’s hut on the property. A cute and comfortable little retreat for accommodating all the many visitors I hoped we’d have. And which we have had. A big cheer for all who visit — we love you!

Plankbridge Shepherd Hut

I was imagining something like this Plankbridge hut. Mill Gully Huts make similar ones in Wellsford, NZ.

Research on NZ shepherd’s huts turned up Shepherd’s Huts NZ in Titirangi, not far from where we were living back then. I rang Steve, the owner, and discovered he had a bit of a waiting list for huts which I duly added myself to. About a year later, having heard nothing from him, and in the meantime having moved to Northland, I rang again. I was told he’d become completely swamped with orders after appearing in a Grand Designs NZ episode, and had lost his wait list in the confusion of it all. Oh, and also his prices had increased significantly. I was very happy for him in his success, but, funds being limited, I took myself off the waiting list.

Investigating other options led me to Mill Gully Huts near Wellsford. They charged bit more than the original price of the Titirangi huts, but were not as expensive as the revised pricing. Also Wellsford was much closer to our Northland abode, which would cut down on moving costs for the new hut. I rang Dave and discovered it took around six months for a build, so I started saving to bridge the price gap.

It took a while (what with juggling other major expenses on the farmlet), but eventually I accumulated the required amount of dosh. I was on the verge of pulling the trigger on a Mill Gully shepherds hut when I found something interesting on Trade Me. A Love Shack cabin showed up for sale. In my research on shepherd huts and cabins I had called the people at Love Shack. They do the absolute prettiest tiny abodes, but after calling them and hearing their prices I had whimpered quietly and crossed them off my list.

This Love Shack was listed in Waipu and had a reserve set a couple of thousand dollars cheaper than the shepherd’s hut I had just saved up for. There were 44 people watching the auction, and a bunch of questions already, so I knew that bidding on it was going to go crazy. Nevertheless, I thought for fun I’d place one bid at the start price using BidBud (a fantastic TradeMe helper, for those who don’t already know). I set my bid up five days before the end of the auction, and then just forgot all about it.

Until this happened!

Yikes!

Well colour me surprised! And the Forbearing Husband too. Bless him, as usual he made encouraging noises and promised to help me pick it up. He has since made me promise faithfully never to ask him to move a tiny house ever again…

…to be continued. I’ll tell you the other half of this story and show you photos of Tiny next Saturday in ‘A Tiny Tale: Part Two — The Move’. Tune on in again folks.

In the meantime, tell me, what’s the scariest thing you’ve accidentally bought?

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

What Comes Around

Looking for fashion advice? Take a seat, you’ve come to the right place.

I was re-reading some old blog posts today and I happened on this one from February 2017. in which I suggested (in a spirit of irony) that I keep my ugg boots for a bit longer in case they came back into fashion. And what was I wearing today, at the very moment of reading my own sage advice? Why, my ugg boots. That’s what!

They narrowly escaped a one way trip to the op shop soon after that post was written. They got all the way to the box by the front door before I relented and put them back at the bottom of the wardrobe. And boy am I glad I did. The next time I came across them was earlier this winter while rummaging for an outfit to wear to a masquerade ball. No, I didn’t wear them to the ball (can’t believe you asked), but I did decide I quite liked them again. So snuggly warm, and just the thing to visually balance out skinny jeans, or in my case jodhpurs.

Vita Sackville West

Vita Sackville West in jodhpurs and what are surely an early version of ugg boots.

Well, no sooner had I started wearing them than I’m seeing ugg boots pop up everywhere. Clearly my fashion sense is inspiring a trend. Look at this. A whole article on rich and famous people homing in on my ugg boot vibe.

Katie Holmes in ugg boots

In 2019 even Katie Holmes is sporting ugg boots.

 

Ugg boots

Hers are a little more chic than mine, but I bet she paid more than $20 for them.

Mine were bought from The Red Shed for $19.99, somewhere back in the 2000’s, and as you can see, are brought right up to the minute here by being paired with my ‘bunny-wabbit’ pyjama pants (Hospice Shop, 2019, $1). Awesome no?!

P.S. I think, given my fashion forward track record, you can expect to be seeing many of the rich and famous in ‘bunny-wabbit’ pyjama pants by 2020.

 

What’s your favorite snuggly warm winter attire? Do you own anything you almost gave to the op shop that you’re glad you didn’t? The comment box is open.

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Green Ambition

It all started with Deborah and I talking about what fun it would be to have a greenhouse. Imagine being able to grow basil all year round! How about early tomatoes? Frangipani? And, since my cunning plan to use the thermal mass of the rocks in the Mediterranean Garden to grow fabulous eggplants has so far yielded only one chicken-egg-sized orb, lets think about eggplants too. Excited yet?!

Needless to say, we were. So when Deborah spotted this charmingly decrepit structure on Trade Me we placed a bid.

Greenhouse

It’s missing some glass, and the whole thing is held in place by kikuyu…

Greenhouse

… but never mind the work, think of the potential?

And won it for $152!

That was the easy bit. Before bidding Deborah had asked the seller about breaking the structure down to move it, and been assured this would be a piece of cake. In fact, as it turned out, our greenhouse was more like a very large and very stale French baguette; extremely hard to pull apart, and quite difficult to manoeuvre in one piece.

Firstly, as we soon discovered, the seller had clean forgotten he’d glued all of the glass to the frame. Apparently a couple of panes had once blown out during a storm, leading him to slap a good bead of silicon around each of the remaining 60 or so. Removing them became an art involving stanley knives, careful leverage, and quite a lot of broken glass.

We negotiated a $50 refund and carried on.

The second problem became evident when Deborah and I tried to undo one of the hundred or so sets of nuts and bolts holding the structure together. Our seller had completely underestimated the amount of corrosion in the fastenings. Short of grinding off each individual bolt, this greenhouse was going to be staying stubbornly in one piece. Our plan to dismantle, transport and then reassemble our purchase at home was clearly not going to fly. We returned to the farmlet somewhat disheartened.

After a nice cup of tea and bit of discussion, optimism prevailed, and we concocted a new plan. We would return the following weekend with a large trailer, lift the whole frame onto it, and drive our stale french baguette home in one piece. Easy… Except for the problem of actually getting the thing up onto the trailer. That galvanised steel greenhouse frame was pretty solid, and, with the Forbearing Husband having been called away to Wellington, we were one man down. Time to ring a friend…

Or two. Stunt Girl and Nova Scotia Steve were enlisted. I enticed them away from their little piece of Kaiwaka paradise with promises of chocolate and farmlet oranges, and off we all went.

Moving a greenhouse frame

The greenhouse frame with a Stephen at each end.

The Two Stephens had never met before, but they went to work as if they’d been moving greenhouses together for years. After a few trial lifts at each end, and a careful backing of the trailer into position they flexed their powerful muscles, and that frame was hoisted up and onto the trailer. Deborah, Stunt Girl and I lifted our hardest too, and we tried our best to believe we were contributing, but really, on the day it all came down to the heaves of the Steves (sorry).

Lifting the greenhouse frame

On the trailer ready to go. Those supporting crossbeams underneath made one lane bridges a bit scary.

The final job was to triumphantly drive the trailer home, thankful for the hauling capacity of a new-to-us farm vehicle the Forbearing Husband likes to refer to as ‘The Beast’.

Mitsubishi Triton

The Beast. Pictured with a cargo of old concrete laundry tubs. It can carry anything!

At 3m wide, our greenhouse on its crossbeam supports made for a few hairy moments on one-lane bridges. The two Stephens hung out of windows, one each side of the truck, and we played a game of warmer / colder as they indicated how close I was to wedging the entire load on a concrete parapet. Fun times.

Nerve-wracking as it was, I drove concentrating on the fact that the last structure the Forbearing Husband and I moved with the truck was a one tonne, 4.5m high tiny house*. By comparison this part of the greenhouse acquisition process really did feel like that piece of cake we’d been promised.

So, the good news is that we now have a greenhouse. The not such good news is, we have a lot less glass for it than we thought we would have. Deborah and I remain undeterred though, and have been researching options for making it all lovely. I’m very keen to include a little table and a comfy chair for relaxing over a cup of tea and a book on sunny winter days. With the smell of frangipani and basil in the air I think it will be a delightful retreat. Anyone care to join me?

Tell me, what would you do with a greenhouse? The comment box is open.

 

* I’m in the process of writing a post about our little cabin ‘Tiny’ and her journey from Waipu to the farmlet. If you want a sneak peak, have a look at the photos I put up on Instagram back in January. You can use the Instagram widget in the sidebar to get there.

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Baby Steps

That’s what we’re taking around here with the kitchen. Today we went from this:

power point with duct tape

Our kitchen universe, held together with force tape.

To this:

PDL 600 series power point

Voila!

It’s not much of an upgrade in the scheme of things, but it feels like progress. I never thought I’d be trying to take a glamour shot of a power point, and yet here we are.

Power point PDL600 series

A PDL 600 series 4-gang, horizontal mount, switched socket outlet, looking sexy. This one is for you SB!

We’ll just have to accept that everything will look way more glam once some splash-back tiles are applied. In the meantime I’m grateful for power and running water, and especially for the Forbearing Husband, who right at this very instant is using those amenities to make me poached eggs on toast. Beautiful!

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Back in the Kitchen

In order to avoid accidental injury I suggest my friends and family seat themselves for this shock announcement…  I’ve spent the last 10 minutes having a most enjoyable time washing dishes!

Washing up

Including my very favorite horse mug which was a present from AntiGene and UnklEd

Fun fact about Chrissy for those who don’t know. Washing up is my very least favorite thing to do. I am the woman who owned a dishwasher long before she owned a television. I despise doing dishes.

Today was different though. It’s the first time in six weeks that we’ve had running water in the kitchen. Hence, although I have a working dishwasher right beside me I have been indulging in the excitement of turning the kitchen tap on and off, admiring the the way hot and cold water flow out of it, and listening with pleasure to the gentle gurgle of water escaping down working waste pipes in the sinks. Not to mention the satisfaction of putting clean dishes onto a kitchen bench on which they have no chance of being up-ended into the cupboard below by a less than perfectly balanced chopping board. My goodness, it is all SO VERY convenient.

In the spirit of this fair old bonanza of kitchen excitement, let me show you some progress shots.

Kitchen bench 2

.

Kitchen bench 1

.

Now let’s not for even a minute pretend I’m finished renovations here. Try to ignore that large hole above the stove, the architrave round the window that was removed for the bench to be eased into place, the taped on power points (!), the insane amount of 1980’s ‘pine crime’, and the screaming need for me to get on with that white tile splash-back. In the meantime though, how about we just stroke the new bench-tops and wash up a few of our favorite mugs?

____________________________________

EXPENDITURE UPDATE: As foreshadowed in this post, I did finally decide on stainless steel benches. They were a (very) big outlay, but I was sold on the durability and ease of cleaning. Macrocarpa slab, although a cheaper material, required a separate sink purchase, and a cabinet maker to mitre cut and join corners and adjust the bench to fit our out-of-square walls. In the end the difference in cost wasn’t going to be as big as it had initially seemed. Still, never having bought a kitchen bench before I’m horrified by how expensive they turn out to be. Perhaps you’ll want to sit down again before being apprised of the cost.

Kitchen expenditure so far:

  • Secondhand Smeg stove (Trade Me): $350.00
  • F&P dishwasher (Harvey Norman): $1678.00 (ouch)
  • Plumbing parts for d/w installation: $31.00
  • 1 litre of Resene paint ‘Indian Ink’ (used about 2/3 can for 2 coats): $54.00
  • Sylvan cabinet handles ‘Gatwick’ in brushed aluminium 14@$7.08ea: $99.12
  • Stainless steel benches: $5430.67 (double-triple ouch — counting on them lasting for-eva!).
  • Greens Volt Kitchen Mixer Tap: $199
  • Paul the Plumber for install of new tap and waste pipes: $127.16
    • Subtotal spent so far = $7968.95
  • Income from selling the stove that came with the house on Trade Me: -$246.00
  • Income from selling old bench and sink to Restoration Warehouse: -$30
  • Total spent to date = $7692.95

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Force Tape

“If your background is in media you call it ‘gaffer tape’. If your background is in building or DIY you call it duct tape’. Motor racing crews and fans call it ‘speed tape’ or ‘panel tape’.

power point with duct tape

Binding the universe together, one kitchen at a time.

If you came through the Jedi temple you call it ‘force tape’. Why? Because it has a light side and a dark side, and it binds the universe together”.

Thank you to Darling Daughter for sharing this quote with me. She is a prolific ‘force tape’ user.

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Hubble Bubble, Kitchen Trouble

Well everyone, I finally decided on the material for our kitchen benches. I nearly managed to get them installed as well, except that when they arrived last week the sink bench was the wrong size. Consequently it has gone back to the manufacturer to be altered.

So now we are frozen in that wonderful part of renovation hell where nothing is where it usually is, and every available surface is covered with a random selection of homeless items.

Chaos. Even more so than usual.

Making eggs on toast and a cup of tea has become an adventure all its own; the closest running water is in the laundry, a makeshift kitchen bench is comprised almost entirely of chopping boards precariously balanced, and all the saucepans now reside under the dining room table.

Ah well, eggs, omelettes… Wish us luck!

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Death of a Time Lord

Today our very own familial Time Lord slid out of this timeline. He was either 91, 92 or 93 years old (if you find that confusing the link above may help to explain), and he had just published his book about the founding of the Samoan Methodist Church in New Zealand.

Papa was something of a man of mystery, even to his own family. He shared information on a ‘need to know basis’. And, for the most part, so it seemed, people didn’t need to know. Even, on occasion, an exasperated Mama.

Silipa Mamea

Papa’s passport photo circa 1976. An international man of mystery.

Every so often though I could get him on a roll and he’d tell me stories about his life. You don’t live to 90-something without having a few good stories to share. When those stories start with growing up in a remote Samoan village, one of 10 children, then meeting your dad for the first time at four or five years old because he has been away with the Mau since before you were born; your audience (that’s me) can stay fascinated for hours.

I’ll remember him for those stories, for his affectionate chortles at the antics of his grandchildren — and sometimes his wife — and for his full and fearless commitment to the things he believed in. One thing is for sure, Papa Silipa was a force to be reckoned with. And if some of his ideas were a bit at odds with those around him; well, you get that with a Time Lord.

.

Silipa Moeimanu Siauini II Le Mamea

? October c1926 — 17 May 2019

_________________________________

 

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube

Bearing Fruit

Stephen of House Kragbol is our resident possum sniper. Many’s the evening he’s ventured out with his headlamp and rifle, while the rest of us tender-hearted snowflakes lurk inside, grateful that someone else is doing what needs to be done.

This summer, after two years and over 100 confirmed kills, Stephen’s extermination efforts are bearing fruit. And not just metaphorically.

Nashi pears on tree

An abundance of nashi pears

Apples

Apples — possibly Granny Smiths. On bare branches due to the sheep having hoovered up all the leaves.

Pears on tree

Pears aplenty.

Black Fig

Literally hundreds of figs.

Lady Finger Banana

And this dubious looking article is a Lady Finger Banana.

Lady Finger Banana

The inside looks familiar. More starchy and sweeter than supermarket bananas, they are delicious.

Yes, we have bananas! A tree full of pears, where previously we had only a handful, also apples, nashi pears, and more figs than I’ve ever seen before. I knew the possums must be eating some of our fruit, but I had never realised just how much went down those furry little gullets. 

With that in mind, we all pitched in to buy Stephen a possum control assistant. A humane and self-resetting Goodnature A12 trap, which we’ve installed near the bridge into the Seven Acre Wood. So now, although I’m still a spineless townie when it comes to offing possums up close and personal, at least I feel like I’m contributing. Let’s not judge.

Follow
Pinterest
Pinterest
Facebook
Facebook
Follow
YouTube