Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Bunny Hutch: 99.9% Recycled FREE Materials

Over the last two weekends, Dan and I have been working on a gold elite status mutli-level bunny hutch made completely of materials we had laying around, left over, or collected for free from others. 

Whoop! Whoop! Nothing like turning "trash" to treasure!

The only thing we paid for were the hinges and the slide lock for the hutch side door. So, this magnificent fur baby summer home, which would probably cost us about $300-400- based on size and "accessories" alone- cost about $4. Of course, it also took about 10 hours of our time, some planning, some patience, and a review of all materials--but over the course of two lovely weekends, it really seems more like a pleasure than a chore....and the end result has lasting value.

The hutch features a ton of venting for great airflow to keep things cool. A top level complete with snoozing loft, slatted flooring, and ramp access to a 9 square foot base level, half shaded by a flat roof that doubles as a drop in access door. That way, if they decide they do not want to be in the upper level when I need to grab them, I can access them from below as well. We are just going to throw a few cinder blocks--or maybe a cool little yard statue-- on top of the drop in panel. The buns will only be out during the day as well. 

All of the wood came from our various build leftovers and pallets that we have collected. The screen came from a few rolls I had made a point to save and hang on to for two years! They were for the small garden I grew in Cumberland for two years. I carefully dismantled and stored the fencing, not knowing what I would use it for, but feeling good that I didn't just say, aw to heck with it, and put the whole mess on the curb. 

We picked through the wood we had and after establishing a basic frame with the stronger pieces of wood (2x4s), the rest of the process was more organic. I really enjoyed working with Dan, building something once again. The whole experience was further bolstered by the fact that we were making something we needed from things we already had on hand. Not only were we slowly cleaning up our scraps, we were producing something of serious value. Down at the local hardware store, a hutch about half the size of this one was going for $179! 

When we finished the hutch, we laid down fencing to block any digging, then set the hutch in place. Then, we immediately put the bunnies in there, excited to see their reactions and just genuinely appreciated what our time and tenacity had produced. In the past, I would have looked up how to do this and then marched out to the big box store and bought all materials brand new, undoubtedly purchasing more than I need for some supplies simply because it only comes in one quantity. (Why do I have to buy 5000 staples?!) I look forward to approaching so many more projects with this mentality: "I can't spend money on can it be done?" Up next? The container gardens!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

When It Rains, It Pours...In A Good Way

What a contrast from my last post! We went from not having much going on to a whole lot in the last seven days or so!

I'm revved up and ready to tackle a bunch of things on the to do list, so I'll keep the post short and sweet. I'm sure I'll have some rapid fire posts to break up and share all that we have been working on recently.

The Valley Breeze featured us in there April 15-21 issue. It was pretty cool to see our picture on the front page right at the top! We think Sandy did a great job portraying our message and we hope it inspires others to think about lessening their impact. Check it out if you can!

On April 16th, Dan and I presented (okay I did) at the 5th Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference! We had a great time and a great group. It was really exhilarating to be surrounded by so many like minded people, and to have the honor of speaking was the cherry on top!

After the conference, I felt that familiar coasting feeling I used to get after completing a big demo for work. Between the Food Manager studying and certification and getting the tiny house presentation put together and practicing what I wanted to say- I was feeling the pressure. 

Then, the next day, what usually happens-- happened. I got a huge surge of energy and the gusto to tackle some nagging projects. I have been wanting to clean out and organize not only our closet, but our two main kitchen cabinets.  The closet just needed some vacuuming and tidying while the kitchen cabinets were a clean out and total re-organization. I was getting fed up with how we originally stored items in there. We have really fallen into a good rhythm in this tiny house of ours, and now that I understand our most common practices/habits, I felt I could organize the spaces more efficiently. 

This past weekend, we did some more long awaited chores and much needed yard clean up. Being spring and all, we wanted to do some "deep" cleaning. Which loosely translates to: let's clean some of the stuff that we barely ever clean. The toilet bench storage fit that bill. The wood shavings don't always make it right into the bucket, so over time, loose shavings build up. We emptied everything out, and swept out all the shavings. 

Through these cleanings, I actually found several useful items I had no idea about. HAHA I know, it seems impossible right? How could you NOT know what you have in just 128 square feet?! Well, even in small places, you can lose track of things. I was planning on henna-ing my sisters hair for her birthday. I had purchased the brown shade, but then decided I wanted to mix in some red after the fact. I was debating on ordering more henna. I'm glad I procrastinated there... I found a jar of dark red henna that I had ordered by accident quite a while ago. SCORE! While doing the kitchen clean up, I found two jars of a very expensive spice blend that I was just about to go buy on my next grocery run. In the closet, I relocated my stash of used gift bags/tissue paper (yep, really came in handy for the sister birthday), and a second box of contacts! I thought I was running out soon. 

This is only about 30% of what fits in there...

We also started evaluating all the goods we have accrued through the last two years or so. Now that I'm doing the entrepreneur thing (aka not earning money at the moment)- coming up with low cost or FREE solutions to our needs has become a seriously fun, cerebral, and very rewarding hobby. Our first 100% recycled build project is a bunny hutch. We want the buns to be able to enjoy some time outdoors during the day, burn off some energy, and hopefully blow away a bunch of hair. haha The less that falls off inside, the happier I'll be.

We rounded up quite a few goods from our various stashes. We will be able to create a deluxe double level bunny hutch for ZERO dollars. Yup, zero. We also have collected just about everything we need for our self-watering container garden set up- again zero dollars. I will have more posts coming up on both of these projects! 

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Look at all the loot! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hurry Up and Wait...

My usual blogging energy- along with most other types- has been diverted these last few weeks.

The seedlings in our tiny window green house are getting big and a bit stringy. Apparently, I didn't need to be in any sort of rush. With the last few days being nice and warm, and all this bare ground taunting me, I am all but jumping out of my skin to get started on growing food this year. I am currently enjoying a couple of different gardening books and taking several notes.

We also need to sand and seal our siding before we continue on finishing the last back wall. The pallet siding has been aging somewhat nicely. I'm sure it would turn into a lovely patchwork of weathered gray if we left it, but I'm not really a fan of that. It's hard to believe that even a place this small could take so long to fully finish, but hey, we have been doing this as an integral part of a pretty full life, so I need to remind myself to cut some slack.

Bunny Buns! Still not as pretty as I'd like, but they sure are cute!

As mentioned, I have put just about all of my energy and focus into my new gluten free, dairy free food making venture. I am getting great results with my breads and developing other snack type foods as well. I have about 5 solid flavors of bread as well as a couple different cookies, kale chips, and a g-free/d-free crunchy cracker type thing that reminds me of a cross between Goldfish and Cheeze-its. I hesitate to make these because I simply cannot stop eating them!

My last day of employment was the last day of February making for a clean start in March. Since that time, I have earned my TIPS certification, determined a list of all forms and applications I will need, found a DOH certified kitchen I can use, decided upon a business name, worked out multiple rough draft logos, completed the Food Manager course and just yesterday became a Certified Food Manager! Not bad for roughly a month of "not working", eh?

Walter wanted to try one...

Anyways- keeping it short and sweet this post since I don't have much tiny house related news to share. Once the soil warms up, I'll be full of things to share once again! Roof top gardening, micro space gardening, urine as a fertilizer, stawbale techniques, and hopefully we will be setting up a rain water catchment system this summer. 

I will leave you with some photos of the food and some photos of the buns using my new camera. I have learned quite a lot about the camera so far, thanks to the dummies book! And I am looking forward to capturing some stunning images of this beautiful farm! 

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