It Ain’t Pretty But It’s Mine

Wow – this gallery thing has worked twice in a row now.

Hi Folks,

After I got my truck I started looking for a trailer.  I was familiar with Tumbleweed Houses – the company of Jay Shaffer, one of the forerunners of the small house movement.  (If you go to my “My Mentors” page you’ll find a link to TW Houses.)  I love his esthetic, but for me those houses are just too small.  I’m a musician and I wanted enough room to be able to enjoy playing my electric piano and to do some yoga.  I also want to have friends visit me out in the boonies wherever I am and be able to put them up.  And, I want to be off-grid as much as possible.

Another concern I had was stability while pulling my house around.  My dad often mentioned that a gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer was much more stable and easy to handle than one that fastens onto the bumper.   I really took heed of that.  The thought of my new, lovingly built house tipping over as I went around a curve was more than unsettling.

I started looking at flatbed trailers with goosenecks or fifthwheel connections.  I wasn’t sure what size to get or what other qualifications the trailer needed to have.  I did a lot of searching of Craig’s List and just googling trailers for sale.  Got some idea of trailer costs for new and used trailers.  I had to learn the terminology of trailers – I-beams, dove tails, ramps and the distinction between gooseneck and fifth wheel.

I finally decided that a trailer around 28′ long with a gooseneck would probably do for my purpose.  I located a trailer company in Denver, Jayhawk Trailers.  I called there a few times with a bunch of questions and spoke with Aaron, the owner.  He was a huge help in figuring out what would be best.  His wife Shannon is in the one photo in the previous post, doing all the paper work.  I had him looking out for the right trailer for me and when I visited the first time (with my sister who took the photo of me sitting on the trailer) I saw this trailer and everything began to fall into place.

I bought my trailer on 10/18/11.  It wasn’t very pretty, but I could tell it had good bones and I trusted my advisor and knew he would help me get everything fixed up right.  The trailer needed sanding and painting and new tires and all the brake lights and wiring checked out.  She looks real purty now.

Happy Trails,


Going back to the Beginning

Hi Folks – Success!  I have figured out how to insert a bunch of photos into a post – yay!!!

So now I’ll tell you what this is about.  These photos are from my outing on 12/8/11 with my friend John to pick up my trailer in Denver and bring it down to Colorado Springs so that we could start serious planning of the building of my home.  BTW, Gypsy Turtle Home is too long a title for my home so I call it Gyrtle (soft g like in gypsy).  John drove the rig back since I was barely used to driving my huge truck.

I bought the truck back on 8/23/11 after a good month of searching and researching: what brand of truck, how big an engine, 4WD, crew cab or not, automatic or manual, diesel or gas, etc.  I decided on a 2005 Ford 350 diesel w/ 4WD, automatic transmission, crew cab, and goose neck hookup already in it. It had about 103K miles on it – which is very good for a diesel.  It also came with some really cool extras I never would have put on my “must have” list – a moon roof, keyless entry, leather interior, seat warmers, fog lights, a cattle guard, and some yellow running lights on the cab.

I did end up spending a few bucks more than I’d budgeted, but you have to make a choice from what’s available and on the value you’re getting.  Taxes and registration were significant and I also had a mechanic check everything out and put in a chip to improve mileage and engine performance.  I love the color of my truck and feel quite the “empress of the road” in it now that I’m used to driving it.

I’ll tell you about the process of finding the trailer in the next post.

Keep on Truckin’


Making a List and Checking it Twice

Hi Folks,

So today or tomorrow I’m going to order all of the materials to get my house started and to the “dry-in” stage.  When you have built to the dry-in stage your house has a floor, walls, windows, roof and the protective coverings that will keep it dry – hence the name.  I suppose I have to have a door too.

I expect that this will again be thousands of dollars so I am indeed “making a list and checking it twice”.  I have found out that Home Depot is a great resource.  I’ve researched getting specialized materials at all kinds of vendors and from the manufacturers themselves and when I went to Home Depot, they’ve been able to either have it all or get it for me.  Truly “one stop shopping” – and if I spend enough money they give me added discounts.  They also discuss with me all the details of screws and wood and roofing as long as I like. They don’t always know everything, so I still have to check with manufacturers websites or with my architect/engineer (A/E) or with other experts.  But I find that the more I talk about it all, the more comfortable I am with it all.

In fact, I just made an emergency “what are we doing about this problem and why are we using this material” call to Scott (my A/E) to be reassured that all was well.  All is well.  He also assured me yesterday that he doesn’t bill as lawyers do (by the minute)!  A double reassurance.  Thank you, Scott.

Dan, my carpenter, arrives on April 2nd – so we’ll be getting adjusted, taking inventory, leveling the trailer, etc. and START.

Blessings and Happy Trails,


What Things Cost

Hi Folks,

This won’t be a philosophical post about costs, but a statement of actual costs to date.  So far I’ve spent just over $29, 000 – mainly for my truck and trailer and associated fees and repairs.  About $4000 has been spent on things toward the actual building – mainly $2500 for my windows and around $500 for a workshop with the Tumbleweed House Co for me and my architect/engineer.  I found the workshop helpful, but I’m not sure Scott (my engineer) did.

Here’s a chart of items so far:

DATE Amount Item Category
Aug 23, 2011 $854.79 Truck Taxes Fees
Aug 23, 2011 $500.00 Destination Fee Fees
Aug 23, 2011 $16,400.00 Ford 350 Truck, 4WD, Diesel Vehicle
Sep 23, 2011 $376.41 CO State Registration Fee – Truck Fees
Oct 18, 2011 $3,500.00 28’ Flatbed Trailer Trailer
Nov 11, 2011 $100.00 100’ sq. of bamboo flooring Building Materials
Nov 11, 2011 $0.00 140’ sq. of bamboo flooring Building Materials
Nov 11, 2011 $0.00 15.5’ sq. of marble counter top Building Materials
Nov 18, 2011 $1,429.74 truck maintenance and chip Vehicle Repair
Nov 29, 2011 $50.00 AllFleet, stove top Appliances
Nov 30, 2011 $1,809.61 trailer painting and repair Vehicle Repair
Dec 2, 2011 $380.00 Norcold fridge ($250), shower pan ($130) Appliances
Dec 2, 2011 $50.00 AllFleet, space rental Space Rental
Dec 8, 2011 $19.00 lunch w/ John @ Mugsy’s Food for the Help
Dec 8, 2011 $100.00 John Sherman, help getting trailer Labor
Jan 1, 2012 $32.03 Gyrtle miscellaneous Household Items
Jan 3, 2012 $24.53 Lights, jars, under couch box Household Items
Jan 6, 2012 $50.00 Allfleet, space rental Space Rental
Jan 9, 2012 $264.37 Allfleet, truck repairs & hook install Vehicle Repair
Jan 16, 2012 $448.00 Tumbleweed House Co – Workshop Research/Training
Jan 22, 2012 $37.40 Boulder Cafe Food for the Help
Feb 6, 2012 $94.04 CO State Registration Fee – Trailer Fees
Feb 13, 2012 $50.00 Allfleet, space rental Space Rental
Feb 29, 2012 $2,586.98 Home Depot – Windows Building Materials
Mar 2, 2012 $50.00 Allfleet, space rental Space Rental
Mar 2, 2012 $27.91  Lowe’s – handcart Tools

Total:  $29,234.81

Some other time I’ll put this up by categories.

Happy Trails,


Nothing Goes Exactly as Planned

Hi Folks,

I haven’t updated in awhile.  Last post it looked like we’d start building the end of last week but that was not to be.  My very intuitive carpenter was listening and heard what I was hearing too, that I was pushing the time schedule, so we’re “scheduled” to begin now on April 2nd.  That’s not too far off considering this project began six or seven years ago!

I’m still having my architect put together a list of materials and am deciding what roofing materials to buy, and where, as well as how many rolls of aluminum to buy to protect the bottom of my home from entry by water and vermin.

Happy Trails,


Making Connections

Hi Folks,

I now have a Facebook Fan Page that you can join if you like.  Apparently, to join it you have to be a member of Facebook.  I hope that’s not a problem for you.  I’ll post my photos and short updates and keep in touch with people who want to know more about what’s going on with the building of my home there. This blog isn’t really condusive to conversations.

Wednesday evening after teaching I went over to Home Depot to pick out my windows.  I’m going to have plenty of light because I like it and I plan to be in beautiful places and want to be able to see the sky and the land whether I’m inside or out.  So I have a window in my bathroom and one in the entry, two in the kitchen.  One of those is over the sink and is 31/2′ wide.  In the living room I have windows on each side that are 6′ wide x 3′ tall.  And I have windows on three sides in my bedroom.  I know it’s not good feng shui to have a window at your head when you sleep, but I want to be able to look up and see the stars and the moon.  I stayed in a trailer last September in Nevada near to Lake Tahoe that had windows all around the bed and I loved it.

Anyway, three hours later (and an hour after the closing time at HD) I left the depot with a greatly depleted bank account and somewhat dazed from weighing all the considerations of sizes, prices and awning vs. single-hung vs. sliders, etc.  I decided to pay the greater price and get awning-style windows since I won’t have gutters and also want to be able to have my windows open if it’s raining.

I confess that many nights lately I imagine myself in my house – what it’ll be like, what I’m doing in it.  It’s been somewhat difficult to get my possessions down to an amount that might fit into this reduced space.  But, I have been able to reduce the number of my clothes to the point that they all fit into one dresser and about 24″ of hanging space – and the hanging space could be smaller if I have a double rod for short things.  I’m quite proud of that.  Still might not be enough though.  And, even though I’m trying to design the space so that it will be possible for me to have a partner, I don’t think I’m anywhere near actually having the room for someone else’s things – but that is a problem for another day.

Tra-la and Heidy-ho

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: