Trailer Mod

So the above image is a really rough idea of what we plan to get to work on within a few months of our move. The white sections represent the existing unit, the shipping can is creating the lower area, and the glass is all diverted material for the bump out.  In keeping with most of our past projects the home will be very modern and simple, and we will strive to use only sustainable, non toxic, recycled, reclaimed, and local materials. Having the sea can in our back yard is a very large reminder of just how exciting this adventure will be!

Wow that’s a BIG BOX!

CARGOTECITURE here we come…  

Yesterday we (and when I say we I mean Dyl) received delivery of a 20ft sea can, which is step 1 of our trailer retro fit! The plan is to fill and store this shipping container will our building materials, then ship it to site where we will set it into the hillside and swing the existing trailer 90º, to maximize solar gain, and use the can as a footing to catch the other end of the trailer. This will then serve as a great root cellar / storage room.

This monster steel box weights in at a mere 5000 Lbs! And that talented man of mine, single handedly moved the beast about10 feet to snug it into the carport, reportedly this was done at a painstaking pace of 1/2 inch intervals. Hopefully the neighbors won’t complain, about the box before we move next week. And I will think twice about huffing about all the time Dyl spends on you tube watching other people move big things by them selves… as I now see the value in these skills.

So we are going to be doing a quick reno and retrofit of the trailer to live in while we watch, listen and walk the land for a year, finding just the right position to build our home in. This will also give us the chance to get some food growing, learn a thing or two about “the chickenness of the chicken”, and maybe even acquire a sheep. This summer we also plan to get a nice outdoor solar bathroom set up and hopefully a couple small permanent straw igloo’s so that our eager group of helpers and visitors have some amenities for this and the next building season.

The trailer reno will be a really great lesson in all systems and techniques we are considering for the house, but on a smaller and more manageable scale. We will be building two rammed earth into car tire wall / foundations to pick up the rest of the trailer load which spans a hillside, This will also create a “downstairs” to house of PV electrical storage area and our composting toilet collector. We will also get to use some of the diverted patio doors we have been rescuing from demo’s and reno’s all over the city, to do a small addition to the front (soon to be south facing) living area.

Here are some cool links to cargotecture sites which have inspired our trailer remod… And I will be posting a 3D model of our trailer plan within the next day or two.

stunning sustainable calgary gem

We had the great fortune this past weekend of spending a few wonderful hours touring the Bow Point Nursery with the opperators and a former student / Arborist friend of ours Frenchy. Owners Ken & Pam are doing the most amazing things with their 16 acre parcel, using educated sustainable methods. Bow point nursery grows NATIVE ALBERTA SPECIES, and they have some really diverse and unique species of tree’s and plants. The Paskapoo Poplar (shown in the gallery below) Is a stunning example of a tree which thrives in Alberta, and has some very interesting characteristics, nothing like the root sprawling poplars that took over my Calgary home as a child.

I had no idea what I was in for when we were invited to visit the nursery, but I left gob smacked and in awe of the thoughtful operations and growing practises which make this business so sustainable and low impact. Ken climbed his multch and compost stacks with us which gave Dyl the opportunity for the first time to feel the incredible heat source generated by breaking down organic’s (we are now fired up about the idea of capturing compost heat via radiant lines, to incorporate into a radiant floor heat source for a winter green house)

The BPN operation was full cycle and the ideas and products created by “waste” were awe inspiring! We sniffed, swatted, climbed, and kicked our way through the land and outbuildings eagerly absorbing info and asking questions…

This visit was so well timed, as many systems and ideas we have been developing for our future lifestyle, where in front of us and in use in a commercial application that was a shinning example of sustainable (and profitable) symbiosis of waste and resources.

My favourite diversion practise at Bow Point is the harvesting of Urban Tree’s destine for land fill or fire pit… Generally when someone needs a tree removed from their home or business (to make room for a new building, or because it’s dead or growing into power lines or over the property line) One would call and Arborist to have it cut down and taken away… standard practise see’s these often huge old  tree’s turned into firewood, chip, or worse landfilled! Well Bow Point rescues and receives urban trees and re saws them into stunning lumber, the likes of which a deep pocket’d wood worker would be hard pressed to find, let alone purchase with a conscious. Yet here they are creating planks and veneers of rescued recycled birds eye + burled hard woods! Here is a massive “stick” of maple rescued from the Uof C sitting on a track saw. WOW!!!

Home Sweet Trailer!

_MG_8804We got the land! After much back and forth between parties and some sleepless nights, our 4th or 5th offer was finally accepted!

Now our little piece of heaven on Perry’s Ridge is just some paper pushing away!

This spanky 80’s trailer will be out home on the range while we build our home, which Dylan will be writing about soon.

We will soon be settling into just over 8 acres of gently sloping mountain side, with about 3 acres of nicely tiered level agricultural land with good sun exposure, surrounded but a thick boarder of trees, backing into a lovely 5+ acres of mossy dense forest with some nice diversity of species: Hemlock, Cedar, Yew, and a lot of great wild mushroom, both of the edible and magic varieties :}

The magic of this land is it feels like you are in the middle of now where, yet we have neighbours on 3 sides, and the wonderful village of Winlaw at our feet!

Possession date is Dec 15… and now we are dreaming of a trailer “park” christmas!

easy peasy

IMG_1138Well the next step was indeed about as easy as one might hope it could be! We listed the house on Thursday PM, had 6 viewing on Friday afternoon, an offer Friday night, which lead to a conditional sale Saturday morning!



Now we have 6 weeks to disband, box, ship and re settle for a winter stop over in the foothills of suburbia! We put in another offer on the 8 acres just our side of the ALR in Winlaw we are so very hopeful to own soon!

fingers crossed this endeavour in BC real estate goes well.