About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Finding our way back to a time

October 21, 2022

But what time?  It is beautiful up at the tiny house we call Myrtle.  

We are still nine weeks away from winter (Winter is December 21) and we are already dipping to just above freezing for our low temperatures.  We are having a cold fall but bounce back to the 80s after a near freeze and then cold again. 

Charles and I have been pushing our bodies to finish Myrtle, we need to be able to stay there and not have to drive back and forth so much. It has been too much gasoline and wear on the car. 

We do have electricity at our Myrtle but hope to get set up to be as off grid as we can be so we do not generate a lot of usage.  We are keeping track with our Kilowatts used.  Charles keeps a usage journal here at home and so we have a new book for what we use at Myrtles. It will all work out once we finish the little 200 square foot one level tiny house.

Pictured above I am washing dishes the old way on the kitchen table.  We have a table and four chairs at Myrtles and I have two wash bowls and heat water on the outdoor stove.

We purchased a water tank to hold water just outside our door so that we do not have to fetch water as often.

We decided to bring up the bed and mattress and put it up to sleep and take it down to work.  We hung the mirror because it was found in the old workshop when we cleaned it out and we were tired of moving it around trying to keep the mirror from breaking.  We didn't have any other option except for camping cots but we found we are too old to do this kind of heavy work and sleep on a cot.

We are taking wash bowl baths as they did in the past.  We heat the water on the camp stove but we will be cooking and heating with a wood fire at some point.

In the photo above is the old ceiling and at this time I took this picture we had the bead board walls up except above the windows.  The cabinet to the right is on sliders and we have been using it to hold items we need and helpful for prepping food.

This photo above is the ceiling now and we have only one corner to finish, we ran out of boards.  We will paint later.

So we started the floors, took the bed apart and shifted everything to the side.  That gold padding is a underlay to go under the floor boards to control moisture in the floor.

Katherine was our inspector to make us do things right.  This was very hard on the knees, especially for Charles because he was putting the boards in and I was laying them out.  We had no idea how to do this floor but we just decided to lay it down and however it turned out this was they way it would be.

So we finished laying the floor.  We have a lot of trim work to do, we have to face out the door and windows and corners, crown molding and baseboard molding. 

Our trips back and forth were becoming difficult for all of us (doggies and bird) because we were keeping late hours and going up and back each day many days in a row.  Now we are easing up a little since we can sleep over and get more done.

I took a walk on the property so I could try and capture the fog on the lake but the fog was letting up at this point.  It is so very quiet up there, unlike the noisy area of the city that we live in.  

I will enjoy this new place to go, a much slower pace and more simple.   It does not feel this way at this time but it will.

A photo taken this week of our radish garden. We are starting to harvest the radishes.  I am not sure which radish is my favorite.

We have had long talks driving back and forth and also a lot of laughter from our camping toilet adventures to new use of items from today that had some pretty intense mishaps.  (Old way seems to always be the better option)

We did our first dump station clean out of our portable toilet tank. The process was not as bad as first thought, Charles went inside and asked the nice man if they will be open all winter and he said they will as long as everyone abides with keeping the faucet dripping during freezing weather.  There is a dumping station that we can drive to to empty and clean out our camping toilet tank. This is used mostly for people traveling in RV's but also like ours too.  We have an RV Holding tank even though we do not have a RV but that is back up if we need to wait longer to the dump and clean out station. 

Our experience so far makes an old fashioned outhouse not as bad as I once thought they were. Now the story about the new female and male urinals. This plan was to not have to go outside at night since we do not have a indoor place to put a toilet.  So we have a portable pop out toilet room outside.

Before we put the new floor down, I had a night time accident with my new modern fangled female urinal which is well designed except it has an inside cap and the male has an outside cap.  Well, I was so sleepy and I could not see due to dim lighting, and the precarious way I was standing due to lumber on the floor,  I forgot the cap was screwed down inside and quickly overflowed the lid and peed on my gown and the floor all the while pleading for Charles to get up and out of bed and find a towel as I was bunching up my warm long night gown to catch the mishap. I was pleading "Don't look".  It was very chaotic and cold and once that situation was under control I had to make up some soapy water with my laundry bar and washing soda to wash down the subfloor and boards I was tripping over.  

I ended up doing what I was trying to avoid and that was going outside in the dark to the temporary camping toilet among the wild animals in the woods. We can laugh about this now but at the moment is was not funny.  Charles had said, well I didn't have any problem and I said, "Your not a female!".  Had I not have been so tired before we collapsed into bed, I should have laid a towel beside the bed but I did not think about that.  Lesson learn, try things out before using them at need and remove the cap before going to sleep. 

We have put the girls through a lot but they have been well behaved.  We kept shifting them around putting in the ceiling and floor and they slept most all of the next day after we got home.  Next trip up we will take a nice warm rug for the floor. They do have a fenced in area now to run around and play and they are happy to be off leashes.

We are trying to be careful, Charles did fall off the ladder and had a hard landing, he hurt for awhile after that, one day he hammer his finger really hard, we both have had a lot of muscle pulls and pinched fingers and toes but hopefully we are over the hump now because most of the really big jobs are mostly done. We are still in a lot of pain everyday and wondering when this soreness will stop. 

I remember a long time ago when my Grandparents, aunts and uncles were still with us and we would be together and the things we did with much laughter. Sometimes there were big projects and everyone brought a dish of food and we put it together and had a wonderful meal.  People do this at Church today but I do not see it as often with families.  We seem to be more isolated, not all but many.  

I have learned through this tiny house adventure that I can still do more than I thought I could.  Soon we will be at a point that we can start helping Madge and when we get things looking better up there then we can slow down and enjoy the time we have left together.

In my down time I have been writing down some knitting patterns because I really want to knit with this cooler weather.  I actually have plans to sit down and knit this coming Saturday.

I wanted to let you all know where we are in this journey to getting Myrtle looking like a little house.  Hopefully & soon, we can find a new normal.  Grandma Donna


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Comments (30)

Grandma Donna

November 2, 2022 12:26 PM
Rhonda Meinder, thank you for your comment. Oh how I look forward to when we get to this point that I can sit down in Myrtle and knit! What a lovely thought, thank you. :)

Rhonda Meiners

November 2, 2022 12:16 PM
Oh my goodness - you made me smile today! You're potty mishap sounds so like something that would happen to me! You and Charles are making so much progress on your tiny house. All that hard work will make you appreciate that space so much more when you can finally relax and enjoy it! I have said so many times that our new, modern ways are usually never as good as the old ways. I find myself doing more and more things the old way and enjoying life so much more! Looking forward to getting caught up on your posts again! I like to have them to look forward to! Hope to hear that you're slowing down, enjoying spending time in Myrtle, making memories with Maude, and knitting up a storm soon!

Debbie (in PA)

October 25, 2022 9:23 PM
I have always enjoyed everything that you write, and your stories of your progress on Myrtle have been no exception. I always look forward to your updates, and the next entries in the diaries. Seems more real than the "real" world most of the time!

Thank you for continuing to share. It has been a real blessing to follow along and see what is possible to create when you put your mind to it!

Grandma Donna

October 25, 2022 7:47 PM
Thank you Stephanie for your comment.

Emma, that helps my feelings from someone that has done this. Living long ago without running water and electricity was very different than today because they simply lived like this from once they were born. But the main thing is they had the tools and facilities. A good wood burning stove and outhouse. It was not that bad to them when that was all they knew. I was raised with running water and electricity but I had family that did not have it and visited family. Once we get things in place it will be more comfortable. :) I will check out your blog. :) Thank you, Donna

Emma - Barradale Farm

October 25, 2022 7:22 PM
Oh I had a chuckle at your toilet dilemmas. We live off-grid and I can relate to them well. We now have a basic composting toilet in a small bathroom right outside our yurt door, and whilst it is not fancy, it is better than hiking outside in the rain which is what we di for the first year.

Your tiny is looking lovely, and it sounds very peaceful where you are. Being able to stay where you work is really helpful. It saves a lot of energy and time.



October 25, 2022 5:13 PM
It looks so beautiful! I am just amazed at all that you and Charles are doing. I love the floor, and your dogs look happy and relaxed. I hope you get it done soon and can relax and knit.

Grandma Donna

October 25, 2022 3:53 PM
Lissa, my grandmother eloped on a mule as a young teen. Like Grandmother, like Granddaughter, but we did not have a mule. :) I do have a picture of Charles carrying a bale of hay with a cowboy hat but that was not that long ago. :) Some things I do keep personal on this great big web.


October 25, 2022 12:28 PM
"It was the best of times. it was the worst of times"...Sounds like it! What a job your have undertaken and I can imagine how much excitement you will have when it's all finished. Men certainly have urinating easy don't they!! I've been back to the beginning of your blog and enjoy those posts again. I often long to hear my grandparents and father laughing on the front porch of the family home in Pittsburgh. You mentioned that you married young? May I ask, how young? Did a young Charles moving the hay catch your eye from the start? hahaha.

Grandma Donna

October 24, 2022 6:31 PM
Thank you Teri, that one looks like it would be helpful traveling.

Teresa Pittman

October 24, 2022 4:30 PM
You need this:

I've used this one car camping. I like the beadboard ceiling. I may need to do that here. And I need trim pretty much everywhere.

Grandma Donna

October 23, 2022 8:48 PM
Pattie, I am happy you found me on Instagram. I am still learning how to use it but I am figuring it out. That is okay, you can laugh, we have had a few laughs about it too. Donna

Grandma Donna

October 23, 2022 8:46 PM
Cindy, I never found the time to knit on Saturday but I am making new dishcloths and scrubbies. I have a couple of new patterns I want to try and also Charles and I need some warm winter caps I hope to knit. :) Donna


October 23, 2022 8:36 PM
Great post. Can’t wait for the finish product. Your urinal experience was funny (sorry). That would be my luck. What kind of knitting projects?


October 23, 2022 5:31 PM
I was so happy to see you on Instagram, and now I see you have comments as well. I am happy to catch up with your progress on Myrtle…your floor looks great! I am sorry to have laughed at your mishap story, but it sounds like something I would do! You only make mistakes like that once!

Grandma Donna

October 22, 2022 11:16 PM
Thank you Sender, that helps me to keep on blogging.


October 22, 2022 8:58 AM
Oh how I enjoy your posts! Your stories are comforting and encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with us!

Grandma Donna

October 22, 2022 7:29 AM
Hi Beth, thank you for sharing your off grid living experiences about bathing and toileting. It sure is not as simple as we thought it to be and one because we still think young. :) It seems that you are working out some very good solutions. We have a tent your size so it gives me a mental picture of you challenges and your fun times. Our tent experiences is why we ended up doing this work on the old workshop and it is not the tent is is our age. You are creating memories and wonderful life experiences and your children will always remember their childhood adventures living in the then and hopefully living in the cabin. Please share anytime. Grandma Donna

Grandma Donna

October 22, 2022 7:04 AM
Victoria it does seem like it has taken us a long time, we realized as we passed the cotton pickers this week that it has been one year since we started the clean out of the old workshop.

Becky Sue, having the bed to sleep on has made much more comfortable and yes having comforts is starting to make it feel homey.

Gail, the toilet issues has been all over the place, it seems our age is the problem, trying to get something sturdy and the right height. Lol, balance seems to our problem. We do have a chamber pot and we made a raised platform to set that on and we have a under the bed chamber pot too which would work for grandchildren and teens and young adults. If we have had to use these through the years we may not have the balance and stiffness issues that we have today. It makes me think about all of these comfy things we have today, have we caused us to become stiff old folks? I got a laugh about your frog story, I got bumped in the but by one of those frogs at my Aunt's house, I did quite a bit of squeeling!

Thank you for your comments. Donna


October 22, 2022 7:03 AM
Dear Mrs. Donna, I have read your blog for a few years and dearly love it. We are an off grid family of 5 ( 3 children ages 6,8,11) and we have had similar experiences with the toilet. With cold weather we invested in an old chamber pot and the hubby built a box for it. It sits by the front door and we use that at night and it is the 6 year olds job to empty it first thing in the morning. This works well for us. Bathing has been quite an issue since we moved out here. We do sponge bathe as you have written but we also have invented an indoor shower by the wood stove. In summer we just shower outside After much trial and error hubby built a rectangular pvc frame that can be lowered from the ceiling. The two shower curtain are arranged in a rectangle 50 gallon plastic tote and we have a rechargeable shower pump we drop into a five gallon bucket we temper with warm water. This is working marvelously. Oh I must mention we live in a 16 by 24 wall tent so we have to get more creative at times. I long for the day we build our cabin and have real walls to hang things again. But there are always solutions. I love your peeing in the night story. We do have an outhouse as well but after a year we buried the hole and changed to a compost bucket which we empty on our orchard trees for a tree bog. The trees have thrived and there is very little odor in the outhouse now. We also use cloth no paper for the outhouse. We have done this even before we moved off grid.
Thank you for continuing this blog and I pray you and Charles finish the house and love it.


October 21, 2022 10:24 PM
Hello Donna, how lovely to see a new post from you. When we were young and only had an outside toilet, at night time we would use a potty. (chamber pot) in Australia we call outside toilets, thunder boxes or sunnies. My parents had a farm with an outside toilet many years ago and there was a water systern above the toilet. You pulled a chain a the water came down and flushed the toilet, however when you flushed there were big green frogs which hid under the toilet lip and they would hang on to that toilet lip for dear life to avoid being washed down into the toilet. A bit disconcerting at times. Especially when we had visitors.your little cottage sounds delightful to me and once it’s all finished it will be such a lovely place to spend some relaxing days. We are just about to head into summer although the weather her has been dreadful with the 3 eastern states receiving the most rain since the time when they started recording rainfall. We are high we’re we live but lower areas and town near our river systems have so much flooding. Thousands of homes and farm have been inundated. So sad for them. Well now, have a lovely week and thank you again for your newsy post.
Blessings Gail

Becky Sue

October 21, 2022 9:57 PM
I love how the walls and floor look! Now that the bed and mirror are in there it looks like a real home. It is amazing how much you are getting done and how good it all looks. I'm sure you must be enjoying it. I hope you will get time soon to be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.


October 21, 2022 9:30 PM
You all are making a lot of progress. I know when you are in the midst of a project like this it seems like it's taking forever, but you will be done before you know it. Then you can just relax (like the girls) and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

It's good to hear that your mishaps have only resulted in sore muscles and nothing really serious. Pulled muscles and bruises don't feel good for awhile but generally go away with time and can be mitigated to some extent with just aspirin.

Keep up the good work----it will be worth it in the long run.

Grandma Donna

October 21, 2022 5:17 PM
Donna Wilson, Thank you for the information, we actually purchased the seat part and have it on a bucket and have switched to this for now. It is much better. Charles has decided to build us one. :) Thank you for commenting.

Grandma Donna

October 21, 2022 5:08 PM
Hi Darlene, it is good to hear from you. The width finished out is 9' 4 & 1/2 inches and 19' 1". We are already seeing that we will have to get real creative about storage. We will be putting up some shelves so that will help.
You are very right about it is worth it to have quiet. We have had to budget all of this and go with the walls and floor type with what we could afford and pay cash and not credit as we went. It is shocking how much each board costs today. I feel we have made it over the hump with the heavy building but there is still much stretching and kneeling to do when we start the baseboards and crown molding. Then I will feel we may have a chance to not be in so much pain. It is a adventure that is for sure. Our bathroom and bathing and night time toilet for now is going to be the old fashioned curved shower bar and a curtain. I will be showing it possibly in my next blog post. I am happy that you are enjoying watching the progress. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Donna

Donna M Wilson

October 21, 2022 4:32 PM
p.s. I just checked Amazon and the name is Luggable Loo and they are 45.00. They show other options from other companies as well.


October 21, 2022 4:29 PM
Looks wonderful! Can't wait to see how cute everything is when you're finished. Your home photos are always so cozy. Since you've had a mishap with the urinal, I thought I would share what has worked for us while camping. We went to a camping store, REI, I believe and we bought something called a "Lug-A-Loo". It's a commode seat with lid, that fits over a utility bucket. So much nicer for ladies, especially in the middle of the night ;) I hope this might be helpful to you. Take care, Donna

Darlene from Ohio

October 21, 2022 12:38 PM
Hello Donna,

Thank you for always being "real" and telling us the good and bad and ugly. I did smile at your night time bathroom fiasco. Yes, we absolutely should try new things like that out before we need them in the middle of the night. I know you can laugh at it now, but the horror you were feeling at the time must have been awful. I wanted to say, too, that when you were writing about putting the ceiling up, you said to make sure you wear your "poise". That cracked me up, but I know it to be true, too.

I absolutely love how the walls and ceiling and floor has come out. Gorgeous! What a transformation. You must be thrilled with how far you two have come in making this workshop a home. The bed looks great there and would be a heck of a lot more comfortable than a cot. It does make for more shuffling, but worth it at night, I am sure.

It must be a relief to have most of the big stuff out of the way and some easier items to work on now. I am amazed at what you two have done and it shows me that if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can accomplish much. I do hope the soreness abates soon.

I took the dimensions of the camper we live in. I think I told you hubby and I live in a camper in my parent's side yard. We came out so I could care for Dad after his stroke. He passed a year later and now we are staying to care for my Mom. We have been here five years this past March and I am surprised at how fast time flies by. I am living in similar dimensions as your tiny house. The only difference is where you have a nice rectangle, mine is not. I have 11 1/2 feet wide for about 4 1/2 feet, then it goes down to 8 1/2 feet wide. That width is for 8 1/2 feet. Then it goes down to 31 inches wide hallway to the bathroom, which is 35 inches wide. Yeah, the bathroom is small and you can simply turn around carefully and that is it. I change my clothes where it is wider because the bathroom is so claustrophobic. The funny thing is I am the same length as you, 19 feet.

I am curious as to how you will handle living in these dimensions. Storage is my nightmare. I keep purging and letting go, but you do need to have some things. I try to simplify cooking as much as possible. But I like to use a crock pot and a few other things. They do take up space, tho. I removed the microwave to have more storage.

I think you will not have my problems as you won't be living there full time, but I bet we will share in some problems and irritations. But the view you will have at Myrtle's will be worth any of it. Enjoy every minute of it. And I can tell you that none of the problems matter compared to the peace and quiet of being out in the country.

Thanks for taking us along on your ride.


Grandma Donna

October 21, 2022 12:05 PM
Thank you Hilogene and Danielle, we will be so happy when this work is done, I know nothing is every really finished but the hard part of this work making it comfortable. Donna

Hilogene in Az

October 21, 2022 10:35 AM
Thanks for the update! I laughed at loud at your photo of your dogs exhausted from their adventure. A picture is worth a thousand words indeed. Congratulations on your huge progress. I have never put in floors or redone walls and ceilings, that is a huge amount of work and looks really well done. I can understand how good it must feel to look around and know that you two did the work.

Danielle P.

October 21, 2022 9:14 AM
The ceiling and floor are looking wonderful! You're doing a great job with Mirtle.
I hope you won't experience any more mishaps.
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