Category Archives: Life in a Cargo Container

Life in a house

Yes, yes, shocking how long it’s been, I know. Frankly, if you’re me, or if you’ve been following for a while, it’s probably not that surprising…what can I say, there’s a lot going on in my life.

Anywho, I’ve just had wisdom teeth pulled, and so am laying in bed all weekend. I got to thinking about this space and what I’d like to do with it…

First, I need to actually make that video walk-through I keep promising you all. It’s coming, I hereby promise. (Adding hereby to the promise makes it serious.)

Second, we’re obviously not 100% finished, but we’re finished enough that I’m  not living in frustration, which, frankly, is pretty good. As we complete new projects, I’ll document them and continue sharing. This year, we’re planning to scrape the rust from the outside surfaces and paint the house a normal beige-y color. Later in the year, or maybe next year, we’re going to put a very basic roof on. This has to do with some dripping we’ve experienced, which I’ll post about later this week. I’ll keep you all updated on these new, bigger projects.

Third, I want to evolve this space into an ongoing conversation about what it’s like living in this space–people’s reactions to it, unusual experiences we might not have in a typical house, etc.

If there’s anything specific I can answer, feel free to reach out!

Thanks for reading–



Moving in…sort of

I’m so embarrassed at how behind I am on updates. I’ll take a video tour for you in the next few days to update you appropriately. Since our last update, we’ve:

  • Finished all insulation
  • Finished the cedar on the walls
  • Installed all doors
  • Installed rafters on the ceiling
  • Sanded and sealed the floors
  • Installed outlets to complete the electric (more or less–there’s still lights to be put in a few places)
  • Installed the closet
  • Moved in living room and bedroom furniture as of yesterday

As you can tell, things have been a little busy. But the big news is–tonight is our second night to sleep inside! We don’t have the bathroom or kitchen finished, obviously, so we’re still running over to the camper for bathing and cooking needs. It’s right outside the bedroom though, so it’s not particularly inconvenient.

It’s such a pleasure to be in my own bed. We bought a new mattress, and our bed is a king, so the comfort level at this point is a marked improvement from camper sleeping.

A few notes:

Closet: We elected not to build our closet in. Instead, Scott welded brackets to the wall where we wanted the closet zone to be. We hung a clothing rod from those brackets. It sounds a little odd, but it’s working well so far. We might hang a sheer across the front if we decide the clothes being exposed isn’t what we want.

The space: Now that we have furniture in, I’m pretty happy with the dimensions of the space. Our living area is just right for our couch, overstuffed chair, and entertainment stand. There’s also going to be enough room for the wardrobe I’m putting in for winter jackets, umbrellas, and boots, without things seeming crowded.

There’s a nice open space against the wall separating our bedroom from the living space. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve still got some clearing out to do as we continue moving in (and moving out of the storage unit), but we’ve never been big clutter-collectors, so I think we can keep the minimalist vibe going.

I feel like I’m in a palace. I can’t begin to tell you how much space I feel like I have.

First Garden

I spent all last week purchasing wood, scheduling dirt to be delivered, and buying a few plants from Home Depot. I’ve ordered some trees (pear and apple) and 6 blueberry bushes from the Arbor Day Foundation that will be delivered…sometime. They don’t say exactly when, which is frustrating.

Last Sunday, my friend Rebecca came over and helped me plant azaleas and hydrangeas. We also screwed together my beds, though in all fairness, my husband had to redo some of our screws. Thanks, love!

Scott got a bee in his bonnet and helped me till, install beds, and haul dirt. We were out until 11pm. Bless his heart, but he also had to spend three hours working on the tiller to get it running. We borrowed it from a family member, and I’m very grateful, because it worked very well once we got it going.

Here’s some pics of the fun:

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Before photo. We hauled that wood off and burned it.


Dirt being unloaded.

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IMG_2119 2 Scott doing some tilling. Our dog is clearly accustomed to loud equipment.

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After photo from the next morning.

An amusing note: I ordered a load of dirt before we tilled because I was aware most of our space is clay–which of course, isn’t much good for a vegetable garden. Once we started tilling, guess what we found? Some of the only dirt-dirt (not clay) on our usable flat space is right where I wanted my garden; I could have probably done without that load of dirt. Ha.

On Monday, I planted a ton of beets, carrots, chard, lettuce, parsnips, and some marigolds and nasturtiums around the edges of the tilled space. I also planted Celosia Forest Fire along that left edge, to sort of create a barrier between pretty garden and that giant monstrosity of an invasive hedge to the left in the photo.

Next fall, that sucker is coming down.

Those ten beds are 8×4. I’m planting them based on the square-foot gardening method. It seems the most logical use of space. My goal is by next year to be able to produce 90% of our vegetables.

In another week or two I’ll plant some more. Keep your fingers crossed that (most) everything sprouts!


Last week, we found closed-cell insulation panels on Craigslist. So, off we went on an hour drive. We bought 1000sf of two-inch foam and 1000sf of four-inch foam–for the low price of $1,000 total! The two-inch foam has an R-value of 16. The minimum required by code in our area is 13, so we’re ahead of the game. The ceiling, of course, should have more insulation, and I think we’re about 3-4 R-levels higher than the minimum.

We’re better-than-required kind of folks. Ha.

We’re installing it by gluing it directly to the metal walls between the framing studs. Apparently it functions as a moisture barrier if used by itself, which is good. Scott is going to put in a couple of solid days on it this weekend, so I’ll post some pics when progress is made.

Here’s a pic of all the foam in our trailer:


Yeah. It’s a lot.

And, for fun, here’s one of the pile as we were picking it up. Yes, I stayed in the truck and let the dudes load it.

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We are leaving the sections that still need windows installed un-insulated. After the insulation is put in, and we get the funds for windows, Scott will cut out the metal where the windows will go, frame and install them, then finish insulating those areas.

Next comes plumbing, installing cabinets/appliances/shower, and then we can MOVE IN! We’re ready, so we’re going to do all the finish work (painting, putting up covering over the insulation, etc) once we move in.

Walls are cut out!

It’s been awhile since I updated you, but don’t worry–you haven’t missed much.

Hubs has been chipping away at cutting out the walls, but between buying a new-to-us truck, prepping to sell our two extra vehicles, Scott needing to work some at his job-job, and some health issues, things have been a little slower than we might prefer.

But, drumroll please:


The walls are finally all cut out!! You can see at the very end of the first container that there’s still a little wall. That’s the dividing wall between the bathroom and bedroom. The wood beams you see are temporary supports until the cross support beam is welded onto the roof.

We walked around today measuring and planning the electrical. Early this week we’re going to buy the doors/windows so those holes can get cut. Once the doors and windows are input and the single wall framed out, the electric will go in. Next step will be insulation. We’re considering hiring someone for that part to move us forward a bit more.


We still have our king-size frame and box springs, but our mattress was ready to be retired when we sold our house. Last week at the auction, Scott-husband purchased this lovely item:


A brand-new fancy-schmancy gel mattress. Mmm-hmm. I can’t wait to sleep on that thing.

The week before that, he wondered if I would like this:


When I spazzed out in excitement, he told me he’d already bought it. It’s a lovely crackled-blue and copper that will be great as the bathroom focal point. We weren’t going to put in a tub–and it will decrease our space (though we’ll still have plenty)–but come on. Look at it. We have no choice.


In other news, I’ve reached a new peace about our timeline. We would have preferred to be finished the the 15th (which is a week from tomorrow). Obviously, that’s not realistic. Don’t get me wrong–I am SO READY for this lovely project to be finished and to be living in the house. However, I’ve decided it’s not worth getting stressed about some self-imposed timeline. We’ll be in by summer. I can live with that. It’ll probably even be significantly before real-summer, and that’s just not so bad.

Part of the delay was Scott’s health last week. Because he was unable to work for a few days, our friends weren’t able to come help as they’d intended. On the upside, they’re coming for a day or two next weekend, which will be a huge help. It’s very possible that all the windows will be put in and the wall framed up after their visit. M. was a contractor for a long time, and his wife, K., has some mad skills as well.

Finally, let me say thank you to Mother Nature. I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve this much beautiful weather in the middle of January, but I’ll take it.

On another note

Here’s a garden post for your “Monday”.

You see, my favorite people have always been farmers, gardeners, though not all of them made/make their living that way. My friends, my grandfather, my brother–they’re all growers of things, one way or another.

Before seeds can be planted, ground must be prepared. So, I spent today moving a ton of sticks and vines off our fence. I’m not sure how that relates to ground preparation, but I’m sure it does.

I’ve got two 60×20 spaces that will work for gardening.

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They are separated by the brush in the middle, which is going to be cut down, and a fence of cedar poles (probably) will be put in its place. The idea is to use the fence as a trellis.

Below is a panorama photo, so the driveway angle is actually opposite of how it looks


It’s been suggested that I only plant one this year. That’s good advice. I may or may not take it. You see, I bought a lot of seeds…