Day 31–32: Did we reach our goal?

Not quite. But we came close.

The goal was to have a waterproof structure up by the 17th December. I’d say I’m two solid days work away from that goal.

In the end the things that delayed us were the rafters – specifically the metal brackets I was planning on using to connect them to the walls.

The first one went on fine. So we drilled all the holes for them at ground level and partially attached them. Then I discovered the guys had attached them skew 😡.

Sometimes in a build it’s ok to make mistakes. But other times you only have one shot at drilling into something because to re-drill holes weakens the structural integrity of the wood. The rafters are such an example.

In the end I abandoned the brackets and used hurricane clips instead. Not quite as strong, but adequate for now.

I’ll add the brackets later.

The other thing that delayed us was getting the walls vertical. The East wall of the house is really tall (like really!) and after raising all the walls the top right corner was visibly leaning out. It took ages to trim this and loosen that to get it straight.

Is it perfectly vertical? Not really. Will you notice it? Not without a spirit level in your hand.


The solar installation arrives today so we spent two hours yesterday adding the roof flashing (right-angled metal sheeting which goes over the zinc roofing) to keep the rain out.

I think it looks really cool.

I thought adding a roof to the shed would be enough to keep the rain out. But no. At night the wind drives the rain up under the roof and it can get quite wet in the shed.

I’m currently sleeping in the shed and many nights my sleeping bag gets soaking wet. And if you know anything about down sleeping bags you know they don’t do well when wet.

It doesn’t even need to rain: some nights thick, moisture laden cloud rolls over the property, causing massive condensation in the shed.

The other night I got out my tent cover and wrapped myself up in it just to stay dry.

Not pleasant.

The side flashing seems to have helped. But I’ll need to install the ceiling to get proper insulation from the relentless Hogsback weather.

Building a shed was never really part of the original plan (I was supposed to get a shipping container). So instead of building one tiny house I’ve built two. And since the shed is now mostly waterproof, I guess I came closer to my goal than I am giving my self credit for.

What next?

Well, all the workers are taking a break. And I’m taking a break. At least until Monday. Then I’ll pick things up again.

Afikile has proven to be invaluable, specifically because he knows how to build a roof. So I need him to complete the tiny house roof. Trouble is he was on loan to me from a couple in Hogsback, so I’ll need to negotiate to get him for a few more days.

Adding a door for security.

One of my highest priorities is to install a door on the shed (it’s currently some OSB board I slide across the opening). This will give me enough security to be able to leave the property to get supplies. Now that my parents have gone home, I’m here alone. So security is once again an issue.

Shoutout to my rockstar parents.

Man, my parents have been incredible, and they deserve a shoutout.

To start with they let me stay with them for 7 months this year so I could save some cash on rent.

Then my parents cut and assembled most of the frame of the tiny house, doing their best to follow instructions I’d pass their way.

Finally, they drove up from Cape Town and assisted with the build for the last 12 days, with my mom providing food for all of us and my dad tackling any job I sent his way.

You’d never guess they are in their 70s. Many days you could find my dad standing at the very top of a tall ladder, and my mom carting heavy wood around the build site.

Mom and dad, thank you for your unflagging support and energy. I couldn’t have gotten this far without your help.

They also recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a milestone that is!

To spoil them my sister and I have sent them to Pumba game reserve for two nights were they are currently sipping cocktails and watching the hippos lounge in the river shallows.

I’m not jealous at all.

Highlight of the day

Seeing the flashing on the shed. It really makes the final product look professional.

Ps. re comments

A few of you have left some comments either on Medium or on Facebook. Thank you for that. Your engagement means a lot to me.

I recently figured out how to reply to comments on Medium, so if you leave a comment I promise to respond. But better yet, if you got here from a link in Facebook, add a comment there as it’s much easier to reply from Facebook.




I’m building a tiny house on a mountain in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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Ryan Brear

Ryan Brear

I’m building a tiny house on a mountain in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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