I first started growing and juicing wheatgrass, when I was 37 and 8 months pregnant with baby number five, for a short time. It was the middle of winter and my energy level was as low as it could get. It made that last long month a little easier to get through.
Growing wheatgrass is a process and after the baby came, I didn’t take the time to plant the wheat berries anymore. I always wanted to start again, I just never did. Dumb, I know. The benefits of freshly juiced wheatgrass are so great, it seems crazy we don’t drink it religiously.
Since our family is learning how to slow down and live simpler, I thought NOW would be the best time to restart growing wheatgrass, daily.
Here is a video of the juicing process:
What better time to start taking control of your health, than TODAY?!
While spending time with others, you are able to sample how they live and take with you what you’d like. Chan keeps a scoby motel in her closet. She’s offered to send one along with us. Do you know what a scoby is? Let’s back up, have you ever heard of Kombucha? Have you seen a bottle or two flavored varieties in your local grocery?
Chan used black tea to brew the new and replenish the main motel. You can also use green tea or a mix of both.
Be sure to use extra precaution when transferring the scoby. Everything must be cleaned with vinegar, not soap.
A few days passed and we separated the brew into 16 ounce (ish) sealed bottles with their own new flavors. This is known as the second fermentation.
BuStullfalo made it into the shop, today (watch the quick video on our facebook page or instagram)! Great news! For the next day or so, she’ll get her state inspection, oil changed, fluids flushed, and tune-up wherever she might still need one. Mike and Jim at Moonlight Diesel seemed to have a good handle on things and assured us Gemina was in good hands. Gemina, as in GeMina BuStullfalo… get it? Like Janeane Garofalo, the actress. Anyway, we thought it was fun.
Meanwhile, we’re livin’ it up at Chan’s.
Matching tea bag and comic book discovery. One of Maizy’s pen pals sent her a very yummy tea variety. Chan recognized the cartoon drawing on it to be one of a comic book she bought years back. Cool.
Dress-up and fingernail painting fun.
The kids are in love with Chan’s Goldendoodle, Bodhi. He’s so fluffy!!
If ever we were to get a dog, mind you I’m not a “dog person,” it would be one like this. Maybe a smaller one like this.
I can’t believe I just admitted that!
Next post will be about the bus shop news, large tires, and Kombucha. See you soon!
The seven of us moved out of the house and into my bestie’s, down and around the block, until the bus is mobile. Chan has the warmest open arms and biggest heart! You can tell by the kid’s beautiful little happy faces, the transition was an easy one.
I finished up my Stull Knits’ slipper orders and got them all sent out in time.
I spent a good part of the first week re-downsizing. Brad brought me a variety pack of Ziploc space bags to try out. Chan and I instantly fell in love with them (minus the “travel bags” which don’t have a suction hole, rather a pressure system you have to squeeze the air out. I can see, in a pinch or without a vacuum on hand, they would be handy. Definitely not as satisfying as a vacuum sealed bag, though) and had to run back to the store to buy up more. We also bought new heavy duty storage totes from Home Depot, and have been trading out the old flimsy original ones. We compacted so many stored items in the space bags, one time we empty 4 old totes into 1 new. AMAZING!
The kids have had a couple good plays in the snow. One day they built a snowman, a snow wall, and treated us to food colored “snow cones.”
I can’t wait to move all of my vintage globes into the bus 😀
Chan introduced the kids to baby quails. Ecco loved to eat the teeny tiny hard boiled quail eggs. “They’re so cute,” she would say.
Spending time at Chan’s these last couple of weeks, has been a total treat.
My first attempt at pulling the “For sale sign” out of the ground was a fail. The ground was frozen, and the sign was stuck. After a couple nicer days, the warmth freed the sign and I was able to officially pull it from it’s post. Today, we are scheduled to meet at the title office for signing.
Backing it up a few weeks, to show what’s gone down on the bus.
New electrical windshield wiper motors.
The mechanical stuff was put on hold while we ordered parts, parts, and more parts. Heaters and backup cameras and… let’s see, I’ve lost track.
Brad got back to work on the interior framing and built an awesome tub/shower wall out of cedar.
Parts came in and Brad switched gears back to the dashboard build.
We sold Brad’s truck in less than 24 hours of posting it online.
And his work trailer.
All the exterior lights have been wired. Brad noticed the bus was missing backup lights. You’ll see the empty round outline under the tail lights, in the right side image below. We thought those were just missing reflectors. Nope. Reverse lights and housings were ordered. They just arrived, today.
Here is this box of unneeded wires. Wow, right?
At this time, Brad is working on the air lines.
This could be the last official blog post from me, we’ll see. Soon I’ll have the computer packed up and we’ll be off. Stay up to date on our progress via our facebook and instagram pages.
By the way, we did sign the final papers on the house sale, Friday morning, at Cache Valley Title. That was awesome!
Wow! Time is flying by, of course. A quick update is due, then back to work I go.
Last week, was the first time Brad did not venture off to work away from the home. He has been on the bus from sun up ’til past sun down, working, working, working. Our goal is to get the bus back up to par mechanically, enclose the bathroom walls, and to finish framing the beds. All to use the bus as a glorified tent on our winter destination travels to Florida. Oh yeah, we’re traveling to Florida (Northwest of Tampa), to finish the bus conversion and returning to UT next spring.
Katie, the reporter, stopped by on Sunday to gather the latest updates to share on Utah Public Radio. Brad showed her how he was able to keep the vintage contoured window look, on the inside, by using the router as a guide to cut around the curves.
We also enjoyed a cookout with new friends. A sort of house warming party with the soon to be owners of our UT home.
Cheers to new friends!
The weather forecast assured us winter would arrive Monday. It was spot on.
Snow hit the valley. Brrr…
Today, Brad is working on building the front cab. Where to begin, right? I can’t even imagine how Brad sleeps at night. So many things to think about.
We took out the destination sign window before we realized we were going to have to find a new rubber to put the window back in, so we stopped at that one. Brad is preparing the area around the window, first, so we can reinstall the window. Meanwhile, we found the rubber and have it on hand.
Here is the finished idea I have for the shelf.
Brad has plenty more work to do on the front, but it’s a good start. You’ll see the “smurf tube” (blue) he has pulled through the beams, on the left and right. These will house the electrical wires throughout the bus.
Brad cut a template of the sliding windows out of 1/4″ plywood. I used it to trace and cut 16 window covers out of the thermal bubble wrap for insulation.
We will be able to place them in the windows with the silver side facing out to reflect the heat or turn the silver inside to keep the heat in. The first night we had them in place, it was 31 degrees outside. With two small space heaters on, inside, the thermostat read 55 degrees.
Wednesday, we drove down to Bluffdale, UT, for a tour and chat with GOALZERO, an amazing growing solar company. They are going to help us understand and plan our solar needs for a family of 7 in a large bus conversion.
The kids enjoyed the climbing wall and two-story slide, in the lobby.
We’ll have more to share, in the future, for other large families who would like to take their family life off grid… once we figure it out. Hahaha… Who am I kidding? I mean, while we work at it.
We also bought our kitchen sink and bathroom sink at IKEA, which was a few blocks away from our GoalZero visit. These sinks are exactly the ones we’ve been looking for. This was a very productive non-bus building day.
Good morning frost! Brad came up with this idea to use 1-1/2 slotted angle to build the frame of the dash. It reminds me of K’NEX, life sized K’NEX.
Watch this Youtube video, I made:
It’s too bad night falls so quickly, these days. It does make for some pretty cool images, though!
It was a bugger, but Brad put the door back on and cleaned up the lines. We discovered, while sanding down the paint layers of the bus, this summer, that the door must not be the door that came on this bus from the factory. It has different bolt holes and metal placement, but has been reworked to fit this bus. Another giveaway was the red and blue paint which was exposed after sanding. These two colors were not found on any other part of the bus.
Either way, it now sits evenly on the hinges and opens smoothly. He had previously taken the original hinges into a local machine shop (Baker) , where they cleaned out the old broken pin bearings, drilled a bigger hole, and replaced with new bearings. We also have a new (old) door seal rubber, which was included in our package sent from NJ, bought from Luke at US coach, a couple months back.
Just a quick note, then back to work! If you follow our facebook fan page, you’re already in the loop. If not, let me share a little important bit of information with you…
So exciting! Selling this house has been one of the hardest, uncontrollable situations for me, so far. I’m sure each of us needed this entire year to learn and grow. This is the exact reason it has taken what seemed to be so long. Our house was waiting for the perfect time to shove us on our way, safely.
It was also waiting for it’s perfect new family match. I met them yesterday, after their home inspection finished. I agree with the house on it’s choice. Great enthusiastic adventurous couple with many years to enjoy raising their family of five, living with the embrace of our custom built, with love, home.
Priorities have realigned, on the bus conversion. We will halt on the framing/design, after our beds are functional, and work on tuning the bus mechanically. Brad will order wires and build the dashboard back in, asap.
Stay tuned for the countdown!
p.s. Yes, the 1950’s Smith-Corona typewriter will be with us on the bus. NO, it’s not for sale 😀
We will be hosting a few moving sales, starting this Saturday morning and the next couple of weeks, until we get rid of… EVERYTHING!
Brad finished putting up the plywood on both sides of the upper floor. After that, he moved on to building the walls which will house the pocket doors.
between our bedroom and the bunk room
between the bunk room and living space
He also built the frames for the four beds in the bunk room. Our fifth child will have a toddler sized bed as a bunk, over the foot of our full size bed in the rear bedroom.
We’ve decided to switch the appliance counter space plan with the eating space and now will have a side of the bus with seven stools lining the wall like you’d see in a diner.
Here’s a quick video of Brad putting in the pocket door studs.
We measured up our favorite toilet paper and started building the cabinet behind the toilet. We also placed the toilet more to one side, in order to build in a slide open compartment for the coco coir we’ll be using with our Nature’s Head composting toilet.
Ecco has been helping with the wood decorating, already. Pink chalk is her “paint” of choice.
We’ve also decided to router the edges of the plywood around the GM slanted windows, because the unique windows are one of the very reasons we decided to buy this model of bus.
Details, details, details.
Harry the cat is laying it on thick, with hopes to be able to come with us on the bus. If you live on a bus and own a cat, we’d love to hear from you. We have questions as to how we might make this work.
To start the weekend, Brad cut a piece of aluminum sheet to cover up the old air vent holes on either side of the bus. Then he drilled holes in the bus and sheet, while holding them in place, to match with the existing rivets along the seams. I held the sheet on the inside of the bus, as he pushed the rivets in each hole, before popping them in with the riveting tool. All went as planned without any problems.
Brad finished up the framing around the curved GM windows. And I filled the space between with batting.
Brad ran into town and bought a mound of sand grade plywood sheathing to put up on the walls. Most all of which will be covered up by cabinets and beds. We were going to get birch plywood to put up on the walls which is an A/B grade, instead of the B/C grade of the ply we bought, but Home Depot was fresh out and not expecting their shipment to come in until Monday. After contemplating the difference and location of the finish, and the availability of the product, Brad bought what we needed to get going on one of the most exciting parts of the bus conversion, so far. Putting this wood up on the walls gets us one more step closer to framing the rooms and everything else that makes it feel like a living space. The kids were ecstatic about today’s progress.
We were also contacted by a broadcast journalism student of Utah State University (in Logan), who was interested in documenting a piece of our bus conversion experience and our family’s thoughts about it. And she would be visiting today, with her crew.
What a fun visit we had with them. They, too, are all transplants to Utah (WY, CO, PA, CA), and shared many of our different ideas of taking the path less traveled in life.
We said our good-byes to the crew and got back to work.
Over the last couple weeks, we’ve finished up most of the insulation and the framing along side the walls. We also finished up the flooring in the driver’s area and the lower lounge area.
As the home owner, I also asked the builder to make a small modification to the entry stairs. Because what home owner, of a custom built house, doesn’t change the plans on the build after they see a framed up part in their space? I asked Brad if he could add a 30 degree angled step to the landing to create better flow of traffic in and out of the bus. Of course he could do it. He didn’t even have to tear anything out to achieve it.
I love the flow of the stairs, now!
After we put Roxul stone wool batting in (we needed 3 packages to finish our 40′ bus), we layered this foil-faced bubble wrap as a radiant barrier. Making sure there is a gap between the foil and the sheathing we’ll put over it.
After the bubble wrap was cut and fit in, we taped all the seams with shiny foil tape.
We then measured and put up all of the extra slats of wood for the ceiling design.
The wood that runs across the skylights will be trimmed.
Brad scored the boards running side to side, with his saw, to help them bend without breaking. This was necessary to keep the curve of the ceiling in tact.
Here’s a little design idea we have for our ceiling (inspired by this Pinterest pin, I found). And Brad’s just the craftsman to pull it off! If you’re ever on Pinterest and would like to see other inspirational pin I pin to my “Our adventure starts here” board, click this link and follow me.
The installation of the driver’s area floor was something Brad wasn’t looking forward to. It was very difficult to reach the lower lounge area floor from underneath, to bolt the new weather treated plywood in. Brad knew the driver’s floor was going to be no exception. He spent most of one day reaching and installing the far side of the flooring half from the access door underneath the driver side window.
Then after a good night’s rest, he remembered the spare tire access door. OMG! He was so irritated with himself for not using this easier access, the day before. If you ever find yourself in need of accessing the driver’s floor of a PD4905… Note to self: pull out the spare tire and crawl in.
During these past weeks, we also were contacted by our local paper, The Herald Journal, for them to run an article about our adventurous bus conversion decision. You can read the article HERE (They did switch four of the kid’s names around, but we won’t hold it against them). It was a nice write-up, but they failed to mention any links to our businesses *, house for sale, or ways for readers to find this blog and our facebook page associated with the bus. It has brought more attention of our project to the community. We have more people driving by to take a look and they let us know they liked reading about us in the paper.
*our other business links besides the linked BDE photography from above: