Otis Sanders has spent the past five years constructing his dream home in the great outdoors, all alone in the woods. Otis found serenity and satisfaction in the process of creating a space that he could call his own. In this episode, we'll be discussing the challenges of building solo in the woods, including how to transport materials, manage your time, and ensure your safety when you're working alone. We'll also talk about the importance of sustainability and reducing environmental waste in the construction process. And finally, we'll dive into the joys of creating something beautiful and unique with your own hands and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. So if you're considering building your own tiny house, or you're simply interested in sustainability or the joys of living in the woods, this episode is for you.
In This Episode:
- Sustainable living 🌱: Otis and Frida discuss sustainable and green living in construction and everyday life. Their YouTube channel “A Path to Green” highlights individuals, organizations, and businesses striving for sustainable living.
- Solo building 👷♂️: Otis shares his experience building his small home alone in the woods for five years and the challenges he faced. His YouTube channel “7th Sun Productions” documents his journey.
- Joy of creating 🎨: Otis expresses how fulfilling it is to create something unique and personalized rather than purchasing a ready-made home.
- Financial planning 💰: Otis and Frida mention how they save money to finance their projects and how they buy the necessary equipment step-by-step instead of taking out a loan.
- Fitness motivation 💪: Otis mentions how physical work helps him stay in shape and motivated while working on his project.
- Challenges and solutions 🤔: Otis talks about the obstacles he had to overcome and how he found solutions to issues such as finding a building location and dealing with plastic waste.
- Realtor insights 🏡: Frida, a realtor in Southern California, joins the podcast and shares her perspective on sustainable living and building.
- Project details 🛠️: The episode includes details on Otis' building project, such as installing solar panels and overcoming logistical challenges.
Links and Resources:
Otis and Freda Sanders
Otis G. Sanders is a professional photographer, a three-time published author, and a content creator on Youtube where he has two Youtube channels. The first channel is 7thsSon Productions where he documents himself as he builds a small house alone in the woods in Alabama. There are several other playlists on the channel, such as “The Creative Corner”, “Building Successful Marriages”, “Specialty Videos”, and “Shorts”. The second channel is “A Path to Green” This channel was created to highlight individuals, organizations, and businesses that are doing their part in either striving to create a sustainable and or green life or helping others on their journey as it relates to going green, Net Zero or just reducing their carbon footprint to live a more sustainable life.
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Otis G. Sanders 0:00
I've never framed anything from ground up. I've never even put a pillar in the ground to hold the foundation for a house. So it was definitely a learning process. It's been it's been slow because I've been going extra slow so don't have to double back and do something again that I was watching on it Mr.
Ethan Waldman 0:25
Welcome with the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 268. With Otis and Frieda Sanders. Today's episode is all about the joys and challenges of building a small home in the woods. And nobody knows this better than our guests Otis Sanders. Otis has spent the past five years constructing his dream home in the great outdoors, and he did it mostly on his own. Picture this, you're alone in the woods with nothing but your tools. surrounded by towering trees and the sounds of nature, it might sound intimidating, but Otis wasn't intimidated. Instead, he found serenity and satisfaction in the process of creating a space that he could call his own. In this episode, we'll be discussing the challenges of building solo in the woods, including how to transport materials, manage your time, and ensure your safety when you're working alone. We'll also talk about the importance of sustainability and reducing environmental waste in the construction process. And finally, we'll dive into the joys of creating something beautiful and unique with your own hands in the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. So if you're considering building your own tiny house, or you're simply interested in sustainability, or the joys of living in the woods, this episode is for you. Join me as I talk with Otis and Frieda Sanders about their amazing journey, and learn all about the benefits of building small in the great outdoors. But before we get started, did you know that I personally send tiny house newsletter every week on Tuesdays? It's called Tiny Tuesdays. And it's a weekly email with tiny house news, interviews, photos and resources. It's free to subscribe and I even share sneak peeks of things that are coming up, ask for feedback about upcoming podcast guests and more. It's really the best place to keep a pulse on what I'm doing in the tiny house space. And also stay informed of what's going on in the tiny house movement. To sign up, go to the tiny house dotnet slash newsletter, where you can sign up for the tiny Tuesday's newsletter. And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time I will never send you spam. And if you ever don't want to receive emails, it's easy to unsubscribe. So again, that's the tiny house.net/newsletter Thanks and I hope you enjoy next week's tiny Tuesday's newsletter
All right, I am here with Otis and Frieda Sanders. Otis is a professional photographer, a three time published author and a content creator on YouTube where he has two YouTube channels. Otis and Frieda live in Southern California, where Frieda is a realtor. Notice his first channel is seven Sun productions, where he documents himself as he builds a small house alone in the woods in Alabama. There are several other playlists on the channel such as the creative corner, building successful marriages, specialty videos and shorts. The second channel is a path to green. This channel was created to highlight individuals, organizations and businesses that are doing their part in either striving to create a sustainable and or green life or helping others on their journey as it relates to going green netzero or just reducing their carbon footprint to live a more sustainable life. Otis and Fredo Welcome to the show.
Otis G. Sanders 3:48
Hey, Ethan, how are you?
Freda Sanders 3:51
Thank you. Great,
Ethan Waldman 3:52
great. Thank you both for being here. Wow, there's there are so many things that I I kind of want to ask you about. But I guess what, what inspired you to start building a small house, you know, alone in the woods in Alabama?
Otis G. Sanders 4:08
Well, I think it all
started back, I guess, early 90s, late 80s When my mom wanted me to take over the property that she had in Alabama. And I reluctantly did so. And I guess after that I just started thinking about what the purpose of the property would be. It was just sitting there was nothing happening with it. So I just started thinking about things that I wanted to do. And seeing as I was born not too far from they are in a little shack, I decided that it would be a good thing if I decided to build a house myself and it was just I had this property. But at the time, I didn't know as much as I know now about construction. So I wanted to get started back then but of course the time nor the money was right because I've always been a freelance photographer. I had the time but didn't have the money. Okay, so I had to just kind of wait on it.
Ethan Waldman 5:08
And was this property, just raw land like nothing on it?
Otis G. Sanders 5:14
It was raw land, but it was used in the past or timberland. So the last time it was cut, it was about, I guess, maybe 10 years before I took over, and nothing was planted on it. So just random trees were basically growing from volunteers and things like that. So that's all there was there.
Ethan Waldman 5:40
Got it. Okay. And so how long was it?
Before you actually did start? Or maybe you could talk about, you know, how long were you kind of planning this before you started?
Otis G. Sanders 5:55
Let's see, this was the early 90s, or a little bit before. So in my head, I started then. So that was before YouTube and tiny houses and all that, that I knew of me, there's always been tiny house around, but it wasn't as popular as it is now. So what I did is that I was just thinking about how I wanted the house to look and the whole nine yards. So what happened is that the house started out, as well, in my mind, it started out as being a container, I was going to put together a couple of containers, first starting out with one then add on as I went, but the logistics just wouldn't work out. I could buy a container that was actually pretty inexpensive. But getting it there was a problem. So I could get the container dropped off at the very beginning of the property where where it turns off from the main road, but then I'd have to get another mile back into what the property was. Okay, so that was pretty much a logistical nightmare since I had no money anyway. So it reiterated itself into stick Hill, which is what I actually am doing now. Okay.
Ethan Waldman 7:11
Yeah, I would imagine that that getting the container through the woods, but is there a road of some kind?
Otis G. Sanders 7:18
It's a mixture of logging road, because I'm surrounded by timberland. So what happens is, I have property in the back corner, so I have to go through other companies property to get to mine. So there's a logging road when they get ready to cut number. So use this particular road to get in because it's temporary and get out. Okay, but that was the only thing and this road is not the festival, especially when it rains. So there's a couple of spots in there where it gets muddy. So that coming in, you'll need a four wheel drive of some course or for the most part, you could get through it with a regular truck if you kind of know how to drive in the mud and stuff like that. But it's easier with four wheel drive. Okay, so that made it pretty impossible. Well, not impossible, but I just didn't have the money, I got a quote on a crane. And from where the crane came from, it was going to be $250. To start it up. It's going to be two, it was going to be $250 per hour until the crane got back to its location. And from where I was the location. It was about 6070 miles one way by so that was pretty much cost prohibitive for me to do such a thing. Yeah.Yeah, yeah.
Ethan Waldman 8:41
Now free to I'm sure you've heard you heard Otis kind of talking about this project over the years. What What was your take on it?
Freda Sanders 8:49
Um, I was kind of a fairly independent spirit. So if that's something that he enjoyed it then I mean, when I met him, he kind of spoke about having a place in a word or cabin of some sort. So it wasn't like totally surprising. Okay. And is is this a place?
Ethan Waldman 9:14
I guess this is a question for both of you that you envision like going and spending time together or is this like, is this like a man cave in the woods kind of thing?
Freda Sanders 9:25
Otis G. Sanders 9:26
most of the time since I've been building
Freda Sanders 9:28
nearly a man cave
Ethan Waldman 9:33
that's two different answers
Otis G. Sanders 9:35
is what she's been there. And I imagine that will go there again, at times. But it will more than likely be a place that I go. When I'm building and working on it because I don't think you know, really ever hand there's always going to be something to do.
Freda Sanders 9:55
Yeah, yeah. How often do you go There
Ethan Waldman 10:00
is that is quite a journey from from where you live now,
Otis G. Sanders 10:04
it is I've been trying to go two to four times a year. So every four months, maybe I'll try and go down and say two or three times a year and do that. And usually I'll go down for a couple of weeks. But here lately, I've been trying to do at least a month, once a year, so. But since I'm working, I don't have that much time off, I'd like to go down and be able to stay for a couple of months, but that hasn't really been working out here late.
Freda Sanders 10:37
Ethan Waldman 10:40
So, can you tell me a little bit about the construction itself? And, you know, what considerations you have to make, you know, when you are hauling materials, sounds like a mile into the woods, and working mostly alone? What are some things that people should consider if they're if they're thinking about doing something similar?
Freda Sanders 11:05
Otis G. Sanders 11:08
it's how they used to say, other folks used to say it's more than a notion, which means that you have to really be dedicated to the project, because it's been going on now for five years, I started in 2017. I almost didn't do it. Because each time I went down, to try and find a spot in the woods to clear out to build, it would rain each and every day that I was there almost 24/7. So I went down three or four times before I was able to actually get in there and the last time, so I decided that I was going to give it one more shot. And the very last time I was getting ready to go out there was raining like nobody's business. So my brother and I were sitting in a truck, leaving one of the lumber stores and I was asking, I says, Well, what do you think you think it's raining up there and it started raining all day, like they say it's supposed to be, he said, Probably we'll say, Well, look, we're all packed, and we're ready to go. So I'm going to drive up there anyway. So we're going to give it a shot. So what I did is I drove to the location where almost the location, there's a family church or our family church not too far. From there, I parked the truck with a trailer in there. And since this was a place you couldn't really go without for driving, I did have one, my brother had a side by side when he saw vehicles next to us on farms and things. So I unloaded that, and then it stopped raining a little bit, then we got on and we went out there. And as we got there, it stopped raining, then we went in and I found a spot really quickly because I knew it was gonna start raining again. So I found the spot really quickly and start cutting out a few spots trees. And lo and behold, I got about 10 or 15 trees. And these were spa not really big. And I purposely tried to do that. So that I wouldn't have to, you know, cut down a lot of big trees, because I wasn't an expert, you know, cutting trees with chainsaws and stuff like that. So we were able to do that. And I got it started. And it just kind of went from there. But I think what will have to happen is that you'll have to consider the fact that you're working alone. The first day my brother was out there, the next day, my nephew came out. And he helped me a little bit. But after that I was pretty much on my own. So you have to consider the safety factors first and foremost, because there was at that point, I didn't have a cell phone that gets signal out there. So I was out there alone. So once you go off the main road, and you get out of sight, nobody knows you're there. So if someone sees you go in there, they may know you're in there. But if they don't know you, they're not going to come and check. Okay, so that's one of the major things is the safety part. Now, as I got going, the other part was just the fact of getting material out to the field site. And that was a little difficult at the beginning because only had this little side by side. Yeah. And you could only put so much on that. So that's basically how I got started. Okay.
Ethan Waldman 14:24
And at this point, it looks like from your YouTube channel, it looks like you're installing a septic system right now.
Otis G. Sanders 14:32
Yes, that was the last thing I did in March when I was there. So that's actually in and covered for the most part I got to once I go back, I'll have to probably put more dirt on top of it because it'll probably compact a little bit and I still have a lot of dirt that's left out. So that was the last step that I did. Okay.
Ethan Waldman 14:55
So there's there's so many skills involved here, you know from clearing Land, you know, framing a house and everything in between? How have you approached learning these new skills?
Otis G. Sanders 15:08
Well, as I said, from the beginning, I wanted to do this, but I didn't have those skills, I had a little bit of them. But I had never built anything like I like this small house. So over the years as a professional photographer, there are a lot of jobs that I've been on, where we actually had to feel fake rooms, stuff like that, just to put furniture in shoot like that. So I had a little bit of knowledge of framing. But it was not the same, because when you watch somebody build on YouTube, it looks all great is easy and wonderful, and all that. But once you start, you see the little things that you don't see on the video, because what you see on the video is just the good stuff, the things that work they're in, as it goes, there's a lot of things that you don't know, that don't work that you have to do again and again. So, over the years, I've worked with a buddy of mine who is a contractor. And then I've had other jobs like that where I've gotten a little bit better. But still, I've never framed anything from ground up, and never even put a pillar in the ground to hold the foundation for a house. So it was definitely a learning process. It's been, it's been slow, because I've been going extra slow. So I'll have to double back and do something, again, that I was rushing on and missing stuff. So that's the only thing I think what happens is that when I'm building, I just try and take my time, try to do a little research beforehand, and then try and tackle it. So it's been it's been a slow process. But it's been a great process. So when I started this thing, it was more about building the house after the first trip or so it became more the process because I got such enjoyment out of just being in the woods alone. And doing this thing in the beginning. Also, I had the fact that I need to cut lumber and stuff like that. So I had a generator. I started up one day, and it was just so much noise and ridiculous. So I said okay, well, I'm going to have to get a hand stop, because I don't wanna hear the noise. But now as I went, Wow, when it got to the point of the actually framing this thing, getting it locked down and dry it in, I had to make some changes because it was going at such a pace I was getting to the end of my trip. And I wasn't where I wanted to be. So as you probably know, when you frame a structure was where it rains a lot. You have to cover it otherwise the weather's gonna destroy it is going to make the two by fours, local and curving and stuff like that. So I had to get off my my natural high horse, I will call it because I want to keep it quiet and keep it nature like and all that because it was really great. But I saw that it wasn't going to get it done nailing a nail one by one. Yeah. So I ended up bringing in what had my generator there. I brought in a compressor I brought in a nail gun. And it was on it was just all kinds of noise. So anytime I got a chance to shut it off to just hear nothing I did, because I don't know if you've been out in the woods where there's actually nothing no sound. This is where I was because I was so far off the road. Every now and again. I would hear a semi go down the road. Yeah, that was about it. It was just really quiet. But you can hear us kickball. You know, it was just so quiet. But of course I had to get over that because I wanted to go ahead and get this house dried in because I would have hated to have gotten to that point and not been able to dry it in. And it's messed up when I come back. And then I'd have to start all over again. Yeah,
Ethan Waldman 19:11
I think and one of the photos that you sent, I see a little inverter and a battery. But I'm guessing you weren't able to rely on solar for the power needs of power tools.
Otis G. Sanders 19:23
Yes, and the solar part just happened this last March because what I've been doing is that when I know I'm going to need something I'll just start buying it little bit by little bit because I'm not taking out a loan or anything to build this. This is just from money I've saved during between trips. So what I would do is I will buy one solar panel and I buy another solar panel. Then I'll get the inverter and the charging when I charged about the 12 volt block and just get these little things one by one so I just Got the sort of going the last trip I was there, and also bought a refrigerator so that I could actually have some cold, cold drinks and stuff like that other than the
Freda Sanders 20:11
cooler. Right? Well, that must be nice.
Otis G. Sanders 20:15
It is nice. And it was really I had a I had a lightbulb moment was when I was out in the woods. Because what I didn't realize I was doing, I was basically just concentrating on everything I needed to have when I go into the woods, because it's such a long trip. If you have to leave and get something you basically blown the day. So in the morning, I'm just really, really concentrated on what I need to take with being at least my brother's house because I will stay there, I wasn't able to stay in the house. And so I will leave his house on my way, I will stop like at a fast food place and get some breakfast, because I don't have any food out there, really. So I stopped there. And I will get by food and I'll get an extra cup of iced water. And I would have like maybe a gallon container of water, I go out there. And I'm working all day, and I drink this water and I have a gallon of water, then I get back to his house and I'm feeling really tired. And then my nephew came out he was helping me one day. And we took a break and he went to the back of his truck. And he opened up this cooler. Now he said I have everything out here that I need to build a house. But I don't have anything for my nourish. I would take a gallon of water. And that's it. I had a cooler at my brother's place. But I never thought to bring it. I don't know why. But it was just one of those things where I had that aha moment when he had his ankle, I have one of these, but I never use it. So it was one of those things. So that basically helped me through the rest of it. Because you know, when I got you know, tired or exhausted or something thirsty, hungry, I could go back and get some food. And that didn't happen until well into the bill because I was so concentrated on the things that I need to build with. I wasn't thinking about myself.
Freda Sanders 22:15
Yeah, and that's,
Ethan Waldman 22:17
you know, having having built my own tiny house as well, I can I agree that it's it's incredibly tiring doing construction, it gives you a new appreciation for people who build houses full time for a living. Yeah. And just to do it yourself even one time even part time it's humbling for sure.
Otis G. Sanders 22:39
Yeah, it's a it's a great experience, though, I'm quite pleased with the progress I've made over the years. Now, I think when you talk about building a house of people just don't naturally think that it will take five years, but in this situation and circumstances, that's basically what it is because I live so far away from it. I work full time, and I just have to save the money because I don't need to try and take on a loan or anything to do this. Because it's not my my daily present. So I don't need to take away money from the family to do this. Yeah. And
Ethan Waldman 23:17
would you mind sharing if you if you have the figure, you know, roughly available like what what have you spent so far, building the house and I guess, you know, you can either include or not include your travel expenses, because I'm sure that those those add up to
Otis G. Sanders 23:34
well with everything from the travel to the food to the building supplies and gas for the truck gas for the generator, and I do have a truck now. So that's included in there. And gas for that truck. I think right now, the last time I did a calculation was a couple of trips ago and I was right at about 15,000 So I could probably I could possibly be at 20 right now because I haven't figured the last few trips in.
Freda Sanders 24:07
So I'd say right around 20. Nice.
Ethan Waldman 24:12
And you've got a you've got a house that you can live in on some land and a truck and trucking everything. That's That's awesome.
Otis G. Sanders 24:20
Yes, it's definitely good thing. The last two, three to four business I've made I've actually live there because most of the time I've only been there once where it's been really really cold. It's gotten down to about 30 degrees out there and I didn't have any heat and it's not fully insulated with drywall and stuff on the inside. So that was pretty rough but every other trip has been great because it's just been mild weather almost Southern California type weather.
Freda Sanders 24:51
Nice. Tell me about you know
Ethan Waldman 24:55
the YouTube channel specifically at what point was was doing a YouTube channel to document the build, like always a part of the plan? Or is it something that is something convinced you to do it at some point? Or can you talk about that?
Otis G. Sanders 25:10
Well, this whole YouTube video was actually an idea of a cousin of mine. He out of blue said one day, you should start a YouTube channel. And I said, Why would I do that. And of course, he had all his great reasons. So he said, well just think of a name. So I thought of a name. And he created one for me. And he put up one video of, of a chair a story of a chair that I did years and years ago. So it stayed like that for a very long time. So I didn't think of doing a YouTube channel until I was actually able to start building the house. So I said, this is such a monumental thing for me, of my work documented, because I just started doing a little video at the same time also, because I wanted to actually look at this later on for me. And I decided that that would be a pretty good idea. And this, I just started my adventure in a new video, I thought it'd be a great thing so that I can show this as it materialized along the way. But then, of course, after that, there are other things I thought about doing. As far as the building successful marriages, and the other channels that I had other playlists that I had, and it just took on a life of its own. And of course, as you said earlier, I now have another YouTube channel. And I'm thinking about doing podcasting. Also.
Freda Sanders 26:45
Ethan Waldman 26:48
And so yeah, I love the variety of things that you have on your channel, it clearly reflects that you're a very creative person, you have a lot of different creative interests, and they've all found a home on your YouTube channel.
Freda Sanders 27:01
Yeah, I think is a really good thing. Um,
Otis G. Sanders 27:05
by looking at you, I can see that I'm probably a little bit older than you a couple of days or something like that. So the thing is, when I started doing photography way, way back before YouTube, stuff like that, there was, you know, I still love photography. But as we've come into the 21st century, it just seems like video is a thing now to actually tell stories. And it's a great medium. And then of course, what YouTube, it's, it's free to upload your videos so that anybody over the world see it or all over the world can see them. So it's one of those things. And back when I first started art school, in the early 80s, I had an idea of converting a UPS truck into my dark room and a living area and that kind of thing. So I could travel the country to do photography. Nice. But the thing I thought about also is the fact that when I would go out, take these pictures, and run out of money to travel with what would I do? There was no YouTube back then side there was no remote working and things like that. So that was an idea that I had. That was a little bit too soon. So I think what has happened is that doing YouTube, and building a house and these other things I have on a on a creative outlet, have been my fill in for way back in the day, when I wanted to do things like that. You know, just just the older guy just trying to have fun in the 21st century.
Ethan Waldman 28:47
That's awesome. That's awesome. And then Frida, are you involved in any of the YouTube channel? interviews or videos?
Freda Sanders 29:02
Ethan Waldman 29:04
Do you like the roll behind the camera?
Freda Sanders 29:08
I'm interested, but haven't quite got brave enough to do very, very much with video as I as I create and ship fare there.
Ethan Waldman 29:19
There's probably I mean, I feel like if you if you work in real estate, it's always helpful to have nice nice photos and videos of listings.
Freda Sanders 29:30
And I have a little bit of that, but I could be doing much more.
Ethan Waldman 29:33
Well, you've got you've got someone living nearby who's very knowledgeable.
Otis G. Sanders 29:38
We're working on that part. Well, I'm trying to get her to do a little bit more. How has
Ethan Waldman 29:45
and this question is for either of you, how has your experience you know building the small house in the woods, you know impacted your lives and your perspective on on sustainability.
Freda Sanders 30:00
Well, I think
Otis G. Sanders 30:03
as I've gotten into this, it's it's probably, and I think for a fact, it is leading me more in the direction of actually spending more time there and becoming more sustainable, and the way that I live and how I live, because one of the things I think about a lot now is
Freda Sanders 30:25
just the idea of trash. Because when I'm there,
Otis G. Sanders 30:28
there's always trash, there's always plastics for the most part. Now, the other things, paper and stuff like that I can burn because you are allowed to burn trash there. But what do you do with plastic? And how do you live without buying things that are encased in plastic, there are a couple of stores not too far away, where I can go and get like beans and flour and rice and things like that, and put it into my own containers, and bring it back and put it into glass or whatever. So I won't have to have packaging for that. But it's something that I think about a lot in this, I am thinking more about sustainability. It's something that has has been coming up. And I'm basically in the process of trying to figure out how I'm going to do with that. Now, what I do now is when I have a lot of trash out there, I usually go to my brother's house, or sometimes I stay with him and help him do things. And I'll package all the trash and just sit there. And I put in his trash. And of course the trash trucks come by and pick that up. But I'm always looking for or thinking about more sustainable ways to live out there. I'm also thinking about when I get an opportunity, because hopefully Ethan I will be retiring in the next five or six years or whatever. And I'll try and spend more time here, I want to spend as much time there are enough time there to actually start a garden and start growing and producing vegetables and stuff like that, and start canning those. But that's an idea that's way far down the line. Because that's more than a thought. That's kind of hard work. So maybe not as hard as building a house. But it does still take a lot of time. So it has made me start thinking more about sustainability, and how I want to reduce my carbon footprint as I spend more time out there because I'm basically on unpolluted land. And I don't want to do a lot of stuff to
Freda Sanders 32:35
change that. Yeah. How do you stay motivated
Ethan Waldman 32:44
to continue working on the small house, you know, even when you're faced with any challenges or setbacks, or just when the project feels like it's so far away, physically?
Otis G. Sanders 32:55
two main reasons. The first reason is that I spend a lot of time behind my desk at work. I'm really not cut out for that kind of thing. Because my whole career photography, I've been freelance, which means I've been moving around, chasing, running and doing things. So it's a good getaway, to go out and do that. And then of course, sitting at a desk, you gain weight, or I've been gaining weight. So what what the project means to me is that I get a chance to get out of the office, I get a chance to move around all day doing stuff, which means that I spend less time eating or thinking about eating, and then I'm working all day. So if I'm eating less, and I'm working all day, burning off all these calories means I stay in pretty good shape. That's a really big motivator. And just the fact of just the fact that the kind of work that I do, I need to get away from it all, and just see something that's much nicer. And, you know, it just helps a whole lot better. I can't get away. So that's the biggest thing. I just love being in the woods also in effect of being in the woods by myself. I don't know how much that says about me and people. But I think I'm liking that much, much more because as I said, at the beginning, it started off as I want to build this house, I want to build it. But as it's got gone on, it's more about being in the woods spending time by myself. Or when my wife comes we hang out there too. She's only been at once thus far. But we're going to go back probably next month, and hopefully we'll get a chance to be out there together for a little bit. But those are the two main factors of the main reasons I should say that helps keep me motivated. And each time I go there, I get something else done so I can see the end of this project. Actually, I don't know when that's going to happen, but I do see it ending and then of course Was it and then there'll be something else that I want to do, because I'm going to have to stop building the house and build a storage shed, because I got all my building materials, and junk and stuff in the house. So if I want to work in one particular corner of the house, I have to move everything to another corner. And then when I get to that corner, I gotta move it again. So I'm going to actually put a halt on that, and just build a small storage building, to get everything out of the way. So I can feel the way that I should. Because smile, it's been, it's been a real interesting project, because there's a certain way that you're supposed to build when you're doing the foundation, you do that, and then you do the roof, plumbing and stuff like that. And I never got a chance to do that, because my time never really allowed it. So I'm having to go back and do the things I should have done in order. But the most important thing for me was to actually get the house up and dry it in. So there are steps that I didn't do not have to go back to. So that's why everything is actually in the house. So now once I take them out, I can give back and start building. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 36:17
What advice would you give to someone listening who's who's interested in in doing something similar, you know, starting with raw land, and kind of building in a more remote location?
Otis G. Sanders 36:30
Well, I think depending on their, their desire and their purpose, you have to look at it several different ways. If you're building this to live in right away, you have to keep in mind that it's going to take time. And if you're doing it like me, I think that's a great way to do it, where you can do it as you go in this doesn't have to get done next month, next year, whenever that's a great thing. But I would say that if you're going to do something like this, just remember your reasons for doing it. And just realize how long is going to take because it doesn't happen overnight, especially if you're doing it by yourself, you have to really slow down. And first of all, just keep in mind safety. Because when you're out there working with chainsaws and felling trees and things like that are up on ladders, you know, one little mistake could be a disaster. Fortunately, I haven't had any I've gotten a little cut while I was doing the septic tank. That's been about it. But that's something you really have to consider the safety and just the reasons that you're there, why you're doing it. And you know, the end result.
Freda Sanders 37:44
Yeah. Got it. Nice. And then
Ethan Waldman 37:50
one thing that I like to ask all my guests is, you know, what are what are two or three books or resources, it could be like YouTube channels, anything that's that's kind of helped you along the way that you'd like to share with our listeners?
Otis G. Sanders 38:03
Well, outside of just having the idea. The very first thing that really made a lot of sense to me is a book that I read and fried. I don't know if you gave me this book or not. I know that it's it. You may have given it to me, but it was from by Michael POLIN.
Ethan Waldman 38:24
It's called a place of my own.
Otis G. Sanders 38:28
That was an excellent book, because of course, this was before YouTube. And I didn't think it Oh, okay, cool. I thought you, I thought you did it. Because that made a lot of sense to me. I mean, I was thinking about it in my head. But when you don't see stuff like that, you don't know that if you don't know that people are doing it. And this writer he, he documented in book form, his process of building a writer's house, on his land, because he was a writer, his
Freda Sanders 39:00
you know, you've heard of Michael Pollan.
Otis G. Sanders 39:04
He was a writer, his wife was a, he was artists. And I think he says something about, you know, being smelling the fumes from the turpentine and the paint. And he was trying to write so he's built his own small place on the woods there.
Freda Sanders 39:22
The next thing is,
Otis G. Sanders 39:25
I got a professional on speed dial, who is a good friend of mine, we were actually in woodshop together in junior high school. And he continued on and he became a contractor. So anytime I well, most time before I leave, while I'm gone, and when I come back, we have these these meetings, you know, that I basically bring up or initiate, and I talk about everything that I want to do, and he'll give me ideas and the ways I should and shouldn't do what and what I should think about Power should think about it. So if I have a problem, I call him and I was telling when I'm getting ready to go, I says be on standby, because you know, I'm going to call if I have any kind of problems I call him. So that's probably been the best. Yeah, there'll be other numerous YouTube channels and of course shooting.
Freda Sanders 40:19
You know, Bryce from living tiny, no, I forget his channel, but I think big living.
Otis G. Sanders 40:28
Love his stuff. So I'm always watching that every every week, I think I've seen just about every
Freda Sanders 40:35
tiny house, YouTube channel out there
Otis G. Sanders 40:39
in the whole nine yards. So those are the things that usually go out. Because I'm always researching and seeing what people are doing. Because when I finished this house, there are a couple of others I want to do out there. Providing I can still, you know, nail a hammer. I mean, hammer and nail, because getting, you know, we don't know what our health is going to be. So there are a couple other things that I want to build out there because I have this property. And I can do whatever I want with it, providing I cannot afford it. Nice.
Ethan Waldman 41:18
Well, Otis and Freda, thank you so much for being guests on the show today. I really enjoyed meeting you both.
Freda Sanders 41:23
Right. It was a good opportunity. Thank you.
Ethan Waldman 41:28
Thank you so much to Otis and Frieda Sanders for being guests on the show today. You can find the show notes for this episode, including photos of the cabin and a complete transcript, and much more of course, over at the tiny house dotnet slash 268. Again, that's the tiny house dotnet slash 268. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
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