Vermont Tub Racing – Cottage Update


We got a bit of snow. Snow does strange things to people, as witnessed by Will in a bathtub on the north home field…

Three Laws of Bathtub Racing:

  1. A bathtub at rest will require a push.
  2. A bathtub at the top of the hill will go to the bottom of the hill.
  3. A bathtub in motion is to be dodged.


We continue to make progress, almost daily, on the tiny cottage. Most all the work is now indoors although Ben is still mixing concrete outside, at his own insistence. The snows have now covered all my collected and sorted stones so I don’t think I’ll be doing much more in the way of actual stone work until things thaw out next spring. Our focus is now on finishing up enough that we can move in before Christmas.

To that end, today we put in a temporary plywood floor for the kids’ loft. This sits on the same scaffolding that we setup to hold the forms for pouring the concrete second floor. Obviously it is strong enough for a winter of sleeping! Next year we’ll remove the plywood and setup the curved front room ceiling forms. Everything in it’s time. Winter’s here and with it some limitations.


The plywood floor of the kids’ loft is to the right in this pieced together panorama shot. In order to avoid wasting plywood the loft is actually a couple of feet wider than it will be in the final form. Holly is standing straight ahead where the spiral ladder will come up from the common room below. The super wide angle view of the pan gives the cottage an interesting perspective. “It’s like being inside a donut!” quipped Will.

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Click on the image for a much larger view which shows the structure of the roof, the 661010 Welded Wire Mesh that we used for forms, a bit of the expanded metal lath and the unfinished concrete awaiting the final interior parge of the cathedral ceiling. The interior is about 19′ long by 13′ wide for the cross section of the barrel vault.

The window on the far side of the loft (to the right) is the one shown back on the Loft Light post in October. That will look over the front yard and the upper pond to the south field. I have the cedar to build it. Once I’ve framed the window I’ll order the custom cut glass for the upstairs picture window.

Off to the left of the photo is the attic, with it’s already poured floor, under the pile of pink foam insulation. To the left of that is the utility room above the bathroom. Today Ben and I poured the floor of the bathtub and pad for the sump of my coral reef aquarium. As a slow side project we’re also working on getting the walls of the sump poured so we can epoxy them and lift the sump into place. Once the sump is in place we can build the bathtub. I say slow because after pouring each wall in it’s for we have to let it cure for days before we can shift the sump for the next pour.

In other tiny cottage news we’ve finally finished the last tiny bit of outdoors parge. The bad weather of last week and being sick over Thanksgiving had thrown the schedule a bit. Yesterday Holly and Will got the last of the concrete on the top edge of the west outside wall to protect the insulation. The Tin Foil cap is back on. We still need to insulate the roof more but we are close to being done with outdoor things for this year.

Today was a great example of the thermal gain and storage from the sun. Since we didn’t have sun at all due to the heavy snow storm the cottage didn’t see the typical daily rise to about 50°F or so. On the other hand, as usual, the temperature didn’t drop below 35°F during the night even though it was only 1°F outdoors and windy. During the day, with a high of 22°F outdoors the cottage kept it’s temperature even with the opening and closing of the door as we worked carrying construction materials in and out all day. Note that those are the indoor air temperature. Fortunately today was not bitterly windy like the last several days. I look forward to the day when we’ll finally berm the north, north-west and north-east to lift the winter winds over our snug home in the mountain.

Outdoors: 22°F/1°F 12″ Snow
Farm House: 54°F/48°F
Tiny Cottage: 35°F/37°F Kids’ loft plywood floor

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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5 Responses to Vermont Tub Racing – Cottage Update

  1. Anthony says:

    I have to say Walter, it is looking good. I do hope you are in the cottage by December. A fine Christmas present that will be. Your family has to be very excited about the move by now.

    I also wanted to say thank you. It is because of your tiny cottage that we have taken the adventure of living small(er). In a sense your family has given our family a early Christmas present and we are very thankfull.

    Our house is still to large for our family of 5 but we have taken that pink board and sealed off the upstairs cutting almost 900 sqft off. Kids are in the great room and we are in the “spare” bedroom.

    Amazing how the family dynamics change, and what is not really need for life.

    God bless your family and farm and Merry Christmas. Viva la foamular.

  2. Awesome! We used to have a mint green tub in the front pasture to water the cows- lots of winter fun in there playing “Three men in a tub, all went to sea” and generally clowning around. All 3 of us kids had our turn at voluntarily dipping in the tub in the summer (and shoving each other in)- very much frowned upon by mom & dad and therefore very fun!

  3. The bathtub is awesome! And of course I’ll take those rules to heart if my husband can track one down to give it a try. Of course my kids want to know, do the pigs go for rides too? They would ask as they have been known to take one of their chickens on a ride in a bike basket ;-)

  4. Holly want’s me to mention that bathtub racing, especially down steep expert slopes of mountains, is a highly dangerous sport not to be taken lightly by the faint of heart or anyone else and will probably void your life insurance and warrantee!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks. This tub photo brings new meaning to the Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme. I hope that the coming season brings lots more fun on the farm.

    Cheryl, from Boston

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