Putting Up the Temporary Outdoor Kitchen: Part One


That’s it! That’s it! I’m outta here.

If you’ve been following our mouse saga, you know I have not yet figured out how to build a better mouse trap to humanely and successfully capture the squatters in our RV. After finding mouse poop IN CELESTE’S BED, I finally admitted defeat and ceded victory to the mice. I immediately went to our shipping container storage, got out the mattresses, put them on the floor in the dome and officially moved out of the RV. Mauricio immediately ran out to get some old-fashioned snap traps. Body count so far: 6.


So now we’re at least sleeping in the dome. Mauricio put in this really cool strip of LED lighting hooked up to an 18-volt drill battery, both salvaged from his work site. At night, it lights up the whole dome like a cool, glowing ball. Never mind that there’s no insulation or heat. Never mind that it gets greenhouse-hot by day and rather cold at night. Never mind that there’s nowhere to put our clothes or other stuff. My RV days are over. Okay, almost. We still have to cook in it.

So now we’re in high gear to actually make the dome liveable. The bare essentials of what we need before we can sell the RV: a sheltered kitchen area with a stovetop for cooking, Fort Knox mouse-proof storage for our food, and solar power for wifi and charging our laptops and cell phones—since our two, dinky solar panels will be leaving along with the RV.

Armed with our hard-earned knowledge of not putting the food situation together with the sleeping situation lest you be ready for a rodent showdown, we got to work on a temporary outdoor kitchen. Perhaps you remember this structure that lost a battle to the wind:


We decided to move it near the dome and put it on a platform in anticipation of the rain and mud. Securely fastened down, of course. So first, we had to build a platform.

We started by getting a hold of some free piers that I found on Freecycle. They were in pretty crappy condition, so we removed the wood and cut new pieces. Stella drilled the holes and Mauricio nailed them in there. Good as new.

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Next, we spent a week waiting for Mauricio to incubate the details of the layout. Me? I’d just slap some 2x4s together and throw some plywood on there. Remember, this is a temporary structure. Not this guy. Half-assed is not in his vocabulary. So once he finally figured out in his head where every last screw would go within a 1/8″ margin of error, we could actually get down to building the thing.

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The kids were really disappointed to find out that, in fact, it wasn’t their own personal stage that we were building. But they helped us move the screened tent anyway.

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After we got the screen up, I repaired the rips with some good old needle and thread. In our previous way of life, we would’ve tossed it and bought a new one for pretty cheap. But elbow grease is our currency these days. Come to think of it, in our previous way of  life, we wouldn’t have needed a temporary outdoor kitchen. But, anyway.


Here’s our anarchist compound in the making.

That’s a joke, Dad.

In the background, you can see our friend and neighbor, Mike, digging the trenches for our new off-grid solar electrical wiring, which we finally saved up enough money to get going. More details on that soon.


Hey, wanna see something funny? The other day, Giovanni thought it would be a good idea to try on a rusty tomato cage for size. When he started crying that he was stuck and it was squeezing his head, did I run over like a good mom and help him out? I did not. I ran over and got the camera.