Living Tiny & The First Fire (ooohhhh, aaaahhhh)

So I’ve been doing this “tinyhouse” thing for awhile now. I feel like I’m educated enough at this point to have some viable input on what it’s like to live in a tinyouse. So here is my take thus far.

First, it’s small. If you don’t like small spaces you’re better off somewhere else. Try living in one room of your house for two months and you will soon see. Every time I turn around the dog is in the way. I’m constantly moving object A,B,C,D to get to object E, then realize I need object A but, objects B,C and D have now just been put in front of it. It’s like a Circus of discord. But… you do get used to it. I’ve learned over these past few months how to deal with these frustrations.

Second, lofts suck. Up, down, up, down. Rusty, my dog, needs to be carried up at night and carried down in the morning. He’s fat (well husky at least). Myles was a one hand lift. Rusty needs to be “fireman” carried up and down from the loft. My upper arms are getting a workout and so are my legs. And here’s a kicker- middle of the night bathroom breaks! Do you understand how frustrating it is getting out of the cozy bed in the brisk midnight air and have to climb down from the loft so you can piss? Even worse, Rusty needs to piss too! It didn’t take me long doing this routine until I had the bright idea of getting a urinal. Problem solved. Except for Rusty.

Third, it can get b-o-a-r-I-n-g. Living in such a tiny space FORCES you to get out and do “something.” I’d like to tell you how outdoorsy I’ve become but, alas. Don’t get me wrong I do fish, ride the 4-wheeler, garden and hike. Just not as much as I should. Mostly because of the weather being too hot or too cold. I have a television in the tinyhouse but there is no cable or antenna yet so it’s a useless “wall ornament.” I get a weak internet signal in the loft where I can twitter or watch Netflix but, in the summer the loft is scorching during the day even with the windows open and the fans going. I need air conditioning! So most of the time I spend my days in the big house with Ma and Pa where the internet is strong, the television gets channels and the air is cooled.

Fourth, daily chores. Small spaces get dirty QUICK. Everyday I vacuum the loft and sweep the main floor. Next I have to empty the urinal and composting toilet “liquids” bottle. This is a nasty job and quite stinky too. If you don’t do it everyday the whole damn house will smell like piss. Then I do any dishes and empty the catch bucket under the sink. A light dusting. Then back up to the loft to make the bed. Normally this isn’t such a chore, but when your celling is only 4ft. high it’s a nightmare on your back and knees. It’s not much but, having to do these things daily gets to be a pain… literally.

Those are my biggest complaints. Yep, that’s it. Everything else is BEAUTIFUL. I pretty much knew about the things above before I signed up, having read blogs and spoken to so many people before going this route. I am living my dream and everyday I DO pinch myself to make sure I’m in reality. It’s quiet, peaceful and best of all… PAID FOR. Tinyhouse living allows me time to do the things in life that I choose to do. I will get a job this winter to keep busy and to build my savings back up. I won’t be constrained to my job like I was before, working only part time and doing things that I find enjoyable. I wont be worrying about creditors and debt collectors and I wont be busting my ass trying to stay afloat and ahead of the “game.”

I’ve been getting along splendidly with my parents. I’ve taken over all the yard duties for my Dad and help my Mom with house chores. It’s kind of cool actually- we’ve become quite the “tribe.” I look at other cultures and see this type of lifestyle a lot. The family unit all living together and helping each other out. I get land to live on and in return they get help keeping the place up. And it’s a big place. 32 acres of lakeshore property and a house with 4 bedrooms 3 bathrooms plus an upstairs and downstairs living area. That’s a lot of vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting. So it’s not like I sit on my ass and watch t.v. and play on the internet all day.

I lit my first fire in the woodstove this morning. Which means that yes, I did finally get the stove hooked up. Everything worked the way it should, meaning I didn’t burn the place down. I’m surprised how little wood I had to use to warm it up. A few sticks the size of my thumb and a 12″ piece about the thickness of my wrist. This lasted almost 4 hours. I’m hoping I can get away with not having to use more than a few cords of wood this winter, which would be good being as how I’ve yet to split any. That’s next weeks project along with pulling the boats and dock out for the season. I didn’t build a deck yet but, I did fashion a fancier set of stairs that will get me by until spring. I added a few shutters to “fancy” up the façade and I put in a new table and some new décor. It has an amazing felling inside, very tranquil especially at night.

After spending some time grieving the loss of Myles, I’ve decided to take in another dog. I’m traveling to the cities on Monday to pick up a three year old rat terrier named Bella who is in need of a good home. She is tan and white in color and is supposed to be a “cuddler” and gets along well with other dogs. Hopefully everything works out and I’ll be posting pics of her next week.

Rusty and I took a walk along the beach this morning and he somehow lost his collar? Todays task is to try to find it. I may cut some wood (probably not… I’m a procrastinator ya know). I’m already working on my other “get er done” for the day (this update). I think maybe I will take out the camera and snap a few shots of the changing leaves. Other than that… it’s wide open. I’m living the tiny life. And man, life is good!

DSC_1451 DSC_1460 DSC_1463 DSC_1465 DSC_1466 DSC_1467 DSC_1472 DSC_1477 DSC_1478 DSC_1479 DSC_1480 DSC_1482

Just a quick tip for you herb gardeners out there. Instead of using twine and tying a bunch of knots to bundle your herbs for drying. Tie a bunch of clothes pins on a piece of string spaced about 8 inches apart. Clip your herbs into these and hang to dry. Now you aren’t tying knots constantly and wasting your twine 🙂

DSC_1489 DSC_1484

Advertisements

It’s Official! The Tiny House is OFF THE GRID!

There has been quite a bit going on with the tiny house lately. I added the bump-out and got the propane and water hooked up. And as of 10:00 this morning I’m powered by nothing but the sun! That’s right… the off-grid dream is a reality! As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post, the wind generator was just not cutting it. I feel a bit misled  by the company that talked me into buying the wind generator. They failed to tell me that I’d need some serious wind (like about 20mph or stronger to get the 400 watts it was reported to put out), and we just don’t have that around here… it’s more on the side of 2mph and sometimes we see 10mph; rarely 20mph. So needless to say, it was good at keeping a few lights going, but forget about a refrigerator. Now my problems generating enough power have been solved with the addition of three 100 watt solar panels. Keeping the lights, refrigerator, fan and computer charged is now possible. Free power from the Sun, how cool is that?

I’ve been looking at a few blogs lately and have seen some pretty cool things people have done with their tiny homes. It would be cool to add a system to heat my water with the Suns rays instead of propane. I’d also like to put a small hydroponic garden in one of my windows where I can grow some lettuce. I’ve even seen someone who had a chicken coop built on the front of their tiny house- although I champion the idea, chickens are stinky and having them that close to my windows wouldn’t be smart.

I’m down to just a few last details now. First, putting on a deck and second, finishing the tile around/under the fireplace. I plan on installing the deck in the coming week or so, the tiling can wait a bit… a man has to have time to fish ya know!

Speaking of fishing, I’ve been learning to fly fish with the help of my Uncle Robert. We both found it odd that a passing boat saw us fly fishing (from my boat) and commented “I thought they only fly fished in rivers in Colorado.” HAHA 🙂 You can absolutely fly fish from a BOAT in MINNESOTA. Panfish, bass, walleye, pike and every other fish in the lake has no problem swallowing a fly lure. And thinking the way to fly fish is how they did it in the movie “A River Runs Through It,” would be disadvantageous.

I did have a bit of drama last week. If you follow my Twitter account you probably caught it. We had some seriously strong winds (yep, those 20mph kind that would power my refrigerator) and my boat swamped. We had another boat on our dock and I wasn’t able to tie it with the bow facing forward and water splashed up over the stern. After a few plowing waves it was doomed. Thankfully it was tied well to the dock, otherwise it would be big loss. It took a few hours of bailing and pumping to get her all dried out. To make matters worse it was also filled with seaweed, snails, muck and the various other vegetation found in lakes. YUCK!

Well… I got a steak to grill 🙂 Till next time.

DSC_1353

The bump-out

DSC_1354

bump-out. On demand hot water heater.

DSC_1355

Bump-out. Propane storage.

DSC_1352

300 watt solar panel array.

DSC_1349

Power hub and solar power charge controller.

DSC_1364

A little cruise on the lake!

DSC_1346

#plutotime on the lake

DSC_1344

#plutotime on the lake!