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!

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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 🙂

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Tiny Home. Big Move.

Yippee! I’ve been waiting to say this for the longest time now: the tiny house is finished and was moved on Tuesday. After an extra few days on trim work, we finally wrapped things up and got that sucker hooked to my truck. After only 6 miles down the road my truck overheated and I had to call my Dad to finish the pulling. I guess Fords do suck and Chevys are much better at handling such tasks. There I said it. Hopefully this doesn’t start a war! LOL. To my trucks credit it pulled my boat with the 4-wheeler in the bed just fine. Thank God for awesome and understanding Fathers who are willing to lend a hand (or truck).

I still have to finish the countertop in the kitchen and tile under and around the fire place and hook up the water and propane. Doug is finishing the bump-out that will hold the propane tanks and water heater… hopefully it’s done soon because I’m getting tired of driving back-n-forth from the old cabin to my new location. I’m going to poly the interior this weekend. I should be spending my first night in my new home sometime early this week.

Moving has been hell to say the least. I didn’t have any help and it took me 6 hours to take down the tipi. I may have downsized from my earlier move, but it’s clear that there is still to much “stuff” to fit into my tiny home and another downsizing is in order. That’s okay though, I like garage sales! I have one more trip to the cabin to get the last of my belongings: my plants and my food. Then I’m DONE! What a relief… I can finally settle down and do some fishing.

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Trimming the windows

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Wood floor installed

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Building the interior walls (bathroom and closet)

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The “crapper.” Composting toilet by Natures Head- the same one I used in the tipi.

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All settled in at the new location

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The living room

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The loft

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Kitchen. No countertops or shelves yet.

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View from kitchen. Closet is on the right and food pantry is on the left.

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Solar and wind power convertor. I’m building a bench w/table over it. And Myles!!!!

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Living room ceiling. It really adds to the space and makes the room feel so much larger.

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It’s been a loooong week, but we did it! We made the big move last Friday. Seven chickens stuffed in cardboard boxes and loaded into the back of a pickup truck. Velveeta the duck got special treatment and was able to ride shotgun in a doggie carrier. What an exercise it was trying to wrangle the chickens. Once they figured out what I was up to, they made every effort to escape my wrangling.

We’ve been busy settling in this week. We spent Saturday and Sunday butchering the rabbits. To my surprise, the rabbit was tastier than I expected it to be. My favorite part are the back loins- nom nom. Christopher wanted to see what the meat tasted like on it’s own so he just baked the rabbit with a little salt and pepper- he is now considering more creative ways of serving this dish. Once the rabbitry is in full swing we will be eating mostly rabbit with the occasional chicken here and there (not the layers, they are safe- we will be adding more birds to the flock this spring; a rooster also).

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The mornings have been a bit chilly, we often wake to find a light dusting of snow on the ground. It’s still warm enough to consider this “pretty.” We’ve been helping our new roommate out a lot. He has tons of work to do inside his cabin. If you think cabins are pretty, you should see what they look like when 3 gay men live in them… F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! Christopher is chomping at the bit to start decorating for Christmas- Norman Rockwell would be impressed.

The animals have all adjusted to their new environment. We spent today insulating the new barn and getting it ready for those *50 below nights! I still have to hook up the automatic watering system for the rabbits and there are a few gaps that need spay foam insulation. We have power running to the barn from the house and hopefully next year it will be running off of solar.

This next week we are scheduled to start splitting the remainder of the firewood and installing tile floor in the cabin kitchen and a new wood floor in the dining area. I still have to unpack my crochet and knitting supplies- I’m waiting for the “deep freeze” before I start on any of these projects because there is still some stuff I can work on outside. I think I will be updating the blog about once a week- maybe more often if something important comes up. Mostly things are not going to be very interesting until spring when we start transitioning into tipi life. The house still hasn’t sold and it’s getting frustrating. It’s hard to completely detach from “city” life when I’m still connected by the pending sale of my home. If you know anyone looking for a nice house in a quiet neighborhood send them my way!

We miss all of our city friends… this is the hardest part about this whole “moving” thing. I find myself thinking of my old job and wondering if all is well… I still feel deeply connected to my old “team” and miss yelling at them 🙂 Well that’s all for now… time to relax and enjoy this bath!