Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tiny Houses: The Answer To The Millenial Housing Crisis

I keep hearing about how Millenials are having difficulty finding affordable housing. I get it. Rent is up. Houses are expensive. Millenials are starting out with a lot more debt thanks to student loans. Every time I hear about millenials not being able to leave their parents houses or having to live with 16 roommates in order to make rent. I wonder, if they don't like it, why don't they seek out alternatives. I think the biggest problem is that they keep trying to live their lives based on out-dated strategies.

The economy crashed a few years ago. The rules changed. Stop trying to play by out-dated rules that somebody else came up with. When they change the game, you either have to adapt to the new rules-- which rarely works out in your favor, because you are allowing somebody else to call the shots (hence all those student loans)-- or you get out of the game and make up your own. In my opinion, choosing a tiny house is getting out of THEIR game.

So, here is my suggestion:Affordable Housing Alternatives

Good luck on your own journey to a sustainable lifestyle that suits you.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Foraging: Free Food

If you're into foraging, the abundance of summer stock is coming. Already berry trees and bushes are getting ready to do their thing around here. Black berries and black raspberries grow wild here, as well as wild grapes, mulberries and wild strawberries. Wild strawberries are tiny and don't have much flavor, so I usually don't take much interest in them.

The great thing is that you have all of this clean food with high nutrient content and it is absolutely free for the taking.

I am going to have a bumper crop of mulberries this year, so I will have to figure out what to do with them.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tiny Update

I have had some time recently to work on the tiny. The weather is not co-operating today. I did get some plywood put on sufficient to finish up the plywood on one side. That makes two down and two to go. There is not much left on either of the two remaining sides; it will just take a sustained effort to sit down and do it.

After the plywood, there is house wrap and sealing the roof. Then it will be time to install windows and doors and then siding and anchors and the exterior will be complete. I'm excited to be able to get inside to work because the weather will no longer be an issue.

I did discover carpenter bees have begun boring holes into my rafters. Got some bug spray. I will have to take care of it tonight.

Anyway, here are update photos.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I'm Back. Now It's Time To Get To Work.

After so long an absence, I have returned.

I enjoyed writing about the goings on around the homestead, but I couldn't imagine any purpose for doing so. Having had some time to reflect and do many things, I think I know the direction I would like this blog to take and, so, have come back.

So, nothing important today. Just announcing my return. But if you are interested and have nothing else to do, here is season 1, episode 1 of one of my favorite English history shows.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Taking Advantage of the Weather

The weather is pretty fine today. It is a good time to get some work done on many of the outside projects I have been putting off for just such an occasion.

My raspberry patch needs thinned.  Because they are good plants I can't just throw away the plants that I don't keep. I have found I can get a pretty good response if I offer them on Craigslist for free and I figure it is pretty good karma too.

I took my nephew out today. He "helped" me in the yard a bit. After his mom got home, I returned him to her and returned myself to my yard.

It was 70 degrees. There is something about being in the air and the light that quiets the noise. Maybe because there were no devices. I don't know.

I have a black kitty who has gone nearly feral. She comes to hang out with me when I work in the yard. Companionship and quiet and I got a little of the raspberry patch thinned too.  More to do. Lots more to do.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Spring Time . . .

. . . well, okay, maybe not entirely. There is green beginning to bud in the trees and brush. And daffodils are everywhere. Those flowers to me are the harbingers of spring. Although, considering that there is usually some nasty weather after they make their appearance, they often seem confused, as well. And, indeed, this year, nice weather, daffodils and then, this last week, snow.

But the springtime I was really referring to was the kind that shows up in the stores with packets of seeds, garden tools and baby chicks.  It always makes me feel excited and hopeful. I always start out with high hopes.

 I bought my chicks a few weeks ago and they are in that awkward phase right now.

I started some seeds a couple of weeks ago and they are approaching that awkward phase too.

The weather is supposed to be better next week. It should be a good time for projects like building a new coop and getting the garden beds ready for some of these starts. The greens and the peas, anyway.

Three Good Things
1. Seeds
2. Peeps (Chicks)
3. Better weather is on the way.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

House Hunters vs. Tiny House Hunters

Sometimes I watch HGTV when I am doing stuff around the "big" house. I'm pretty sure the "Big" house costs less than what most of these people will put into a down payment. I wonder what it is like to have that kind of money and why you would want to go into debt if you could pay cash for something that requires less up keep and fewer utilities. They aren't just taking on 30 years of debt to purchase a home, but cleaning, utilities, repairs, maintenance. I don't understand the people who want the 3000 sq. ft. house.  But then, I imagine they wouldn't understand me with my tiny house that is 30x smaller.

I remember visiting some people many years ago who were having an addition built on to their family home. The woman declared that she couldn't wait for the addition to be finished because they had been living on top of each other for so long.  When I was in high school, my family lived in a two bedroom apt for a couple of years.  There are six kids in my family. I wondered at the time what they would have thought about that arrangement.

Anyway, for those of you interested in a little comparison, here it is:


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today I woke up to snow and cold. We knew the snow was coming. All the same, I have all of this wonderful time right now, while I'm looking for work, that I could be working on my house, but the weather is not cooperating.

There are stalwart souls like my sister R who enjoy the cold weather. I can't function when it's too cold. During our last work party in October, the weather was cool and I was okay for most of the day, but by late afternoon I was done. The cold had soaked through everything and settled into my bones. I think my body was spending so much energy just trying to stay warm, I had nearly lost the capacity for rational thought.

So, today while I lament the fact that I cannot go outside to play, I am dreaming and collecting wisdom and considering what I want to say here this week.

This is Dee Williams. I could say a lot about her and probably will. For today, however, I just want to share this lovely little video that embodies a lot about the tiny house movement and simplicity.

Sometimes, over the past few months, I get to wondering if my house will ever get done. But when I go down to the site and go inside, even though it is far from done, I feel calmer and get excited for the time when I can get it finished and move in.

Monday, March 13, 2017

I like to take a little inspiration from others who have done things. I like that this guy has gone way simple. Also, check out the garden. Off grid, inexpensive and everything you need. This whole place is a dream.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Build Update: Where we are now

So, yesterday it was sunny and 60 degrees.  This morning I woke up to snow.

I began building my tiny last summer. What is done so far was essentially done by November.  A little has been done since then but in October we began working 60 hour weeks and could no longer work on the tiny. After Christmas we returned to 40 hour weeks but the weather hasn't been great.

I know: "Excuses, excuses."

Now that I am unemployed again, I am hoping that the weather will give us two days together with out any precipitation so that we can get something accomplished.

Here are a few other pics of current progress.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Myths of the 40 Hour Work Week

I like TED talks.  Informative, intelligent and interesting. But, I'm going to let this lady do the talking for me. The sun is shining and I have been sitting in front of this screen for too long today.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

This Feels Normal

Can I just say-- this feels normal.

I spent the winter working at a seasonal warehouse job. Its not a bad place.  I have a few small debts to pay off, so I took up a regular job.  I was recently laid off from this job as business from Christmas and Christmas returns has subsided. I'm not sorry.  I'm certainly not bored.  I get up in the morning between 6:30 and 8:30, get dressed, eat, walk my dog, and then get my stuff together to start my day. Most mornings over the past couple of weeks since this lay-off occurred, I will put my laptop in the backpack that I use for my mobile office and head to the library to work. I could work from home, but there are far too many distractions. People think that simply because you do not have a regular "morning-alarm-clock, pack-your-lunch and get-out-the-door" sort of job that you aren't busy and can certainly go out and play.

I may not be sure what I'm doing, but I am trying to do something.

Part of "working" involves filling out applications as I do have a few small debts and can't afford to turn anything down just yet. But I would like to be able to work from my laptop. I would like my work to fit into my life, rather than the other way around.

What feels normal about this?

Maybe "natural" is a better word then "normal." It feels natural to go about my morning taking care of things with out feeling rushed. Being able to determine my own schedule rather than have it dictated. Being able to get where I'm going with a brisk walk in the daylight and fresh air.  Yesterday, the weather was grey. It rained all day. I stayed in bed a little while after waking up and read a few chapters of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. This is the best time of year to read that book-- when spring is just beginning to tease us. But it gave me just enough inspiration to get through a dreary-looking day.  I took my dog on a walk. Then I took my mother to the grocery store as I needed a few things myself. I came home and set up a camera that I bought in the hopes of making it useful here. Then I went to the library to work.

All of the important things get done, but they get done in the order that makes the most sense to me. It made more sense to me to get the grocery shopping out of the way in the morning, first thing, so that I wouldn't have to worry about my mother waiting on me to finish whatever I was working on at the library. I was then at liberty to work at a pace that suited me.

I am taking a class on Monday nights. It is a 12-week community interest course. It doesn't offer any sort of course credit, but I am excited about it. I've only attended the first class so far, but it seems like it will be great.  I have, in the past, been involved in a local writing group. Now that I am not working, I would like to do that again. Even if I don't have something to share every week, I enjoy the discourse. Enjoying the discourse of intelligent well-read people has made me think that I may join the reading group at the library. One of my sisters is involved in a book discussion group where she lives and she seems to enjoy it. Very soon-- like in the next couple of weeks-- it will be time to begin planting potatoes. Also, onions, peas and greens. Come summer I will be watching my sister's children while they are out of school. Now is a good time to begin planning a curriculum of activities for them for this summer. And then, of course, there is the tiny.  I would love to get it finished before my birthday. In any case, as you can see, my dance card is full.  I simply can't go back to working for the man.

But all of this feels like a normal way to live-- more normal, anyway, than getting up at the crack of dawn and packing a lunch to spend the day locked up in a big, windowless box until it is nearly dark again. And then going home to reset, sleep and do it all again.