My mother is remarkably interested in our Tiny House plans. I called her in the hospital, where she was at her husband’s side after his heart surgery, and when it was my turn to give an update, she asked rather impatiently, “Where are you at with the little house?”
It’s a long-ass process, but today I feel like we took a big step. We moved the bees.
As they say, where the bees go, we shall follow.
Well, we say that, anyway. Three autumns ago, we moved the beehives ahead of us to our current rental, so the bees could get established before the cold set in. Today we moved those gals back to The Farm from whence they came.
Yesterday, after the bees were assumed to have returned home for the night, Donovan taped off the entrances to the three hives and made sure that the screens underneath them (which allow airflow into the hives) were intact. This morning, we emptied our six-foot-high Sprinter van and attached sturdy aluminum ramps to the back entrance. We tightened a ratchet strap vertically around the hive boxes to keep them compacted, eased a dolly beneath the hives, and strapped the hives to the dolly. Then we carefully wheeled the hive-laden dolly up the bumpy, grassy hillside to the van and up the ramps. We set the buzzing hives gently down and secured them to the floor of the van. Times three. Then we slowly drove to The Farm. Donovan had already leveled some cinder blocks and heavily mulched the area where the hives would settle, facing east. (The mulch is meant to prevent the bottom entrances to the hives from being blocked by fast-growing grass, this being verdant Arkansas, afterall.) Reverse the loading process, and voila—the hives were re-homed. Afterward, feeling victorious (and slightly disappointed that no one else was as stoked as we were at our feat), we went to the local food co-op to celebrate with an Indian lunch and a piece of vegan chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, accompanied by a terrible cup of coffee.
Though a person may not see an obvious correlation between moving the bees and building our Tiny House, it is one of many steps to precede the actual building process.
Next on the agenda?
Mowing the field where we’re going to build. Acquiring a shipping container to use as a storage unit, shop, and potting shed, and retrofitting it with a shed roof, a door, and ventilation to meet our needs. Spreading cardboard and mulch to prepare the grounds for my plant nursery. Running electrical and water lines to the building site. Taking inventory and recording the measurements of every object that will go into the Tiny House with us. Designing every square inch of our mini home. Acquiring a trailer and materials to begin building. Continuing to work and save as much money as we can so we can afford the materials. And that’s just for starters.
We hope to have these steps completed by the end of the winter, when we will also be moving to a small house on The Farm. From there, we can start saving money and be on-site to build.
Meanwhile, I continue to evaluate our belongings and prepare to leave our current home. I’ve made a date to un-plant the myriad flower and herb gardens that I created in our three years here, so that there is less to maintain for the next tenant. I’m learning more about what I can let go, and why. I’m donating a stack of books to the library that I haven’t referenced in a year or more. They’ll be there when I want to look at them again, and in the meantime, they’re available to many others. I’ve taken down all of our art and prepped the holes in the walls to be caulked and painted. Every time we clear a room in the house (as with the removal of the dining table, side tables, an arm chair, the couch), I get so giddy I literally run in place with excitement. Donovan, obviously of a different temperament than I, seems to be able to breathe deeper and see more clearly. Our goal becomes nearer, the Tiny House more real.
We won’t actually move near our new building site on The Farm for another four and a half months, yet in light of the number of other changes going on in our lives, we’d rather make the move in stages than all at once. Some of our concurrent transitions include both of us pursuing new career paths. Donovan is consulting on and implementing energy-saving building techniques and Passive House standards (which we plan to use in our Tiny House), and I am changing my plant nursery business model and working to supplement my income with a career in copyediting and writing. I am beginning to get into a comfortable rhythm with two new jobs. The bees are moved, but we have thousands of potted plants to transition to the new location. Fortunately, Donovan is an electrician by trade and an extremely resourceful and creative man; I am a driven and organizing maniac; and the two of us have experience working together on electrical and building projects.
There is hope, Mom. There is hope.