One recent late night, while perusing the sumptuous pages of a book about building Tiny Houses using reclaimed materials, I read about a woman who took 4 years to design and 3 years to build her Tiny Home. Her story gave me the gumption to post an update of our tiny endeavors, one year since proclaiming our mission to the world.
We seem to be getting somewhere with our designs, now that the wilting heat of summer is here. I can’t imagine a better thing to do than to sit beside the AC with a cold local beer (or a cherry-vodka-and-Perrier, or some slightly alcoholic kombucha—what a happy accident!) and a book of graph paper, obsessing over a house design that Donovan then transfers to a 3-D model in SketchUp. In addition to whipping up our visions in the digital world, we’re implementing some elements of our future Tiny Homes into our everyday lives, like stashing condiments in a shower caddy on the wall in the “dining room” to save table space, and bringing another table into our kitchen, transforming it into a more efficient galley-style space.
But it’s not all togetherness and booze and Tiny House porn in our little house on The Blackberry Farm. No, we’ve had our share of disagreements, misunderstandings, and bottomless frustrations. In fact, I’ve moved out and then back in since my last post, over two months ago. Maybe it’s sharing a small amount of physical home space along with our work and social scenes. Maybe it’s our deep programming, in spite of our professed feminism, to value my time less and cause me to do all the house chores on auto-pilot while he attends to business-related matters until I can’t take it anymore. Probably it’s a lot of things, but as of now, we are in this boat together again, riding on calmer seas. What they say about absence making the heart grow fonder is true. It also makes the jokes grow funnier and the quirks grow charming.
We’ve put off working on the Juicy Melon Shipping Container/Shop (so named for its scrumptious colors) for now, since a big steel box facing west in the Deep South is not where one cares to spend a free afternoon. We use it for storage, and we visit it to admire the curvy shakes we lovingly cut and mounted on the wall of what we thought would be our guest room, but has returned to its original function of storage room. I grew so attached to the shop’s sturdy, compact presence that I toyed with the idea of building a house out of another 20-foot shipping container, but now I’m back to where I started, with a design on a trailer for easier transport. (If you have a sturdy 25- to 28-foot trailer in Arkansas, holler at us!)
Along with envisioning our Tiny dreams, I’ve taken on some gardening gigs to make more moola to put toward our projects. While working in beautiful and beneficial gardens, I am in in my element, which is a welcome contrast to what sometimes feels like fumbling in the electrical trade (though I know my skills are growing there, too). It’s also helpful to star in my own show rather than to be Donovan’s sidekick, though I’m grateful for all the learning and time spent together on our electrical jobs, and that he values my contributions in the field immensely.
Here’s to the ways I’m already living the Tiny Lifestyle—ecologically conscious, community-oriented, and economically savvy:
I live on a picturesque 25-acre farm where I can walk out the door and take long walks with my dogs every day, eating plums and mulberries and blackberries and apples from the land and exchanging news with my neighbors along the way.
I work *for money* far less than 40 hours per week.
My partner and I trade electrical and gardening work for rent, a bountiful weekly vegetable subscription, and local pork, beef, and eggs.
We exchange meals, pet-care, ideas, and advice with our neighbors on a regular basis.
We’re putting money into savings.
We can (and do!) easily ride our bikes to our bank, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the liquor store, and several restaurants.
May all be blessed with such bounty and beauty.