It has arrived!
Coming from Sikeston, Missouri, with 3 axles (each rated to carry 7,000 pounds), a 28-foot-long, 10-foot-wide bed, a 5-foot tongue, drop-axles allowing for more head room in the loft, 2 corner jacks, and a custom steel frame, this trailer is quite the foundation for Juniper, Donovan’s Tiny House.
I didn’t realize how excited I’d be about the trailer’s arrival. I fretted nervously all day while Donovan was making his way home with it, and I bounded out of the house into the sickly sweet fragrant night in my nightgown and rubber boots (it being tick season and all) when he arrived. The sight of this big, solid trailer was finally some undeniable physical evidence that the Tiny House build will soon be underway!
“Is it everything you wanted?” I asked Donovan after he parked the trailer temporarily at the back of the farm. It’s well made and heavy-duty, he said, but then he pointed out an issue with accessing the tires, which were boxed in as per his design: He’d mentioned having a removable panel so the axles wouldn’t need to be dropped to access the tires, but that communication didn’t make it into the final trailer—Yikes!
Having slept in the van on the side of a road the night before and being excited and ready to get home, he didn’t consider it too deeply. Once he’d returned and slept on the situation, he called the company, who kindly agreed to reimburse him if he chose to have a local welder correct the access issue. But after consulting with several welders, it seemed the best decision was to bring the trailer back to the shop and let them deal with it. So back up through the beautiful Ozarks he drove, and they made time for it right away. “That won’t happen with the next trailer!” they assured him. (My heart flutters, thinking/hoping mine will be the next trailer!)
Here are the before and after photos:
Another thing he learned upon seeing the trailer for the first time: He’ll have to change the location of the door to the house, because the wheel well for the 3 axles had to go where he had originally designed the entrance. If you’ve spent countless hours working on Tiny House designs, you will know that where you place the entrance is huge in the overall layout of the house, so it’s kind of a major adjustment. But, he’ll just have to learn from it and go with it.
I know a trailer may not seem that exciting, but for us, it’s like Donovan’s SketchUp drawing is coming to life. We walked around the trailer pacing out where the office, stairs, and kitchen will go.
Donovan has also been purchasing some of his energy-efficient kitchen goods, like a two-burner induction stove that I get to “test” in my outdoor until he installs it in his Tiny.
Meanwhile, I am deep in ecological community research, which includes reflections on money, class, sexism, water and energy needs reduction, and permaculture principles! I’m hungrily lapping up Ma’ikwe Ludwig’s book, Resilient Together: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption, an excellent purchase I made at the Cohousing Conference in Boulder, CO, where I heard Ma’ikwe speak about a month ago.
I returned from that conference with the impression that cohousing goals generally are more aligned with creating a better quality of life for members rather than being mission-oriented. I was drawn to a lot of the aesthetically appealing examples of cohousing I’ve seen (and got to experience while in Boulder), but it was during Ma’ikwe’s talk that I realized what really gets me excited is a focus on the local and worldwide ecological and social benefits of sharing and living in community. I also came to the conference with a strong inclination toward minimalism and voluntary simplicity (this is perhaps obvious, being a Tiny Houser), and some of the homes we toured still had way more space (especially for seniors) than the owners said they needed. There was also much less sharing of meals and resources than I’d expected. And while I respect what they’re doing and that they are making a low-impact lifestyle attractive to more of the mainstream, I realized I’m more on the other perhaps more “radical” end of the spectrum.
The first day at the conference I felt adrift and out of place when I heard the monetary figures tossed around for the costs to create these communities, even if they’re not located within the outrageously expensive borders of Boulder. That evening I was determined to sort through my notes and find what topics really stirred me. They were on designing a common (community) house, reaching Net Zero Energy (meaning the amount of energy consumed by a building over a year is about equal to the amount of energy created on site), acquiring group process skills, and creating outdoor rooms and “pocket parks.” Having zoned in on my particular interests, I found the next day’s sessions inspiring and fruitful. Workshops I chose to attend addressed the infinite types of “diversity” among people, and getting specific about what we mean when we use that word; solar access and planning for renewable resources from the start; classism and its effects on members in a community; and discovering (or reclaiming) ways to get our needs met besides money.
When I got home from the conference, I felt inspired by communitarian and author Ma’ikwe’s entreaty, “Try asking not what are you willing to share, but what are you NOT willing to share.” Even as a strong introvert, my desire to share more resources, meals, and conversations with others has progressed from an interest to a deep yearning to a NEED. I am convinced that this is a solution to many of our (American) society’s ills, and it requires a lot of patience, compassion, and skills in cooperation and communication. These things are beyond the scope of what I can do alone. I’m not unhappy; I’m not ungrateful. When I mentioned my restlessness to my sister, she referred to it as “divine discontent,” which I thought had a lot nicer ring than “petty impatience.”
I’ve been engaged in monthly conversations with a local group about starting a cooperative neighborhood/ecovillage here in NW Arkansas and feeling impatient with it, while knowing full well that entering into an endeavor that’s often likened to a marriage/business combo isn’t something to rush into. To soothe my frustration, I’m acknowledging and exploring how to deepen my relationship with the physical, geographical, business, and intellectual “communities” I’m already part of: The Southeast Region; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Women Landscapers; The Blackberry Farm; an Intentional Community Action Group; My Family; Donovan’s Family; Bloggers; Human Earthlings; White Hetero Allies; Tiny Housers…There’s much to learn and give to each of these areas. I derive much from and feel no time is wasted in investing in these parts of my life.
So, I’ll carry my divine discontent and let it push me to try harder, try again and again, to build a world I want to live in. And as part of that process, I’ll be helping Donovan to build a Tiny House.
And now for your viewing pleasure, our Tiny Trailer photo shoot: