Month: March 2011

Tiny House Update – 03.24.11

It’s very easy to forget that the r(E)volution is truly focused around building a tiny house. With life zooming by at 100mph thins comes up, topics surface, and lessons are learned. Many weeks come and go and I find myself not even taking the time to recognize how far we have come since leaving middle Georgia just after Halloween last year. For those of you who haven’t been on the entire journey let’s recap. Since Nov. 1, 2010 we have: Cleared 1/4 acre land Burned nearly 1 cord of “junk” wood Tilled, cultivated, and planted 2 gardens, 3 raised beds, an herb garden, and a cucumber patch (as well as helping countless others till and prep) Sandblasted and painted our entire 30′ trailer Purchased 4 windows for Tiny House Purchased a pocket door for the bathroom are in Tiny House Renovated and made livable our current residence; the Bungalow Harvested one flock of chickens Began our 3-layer chicken system including the laying hens and the meat chicks Began blogging for Farmers’ Almanac on the Tiny r(E)volution and simple living in general Began guest hosting once a month for the Chicken Whisperer Demolished a barn and reclaimed the yellow pine lumber Found out we are expecting our first child on Sept. 24 etc, etc, etc And now as we run head first into Spring we find ourselves anxiously preparing to begin even...

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How-To decorate your tiny house

Americans spent $343 billion on home enhancement, according to a 2009 study by the Barnard Retail Consulting Group of Upper Montclair, N.J. Some of the more obvious trends to this spending spree is People are changing their decor more often than in the past. Consumers are more style and fashion conscious and want to express their individual taste. People are investing less in decor items. The trend however is starting to show that because a number of American homeowners and first-time home buyers are transitioning to smaller spaces they are facing some unique design dilemmas that often call for less traditional furniture, more creativity in color, and multi-purposing of appliances and furniture pieces. Face it. With a tiny house you not only have to fit your whole world into tiny rooms (or in our case, just one tiny space) but you also have to make it functional and as uncrowded as possible.  Easier said than done, I am afraid! In researching on the web and in showrooms, at other people’s homes and even at trade shows, we have come up with a few tips on how to make a small space really work for the family inside it without sacrificing fashion or function! 1.  Multi-purpose furniture.  In a tiny house you are limited on furniture items anyway so it is more important than ever that pieces serve multiple functions....

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Whispering Chickens and Big Bad John

Yesterday was a day full of firsts for me. It all began when I woke up in the morning and found out that one of the schools I work with (Miller-Motte College in Madison, TN) and who has a fantastic renewable energy program is game for working with Crystal and I and designing our solar power system for Tiny House. I have been struggling reading books, articles, and websites trying to grasp my little mind around such a huge concept. We have known since day one though that within year one we wanted to get off-grid and on to a solar powered system. So hearing from them and even being assigned a project manager was just an exciting time for me and one that gave me a huge boost of motivation towards the overall project. By 12pm though I had butterflies in my stomach and was getting nervous as I was in 7th grade when I had to step forward on stage that cold December night and sing my first chorus solo in front of all the middle school parents and friends. Why was I so nervous? At 12:30pm I made my guest debut as the “simple living and minimalist expert” on Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer™. As my phone alarm went off, I called in to the program, was introduced and found out that our story is...

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Tiny House and their role in disaster relief

Since early 2002 when I was serving a small church as Minister to Students I have had a heart for disaster relief. While I have never personally experienced a huge disaster I have lived through 6 hurricanes, 1 tornado, 2 blizzards, and countless tropical depressions if notable strength. The uncertainly alone of the situation can be paralyzing. Mix that with actual, physical damage and the emotions can run high. It is overwhelming, at least. After you are certain your loved ones are safe you begin to think about what you have to do next; all your insurance provider, rescue your possessions, find shelter, find out the status of your employment, etc. We have seen in recent years the damage of Katrina, the hopelessness in Haiti, and now the impending threat in Japan. In each case hundreds of thousands were (and are) left with no home, no change of clothes, no food, and no hope. But with communities like the Tiny House community and advocate groups like ShelterBox and TentsToHaiti offering temporary shelter and supplies there is a glimmer of promise for post-disaster situations. So as I prepare to donate my own resources to helping my brothers and sisters in Japan, I can’t help but to think what brilliance is waiting to be exposed in regards to temporary housing for the Japanese people. It might also be a good time...

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Is a tiny house part of the sustainable movement?

At first glance tiny houses have the ability to seem right in line with sustainable living practices. But not all things are as they seem. Tiny houses – like any other domicile – can be as elegant and as gaudy as any other home. The materials can be all but sustainable, eco-foe, and downright toxic. Because they sit on a trailer they require a vehicle to tow which is typically gasoline-fueled. Not to mention the weight of the trailer which can cause less mile per gallon, etc. I could keep going. It isn’t hard to point out flaws in a system and elevate them to disastrous items. I want to talk about the role of the tiny house in the sustainable movement or in the greater picture of a homestead scenario. Let’s first define sustainable and the sustainable movement. Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. So how then does a tiny house fit into a system that relies on the capacity to endure? For Crystal and I it means that our Tiny House will not be sitting in the backyard of a suburban plot. It will not be lakeside at a community campground. Rather it will be a more permanent dwelling space in the middle of a hobby farm (or...

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