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Tiny House Weekend

So last week I had a crazy tiny house adventure.   It involved a potato, a few tiny houses, building codes and a lot of meeting tiny house folks.

I started off staying with Laura and Matt, two tiny housers in Asheville, Laura blogs at 120squarefeet.com (she also has a new book out – click here).   I have gotten to know them pretty well and always enjoy hanging out with them.  Not only do we talk about tiny houses, but we get to nerd-out too.

From there I met up with my brother and went to my favorite breakfast spot, Sunny Pointe.  After an amazing locally sourced organic breakfast we headed out.   From there we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall colors.  I love driving the parkway, its winding roads and amazing views, it’s pretty hard to beat.  I dropped down from the parkway down into Brevard, saw looking glass falls and grabbed some lunch.

The next day I was off to Dan’s workshop where we talked about tiny houses.  I gave a talk on building codes and zoning.  After lunch Matt and Laura talked about their tiny house and living in it.  There were a lot of great questions for both presentations and the workshop allowed for us to chat with a lot of the folks.

 

The Science Of Happiness

Last week I wrote about how there were several common traits, one of which was being grateful.  Then I found this video about the science of happiness and it affirmed something for me.  Tiny House folks have always seemed to be much happier and from my post they also seemed very grateful; turns out there might be a correlation.

happy

Study of New Age Gypsy Culture

A recent book released by British photographer Iain McKell looks at the life of what some in society call the new age gypsies. McKell has gypsy wagon2followed a small group of these travelers for over 10 years and has recently released a new photo book on the evolution of their lifestyle. He represents the progression of this group through beautiful images of people who have chosen to live a tiny life on wheels. He tracks the movement from petrol based, motorized vehicle travel to the now more common horse-drawn wagons that this particular group uses.

Gypsy Wagon1Although they’ve turned to a more traditional mode of travel still found throughout Europe in the lifestyle of the Romani, McKell reflects that this does not mean complete isolation from society. He makes note in an interview he did with anothermag.com that these folks are using modern technology, including solar panels, laptops and social media, to stay connected to the world while they live travelers lives in wagons. His pictures are stunning and this foray into a subculture having nothing to do with the Romani culture is fascinating to me but I feel divided on the matter.

Gypsy WagonIt begs me to questions how the Romani might feel about westerners appropriating their lifestyle and how this impacts the view society has of their culture. As a ethnic group that has been, and continues to be, persecuted how does a community of western “new agers” impact the ideas and stigmas people have around this type of lifestyle. This western group of travelers is made up of the young, old, families, individuals, poor and rich alike so it’s not just one section of society being represented and while I love this tiny lifestyle and their anti-petrol approach, I have to wonder at the cultural appropriation that may be occurring in their choice of lifestyle.

Does this hold a negative connotation or not? Is it assimilation or appropriation? I’ll put away my contemplative hat for a minute but I think it’s worthwhile to ponder and if you are looking for more vardo inspiration check out Ryan’s post on this awesome wagon built by an archeologist!

 

Your Turn!

  • Do you itch for a gypsy lifestyle?
  • Would you pull your vardo by horse or by vehicle?

Via

 

 

Boardgames For Tiny Houses

One of my biggest hobbies is board gaming, there are times that I game a few nights a week.  I came to really love board gaming because of the personal interaction.  I haven’t used my xbox in about 4 years because with the advent of online gaming, you never have to gather as a group anymore, it wasn’t as fun anymore because it really lacked social interaction. With boardgames you get to sit across the table from friends, joke, laugh, and maybe even have some lighthearted smack talk.

So here is my top ten boardgames for a tiny house that also happen to be really small so you can fit them in any little nook in your tiny house.

lifeboatcover1. Lifeboat

The scene is set, you are stuck on a lifeboat after having to abandon ship, but supplies are running low and tensions are high!  Each person is dealt the identity of a person they hate and another of a person they love.  The name of the game is to stay alive, while you save your true love, but ensure your enemy finds their way out of the boat and into the treacherous waters.     Buy it here

8315495893_23b4e4a7bb_z2. Guillotine

It’s the French Revolution and the nobles are having a hard time of it.  They are lined up for their turn at the guillotine, the noble at the front of the line is next.  Each noble is worth a certain number of points, so its up to you to get the most points possible.  Sway the order of the line in your favor with bribes, tricks and other tom foolery.  Buy it here

fleet_top3. Fleet

Think of deadliest catch in a card game, that’s what Fleet is.  You are a fishing entrepreneur pitted against your rival fishermen and fisherwomen.   Bid for fishing licenses at auction, launch boats and hire captains as you build your fishing empire on the northern sea.  Buy it here

zombiedice4. Zombie Dice

This is a great quick dice game that brings a lot of drama and a fun theme of zombies.  Who doesn’t like zombies?  The dice have three symbols:  Brains if the zombies get you, a shotgun shot if you take one out, and feet if you end up fleeing.  The trick is to get as many zombies as possible before they get you.  If the zombies get you three times, you loose you points, if you play it too safe, you’ll be left behind.  Super simple, small, inexpensive and fun.    Buy it here

board_bang_shot15. Bang

You are in an old western town and it’s about to go down.  The sheriff in town tries to keep the peace, but there are people gunning for him.  In this game you are either the sheriff, deputies, outlaws or the renegade.  The problem is, no one knows who is who.  So in this game of six shooters, you battle it out with others, play hot potato with a lit powder keg and to restore health?…  Why you drink beer of course to shore up your hit points.    Buy it here

IMG_1073c cropped-thumb-300x260-627226. Saboteur

You and your Dwarven brethren are digging for gold deep in the mines.  All a sudden things start to happen that are beyond chance, its become aparent that there is someone in your group that is trying to foil the group’s plans and make off with the gold themselves.  Broken pick axes, extinguished lanterns and much more befall each other as you try to figure out who is the Saboteur, all while racing to the gold before time runs out.    Buy it here

71TPmgcPJZL._SL1073_

7. For Sale

The real estate market is a tough one and you as the new guy in town need to make a name for yourself as you buy and flip properties.  In this game you’ll learn how to bluff your way to victory as you climb the real estate ladder.  This is a great simple, but really fun game for kids because they can learn to count, but this is fun enough for adults too.    Buy it here

51BeRqtG3HL._SX385_8. Werewolf

This is a really great party game that has a ton of interaction and will leave you laughing for sure.  Your guide is the story teller of Miller’s Hollow.  He shares the tale of a werewolf that comes in the night to choose it’s next victim.  Everyone has a secret identity and you have to find the werewolf before he gets you, but stave of accusations as less scrupulous characters try to divert attention away from themselves and on to you!     Buy it here

51ERjMoDg8L._SX385_9. Citadels

This is a very popular game among gamers where you choose a role to play in the city and you build your empire.  Each game round players secretly take the roles of either the King, Magician, Architect, Assassin, Thief, Bishop, General, or Merchant and seek to use the powers of such offices in their efforts to win the game.  Buy it here

66915-1124-large10. Three Dragon Ante

After safely returning from a treacherous quest you and your compatriots settle down in a pub to tell the stories of your perilous journey.  At the pub you play Three Dragon Ante, where you bid on dragons to dominate your opponents.  From the people of D&D, but you’d never know if you hadn’t been told.  A fun quick card game.   Buy it here

 

What are your favorite board games that don’t take up a lot of room?

 

The Things I Miss Most

There are all the good things about living the tiny life and then there are the things that I miss most. Of course, you don’t have to miss these things! It all comes down to design and what you deem necessary to your well-being and happiness in your living space. After nearly two years living the tiny life, here is what I’ve started to pine for.

aofuro1. Long, luxurious soaks in the tub. Yes, I’ll admit it. I love to fill up a huge tub with water and just lay there. At a Permaculture workshop I attended we played an icebreaker game of confession where everyone in the class went around and fessed up about their most non-sustainable guilty pleasure. Mine was a bath.  I know it’s wasteful and most certainly a luxury but I can’t help but crave those relaxing times spent in steaming water surrounded by bubbles! Any time I house sit, the first thing I look for is a tub. I actually looked in to the Japanese ofuro, a traditional soaking tub that you sit instead of lay down in, but I was told it wasn’t a practical addition to the size bathroom we were building. I think it’s a plausible addition to a small space if planned for early on in the design and I would love to see such a tub  incorporated in to a tiny house!

2. Stability in my living situation. We’ve moved our house 3 times in 2013 and while mobility was a plus when we built La Casita, I never saw us moving quite so much. While it is much less of a hassle than moving in or out of a regular home, it definitely has it’s challenges and feeling settled can take awhile.

Acraftroom3. Craft space/room. Not only for working but also for material storage. We don’t have the space in 98 square feet to meet this need. I really pared down my art materials when we moved in to La Casita and while one solution could be to rent a separate space, that’s not a financially viable option for me right now.

4. Comfortable sleeping room for guests. I miss having a space for friends and family to stay when they visit. We used to host people all the time in our other homes but in La Casita folks either have to sleep on an uncomfortable bench downstairs or camp. With winter not far off in Vermont, camping won’t be an option for much longer. Sure, there are nice B&B’s and cozy hotels for folks to stay but it’s just not the same. I love waking up in the morning and making coffee for guests and a plate of popovers! It’s the best!

5. Having huge potlucks in my living room. This was my favorite activityapotluckpicture and what I miss most about living in larger spaces. I love filling a kitchen with delicious food and cheerful, hungry people! While I have found other outlets and friends who enjoy doing the same in their homes, I miss being able to offer that hospitality.

While all of these needs have creative solutions, which I’ve explored in various posts, I still find myself daydreaming of bubble baths and bright, expansive indoor spaces for shared meals and guests. Perhaps it’s just the American in me trying to break free or maybe this is a normal process of living the tiny life. Once in a while you are going to wish for things you don’t have. It’s only human right?

Your Turn!

  • Is there anything you miss most living in less square footage?
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