Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tree Falling On A Tiny House

This summer has been filled with a slew of crazy storms; the storms have been extremely windy, heavy rain and overall, very intense.  Much of my city has been without power for days because of fallen trees.  The upside of living off the grid is I have full control over my entire power system. I can inspect and fix anything that breaks.

One decision I made when going off grid was to park my house in the woods where I have tree cover for shade during the summer and in the winter (when the leaves fall), solar exposure.  But the last few months have called into question the wisdom of that decision.

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This summer alone I’ve had two huge trees (75+ foot) fall perilously close to my house.  Last week I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner when I didn’t just see lightning, I felt my entire floor flex beneath my feet as the bolt struck a tree only 15 feet from my house.  To put it mildly, it scared me.  I felt the floor flex and then all a sudden my windows were covered by tree branches and leaves.

The tree that fell had a huge “Y” fork in it and my house miraculously fell right between that fork as the tree hurtled towards my house.  The large trunk landed on both sides of my tiny house.  I’m not one that stresses out easily, gets on edge or prone to freak outs, but I was seriously on edge after this.

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I’ve talk a lot about setting up your land. This might be another consideration to take into account.

Some practical tips on building a strong house

  • Make sure you use rafter hurricane ties for your roof
  • Collar ties in your roof help prevent roofs folding in on itself
  • Opt for a thicker roof deck if you can afford the extra weight
  • Consider removing trees that pose a danger

How To Use A Scythe

Here is a video of me showing folks how to use a scythe to cut grass around my solar panels.

 

How Was Your Worst Day Your Best Day?

Today I was listening to a podcast when I heard a question that was radically profound in the way it looked at things.  The truth is that our happiness is often not what happens to us, but how we choose to perceive it and react to it.  The question was this…

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It’s fascinating how re-framing something can change our world view.  I could go on, but I think for today, just spend some time thinking about how your worst day was actually your best day.

Off Grid Q&A Video

Recently shot this video on a Q&A session about off grid living.

 

 

Your Turn!

  • What should our next Q&A Video be on?

Things That Shouldn’t Impress Us Anymore

Recently I came across a great article from Joshua Becker (read it here) which captured a set of ideas that had been swirling around my head for a while.  The article was called 7 things that shouldn’t impress us anymore.  It talked about status symbols and how they shouldn’t be held up to such a high importance for us.

organizational-debtI think what struck me about most of the list is that ironic thing about the brand name of your clothing, big diamond rings, fancy cars and a big house is that most folks who these things are important to, can’t afford them.  Most – read 90% of Americans – folks achieve these status symbols through accruing debt.  I have a distinct memory of when my neighbors, who were very concerned with the things on Joshua’s list, one day fell on hard times.

The house of cards fell very fast for them. Their cars were taken because they were on lease, the home ended up in short sale and my neighbors lamented to me about all the credit card debt calls they got.  While this is just one story about a neighbor, it is really the story for many people today.   The truth is the average American household carries $15,762 (source) and 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (source).

What is more, conspicuous consumption shouldn’t not impress us any more, but it should evoke a very different reaction – sadness or empathy – because it is almost always done on the back of debt.  People are extending themselves in ways that has been shown to break up marriages, bring massive amounts of stress, and leave people in a hole they often can’t get out of.

Think about it – not only should they not impress us, but depress us.  What does it say about the status of our culture when people are willing to take on crippling debt just to impress a stranger?

Obviously I’m preaching to the choir here: tiny house folks focus on small spaces to get out of debt, we re-evaluate our spending choices and have taken steps to shed our consumer culture.  Inherently having nice things isn’t bad, even having brand names, nice cars etc isn’t a bad thing; we just need to know the why behind all of it.  The trap is when people say “that’s what I thought I was ‘supposed’ to do.”

Live your life with intention, with purpose behind each decision, each choice.  That choice could be living in a tiny house or it could be a 1,200 square foot house with a fancy car.

Your Turn!

  • What things do you think we shouldn’t be impressed about anymore?

 

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