Over at the New York Times I was told about a great blog post concerning an agrarian life and how the city life is fast and detached from such a basic life. She describes a simpler life that leads to great enrichment and happiness. click here
So I have been inspired by the folks at Path To Freedom. While I don’t ever think I will go as far as they do, I really want to bring in allot of things that they do into my life. I have recently just installed a new raised bed, which I planted Lima Beans, Snap Peas, Mustard, Spinach, Rosemary and Lavender. I of course want to expand this, but I will have to wait till next season.
The next thing I tried to do is to have chickens. I wanted 3 Hens to get my own eggs, after researching, choosing a coop design, finding out where I can get chickens the Home Owners Association shot me down.
Apparently someone had hatched 50 chicks from eggs for an activity with their kid, then realized “aww crap I have 50 chickens” and let them go amuck in the neighborhood. Needless to say, the Home Owners Association were jaded and my hands tied.
Just tonight I tried baking my own bread, with aspirations of never needing to go to the grocery store and knowing what was in my bread, I was excited! As it turns out this excitement was justified!
One thing about The Tiny Life is that having a small home encourages you to spend for time outside. This has a huge appeal to me because I love being outside and enjoying various activities such as gardening, backpacking, grilling etc. I plan to extend my Tiny Home’s square footage with the use of Outdoor Living areas. I am sure most people can figure out what I mean by this, but essentially it is an outdoor space which uses natural elements to create a room like feel.
The advantages of an outdoor space is huge because it’s very cheap and can be done without permits or inspections (with exception of larger decks and electrical). You can have a rather large area for very cheap and allows you to spend more of the year outdoors or handle having a large dinner party or cook out. These things come in all flavors from a picnic table to 40 square feet of granite counter tops with a full on stainless steel kitchen.
I have often thought of owning two or three separate plots of land where I build these outdoor spaces and just tow my house from one to the next. This allows me to migrate with the seasons (job permitting) so I can go North for the summer, down South for the winter etc. This way I could maximize my use of these rooms and have the outdoor spaces’ plants geared to bloom when I will be there.
So here are so design ideas and photos for some inspiration in your spaces.
Encourage the winter sun, block it out in summer
With a tree canopy or a pergola with vines, in the summer the leaves will grow to block the sun and in the winter the leaves will die to allow more sun to warm the space.
Outdoor garden screens
To add privacy, define the space or block winds use hedges and boarder plants which are taller than your eye level. This lets you establish where the space starts and ends, can give the area a bit more “room” like quality and block wind if you are in a windy areas where in others you might want the breeze for warmer climates.
Use vegetation to shelter outdoor living space
The Use of trees to create a ceiling is a great way to soften light and provide cover for when it rains. A large tree can block allot of rain. In addition it prevents the need for building an actual roof, which costs more and needs to be permitted.
Consider shade and shelter fabrics
Kent over at the Tiny House Blog did a great post about keeping cool with Shade Sails. These are simply a triangle of fabric that blocks the sun, are really inexpensive and work really well. When I traveled to Australia these where everywhere and if you have ever been in the outback, you know it’s really hot and sunny there.
Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them. While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet! I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it. But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25. Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community. The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements. There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole. I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.
Reprinted Treehugger Bonnie Alter January 2009
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare”–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.
It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.
The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.
So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.
It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”
These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit