Many people know about the video The Story Of Stuff, since its release it has been very popular. Recently the same folks release a new video called The Story Of Solutions. The video talks about how for a long time the name of the game in our economy has been growing the GDP, having more, buy buy buy. I am preaching to the choir, but we all know while there are things we need, consumerism in America has become a little crazy.
So this video makes the assertion that that we shouldn’t focus on more, but instead better. I think the one point they should have made stronger in the video is that in some cases more=better, but it often has a different twist to it. In some cases more won’t be better and for an economy that is on a finite planet we need to grapple with that.
While the solutions they presented in the film are good ones, we also know we have a long fight ahead of us against those who have a financial stake in keeping the status quo. It made me think of the project Christopher Carson (of Tiny House The Movie) was part of, a local campaign to fight Xcel Energies deep pockets campaign to prevent municipal sustainable energy program.
A few years ago I met Rhodes Waite when we attended a tiny house group talk hosted at a Permaculture gathering. She was in the beginning stages of designing her own tiny house. We fell out of touch but just recently ran in to each other at Yestermorrow Design and Build School in Vermont. She happened to be at the school for a week-long tiny house design workshop and I was there on a work-study for Permaculture design! It was great to catch up and hear about what she was learning in the class and see her completed tiny house. Below are pictures of her home in Asheville, North Carolina and her thoughts on tiny living and the workshop she took at Yestermorrow.
How do you power your tiny house?
It is wired just like a “normal” house, 12/20 wiring and a small breaker box. I have a female recessed outlet in the exterior wall that an extension cord plugs right into. So I run it to the house who’s yard I’m in. I set it up so that an inverter and solar panel could be added in the future, but for now it’s on the grid, so to speak. Electric bill runs $5-$10 a month.
What is the biggest challenge for you living in a tiny house?
This is probably the hardest question you asked, as nothing comes to mind right away. Hmmm…it’s probably that I haven’t been settled in one location long enough to really feel stable as I’d like to. That’s more of a life circumstance and choice thing than a tiny house thing, but ideally I’d like to live in a tiny house in one location (I’ve moved it twice in 6 months). Other than that there aren’t really any challenges. I find myself wanting more space sometimes just to be able to stack a few boxes or get into projects, but it’s not a big deal.
What are some of the advantages?
I love it, I love it, I love it!!!! I have no mortgage or rent (just a tiny tiny house payment), and I own my house! Wherever I go my space stays the same, and it’s an amazing space. It feels so good to live so small, because it doesn’t feel small at all. The title of the class I just took at Yestermorrow sums it up well…”Less is More”! There’s really not a way to describe the feeling of lightness and freedom that comes with simplifying one’s life. I love knowing where everything is all the time. I love being able to clean my
entire house in 5 minutes. I love feeling so connected to the resources I use and don’t use to live my life and power my house. I love the simplicity of where my “wastes” go…to the backyard. I love the life and character my home holds, it feels great. I love everything being within arms reach.I love the coziness. I love loving where I live.
Today I found this video and it struck a cord with me an many different level. First and foremost was the practicality of this couple’s approach. What started out as a necessity meant they were able to live comfortably, without debt and prosper greatly. From time to time I speak about fiscal security (which is in our mission for “Tiny Living”) and I also believe gardening allows you to have a stable, healthy food source that is sustainable. So check out this video!
Yet another group of students have taken the dive and started their own Tiny House; it is very exciting to see students getting exposed to alternative housing options! Even better that they are building Tiny Houses out of reclaimed materials for under $2000! The house is 8 feet by 12 feet and fully insulated, all that is left is to add plumbing and a solar electrical system.
During the design and construction process, students adhered to sustainable building practices including use of reclaimed materials whenever possible. Some of the lumber and windows came from Re-New Building Materials and Salvage in Brattleboro, Vt. The threshold to the front door is slate from a local quarry. The door and windows were also recycled.
Three years ago I set a goal for myself to start growing most of my own food. Many of you might remember this past summer when I got my chickens, I had put up some post about them (see them here). Well now they are almost full grown and soon to lay eggs.
I then learned of quail which have a few unique attributes that really appealed to me. In my journey to grow my own food, I have set another goal to design everything to minimize work put in, maximize what I get out, to integrate ergonomics, set the stage to ramp up production in the event of a long term crisis (think Katrina) and develop a high level of diversity.
Quail does all these things, they are raised in a square foot per bird, are able to be kept on wire without harm (so dropping simply pass through the mesh) to minimize cleaning, they are prolific breeders laying 300 eggs a year, and I have two species of birds to add to my chickens, making a higher diversity.