Cultivate Community

Here we share the wisdom of our community–a community made up of not only our neighbors in our dirt-and-dig world, but also our friends who share with us online. If you would like to write about and share your wisdom/inspiration in the areas of tiny house living, simple living, owner-building, gardening, permaculture, homesteading, salvaging, re-purposing, debt-free living, mortgage-free living, community, sense of place, creative lifestyles, living life on your own terms, living a balanced life, slow living, etc., we’d like to hear from you! Use the Contact form (above) to send us a brief synopsis of your idea.

The Magic of Sticking to The Plan

Posted by on Jul 11, 2015 in Cultivate Community, Recent Posts | 5 comments

The Magic of Sticking to The Plan

I am delighted to share Sue’s story of perseverance. Sue participated in our eCourse in Spring of 2014, and it’s been such a joy to watch her plan unfold. The thing I noticed about Sue right away was that she was serious. She read every lesson and really put her all into the tasks. She made a plan, and even when things didn’t go as she planned, she stuck with it. As time went on, her vision got clearer. She recently shared in our private forum about her exciting move to the place of her dreams, and I asked her to write a guest post to share with you.   The synchronicity that Sue experienced is what happens when you do the work–you are met halfway! Congratulations, Sue, we couldn’t be happier for you. And thank you for sharing your story. -Hari   If you’d like to join Sue and the rest of us on the pathway to mortgage-freedom, there are a few more days of open enrollment for the summer session. Click here for details. Hi, I’m Sue Resnik, and I’ve been dreaming of living a simple life for a long time. Living in Texas 2000-2009, I ran across log cabin kits for 600-800 sq ft homes and dreamed of building one on the neighboring 6 acres. That never happened, but about 2010, having moved back to IL and hearing more and more about tiny homes, I signed up for blogs, read more and more about tiny houses on wheels (THOW), signed up for Deek Diedricksen’s Design and Build: A Tumbleweed Workshop in Boulder, CO in the fall of 2013 and Hari and Karl Berzins’ online workshop in the spring of 2014 entitled The Plan: Creating your Pathway to Mortgage-Freedom, this last one having me actually taking specific steps toward my goal of building my own THOW. Because I learned I’d need to cut my expenses by sharing space with someone, I began my quest for a roommate in IL. I woke up one day mid-late May 2015 and realized because I was unable to find anyone to co-house with, I was not getting any closer to my goal of building a THOW and because I’ve felt a draw toward North Carolina, I checked Craigslist to see if I could rent something for $500 a month, about half what I was currently paying. I saw many homes that I’d feel comfortable sharing near Asheville, so I thought, “Good…when the time is right, I’ll know I can do this……But wait, what’s this?” And that’s where I saw Caroline’s ad for a 450 sq ft cabin on her 50 acres about an hour west of Asheville. The cabin, her passive solar home, the organic garden, the goats, the chickens and bees were all calling me. I emailed for more information, and learned we had even more in common. When we spoke, we felt like life-long friends. We eat the same (pescatarian), we both have drums—both Native and African. I mentioned tiny homes and, sure enough, building some on her property is one of her goals! WHO WROTE THIS SCRIPT!?!? Within two weeks I flew into Asheville for a 2-day visit. Not only did Caroline meet me at the airport, but two of her friends, Ann and Anthony, joined her as well, and they were as excited as she was to meet me! I was treated to lunch at the cafe attached to the food co-op and was in heaven. I felt encapsulated in what felt like the warmest, friendliest, amazing place and people on earth! And then I saw the land in person and I just HAD to be in a science fiction movie! Hours earlier I was in a place where I was surviving—even with some close friends. I was just getting by. I went to work, paid my bills and hoped something magical would happen to help me achieve my goals. And magically there I was in an enchanting place, surrounded by people who already felt like friends, considering the possibility of living in this cabin surrounded by...

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Growing Sacred Economy

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in Cultivate Community, Grow, Recent Posts | 2 comments

Growing Sacred Economy

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how I feel about community. I still remember sitting at our dining room table in our purple house in Florida making a must-have list for our future place, that place where we would put down roots, and slowly build our homestead. We wanted mountains, local food, music, and enough land for our kids to roam, but at the top of this list was community. I dreamed of being part of a large circle of people who work together toward common goals. I dreamed of having friends to share the responsibility of raising kids. I dreamed of working in gardens and helping each other grow. The amazing thing about getting super-clear on intentions is they have a way of working themselves into reality. Setting clear intentions is one of the tasks I ask the participants to do in our course, and it’s working for them, too. So here we sit in this place we dreamed up. This place that has roots of community deeper than my old white oak up the hill. There’s something deeply moving about finding a place where you belong. There’s something deeply satisfying in knowing you are there because your people are there. Do you live in a place that stirs you this deeply? Are you in love with your place? Do you mark time by the buds on the trees and the familiar bird songs–the ones you can’t name…yet? I hope so. What a world this would be if we all loved our place so deeply that we wanted nothing but to nurture its growth. The more we nurture our communities and the greater community of folks around the world making a shift to local commerce and self-reliance, the more profoundly we will impact the world. It is with the intention of nurturing community and sacred economy that I share the project of our friends and community members, Scott and Cassie Pierce. We met Scott and Cassie shortly after we moved into the tiny house. We noticed a familiar entrepreneurial spirit in them and quickly found out that they also planned to build a mortgage-free home (It’s been fun building alongside another family, but that’s another story.) We weren’t surprised when they announced that they were opening a kombuchery. What is a kombuchery? you might ask. It’s a place where kombucha is brewed. Here is an article about kombucha. Inspired by the idea of sacred commerce, they decided to start their business with cash and grow it in the slow and steady way that all things with good roots grow. “It’s easy to imagine a world where businesses lead the shift to a sustainable, authentic workplace for all when you live in a community where local business owners practice living an inspired life.  With so many mentors in Floyd County, we felt supported in implementing practices in our own business that reflect our deepest values.  We weigh each decision with true intention, from our glass bottles made stateside, to the hand written mantras affixed to each glass fermenter.  Sacred Commerce launches the idea that commerce can be a vehicle to raise consciousness, allowing for a collaborative community to swim collectively in the spiritual current.  With this in mind we create, market, and sell our kombucha to you ~ a complete, unadulterated lovefest of a product born from our truest Selves.” –Cassie Pierce Now, they’ve reached a milestone. They’ve outgrown their equipment and they are ready to take this labor of love to the next level. I’m inspired by their willingness to ask for help after working their business to the point where it naturally needs to expand. Check out their Kickstarter video and their website. These guys are so close to reaching their goal on Kickstarter, but if they don’t reach it, they get no funding. If their story resonates with you, if you like kombucha, local business, sacred economy or just want to give some good folks a hand up, please consider donating $5 (or more, of course!) It feels good to help others reach a dream. Thanks...

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The Nikon Video is here!

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Cultivate Community, Recent Posts, Remember | 0 comments

The Nikon Video is here!

Making the Nikon #IamGenerationImage video is a highlight of our tiny house adventure. We absolutely loved meeting these fascinating new friends and creating something together. I wrote a bit more about the project in this post. Watch the video here!  We love how it turned out; it really sums up our story. (Be sure to let it load before viewing.) I’m thrilled with the image gallery, too. I took over 1000 images for this project, and these are the best of them. If you click on an image, you’ll find a quote from me about the picture and then expert insight in “Behind the Shot.” Truthfully, I had no idea I was doing these expert things, so I’m learning here, too.It sure is fun to see my pictures on the Nikon website! Enjoy! Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...

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Making an Intention Flag for 2015

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Breathe, Cultivate Community, Recent Posts, Salvage | 3 comments

Making an Intention Flag for 2015

I love flags, making use of everything, making art out of stuff one step away from trash, letting go of clutter, setting intentions and cultivating community. Making an Intention Flag is a beautiful and simple project that brings all of these loves together. When I don’t know what to do with a stained t-shirt or other worn-out piece of clothing, I usually cut it up for napkins or rags, but sometimes the fabric isn’t absorbent enough, so I stow it in a milk crate for future use. Just before Christmas I deep cleaned the tiny house and found a forgotten basket of fabric scraps in the storage compartment under the couch. Yes, even in a tiny house we accumulate stuff and forget about it. Since I had to make room for the influx of gifts, it was time to use or trash this fabric. Since it is the season of intentions, I decided to make an Intention Flag. Flags dancing in the woods make me happy. I love the idea of the gratitude or intention floating on the wind and permeating the space. The kids and I make Gratitude Flags every year and they turn our woods into a sacred space. Adding not just our intentions but the intentions of our family and friends to the gratitude excited me. I wrote about 10,000 intentions, okay maybe 10, and, man, I still had a ton of fabric left, so I decided to expand the project. I took the basket along with a bag of permanent markers to a few gatherings between Solstice and New Year’s Day. At least forty people added intention to this flag. When my mom was with me for Christmas day, we sewed the scraps of fabric onto strips I tore from an old flat sheet. Hanging the flag in the woods was a beautiful and powerful way to spend Christmas night with Mom. (Read more about our Christmas and other stories in our Winter Newsletter.) My commitment to my friends and family was to create this flag and then to hold the space for their intentions all year. Walking in our woods and seeing the intentions of so many reflect the light in the shadow of my great white oak is pure art. What’s striking about this flag is the similarity of our intentions. We all have similar desires and they’re really very simple. What are your intentions for 2015? Let them fly!   Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...

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Living Tiny in a Big House

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Cultivate Community, Recent Posts | 8 comments

Living Tiny in a Big House

Guest Post by Wendy Thomas I got it. I finally got it. After living in a very large house (over 3K feet) with my husband, 6 children, a dog, and a flock of chickens in the backyard while holding down the positions of mom, journalist, writer, Executive Director, Swim Team official, and board member in various organizations (which all require their own equipment and supplies), I had decided that enough was enough. I love my family, I’d die for my kids, but I wanted my very own tiny house. I wanted a spot of my own where, if I put the book I was reading down on a table, it would be there when I went back to sit down and read and wouldn’t have been pushed somewhere else to make room for an art project. I wanted a place where we had only enough dishes for one meal and if we wanted to use them again, we had to wash them instead of letting a days’ worth of plates pile up in the sink before we set to the task. I wanted away from the endless piles of soccer shoes, ski helmets, biking equipment, pool goggles, and piled-up backpacks filled with school books. I wanted my own tiny house – a space where there was a place for everything and everything was in its place. Simply put I wanted to live more simply. I wanted this so very much that I signed up for a weekend workshop put on by Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. There I learned about things like trailers, struts, electrical considerations, vents, and compostable toilets. I met people who live in tiny houses, those planning on building tiny houses and those, like me, who were still in the dreaming phase. When our instructor, Art Cormier, was asked how much laundry his Wonderwash did in one load, he replied that he could fit three shirts, a pair of pants, shorts, socks and underwear in one load, he thought a bit and then added that that was all he could fit because that was all that he had. Wow. Imagine having such a pared down wardrobe, that you could wash *all* of your clothing in one load. I thought about the sweaters on the top shelf in my closet. The ones that fall over every time I take one out from the bottom (and this happens so often that I’ve given up on wearing the bottom sweaters so they just sit there supporting the top.) I thought of the dresses I have (I probably wear a dress three times a year) one that’s causal, one that’s fancy, a black one, and three that don’t fit anymore, but I’m pretty sure they will someday. I thought about the dozens of shirts I own. I would need hundreds of Wonderwashes to do my laundry. And then when a group of us from the workshop went out to lunch we had a discussion about “things”, you know all that stuff that you bring home from vacations and that you pick up here and there to remind you of the great times you’ve had. “I love my things,” I said to one woman. “Yes,” she replied, “but think of them as weighing you down and anchoring you to the past.” I thought of all the holiday decorations in our basement, so important when the kids were little but now only serving to jog memories of “remember when.”  I thought of the souvenirs (x6) I would bring home to the kids every time I went on a trip that now laid unused, collecting dust, but that can’t be thrown out “because Mom gave this to me.”  My things are no longer happy memories; they have become items of pure suffocation. It was then that I realized you don’t have to live in a tiny house to live a tiny house lifestyle. Even in our big house, I can get rid of the extra “stuff” that has crept into our lives. Wardrobes can be evaluated and pared down, sports equipment can be passed on, kitchen...

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9 Ways to Live Life on Your Own Terms

Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in Cultivate Community, Recent Posts | 6 comments

9 Ways to Live Life on Your Own Terms

I’m so happy to welcome Mud Bailey as our first guest on Tiny House Family. She and her family are living a beautifully simple life. Enjoy! And thanks for reading.   Inspired to share with our community? Here’s how. – Hari Hello Tiny House Family readers! My name is Meredith “Mud” Bailey. My friends call me Mud. I live just down the mountain from Hari, Karl and the kids in Stuart, VA on a property with 7 small cabins. We call our homestead Hawk-Mo. I live here with my boyfriend, my mother, dogs, cats, ducks and chickens. We have a 1/4 acre fenced garden with raised beds and an established, but neglected, small orchard. We are lucky enough to live and work on our homestead.  We run our small business, Ragged Edge, from one of our cabins. We make wallets and sell them through our website, RAGGEDedgeGear and on Etsy. I blog about homesteading and entrepreneurship at the Hawk-Mo Hotwire and share on the Hawk-Mo Collective Facebook Page. Blue Ridge Mountain magic Happy bee hives Raised beds full of bounty. The fourth Hawk-Mo chicken coop. I used to wake up everyday with this tension in my chest that wouldn’t go away. My brain was occupied by nagging thoughts and the knowledge that things could be different. I felt like I was living two lives–my real life and my dream life. In my real life, I felt like a dysfunctional human being trying very hard to fit in. In my dream life, I did things that made sense to me from the way I saw the world, and I was happier. Figuring out how to live my dream life is the journey I began in earnest a year or so after college. I’d gotten fired from my previous four jobs for a basic unwillingness to stick my head in the sand and do what I was told regardless. I can trace my stubborn persistence to go against the grain all the way back to college. My mother can probably trace it back further than that. Since my college days, the following tips and tricks have served me well. If what you want more than anything is to do your own thing, these are for you. Show up. I used to say, “I don’t have time” for this or that. Now, if I’m not doing something, I say, “It’s not on the top of my priority list.” The truth is, I make time for the things that matter to me the most. I’ve learned that it takes nearly daily care to cultivate a dream or a big project and see it come to fruition. Last year, I went out in the garden maybe every 3 or 4 days, and when the hot Summer weather hit, I pretty much quit planting things. It was an OK harvest for a first year garden. This year, I promised myself that I would at the very least walk through it once a day and it’s paid off in spades. I water things I would have forgotten about, harvest things before it’s too late, and I’m able to keep up with weeding by just doing a bed here and there as I walk by. Instead of the garden feeling like a chore as it did last year, I can’t help but smile just walking through the gate. Work hard. There’s no sugar-coating this one. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and sweat it out. There is no substitute. Over the course of the 6 years that I’ve been self-employed and solely dependent on our small business for a paycheck, I’ve learned to fight for my dreams. We’ve hit two really low points, dips so low that we worried about having to go get “real” jobs. And each time, we dug in, and fought back because we believed in ourselves and we were willing to do whatever it took. Dream chasing isn’t easy, but the reward is most certainly worth it. Have a beginner’s mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s...

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Announcing a New Blog Category: Cultivate Community

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Cultivate Community | 2 comments

This Sunday, July 13, 2014, we are launching a new category on the blog called Cultivate Community. We are excited about this opportunity to share the wisdom of our community through guest posts. Check the blog this Sunday to meet our first super-inspiring guest. If you’d like to guest post or are just curious about this new blog category, read on. 2013 Crop Mob at our house. Installed flower beds along pathway, sheet mulched the garden, double dug garden beds, weeded. 2014 Crop Mob at our house. We bring home our first large black piglets from Well Fed Farm. 2013 Crop Mob at our house. This fall gathering was a great time to prep the garden for winter. SolShine Homestead. Our wish chore list for crop mob 2014. We got so much done! Hooray for community. Our community inspires us. Once inspired, we turn to our community to learn. Collectively, our wisdom grows as we come together to share what we know, what we have, and what we grow. This homesteading life would be missing the most important ingredient if we didn’t have community. We look forward to sharing the wisdom of our community–a community made up of not only our neighbors in our dirt-and-dig world, but also our friends who share with us online. This movement toward simple and sustainable living is happening around the world, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our little corner of it. We’d like to open this corner for you to share your inspiring lives and wisdom. If you would like to write about and share your wisdom/inspiration in the areas of tiny house living, simple living, owner-building, gardening, permaculture, homesteading, salvaging, re-purposing, debt-free living, mortgage-free living, community, sense of place, creative lifestyles, living life on your own terms, living a balanced life, slow living, etc., we’d like to hear from you! Please send a synopsis of your idea and a link or two to your previous work using the contact form above. I will get back to you as quickly as possible. Thanks for being awesome. Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...

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