Recent Posts

Welcome to the Tiny House Family blog. Our family of four has been writing about life in our 8′ x 21′ home since 2011. We very much encourage visitors to participate in the discussion, and would love to hear from you in the comments of your favorite posts. Thanks for stopping by!

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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The Miracle of Tiny Steps

Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Build, Recent Posts | 6 comments

The Miracle of Tiny Steps

It’s been full on work around the homestead these days. Karl’s pushing hard to finish the big house;  I am so in love with this man and his creativity. I walked around admiring the finished trim, tile, stairwell and the barn wood lined coat closet, and I realized that soon we will live there.  Weird. We’ve been building, building, building for years, and soon we’ll be done building and we’ll have a beautiful, hand-built, paid for home. Even though we’ve paid for it with time, patience, four long winters in a tiny house, and a few less-than-desirable jobs, I still can’t believe we are going to live in our mortgage-free dream house in the next few months. Sometimes, hard work seems like a miracle. The miracle is waking up each day and doing something to get a tiny bit closer, and then doing it again the next day. And someday, you wake up, and you are there. 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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Expert Interview on Mint.com

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Grow, Recent Posts, Simplify | 0 comments

Expert Interview on Mint.com

I was recently interviewed by Mint as part of their Expert Interview program. In our eCourse, we guide participants through an intensive look at money and help them to align spending with core values. Sharing our strategies for mindful spending, radical saving and zero-debt living makes me happy. Watching clients’ lives change for the better as they regain control of their spending and save enough to start their own mortgage-free homesteads is just awesome. When Mint contacted me for an expert interview, my heart jumped. More people to help! They asked some thought-provoking questions, and I’m happy with my answers. Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think! 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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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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Camera Dreams Come True

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Grow, Recent Posts | 13 comments

Camera Dreams Come True

I remember taking my first picture. I saved up my points from one of those school fundraisers to buy a 110 camera. I held the tiny box to my eye and snapped a picture of my cousin Kelly who was visiting from somewhere far away. The image was crooked and blurry and I thought hmmm that’s not what she looked like. I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos since then. It’s something I love to do. It started as a way to document the moments of my life for some future me and then for some future kids. But it’s grown into so much more. It’s become a way to express myself–an art medium. I like to compose images to remind myself of the beauty in the natural world and in humanity; when I share my photos, I hope they help you to see the preciousness of life. This Saturday, like many of you on the east coast of the USA, I woke to at least two inches of snow blanketing our hillside. Happy November 1st! I thought about rolling over to snuggle up for a bit longer, but then I saw the soft light and the snow resting on the branches in the woods, and I had to bundle up to capture the earliest snowfall we’ve experienced in Virginia. Taking pictures gets me outside and the photos help me connect with so many people from around the world. I’m grateful for the camera; it’s a powerful tool. I’ve come a long way from that first 110 camera. For the last year and a half, I’ve taken pictures with the SONY Nex-5. I bought this camera with the earnings from my weekly letter*. It took me over a year to pile up those $5 bills but it was worth the wait. Thank you, Weekly Letter subscribers! *The weekly letter was an experiment in writing for a small audience. Subscribers paid $5/month to support the project and receive the letters. I made some good friends through the project and realized how much I enjoy working closely with people. My first book, Coming Home: Letters From a Tiny House, is a compilation of these letters. This project also planted the seeds for the eCourse. I’ve enjoyed the SONY. It was a huge step up from the tiny Olympus I was using prior. Thanks to all of our readers and social media followers, I have a new camera now! You reading the blog and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have helped us gain the attention of Nikon. The story awes me as much as the camera itself. I didn’t pay for this camera! In early October we were contacted by a casting director for Nikon. After a few phone calls, they asked us to be an Eye of our generation for the #IAmGenerationImage campaign. They sent their newest camera, the Nikon D750 along with the Nikkor 24-120 lens in exchange for sharing our images and our story. Thanks, @NikonUSA! Pinch me! This is a dream come true. I watch those folks around town with their big cameras and even told one or two that I wanted a big camera, too. I might have joked a little bit, but I was also totally serious. The only thing I’ve coveted is a camera–one that will actually take a picture the way I see it. And now I have one. I just have to learn what all of these buttons do. I’m delighted to share this journey with you. Woohoo! Follow your passions, people. Keep on keeping on. You never know what’s around the corner. Here’s the announcement on Facebook. Post by Tiny House Family. 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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Daddy’s Birthday Presents

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Build, Parent, Recent Posts | 6 comments

Daddy’s Birthday Presents

  There’s nothing we need so badly that we go out at once and buy. Okay, except for half and half. Our house doesn’t run without half and half. Besides that, there really isn’t a thing we need. Yesterday, Archer and I went shopping for Karl’s birthday. It was the regular–the bar soap shaving cream and the bag of candy carefully picked from the barrels at the Country Store, a chocolate bar from Ella, and a six-pack of craft beer from me. On the way home, Archer said, “Did you ever think about how we spend more money on someone else than on ourselves?” He said, “Like that beer, you wouldn’t just go buy that for yourself.” Archer was ready to spend a good amount of his savings on Daddy. His plan was to go to Dollar General to buy Karl a radio to listen to while he builds the big house. “The radio he has is all crackly, and he just wants to listen to some music up there.” Archer is a thoughtful boy. I reminded him about those stores and that what we’d buy there would likely be crackly too, or it’d be junk in a year. “If you really want to buy something like that for him, let’s make sure he’s with us, so he can make the decision.” “Okay.” He understood. He gets it. He really deeply understands that the run-out-and-buy satisfaction isn’t really satisfaction at all. The slow thinking and intentional acquiring is the way for us. When we were shopping, I said, “What does Daddy need?” Archer laughed and said, “Nothing.” I thought with him. He was right. We are incredibly blessed to need nothing. Oh, his work pants are holey in the knees—he could use some gloves—there’s always something that would make life a little more comfortable, but when we think of need, there’s nothing. This delayed gratification of building a homestead for cash has been a game-changer, to use a cliche. Our lives are deeply affected by the slowing down required of building a home dollar for dollar. The value of things is more perceptible; how they impact our lives is clearer. We did spend money on Daddy, but we didn’t buy the radio. We celebrated with a documentary film about industrial hemp and a meal out in a Virginia Tech hangout. We sat next to a couple from Brazil doing their math in Portuguese. The kids loved the graffiti on the walls and the young adults all around us. The adventure of doing something we’ve never done before is way better than a cheap radio from Dollar General. As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about my kids and how our choices are impacting them, but when I watch their fascination with an old movie theater or the politics of capitalism or life on a college campus, I’m happy with our choices. They have so much to navigate and I’m grateful that we’ve chosen a life of slowness, a life where our money is a tool we use intentionally. I’m glad we spend our days in conversation and engagement with the natural world. It’s such a rich way to grow up, dirty and satisfied with what we have. As long as there’s half and half. *** I encourage everyone to try it out—the slow, thoughtful practice of intentional spending. When you shift your spending to line up with your values and goals, amazing things happen. *** Check out this guest post I shared over at Rowdy Kittens: Five Ways to Start Living the Life of Your Dreams Today. 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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On Labels and Letting Go

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Breathe, Recent Posts | 9 comments

On Labels and Letting Go

There’s a time for everything. This time has been about learning to live in 168 sq. ft. with my family of four. Three and a half years later, I can tell you that it is possible. I can also tell you that it is sometimes harder than you imagine. I can also tell you that there are times when the thought of not living tiny scares me. I wonder if I’ll see the kids anymore. Will they get lost in their bedrooms? I wonder if I’ll sequester myself in my office or in my super-deep bathtub. I wonder if I’ll have to demand that the kids pile on top of me on the couch the way they do now. I wonder how our lives will change. It’s easy to become comfortable in life the way we know it. Even if it’s part of the plan, looking at moving on can be scary. If I’m not a tiny house dweller anymore, what am I? It came to me during my day of silence as I canned dilly beans this week. You’ve let so much go, and in the letting go, you’ve attached to a label. It’s time to let that go, too. Because of my self-chosen label, tiny house dweller, I’ve found myself judging our decision to build this bigger house, like somehow I won’t exist anymore if I’m not a tiny house dweller. Of course I know this isn’t true, and I know I will enjoy the new experience of ample space for my family. It just makes me think about how closely we humans identify with our labels. How ‘bout we all play dress up with labels? As we move through life, we try them on, and when they don’t fit anymore, we throw them into a big pile in the woods. They’ll be there if we need them again, and in the meantime, they make a mighty beautiful pile. Maybe this dress-up playing will help us to take life’s transitions a little lighter and trust that we still exist even if we aren’t exactly what we thought we were. Care to join me? 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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Dear Garlic, We got it right this time!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Grow, Recent Posts | 11 comments

Dear Garlic, We got it right this time!

It’s such fun to learn through trial and error, and there’s no shortage of opportunity in the garden. If you read my book, you know that I planted my first crop of garlic upside-down, because it’s fun to just go for it as a beginner. I was so sure the little green sprout wanted to send a nice root down into the soil, but that green sprout was the first leaf. It had to work a long time to curve around itself to reach the light that first season. I grew cool umbrella-shaped garlic, but the cloves were tiny and, well, I learned how to plant garlic. The side of the clove with the roots that look like little hairs goes down. Planted one of my favorite crops yesterday. Got it in the right way. Soil is better than ever. Planted at the right time.–All things I learned by asking lots of questions and learning from my mistakes. Now, it’s up to the earth. -Facebook post, Oct. 14, 2013 Garlic in spring. 2014 garlic harvest Garlic roots Happy garlic Yum I was sure to plant it right-side-up on year two, but an extremely wet season caused a lot of rot. To add to that problem, when I pulled it out of the ground, the bulbs were so dirty, I washed them clean with a spray nozzle–sure to power water into all the possible crevasses. It was so pretty when I put it up to cure, but actually I set it up for a good rotting. Garlic needs to be as dry as possible at harvest to allow for curing. We managed to eat a good bit before the rot set in, but we had to throw out about 1/3 of the second season garlic. After two less-than-stellar garlic harvests, I decided my beginner’s mind needed some help, so I reached out to my community. I asked my friend Davis (who grows the biggest bulbs of garlic I’ve seen) if I could buy some seed garlic from him, and I asked him for his garlic-growing wisdom. This third crop was gonna make it. Here’s what he said at planting time: Plant in mid-October (for our region–Floyd VA is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b) Plant with the little furry roots pointed down and the single sprout or point of the garlic clove pointed up. (Okay, he didn’t say this. I learned this the hard way.) Pay attention to spacing–plant 6 inches apart. Garlic is a heavy feeder–add plenty of organic matter/compost in fall. I used Harmony Organic Fertilizer (composted chicken manure). Keep the beds weeded, as garlic doesn’t compete well. His advice made me consider a few things about my gardening so far. I haven’t paid enough attention to spacing. It’s funny–I know plants need a certain amount of space, but I insist on crowding. I’m learning that less is more in yet another area of my life. Since Davis said to space ’em 6″ apart, I found a stick that measured 6″ and used that as my guide. The cloves sprouted before the ground froze, and I mulched them with leaves and wood chips. I kept the beds free of weeds as part of my morning coffee-in-the-garden walking routine. When the scapes shot up, I researched the right time to cut them–wait until they make their first curl. I pureed the scapes with olive oil and froze the mixture in ice-cube trays. Scapes are a great addition to pestos, dressings and salsas. Time to cut the scapes Ready to process Pretty garlic scape curls Archer with a scape mustache. A little food processing factory. Archer is getting garlic scapes ready for the blender and Ella is hulling strawberries. The curls on the scapes made for some kitchen fun. Trim the scapes into small pieces and blend with olive oil. The leaves started to wilt and yellow a tiny bit in early June, so I visited our local organic gardening supplier, Seven Springs Farm. I can’t say enough how lucky I am to live in a place rich with such knowledge. I talked with the farmer there about the...

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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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Exposing Home – Reflections on the Tiny House Tour

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Grow, Recent Posts, Remember | 8 comments

Exposing Home – Reflections on the Tiny House Tour

Last month, we opened our home to the public as part of the SustainFloyd Tiny House Tour. We were happy to share our home and help an organization we believe in all at the same time. What an amazingly full day it was. The tour sold out, and 260 people toured the five homes. Some folks drove a whole day to get here! This is a testament  to the growing interest in simplifying life and paring down to what really matters. Hooray for that! We met so many kind and enthusiastic people who loved our home and were grateful to us for opening it. We even got a thank you letter via snail mail. Thanks, Nancy, for taking the time to honor us with a real letter. There were people all over our hillside. My dear friends sat on our parking pad, asking for names and email addresses and directing folks to walk into the woods to see the Grandmother White Oak we are blessed with. At one point, I sat down on the deck, and looked around at all the people wandering our property. Whoa. This is not quiet and private. I’m a quiet and private person, so spending a full day exposing all the nooks and crannies of our home took it’s toll on me. I wasn’t uncomfortable sharing–I mean we all have underwear drawers, but the amount of interaction took me down. After six hours of tours, we went to dinner and then viewed the awesome and inspiring film, TINY: A Story About Living Small at the Floyd Country Store. Then we sat on a panel with our fellow tiny house dwellers. Hari and Karl as part of the SustainFloyd Tiny House Tour panel discussion, May, 2014. View from the big house upstairs window. Archer entertains. Karl answers questions outside while I give the tour inside. Deck full! The tour guests take the hike up our driveway. Meeting familiar faces. Shoes off in the tiny house! The panel discussion was a highlight for me. How cool to sit on the stage with our dear friends and talk about living our lives. Even though the introvert in me had to hide out in a clam shell for a week to recover, this experience was delightful. I never imagined we’d have a home that people would want to tour, let alone one we built with our own hands. At the end of the day the traffic slowed down, and some guests asked me a deeper question. It got me all philosophical. I think it was something about why would you want to build a bigger house when you are living so well in this one. I thought about it out loud, “Well, we make this work, but it’s not easy, and there are things we love that we can’t fully explore while living in this house. We want friends to visit and have a place to stay. We want our kids to be able to retreat to their creative spaces to paint, dance, play music, etc. We want to have space for sleepovers and potlucks, we want to host music jams in the dead of winter. It’s funny, our world was pretty big when we owned the restaurant–we hosted and entertained people everyday. After the restaurant, our world became quite contained in this little house. It’s been a great learning experience–helping us examine what matters most. As the big house grows closer to completion, I feel our world changing again. Moving into the big house will immediately give us a tiny house to share. We look forward to hosting bed and breakfast guests, to using the tiny house as a teaching tool, and to having more family and friends visit.” The tiny house has exposed me in ways that I never would have been exposed otherwise, and I’m so grateful for this time of growth. And now I’m ready to grow into something new. I have this image of me unzipping myself from the tiny house. I step out and stand on top of the tiny house with my...

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It’s Growing Season

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Build, Grow, Recent Posts | 2 comments

It’s Growing Season

Welcome Spring! Every fall I  plant garlic. This year, the green shoots popped up before the soil froze, and I covered them with a layer of mulch. Once the snow melted and the soil warmed, the green leaves shot out of the ground. There’s a lot of excitement around the homestead this time of year, “Mommy, the garlic’s up.” “Hey, guys, the potatoes are up!” “Have you seen any peas yet?” We stare at soil and wait. We sink our fingers into the moist ground and bury seeds. We plant flowers and watch the first butterflies drink their nectar. We watch the fruit trees bloom and with the rest of the county, fear this season’s crop might be lost by a late hard freeze. We’ll know soon enough. We’ve lived this life through the cycle of the seasons for three years now. It’s our slow and steady mortgage-freedom walk. People ask us all the time–when do you think you’ll move into the big house? We’ve said, “In about a year.” for two years. Now I say, “I don’t know.” And that’s okay. It’s good to stay longer than you think you can, to watch your children grow to take up more room than there really is. Because we realize just how much we can handle, and that even when there’s really no more room for anything, there’s room for joy. There’s room for a wild dance in the living room with the lights out, even though our arms hit each other as we swing them in time with the beat. It hurts a bit, and we’d dance more often with more room, but we still dance. But, man, I’m saving up some big moves for the big house. It’s funny sometimes some tiny house purists on some blogs will comment about how we’re doing it all wrong, that the tiny house movement isn’t about a stepping stone to something bigger, and that’s fine. It may not be for them. But for us, we’re growing bigger. Our home is growing with us, and when this little house just can’t contain us any longer, we’ll spread our arms and leap through the big house. But the tiny house won’t leave us. It will be part of our family, growing and changing with us. Maybe it will house our parents, or our friends, or bed and breakfast guests from around the world. It will continue to teach us how to live simply and together. It will help us teach others that it is possible to contain giant things in small spaces and it will stand as the view from the big house reminding us always of the years we spent in 168 square feet, moving slowly and deliberately through the seasons. 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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Barn Wood and Rusted Metal

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Build, Recent Posts, Salvage | 14 comments

Barn Wood and Rusted Metal

There was a barn across the street from our little homestead, a real leaner. We’ve watched it lean a little more each month. The weight of the two feet of snow two weeks ago made it lean to the point that it was unsafe, so the owner pulled it over. Karl was working on the big house when he heard it crash. He ran into the tiny house like a little boy, “The barn! I think someone is taking it down.” He went straight across the street, talked to the man, and came back smiling. “I can take everything I want and leave the rest. He’s just going to use it for firewood.”   Score! This is our second barn. The first one was a prominent barn that stood just off of 221 near the Little River. That barn is already part of our big house.   During Karl’s long work days taking down barns, he gets to know the materials. The dust of the last century blows in his face and he hears the whispers of the wood. Some boards tell him I want to be a sled rail. Others want to be a chicken coop. Others want to be part of the big house.  This new barn will add more rusted corrugated metal and beefy beams to our barn wood stack. A good bit of the wood inside is still solid and in great shape. We are using barn metal as part of the siding for the big house, so the best pieces of metal will end up on the big house. Karl will use rubber-gasket screws through the existing holes on the metal, and then we will seal it.   Salvaging is fun and rewarding and it gives a look and feel we could only achieve through this method. And then there’s the story. This metal was a barn across the street. It lived through 80 winters holding snow and blocking wind, then it caved and curled and leaned and crashed. And some man came running to its rescue to bring it home and give it a new life. This man is my husband. A determined, passionate builder who loves to “make something out of nothing.” The artist wakes up in the builder who uses salvage. He works with the material and the application and comes up with a creative solution to use what he has. The process is exciting and so very rewarding. He builds a house of this place, a house that belongs. Karl is sorting the barn wood across the street and will bring it home and stack it with our first salvaged barn at the bottom of the property. When the time comes, we will choose wood for interior walls, and who knows what else. I know these materials will create the handmade home with history and place that we want.   Some of the wood has amazing character, but is too weathered to be part of the house. I think when we finish building the big house, we’ll have to start building tiny houses for birds–barn wood bird houses with cute little rusty metal roofs. That is something to look forward to. Man, I think you could build a few in an afternoon. What a dreamy pace. I guess this makes us barn collectors. Salvage is one of the ways we reduce the cost of building. We pay with time instead of money. It isn’t necessarily cheaper if we factor in the value of our time, but we are able to spend our time doing something we love, and we gain a pleasing result.  We’ve learned so much on our path to mortgage-freedom, and we’re excited to share it all with you. We are guiding a group of motivated folks down the path to mortgage-freedom right now, and we have a second group starting May 10th. We’d love to have you join us. Read about this opportunity here. 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...

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