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!

Barn Wood and Rusted Metal

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Build, Recent Posts, Salvage | 10 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...

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Join Us on the Path to Mortgage-Freedom

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Build, Recent Posts | 1 comment

Join Us on the Path to Mortgage-Freedom

“Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking. Traveller, the path is your tracks And nothing more. Traveller, there is no path The path is made by walking. By walking you make a path And turning, you look back At a way you will never tread again Traveller, there is no road Only wakes in the sea.” ― Antonio Machado It’s true. The path is made by walking. But in walking, we find community, and we learn from others who’ve been there before us. I am grateful to those who walked this path before us and took the time to share their story–we stumble less because of them. We gleaned a lot of inspiration from Rob Roy and other owner-builders,...

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Installing Windows – Light in the Big House

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Build, Recent Posts | 13 comments

Installing Windows – Light in the Big House

We’re one step closer to completing our master plan–building a mortgage-free micro-homestead. Our 1400 sq. ft. main house is dried in. You can do this, too! I’ve watched the big house grow out of the hill above the tiny house for over a year now. Slow and steady. I help when it’s possible to help and have done my share of pushing my comfort level – operating a sawzall and picking up giant windows to send them through the hole to my husband standing on a 30 foot ladder top my list.   I’ve had some fear watching the big house grow. First, it looked like an alien spaceship, a giant green blob on a stand. I thought, ugh, what have we...

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Why I Want to Be My Daughter When I Grow Up

Posted by on Jan 25, 2014 in Breathe, Kids'-Eye View, Parent, Recent Posts | 61 comments

Why I Want to Be My Daughter When I Grow Up

Every time I read this post from almost two years ago and your comments of encouragement to our little girl, I want the whole world to read it. I want individuality and creativity to rule and kids like Ella to keep on with their original outfits and ways that don’t make sense to others. It’s the willingness to do things a bit differently that keeps this whole darn experience interesting. I am grateful to my husband, Karl, for being the daddy he is, and for my dear Ella, who is one of my greatest teachers, and for all the students I’ve had in the classroom who share their struggles with me–I wish you a life of creative freedom! April 29, 2012 Last...

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Loving Yourself and Living an Uncensored Life

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Breathe, Recent Posts | 25 comments

Loving Yourself and Living an Uncensored Life

I get up really early to give myself the solitude I need to write in this tiny house. This act of self-love is a newish routine for me, and it’s helping me beat the winter blues. I encourage you to try getting up a bit earlier than usual. Loving yourself and dreaming on paper is fun, and just 15 minutes can make a big difference.    Alarm goes off at 4:00 am. I crawl down my ladder and start the water on for coffee. I enjoy very much my mornings to myself: writing, reading, journaling, drinking coffee, showering, being naked, writing some more, reading some more and dreaming my day into existence is a healing tonic for my crammed body. We stood around a...

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A Cold Winter’s Night in the Tiny House

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Breathe, Parent, Recent Posts, Remember | 23 comments

A Cold Winter’s Night in the Tiny House

I’ve sifted through thousands of words I wrote since moving into our tiny house in preparation for my upcoming ecourse–a step-by-step guide to dreaming, planning, and designing a mortgage-free lifestyle. I came across this essay I wrote last winter. Winter is a real challenge in a tiny house, and I am grateful for it. In the darkest time of year we can most clearly see our own light. These years in this tiny space are healing us. I’m happy to say, the pain I wrote about in this essay isn’t as intense as it was then. Being honest with myself and others about the pain is an important part of healing. Opening the restaurant wasn’t stupid, it...

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Reflecting on Christmases Past: Our Third Tiny House Christmas

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Recent Posts, Remember | 0 comments

Reflecting on Christmases Past: Our Third Tiny House Christmas

Something about this time of year brings on the reflecting. I was looking at the blog and reading December posts from the last two years. Here are the links: Ella’s 2011 Winter Solstice Haikus Hari’s 2011 Winter Solstice Haikus Our first tiny house Christmas A three-part series I wrote for Tiny House Talk: One Two Three Our second tiny house Christmas My worst tiny house fear happened at Christmastime last year. This tiny house living has taught me a lot. I’ve learned to live here and be happy. That’s one warm-fuzzy good feeling. Read my book, Coming Home: Letters from a Tiny House, for an honest look at how living tiny has shaped me. I am so...

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Join Us for the Tiny House Conference and Tiny House Chat

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Recent Posts | 7 comments

Join Us for the Tiny House Conference and Tiny House Chat

Karl and I are working toward a little business selling plans, consulting, building, teaching, speaking and writing about building a mortgage-free micro-homestead. I’m simply amazed at how the doors are opening for us. We look forward to sharing our creations with you in the coming months! For now, there are two things I want to share. We are speaking at the Tiny House Conference in Charlotte, NC this coming April. The event is packed with people I’ve known online for a while and it’s sure to be fun to have so many enthusiasts, dwellers, builders, and thinkers all in one spot. I hope you can make it! We are also joining the Tiny House Chat next week....

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Watching Life

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Grow, Recent Posts | 4 comments

Watching Life

I raised seedlings last February when ice covered the ground and winds howled. Karl rigged salvaged shop lights in the shed 8 inches above a shelf. I planted seeds in the tiny house and carried them slipping and sliding on the ice. I set the seed flats on sheet trays with rope lights curled underneath. The bottom heat seemed to do the trick, because the seeds sprouted to life. I needed that. In the darkest days of winter, seeing the seeds break out of their seed pods gave me hope that I would sprout again, too. But those early days were touch and go. The seedlings reached quickly for the light and began to fall over. I had to baby them, raise them closer to the light,...

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Our Journey to a Mortgage-Free Big House

Posted by on Nov 16, 2013 in Build, Recent Posts | 4 comments

Our Journey to a Mortgage-Free Big House

You know what’s fun!? Asking vendors for a cash discount. That’s fun. And they do it. Most businesses spend at least 2% on credit card fees. We always ask for a cash discount and most folks are happy to give us one. It’s fun to see the look on the cashier’s face when we hand over $5000 in cash. We wanted a mortgage-free home. We made a plan. We’ve worked this plan for five years. We’ve been working hard at this plan for five years. Hard. Like working two jobs, scavenging for materials, buying land, working soul-killing jobs, saving, building the tiny house, quitting soul-killing jobs, making decisions to stay home and save our cash...

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Build Community with a Crop Mob

Posted by on Oct 27, 2013 in Grow, Recent Posts | 2 comments

Build Community with a Crop Mob

It’s as simple as this: Invite several friends who share similar lifestyles and ideals to come together once a month. Our group includes five families. This is a good size for a crop mob–more would be difficult to cook for (especially in our tiny houses), and we can accomplish a lot and keep everyone busy. More people=more food and more planning/management. Small is good. Decide how long to work. We meet on a weekend day and work from 2-5 pm and then enjoy a meal together. Take turns working at each home. The host family prepares a meal for everyone. The host family organizes all projects and work for their day. We send an email to the group a few days ahead...

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Hooray for Family Day

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Kids'-Eye View, Parent, Recent Posts | 6 comments

Hooray for Family Day

There’s much delayed gratification when building a mortgage-free home. We live in a tiny house and sometimes long for more space. All we have to do is look up the hill to know…it’s coming. Maybe not as fast as we’d hope. I said not too long ago, “We can’t do another winter in this tiny house.” But maybe we will find ourselves here this Christmas. If all this rain has anything to say about it, it will be longer than we thought. While we are delaying gratification, the rest of our lives happen. Family Day to the rescue. Family Day has gotten us through many difficult times. During the time of our restaurant, New Day Cafe, we...

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Building a Family Seat and Cultivating a Sense of Place

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Build, Grow, Recent Posts | 3 comments

Building a Family Seat and Cultivating a Sense of Place

In my last post I introduced you to Virginia, a dear reader and correspondent. In her letter she didn’t just talk about setting the day in your mind, she also talked about how we are creating a family seat here on our land. That term intrigued me. Here is a bit of her letter: My family seat is down below Sparta, NC. I say family seat, but I don’t even live there. It is home to my family since 1773 . That is what you all are building on your land. Family seat is an old English term. Not just a house or home but hopefully a seat for your family to have and come to for generations to come.  You can be so proud of what you are doing and how you all are working...

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Set the Day in Your Mind

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Breathe, Recent Posts | 4 comments

Set the Day in Your Mind

It’s been one week since Sarah Beth Jones said “I think writing a daily blog post might be easier because it becomes a habit.” I got up the next day and decided to give daily posting a shot. She was right. A daily post forms a habit, a practice, a ritual. I’m loving this morning habit. I did miss yesterday, but that’s okay.   A dear reader and correspondent, Virginia, (high school teacher for 40 years) wrote to me a few days ago in response to Idea Flow:   Your blogs will be just fine. Just write what you see, what you feel, what you are thinking about.  For example, if I were blogging this morning, I would say that I lay in bed...

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Super Sheds Support our Tiny House

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Recent Posts, Simplify | 1 comment

Super Sheds Support our Tiny House

We recently  had visitors who were on a whirlwind tiny house tour, and it was super-fun to be included on their tour. One thing they noticed about our house was that we had more stuff than most tiny house folks. I guess we aren’t totally minimalistic, or kids mean more stuff. I don’t know. But I do know that managing stuff is a constant job in our home. Yesterday I finished pulling out my spring wardrobe, then I carried all the storage bins of winter clothes to the shed. I often walk up and down the hill carrying stuff–loads of laundry from the washer to the clothesline, bins of clothes, empty mason jars, full mason jars, canning supplies, food, garden...

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