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!

Living Tiny in a Big House

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Cultivate Community, Recent Posts | 4 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...

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Dear Garlic, We got it right this time!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Grow, Recent Posts | 8 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 | 27 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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