Tiny Houses And The ‘Housing Crisis’

The Tiny House Movement seems to be caught in a cruel cycle that many fashionable things go through. Here’s a rough guide to the phenomenon:

  • Wow, look at this new thing, never seen that before!
  • This is great! People say it’s the answer! It’s everywhere!
  • It’s everywhere.
  • Sceptical or vaguely hostile articles start appearing.
  • Someone in the media declares it a “fad”.
  • Hipsters and others sprint to say “I’m over it.”
  • Advocates get defensive, feeding hipsters’ self-certainty.
  • The onetime fad either settles into obscure middle age, or becomes radioactively passé.
  • “Where Are They Now?” and “Whatever Happened to…?”
  • Revival, with irony.

With tiny houses, I believe we’re at the middle of the cycle. After several unopposed years of chic, tiny houses are now getting the “fad” label.

Mt Hood th village

                      The image you often see: Mt Hood tiny house village in the US. 

So people like me who live in tiny houses should not be surprised at any waning in media enthusiasm for how we live. It’s the circle of life.

But there’s more to it. (more…)

Strange Things … Can A Tiny House Be Haunted?

Some strange things have happened to me since we moved into this house seven months ago. Until the past few days, I haven’t had a name for whatever’s been going on.

If you’re a regular reader, you know our tiny house is parked in the grounds of Makahuri, formerly the Marycrest Catholic girls’ school.

Makahuri aerial from paddock end

Makahuri from above, taken before our tiny house was placed in the paddock at the bottom of the picture, centre.

Near us stand old buildings, with some in use or being restored.

House from southeast.JPG

Around the campus are signs of the land’s earlier use as a farm, such as a stock run, and pockets of ancient forest.

But the place has a deeper history.

(more…)

Our First Tiny House Autumn

These are the signs of autumn in the Mustard Yellow House.

Autumn 2

The generator is humming. Using what turned out to be a short break in the rain, I set it up in a rain-shaded spot this afternoon to bring the battery up to a full charge. In the 209 days since we switched on solar power in our tiny house, we’ve used the generator fewer than 10 times.

There’s a warm fire. Our little burner is simmering away, fuelled by “logs” of good Makahuri wood cut to the rough dimensions of a biscuit packet. This is so they’ll fit in the stove. Until a few minutes ago, there was a dog lying in front of it toasting his belly, but he moved before I could get a photo.

Rainy east April 2018

Looking east from the doorway. Note the neat border of mowed and unmowed grass.

There is condensation. I don’t know whether it’s a tiny-house trait and how much this is going to be a problem in the coming cold months. I suspect the current steamed state of the windows is due to me returning to the house a little warmed by tending to the generator and collecting firewood. (more…)

A Tiny House In A Cyclone?

It started raining about 45 minutes ago. A winsome, windless, garden-moistening fall of rain of the kind that nobody objects to.

But these sprinklings are the outer petticoats of an overdressed battleaxe whom the meteorologists have named Gita.

Gita colour

Gita goes in for a hippie colour scheme.

Gita was a cyclone, officially speaking, as she tore through several Pacific island states in recent days. Since then the old cow has lost a bit of polish, a few outer layers of couture, a bit of her previous puff and force, as she traipses across the Pacific in the general direction of me.

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Cower, Weeds, For I Am Gardener

Gardening was on a list of things I’d get around to at some advanced point in my life. “I’ll give gardening a try [or whisky, or baking, or Wagner’s Ring Cycle, or tai-chi] when I’m 60. Or maybe 55, ha ha.” That’s what I’d say, thinking I had all the time in the world — so much time that I could schedule hobby-epochs as though my life were a study timetable.

Life doesn’t go like that. Better to use the time while you’ve got it. Now that I’m mumbly-seven years old, it’s looking as though there aren’t enough dispensable liver-years remaining for me to discover whisky, nor enough wet Sundays for me to penetrate Wagner’s Ring.

But I have become a gardener. Every day, I work in my funny-shaped ornamental garden, and most nights before sleep I imagine what I need to do next and what that little precinct of mulch and shrubs might eventually become. So that’s a physical and a mental commitment.

Garden low view

The desert blooms, a bit. My ornamental garden in December 2017. Notice our then-first sunflower, held to its stake by a snippet from an old business sock.

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The Day I Walked Away From My Tiny House (But Came Back Again, Slightly Later)

After two years of our tiny-house journey, something finally made my optimism wobble. This thing, which I’ll soon describe, made me walk away from my beloved tiny house, thinking “I cannot stand it.”

Can't adult

In comparison to the challenges Tom and I have wrestled with (finance, land, power, water, downsizing etc etc), this thing was not a biggie. In fact, it is no bigger than your fingernail, if considerably more numerous. (more…)