Paddock World is hot and dry. Rainless days and constant spring winds have left a burnt, crunchy crewcut where a month ago there was moist, long grass.
You in Queensland, and you in Saudi Arabia, would laugh at the temperatures we’ve been having lately. But for us Kiwis they’re suddenly hot.
So now, though it’s still officially spring, Tom and I have some experience of what life is like in a tiny house in summer.
Bottom line is, it’s fine. You’d think that a tiny space like ours would get hot, like a shed, and this is certainly a danger with houses the size of ours — 23 square metres (250 square feet).
Two things save us.
- Insulation. The Mustard Yellow House is packed, top, bottom and sides, with polystyrene. The interior stays cool through the morning even with sun beating down. The east-facing bathroom, though, is warm just when you want it to be. So a tip for any tiny-house designers: put the bathroom on the east. Three cheers for forethought!
- Windows. There are seven opening windows in the Mustard Yellow House plus two doors that can be hooked open. So no matter which way the wind blows, we can open two or more windows and get a cooling through-breeze. If a fly gets blown in, it’s gone again within two seconds.
Forget electric air conditioning — the best, most delicious coolant in the world is an unobstructed New Zealand breeze.
But it sucks the moisture out of anything that grows in the ground. So I’m watering our little triangular garden generously and trying to improve the soil with mulch and (I keep putting it off) poo left behind by the rescue horses.
The green lid is the top of the buried, dalek-shaped pet-poo composter.
From now on, the dogs’ droppings will be spirited from our yard and plopped into the buried chamber of the Ensopet, seasoned with a composting agent, and left to break down and enrich the soil. Allegedly without odour.
We waste nothing!
Meanwhile, everything has a layer of grime on it, where dust has been building without ever getting washed away. This morning I used the garden hose to rinse off the solar panels on our roof, giving them back their efficient, sun-gobbling gleam.
(By the way, our water pipe is fed by a spring, aided by an electric pump. So our supply isn’t governed by local water-use restrictions but a power cut would knock it out. So you might say we’re not entirely off-grid!)
Rain is forecast three days hence, they say. We’ll see.
Photo: Ram Reddy
Anyway, I feel it’s time to say that life in the Mustard Yellow House is working in a material sense.
The power works, the toilet works, the water flows, the laundry gets done, the dogs are safe, meals get cooked, we eat well, we sleep well, we can watch our favourite shows, we can work, we can wash, we can grow things, we can dine outside, we can entertain visitors, we can make further plans…
In other words, this is our life now.