Sunday marked six months since we moved into our tiny house on wheels. Maybe this is a moment to pause and take stock.
Here are some thoughts on the way we live now.
- It’s possible. We work, eat, sleep, wash, socialise, stay warm/cool, watch TV, go to the loo and look after our pets just like anyone living in a ground-planted house with multiple rooms. The house didn’t blow away in that cyclone (see below) and we haven’t (yet) been visited by rule-enforcing bureaucrats.
- There are plenty of chores. 1. A tiny house gets untidy easily so you have to tidy all the time and clean up every day. But it doesn’t take long. 2. Given that our washing machine is a little twin-tub, laundry takes more time and attention than it used to. 3. The toilet chambers need regular emptying and the greywater filter has to be unclogged — a trio of disagreeable jobs.
- You must adjust to smallness. 1. You learn to turn on your own axis like the robot from Lost in Space, so you don’t knock anything over. 2. You buy only what you can store. 3. You get used to finding places to put things, without getting upset about it — because this is what you’ve chosen.
- Gardens are great. Watching shrubs and flowers form a stunning blast of colour makes the heart sing. And harvesting food that you planted and nurtured is a fantastic feeling. My runner bean plants have produced stacks of beans, despite the worst efforts of pigs, peacocks and New Zealand winds. The Makahuri communal garden has kept us in fresh vegetables since summer, with a surfeit of tomatoes coming to ripeness right now.
Some news updates:
- Connor is unwell. His ears reddened and then swelled up nastily in what seems to have been an allergic reaction — maybe to something he encountered while wandering unsupervised last Monday after escaping his enclosure. Connor’s impulse was to rub his ears on anything, making the inflammation worse and opening wounds on his ears and snout, which then got infected. He’s under treatment and healing now, but his ears will never look perfect again.
- Cyclone Gita rocked us with some big gusts, but didn’t send us skywards. Nothing blew away and the house was a draught-free haven as a corner of the storm swept over us. The only casualty was a broken branch on my cape gooseberry tree.
- Paddock World is green again. The drought of November/December has given way to more normal rainfall, and our paddock has gone from burnt crust to verdant green.
- Winter is coming. The temperature dropped below 10C on a recent night, so I gathered a bucketful of pine cones and wood in case I’d need to light the fire. I didn’t need to, but we do have to trim many of our logs to fit the 22cm space available in our little burner. And all too soon the ground will soften, so we’ll have to think about pavers or gravel on our pathways, and get serious about awnings. On the positive side, in the past week I’ve started sleeping under the duvet instead of on top, as temperatures have eased.
- We are official. At least in terms of the census. I took pleasure in filling out my form online, marking our statistical validation as a “household” in a “dwelling”. According to instructions, I marked each multi-purpose room as a single room — so the census will list one kitchen, one living room, one dining room, one study and one bedroom, making our home seem very luxurious for a 14 sq m space!
So, six months in. We didn’t celebrate the occasion — maybe we’ll do that at the one-year mark, in September. Instead, we took Connor to the emergency vet, picked up more boxes from our rapidly emptying storage locker, and went to my mum’s. From there we headed to the cemetery.
Our tiny-house milestone was also the 20th anniversary of dad’s death, so we went up to his grave to place some flowers.
Some anniversaries are more significant than others.