Category: Uncategorized

Our First Tiny House Winter

Frost, frozen pipes, muddy boots, drums at solstice, new life, new growth, new knowledge. Such has been our first winter at Makahuri in the Mustard Yellow House.

The coldest day of the year so far was June 22 — the first morning after the southern hemisphere winter solstice. The supposed “middle of winter” in fact comes early in the season, with two-thirds of it — and probably the coldest part of it — yet to come.

That morning, our paddock showed a new colour. Summer had brought dry brown, autumn bloomed greenly, but last Friday the grass and our outdoor possessions all gained the white of frost for the first time in our nine-and-a-half-months here.

Frost 3

Alexa, Tom asked, what’s the temperature? Minus two, she replied.

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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.

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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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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…)

The Year Of Living Differently

This is the last day of the biggest year of our lives. “Biggest” is a bland and insufficient word but it’s all I can think of to gather up a string of more exact words.

Of the years Tom and I have spent together, this has been the most complex. Most stress-laden. Most change-filled. Most challenging. Most unguided. Most exciting. Most unexpected.

Add them together and you get “biggest”.

House front nov 17 2

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What Should We Name Our House?

Yesterday, our tiny house was host to an actual social gathering, with multiple people, for the first time. It was a kind of coming of age for us and the Mustard Yellow House.

The occasion was … none, really. Well, in a sense, the occasion was alcohol availability.

Last week our landlord/neighbours spent a few days in Australia and offered to bring us something back from the duty-free shop. The only thing we could think of was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin — not because we’re ginnoisseurs or ginheads but because Tom remembered the brand from a memorable B&B we stayed at.

Bombay

The icy-blue bottle was brought to us — a full litre, enough to keep us in G&Ts for months. But then Tom said “We should have a G&T party,” so we did.

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Hot Days In A Tiny House

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.

Burnt paddock

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. (more…)

A Simple But Important Garden

Soon after we moved into our tiny house, Tom walked off around the nearby paddocks in search of pieces of wood. He returned with a few fallen branches and forgotten fence posts and proceeded to lay them out as the sides of a rough triangle a couple of feet from the house.

That triangle would be a garden, he said.

Actually the triangle remained a fast-growing jungle for quite a few weeks. But this week the grass was chopped back and on Sunday, at last, the garden became a reality.

New garden 1

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Do Fence Me In

A few small changes in your everyday life can change your outlook — and this seems to be magnified when you live in a tiny house.

In the past couple of weeks, Tom and I have continued our adjustment to this new life — downsizing, testing new ideas, getting into new habits — and it’s about time to bring you up to speed with the small changes that are shifting our outlook.

Fence in sun

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