We had an earthquake last week — not unusual here in the Shaky Isles. It was easily the biggest I’ve felt while inside our tiny house.
It’s weeks since I last posted. I didn’t mean this to be a slow-moving blog, so I shall explain.
We went away. For a month. For our first full-scale, long-form holiday in many years.
We planned and we booked and we packed. We locked up the Mustard Yellow House, turned off the electric system and the gas connections, and caught a plane to … Europe.
Don’t worry, this isn’t an excuse to post travel pics. Well, maybe one.
This trip was a fruition, part of the POINT of changing our way of life — going tiny, downsizing, giving up Stuff in favour of Experiences.
It’s a year since Tom and I moved out of our last land-based “big” house. Our life now is different in many ways. What I want to talk about here is the change in life’s rhythms.
The Mustard Yellow House — the view George the cow gets as she heads to milking.
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.
Alexa, Tom asked, what’s the temperature? Minus two, she replied.
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.
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…)
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 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.
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.
These are the signs of autumn in the Mustard Yellow House.
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.
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…)