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


Our First Tiny House Christmas

Have you ever had one of those times when a “hooray” and a “boo” are equally valid? Christmas Day 2017 was like that for us.

Let me explain: it rained.

Yay, because it hasn’t rained noticeably for seven weeks, the grass has gone from lustrous Kiwi green to bleached Australian blonde, and an official drought was declared just the other day. In short, the land needs rain.

Boo, because it was Christmas Day. Could there have been, I don’t know, any other day in the past month when the drought could have broken?

But never mind. Our first Christmas in the Mustard Yellow House, our first Tiny Christmas, was a pretty joyous day.

Rainbow vertical


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.


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.


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


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


Creatures We Share Our Paddock With

A big attraction of living in a tiny house on wheels is that you can take it away from suburbia. You can put your house in places where a pile-grounded house would probably never be built: on a dune or hillside, up in the mountains, in a field.

We are in a paddock. Though our house is tiny, there’s more space around us than in any place we’ve lived.

But we’re not alone here in the paddock. Let me introduce you to our neighbours.

Peabody close

The Peafowl

A former owner of this piece of rural New Zealand evidently liked peafowl (the nonsexist term for what most of us call “peacocks”). An estimated 20 of the stunning birds continue to live here, nesting in trees, posing on roof ridges, striding around and making a racket. (more…)

Close-Proximity Sickness In A Tiny House

Sick man

Tom is over there. I am here, at the desk. He said something to me but I’m not entirely sure what it was, or if it was to me, or if it was him who said it. Maybe it was just a groan.

We both have flu. I think that’s what it is. When he sniffs and moans a lot and can’t go to work and even misses a work-related trip to Auckland. When I can’t move very fast, am unsure of many facts like which day it is, and send my stomach into a nauseous plunge by looking too fast from one email to the next.

Yes flu, that’s what I think it is.

When I say he’s over there, that’s in a matter of speaking. He’s almost within arm’s reach (though I wouldn’t reach my arm, lest it plunge me into a spiral of hellish vertigo). This is a tiny house, after all. We’re always pretty close to each other.

But we’ve never been sick in it before. Not both of us. There have been times, before, when we had flu-overlap or synchronised colds, but those times we had space. Space to be left alone, space to be insulated from infection.

Does being sick, you know, require much space? If so, we are testing how much. (more…)

Tiny House Living, With Dogs

Tom and I are not the only residents of the Mustard Yellow House. With us are our two little dogs, Connor and Phoebe. Life for them, in the past 10 months, has been continual change.

Dogs cute on couchPhoebe and Connor have claimed our new couch as their favourite place.

But you’d hardly know it. The happiest surprise of this whole tiny-house enterprise has been how well Connor and Phoebe have taken it in their tiny stride.