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.


Living in a tiny space — early thoughts

On my first night in our tiny house on wheels, I had a nightmare.

Like a lot of my weirdest dreams, it was set in a rundown house we lived in about a decade ago (though the house in the dreams never looks much like the actual house). In the dream, a woman had broken into the house and surprised Tom and me. Then other intruders emerged from cupboards and wardrobes and began saying mean things. I quarrelled with these people and grew angry.

Then I woke up in pain. The nightmare had made me lash out with my foot, and stub my toe on the ceiling.


(Actually the second toe. Tip: never Google images for “stubbed toe”. You will faint.

How often do you get to say that? Well, if you regularly stub your toe on the ceiling I don’t want to know the details, the point I’m making is that living in the tiny space of the Mustard Yellow House is testing my body in unusual ways. As it was bound to do — yet not as much as I feared.


Our day in the sun

Through the miracle of solar power our fridge now runs all the time, we can charge our devices, and our plugged-in modem gives us the internet.

Other things too, and we’re exploring the possibilities. This is only the second full day of solar power, after all.

One important thing I can do is run the PC during the day, which means I can write and work (and look for more work). Tonight we might try watching a movie, and see what that does to the battery.


Because our lives are now rather tied to the battery and the little percentage figure it sends to a monitor installed next to the bathroom door. Right now the percentage is 100, which is a nice figure, but of course it falls as we use more power and rises the next day with the sun. (more…)