Monday, July 26, 2010

Block Party Weekend

There was a lot of work and years of preparation that went into the decision to purchase the land on which we are building the Tumbleweed house.  That being said, there is one factor that you just can't plan for.  And that is neighbors.  We had no idea on the day we closed on Mt. Matt that we would end up with a pretty darn cool group of neighbors living on our tiny mountain road.

This weekend was a little different for us.  Usually, we go up to North Carolina with a clear plan of what would need to be accomplished.  However, this weekend we were invited up for a block party and that was pretty much our only purpose for the weekend.

Because we can't stop ourselves, we did do some work on Saturday.  We actually arrived late on Friday night in time for bed, like we usually do.  On Saturday morning we got up around 9am and went to Zuma coffee for breakfast, which is one of our favorite weekend morning routines. We stopped and Ingles to get some food to take to the party that afternoon.  We loaded up the cooler with ice and our purchases before heading back to the land.  Then, we had a couple of hours of light work to do up at the tiny house.  Just little loose ends, really, before we could be 100% ready to finish the outside.  Matt stained the porch overhang that we built over 4th of July and I used Great Stuff Foam on the rest of the interior panels that we had already insulated but never foamed in.  Great Stuff is a crazy product and trust me from experience, you don't want to over do it.  When it says it expands to twice the size it is pretty serious about that.  Unfortunately, that means I have to do some basic clean up with a razor knife before we do the interior walls. There are worse problems to have, so I am not too worried about it. 

After finishing up at the house, we went down to the barn and enjoyed a Grove Park Inn Great Gatsby brewed by Highland Brewery.  Yum (I liked it better than the reviewer did).  While we relaxed before the party started, Matt practiced the guitar, a new hobby he has picked up and is really enjoying.  Around 4pm we started to get cleaned up and ready for the party.  At 5 we wheeled our cooler down to the road and met our top-of-the-hill neighbors on their way down.  The four of us walked down to the other house.  The neighbors hosting are the only ones who live there permanently and they have helped us out quite a bit in the time we've been working on the house.  The six of us hung out on the screened porch and enjoyed a couple of drinks.  Then the last group of neighbors arrived - a husband, wife and their 20 year old son.  Like us, they live elsewhere and have this land near Asheville where they are renovating an old house with plans of building some other things on their land as well. 

As I said, the one thing we couldn't plan for when we bought our place were cool neighbors. And I think really really hit the neighbor jackpot.  Everyone on our road in Western North Carolina is fun, creative, and intelligent. The mountains drew us each there for various reasons so I suppose it was meant to be. 

After dinner, we all went up to the house on the top of the mountain - the road dead-ends at their place.  There, we could see the most amazing and unobstructed view of Mt. Matt.  We intended to have some coffee, but it was still 90 some degrees when the sun went down, so we sat on the porch under the full moon and talked until late into the night.  Eventually, we all called it an evening and went our separate ways.

Sunday, Matt and I got up early and went for breakfast at Green Sage in Asheville.  We were going to walk around the Bele Chere festival that was going on downtown this weekend, but when we finished eating it was still only 10am to we decided to head back to Atlanta instead.  We got home, took a shower and went out to a nice dinner before settling in back home and watching the season finale of Doctor Who. 

It was a great weekend, and one of the only weekends in recent memory where we went up to Asheville but didn't have days and days of work to do.  Believe me, I don't mind the work at all but it was a very nice break.  And it is great to know all the folks on our mountain road and all the cool stuff we are each doing. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jay Shafer Inspires People to Live Small

Over the weekend, Yahoo's front page featured this video about Jay Shafer and his tiny house.  Funny part is, suddenly everyone was sending it to me with emails like, "Have you seen this guy?  This is so cool! I thought you would like this."

Well, I certainly do like it.  That is because we are currently building a tiny house designed by Jay Shafer. 

The part that is most exciting to me (and probably to Jay) is that his Tumbleweed Tiny House company is getting so much national exposure.  People all over the country are buzzing about tiny houses.  Some people are beside themselves with excitement about wanting to build these small structures and others are wondering how anyone could possible live in a place so tiny.  Whatever side of the discussion you're on, that is okay because at least it is a discussion. 

Matt and I had the pleasure of meeting Jay about a year and a half ago, right before we took the plunge and bought the plans for the Tarleton that we are now building.  He is a really good guy.  On top of that, with the plans we got free consultation with him if we had any questions.  Along the way we have had a couple of phone conversations about some alterations that we have made.  We've also sent him photos of our progress along the way. 

Keep watching for more details on our tiny house build and other interesting tiny house news. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coolest New Tiny Building Since the Tumbleweed House

This is honestly the coolest thing I have seen since I saw my first Tumbleweed Tiny House.  And we all know what happened after I learned about those. (If you don't know, I recommend reading the rest of this blog).

I follow a few sites on tiny living in order to keep up on the latest tiny house news.  I first saw this over at The Tiny House Blog by Kent Griswold.  A small company in North Carolina has invented a new type of tiny house structure:  The Yurtle

I am excited by the innovation and creativity used by Laurel Nest Yurts.  It is so awesome to see people taking tiny living and something like a Yurt to the next level. 

Awesome work, Laurel Nest Yurts! 

Friday, July 16, 2010


Since starting this blog, I have had the bad habit of posting photos directly here and not updating my Flickr account.  I have remedied this situation and all of the photos since April have been uploaded.  Check out the most recent slide show to see progress from the beginning. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

7 Days of Summer

We just got back from our vacation up in North Carolina working on the Tumbleweed House. We had a great time.  Here is a recap for anyone following along. 

Wednesday, June 30th
Matt and I actually left Atlanta on Tuesday night after work, so we got to Mt. Matt late at night in time to head to bed.  Considering it was the first day of vacation, we didn't really get our Wednesday started until about 11am.  The main goals for the day were to get the camp site set up and finish the outdoor shower.  We had a canopy malfunction during our last camping trip so we bought a new Coleman canopy that was beyond awesome.  That thing would survive most rainstorms that might pop up while camping, unlike our old one.   We also finished our outdoor shower.  The shower was a deck that we had built into a small clearing tucked behind the trees, but after the winter storms it became quite exposed so we recently built walls and on Wednesday morning we covered the walls with rubberized canvas.  We also got a gravity fed water bladder with a shower spigot on the bottom that worked very well for showers.  We added a cross beam with hooks to hang it.  Everyone said it was a very nice shower experience in the woods. Once we had the site pretty set up, Matt and I went into to town to go to Earth Fare. There, Eddie at the sandwich counter made us a super tasty sandwich that we ate at the cafe.  It was a late lunch, so even though we bought ourselves some things for dinner, we didn't eat them on Wednesday.  When we got back to the land we went up to the house to check on it and discovered a little bat sleeping on the ridge beam. When we walked back down to the barn, we passed a box turtle hanging out at the trail leading up to the ridge.  That box turtle was actually there all weekend.  We weren't hungry, so we decided to walk up to the ridge to see all the work that Matt did the last time we were up here brush hogging the trail. Gorgeous. We spent our first evening at Mt. Matt watching stars while Matt played some music on the guitar. 

Thursday, July 1st
Day two was still just me and Matt, so we built the door jamb on the house and did some other little projects before just going into Asheville for the evening.  We did get text from our friends Rob and Christy that they were leaving Michigan and would be at Mt. Matt around 10am in the morning. 

Friday, July 2nd
Matt and I went into the little town of Marshall to have breakfast at Zuma Coffee.  While we were on our way back, we got a text from the neighbors that Rob and Christy had pulled up the road, so we were right behind them.  Unfortunately, Christy was coming down with a cold so we set up the bed in the barn room for them and she took a nap.  Matt and I moved to our brand new Coleman tent.  I love Coleman camping equipment - I think I need to buy their stock.  We do a lot of camping and I found the tent quite comfortable.  I went up to the grocery store to buy all of our supplies for the weekend.  While I did that, Matt and Rob started on the door for the house.  When I got back, our neighbors came up - mostly looking for their dog who had been hanging out with Matt and Rob.  Their little cat also goes for walks with them which was super hilarious.  They went up to the house with Matt while I sorted out the groceries.  By the time I got there, they were starting to assemble the door, which turned out to be a great success.  After we finished that, our neighbors went home and Rob, Matt, Christy and I decided to head out for dinner.  We went out for barbecue, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  We came back and built a fire and hung out for a while before going to bed.

Saturday, July 3rd
Saturday marked the arrival of the rest of our guests.  Matt and I did some work up at the house in the morning, just basically getting things ready to do some priming of the door. Just after lunchtime, Matt went to Lowe's to get some supplies to build the porch overhang.  About 2ish, the rest of our guests arrived pretty much at the same time - Bill and Susan from Atlanta and Matt's brother Jim from Michigan.  We helped them set up camp and relaxed until Matt got back from Lowe's.  Then we went up and primed the door.  After the work was done, I made dinner for the group - bratwurst, macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw.  Matt, Jim, Rob and Christy played some football tossChristy was feeling much better.  We all hung out by the fire and talked well into the night.

Sunday, July 4th
The big project for the 4th of July was building the overhang for the porch.  Matt and Bill figured out the engineering of the project by determining the math and angles and constructing a temporary structure to hold it up before a porch and posts were built.  Once the engineering was complete, the actual construction went quite smooth.  Sunday night, we made steaks and camping potatoes for dinner and built a fire.  Our neighbors came up to hang out by the fire.  We played music and sang by the fire.  After the neighbors went home, Jim suggested a starlight screening of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. A good time was had by all.

Monday, July 5th
On Monday, Rob and Christy left for Michigan early in the morning.  Matt, Bill, Susan and I went up to the house and painted the door and all the windows. Jim took down his camp and was going to sleep in the barn room for the last night so he could just get up and go early on Tuesday morning.  After the painting was done, we helped Bill and Susan take down their tent and pack up.  Then everyone went into Asheville for dinner at Barley's Taproom.  Bill and Susan left from there and Jim, Matt and I went back to the land and built a small fire and watched some episodes of The Guild before going to bed.  Jim was going to leave around 4 or 5am so he said goodbye before we all went to bed. 

Tuesday, July 6th
Matt and I made the decision to leave Mt. Matt on Tuesday instead of Wednesday because we had done a lot of work and really just wanted to go home for Piglet.  So we decided to divide and conquer.  Matt went up to the house and worked on finishing the home wrap taping and putting in the drip edge flashing over the windows.  I took down the whole camp, packed and cleaned everything up at the barn.  We were ready to leave Asheville about 5pm. 

It was a great week, we did a lot of great work, but it is also good to be home.