Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mt. Matt Music Peace Festival

For the past 5 years we hosted a 4th of July party on our land. This year because we were traveling just before the holiday we decided not to have one. Instead, we had a few friends up to the mountain this weekend for an event that became known as the Mt. Matt Music Peace Festival.

It started out with just about 5 people on the guest list but in the end we had 11 folks up at Mt. Matt, some camping and some staying in town.

Matt and I smoked a pork butt for the first time and it was seriously perfect. I got some photos as we slapped the pig on the grills, but I failed to get some after photos. In any case, here is what it looked like when we started.

We got it from a local butcher shop called The Chop Shop. It was about as fresh as pork can get as Matt watched the butcher cut it right off the pig. It was delicious and not a scrap was left over.

People began to arrive in the afternoon and got their tents set up. Friends came from near and far to visit: Atlanta, Michigan, even Phoenix AZ. Then once dinner was ready we ate our fill and got down to the business of making music.

These guys all use to be in a band together in Michigan about 15 years ago. We were just missing one guy. They played like the hadn't missed a beat in all that time. It was a lot of fun.

Here is a photo of my friend Andrew taking photos. Or shall I say, Old Timey Andrew. I don't know why I am so fascinated by sepia photos now that I know how to make that setting.

And lastly, a photo of this butterfly just for fun.

I thought the Mt. Matt Music Peace Festival was great fun and I hope everyone had a good time. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

How Far We've Come: On this day in 2007

A few weeks ago I was in a conversation with a friend and a guy I'd never met before. He introduced himself by telling me he was a builder and asked how long it took for us to build out house. When I told him that it took three years he was shocked. "I built bigger houses in less time with only one other person and some hire labor!" he exclaimed.

Here's the thing. I don't need to justify to anyone. It took us three years because we wanted it to take us three years. Building this house wasn't just a construction project; it was an adventure.

So I decided to go back to my old LiveJournal to see what I was doing back in 2007, when we bought the land. On August 24th 2007 I wrote this:

Didn't expect to see me, did you? Well, I'm not dead yet. I have just been BUSY beyond belief lately. So, would you like a recap?

I think we were waiting to close on the land. Well, money has been exchanged and the land is officially ours. Hooray land. Matt's brother is coming down from Michigan as we speak and we are going up to Asheville tomorrow. We'll go out ot the land and do a little work. I want to hike up to the top of the mountain (that we cool is that) to see the rock formations that have been described to me as awesome. I also want to build a fire pit and create a camping area. We're not camping tomorrow, though, we have a hotel room in town. We'll go out for drinks and dinner. We will, of course, go over to Sante. I've been having Asheville withdrawal!

Next weekend is the famed Dragon*Con here in Atlanta. I am so geeked, pun intended. We have never been before and I am really looking forward to it. I just wish the schedule would get published already.

September weekends are already booked up! Ack. On the 15th of September we plan to go up to the land and camp that weekend. So far, the weekend of the 22nd is free, but I expect that will get booked soon. And then we'll be going back up to Asheville on the 29th Actually, I don't know why for that one, but it is written on my desk calendar.

October is fairly booked as well. And damn, that takes us to November, which is Thanksgiving travel and all that. And then it'll be December. Ack. Maybe I can relax sometime in 2008.
I never did relax in 2008. Funny part is, I didn't want to.That is what adventure is all about to me. I constantly want to try new things. Enjoy my time. Plan things.

Dragon*Con is indeed next weekend again this year. We are going, of course. I'll probably share some updates and photos from our experience here when we get back.

It is funny to see how far things have come in just 5 years. Funnier still that some people have to judge that it took way too long. If that is the case, they don't really understand in the first place. Its not the destination, as they say, its the journey.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Autumn is Coming.. a short update on life in the tiny house

I talk to a lot of people who say Autumn is their favorite season. It is still technically summer here in the mountains, but things are starting to cool down a bit. The evenings are crisp and nights are perfect for sleeping in the tiny house. I have to wear fuzzy socks in the morning now. I just love it. I don't want to wish my time away, but I can't wait for the leaves to begin their symphony of brilliant reds and oranges.

I have an interview for a part time job tomorrow. I had one a couple of weeks ago that I didn't get. I am hopeful for this one. I just need a little extra money to help me grow my writing business and, of course, save the Element.

We are having some friends up to Mt. Matt this weekend for a barbecue and to play music. We got a new little barrel smoker. We've already smoked a venison roast and grilled some salmon on it. It will be exiting to smoke a pork butt.

Also, we have solar spider. A really pretty black and white spined micrathena has built her intricate web between the solar panels and the tree. If you don't like spiders, you may want to scroll quickly past this photo:

Inspired by my friend and neighbor as well as a fellow tiny house blogger, I decided to see what my little Cannon camera can do. I've always been more of a point and click photographer and many of my amateur photos on this blog show that very clearly. But, my old camera does have some pretty neat settings. Even though I am pining for the fall colors, I thought I would get a photo of our woods with the vivid green setting:

And then I enjoyed playing around with the sepia:

It reminds me of an old timey photograph like Laura Ingalls Wilder might have had of her little house in the woods, or on the prairie. Except we have solar panels.

You may also notice that we finally took down the saw horses! This is a huge milestone for Life in 120 Square Feet. It means that we have finally finished all the essential work and can just concentrate on living.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trying Something New: Save the Element

There is one member of the 120 Square Feet team that never gets credit. That is my 2003 Honda Element.

This awesome little box on wheels has done so much to make the dream of living in our house on the mountain a reality, and now it is facing some issues.

The Element is nearing its 10th birthday and is starting to show signs of age. But with a few repairs it can keep going for a good long while.

 So I thought I would start an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money I need to fix the Element. See, I quit my job to follow my dream of being a writer here in the tiny house. I am doing a great job and I am making more and more money all the time. But Freelance writing is not a get rich quick scheme. By cutting our expenses way down I am able to afford most things, but car repairs wasn't in the budget.

I need new tires. I need a new compressor. And I may need some work done to the transmission. If these are fixed the Element should be in tip top shape and I can continue having adventures.

I don't usually just ask for money. And I am willing to give donors a little something in exchange: Advertising. In fact, if you donate I'd be willing to put your website right on the Element! 

I figured I had nothing to lose by reaching out to my readers to help with the Element. I appreciate anything you can do or spreading the word. The Element is what has made this tiny house possible and it deserves to be kept in great condition.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Folk N' Ale and The Tiny Table: Baconalia

A couple of Christmases ago we were at a friend's house for a party. He had set up his basement like a little pub and everyone who could play music was welcome to bring their guitar. The rest of us were able to sit at the tables and enjoy a beer and the music. It was great. We began referring to the basement as "The Folk N' Ale."

For Matt's Birthday, I bought him a sign that said Folk N' Ale so we could have one too.

We decided to build ours as a deck behind the Tiny House. Matt just knocked out the construction of the 12X12 deck in about a week. And yes, for the record that does mean the deck is bigger than the house.

To give you some perspective, here is a view of the entire Tiny House clearing. You can see the corner of the house, a corner of the outdoor kitchen, the solar panels and the corner of the Folk N' Ale.

Hi, Chomsky

Last night, to celebrate the opening of the Folk N' Ale, Matt and I had our own Baconalia. What is that? It is something we did at the camping festival we went to earlier this summer. While we were there, toward the end of the festival, we realized that we had brought two pounds of bacon that were going to go to waste. Rather than throwing it away, we cooked it. The smell of frying bacon attracted our campmates and next thing you know the meat eaters were getting drunk on bacon. But with two pounds of bacon you create a lot of bacon grease. We realized we had potatoes! We sliced them up and threw them in the bacon grease with a spoonful of minced garlic and VEE-OLA, bacon fried potatoes! I can feel my arteries clogging now. Delicious. Matt and I did not make two pounds of bacon for just the two of us, though. (PS, Baconalia is a play on the term Bacchanalia, in case you were wondering).

Presenting: Bacon!
And Matt played some music.

We can't wait to have some friends up to enjoy the deck and the gorgeous woods with us.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiny House Entertainment

A question we have been asked a lot by friends and strangers alike is "Won't you get bored?" I have thought this a rather strange questions because I just can't imagine being bored when I am surrounded by these woods and am so close to Asheville.

But, the question is asked often enough I thought I might share some insight on what we do to keep ourselves entertained in our tiny life.

  • Cooking. As you have seen, we make cooking an event here in our little house. We like to experiment with new techniques. Sometimes we cook indoors, sometimes we cook out doors. Sometimes we cook just for ourselves, sometimes we cook with friends. We make it a group event and enjoy the process as much as we enjoy the outcome. 
  • Building. Someone recently asked Matt that since the house was now finished did he miss the building process. He had to admit he did. So we keep building stuff!  We built our outdoor kitchen. And now we are working on a 12x12 deck in the clearing behind the house that will be a place to hang out, play music, eat, and enjoy the woods. I promise to post photos when it is done. 
  • Games. Even before we moved, Matt and I would play online games with friends from all over the country. We use to play Lord of the Rings Online and now we play Star Wars The Old Republic. It is still a great way to be social and enjoy an activity. We have a couple of table top games to play like Munchkin and Fluxx.
  • Movies and TV. We don't have a conventional TV or cable but that doesn't mean we are cut off from the world of television and movies. We primarily use a tablet for these functions and we have countless options. We have used Netflix and Hulu but right now I am digging Google Play. We also catch up on old shows we didn't watch the first time.
  • Hiking. We started out doing a lot of this, then it got super hot. Then we went camping. We need to get back to hiking but the trails aren't going anywhere as far as we know. We also have plenty of places on our own land to wander through.
  • Reading. I've always been an avid reader, but it was usually relegated to a half an hour before bed or maybe on weekends. Now I find that a time when I would have turned on the television to watch reality shows on TLC I will curl up on the sofa with Piglet and read instead. 
  • Asheville. We moved to this area for a reason. We love the city of Asheville and all it has to offer. Day or night there is something fun to do. We recently discovered a great movie theater just south of the city, The Carolina. We love the bars and breweries, of course. Yesterday we discovered a little shop where you can taste dozens of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. We spent quite a bit of time there.