Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snow in the Mountains for Halloween

As I was writing my post yesterday the tiny flakes were just beginning to float down on the mountain. When we woke up at 3am because we were cold, the ground was covered in a soft white blanket.

Somewhere in the middle we lost a tree. We had been watching that tree for a while wondering when it might come down. The answer was clearly yesterday. Thankfully, it didn't fall toward the house. It barely missed The Folk N' Ale and the only casualties were 6 plastic chairs.

A view of the tiny house from the path now blocked by the tree.
When we woke up at 3am, we turned the heater back on and settled back in for a couple more hours of sleep. It was extremely cozy in the tiny house. And truthfully, even without the heater, the coldest it got in there was 47 degrees. That is cold, of course, but considering it was only 35 outside, it wasn't so bad. The snow on our mountain didn't even last to the afternoon yesterday. I was hoping I could have gotten some photos of it. Curiously enough, just up the road it was still a winter wonderland at 1pm yesterday.

Our SNOWlar panels! Hahahahahahah!
My only job yesterday was to head back up to Mt. Matt after my temp job and pick Piglet up to take her to the new city house. I'm sitting here right now in a director's chair with my feet up on a Rubbermaid bin typing away. Piglet is warm under the covers on our air mattress. She is so excited to have heat registers on the floor again. The only thing she wishes is that she knew how to turn on the heat so it runs all the time. Speaking of heat, this is how Piglet road in the car to the new house.

And yes, that is a pink and green argyle sweater, thanks for asking.
We plan to give out candy tonight to the trick-or-treaters. We use to love doing that but when we moved to Georgia our neighborhood didn't have many kids. We even brought our Halloween decorations from the tiny house to put up on the porch! 

I will now return you to your regularly scheduled Halloween fun. Go look up photos of cats in costumes or something. Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Last Night in the Tiny House

As the winter storm heads across the eastern US, I am going to be spending my last night in the tiny house for a while. The feeling is admittedly bittersweet. It'll be nice to have some on-the-grid heat for a couple of months, but I will miss this tiny house. It took us three years to build this place and it felt like it would never be done. But now that it is finished, the 6 months we've lived in it feel as if they've whizzed by.

I've loved every second we've spend in this little house. I love waking up every morning surrounded by these gorgeous Appalachian woods. I loved discovering that I was a little tougher than I had previously thought. Most of all I love the fact that this tiny adventure is far from over. The very best part is knowing that we will be coming back to the house soon.

In the mean time, on our last night in the tiny house before traveling for the winter, snow is predicted in the mountains. I have seen a few flurries float by even as I type this. It is as thought Mother Nature wants to remind us that she is the one really in charge here. It'll be cold tonight while we're sleeping. Before crawling under the covers to cuddle with my fuzzy hot water bottle, otherwise known as Piglet, I will pack up all the things that I need to take to Michigan with me. I will think about all the things that this tiny house represents and I will go to sleep knowing that this first chapter in our tiny story has been a huge success.

Then I will spend the holidays with friends and family without the typical stress that traveling caused me as I worked my 9 to 5 job and worried about what would happen while I was gone and making sure we packed as much as we could in the week I was able to travel. And after the first of the year we will return to the city we love and enjoy downtown while we wait for the mountain to thaw and we can head back into the tiny space.

I'll be sharing updates from our traveling adventures for sure so don't stop reading just because we're away from Mt. Matt for the winter. Stay Tuned for our adventures from 180 Square Feet in Detroit!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Tiny Annoucement

Whoa, that makes it sound like I'm about to tell you all that we're expecting a baby or something. No, we are not. And here is a random photo of Piglet for your viewing pleasure.

Anyway, there are some big changes coming up here at Life in 120 Square Feet and it is all happening next week. We are going to be moving out of the tiny house for a little while. Before anyone panics, this was always the plan. Since the house is on a mountain and all of the power is off the grid, we didn't really build it to be lived in during the winter. More importantly, we wouldn't be able to leave Piglet alone in the house because the heat system needs to be supervised and we wouldn't want her to freeze her little kitty nose off. Since we don't have a road up to our house, walking can be unpredictable if there is a problem during the winter and we don't even know if our spring will continue to flow as temperatures begin to freeze. We certainly could live in the tiny house during the winter but we decided there were other things we wanted to do instead.

Next week we will be packing up the tiny house and winterizing things. Our batteries will be stored in an insulated box (a really nice cooler, actually) and the solar panels will be moved inside. We'll make sure everything is organized neatly and we'll lock the place up. Then we will be staying at a little house in town for a couple of days before making the biggest change of all: we're heading to Detroit for all of November and December.

Why Detroit? 

Trust me, I ask myself that same question all the time. I know Michigan isn't exactly a popular winter vacation destination, but that is where our families live and we want to spend the holidays with them. See, there was always another important aspect of our change in lifestyle: location independence. The idea was always that our revenue sources would allow us to work from anywhere, potentially anywhere in the entire world, and we would have the flexibility in our lifestyle and income to do just that. So now that we've spent the last 6 months successfully living off the grid in our 120 square foot house (and loving every moment of it) we will be putting the next phase to the test to live somewhere else for a little while. And we couldn't think of anything more we wanted to do than spend the holidays with our families.

We will be back in Asheville in January without any plans to leave again after that. However, we won't be moving directly back in to the tiny house. We have an opportunity to return to the little house  downtown that we are staying in for a few days next week. The little house is a 1940s bungalow walking distance to the heart of Asheville and it is only 700 square feet. This will give us the experience of living in the city before returning to the tiny house in the spring. I am excited about this adventure as well.

That's what all of this is - an adventure. I want to live unconventionally. I want to engage in my own life. Traveling for the holidays while we can and living in our favorite city when we return are all important parts of living the lives we want to. And by simplifying before starting any of this we have put ourselves in a great position to make this happen.

I will certainly be keeping up with our adventures here. Though, for the winter it might be more like Life in 180 Square Feet (the approximate size of the room we'll be staying in while we're in Michigan).  And when we return to Asheville we'll be celebrating Life in 700 Square Feet for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lake Eden Arts Festival and Bats

Just a quick photo from the Lake Eden Arts Festival this weekend. It is a beautiful camping festival with great music, good food, and delicious beer smack in the middle of the mountains near Black Mountain, NC. I am now thinking about how we can go back to camp next year. They hold it in May and October every year.

I absolutely love camping festivals. Here is a link to a post I did for Tiny House Talk earlier this year just after we returned from a week long camping festival in Illinois.

Also, I was combing through some old LiveJournal posts - which was the ancestor of this very blog. I came across the one about the bat. It was a fan favorite at the time so I thought I would share it with you all. I can't say any part of this experience has been boring, that is for sure.

We are up in Asheville. We got here last night, after leaving work about 4:30. We set up camp and watched an episode of 30 Days on Hulu and then settled in for the night.

It was about midnight or so when things got a little surreal. I heard a noise. This is not unusual when you sleep in a barn. I poked Matt and asked him what it was. He said it was just a bug and go to sleep. A few minutes later, we heard it again. Finally, Matt turned on his flashlight. "BAT!" he shouted. Sure enough, stuck in the little barn room with us was a little bat. Poor thing was scared out of his wits. We opened the two doors in the barn room to try to shoo him out. After a few minutes, we couldn't find him anywhere so we decided he must have flow out and we went back to bed. At about 1 am I heard the flappy wing noise again and we turned the flashlight back on and there he was again, flying around the little room. He would land every now and then and we could get a good look at him. He was so cute, but he was so scared - he was shaking and trying to look vicious. Armed with a foam pirate sword, Matt worked on trying to get him to fly out of the room. Eventually the poor little thing did and we went to sleep. My only regret was that I didn't get a picture of the little guy when he was not in flight.

Then, just this morning we got up and went outside to eat breakfast. We kept hearing this banging sound that was way to close to be the neighbors. Matt walked toward the shower platform where the noise was coming from and then told me to come see. Stuck on the metal grate that covered the spring reservoir there was a little box turtle. His back foot was stuck in the grate and he was hanging over the edge and the noise we were hearing was him banging into the metal basin. Matt reached to get him and he pulled himself tight into his shell. Then Matt carried him over to a flat part of land and set him back down. I went back over a few minutes later to take a photo and he was gone. A little bit after that, we spotted him ambling down the driveway and into the strawberry plants. I got the camera and took a few photos.

This is seriously the reason I love camping.
Not the same bat.
Not the same turtle. 

 Wildlife photos for illustrative purposes only. *grin*

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's easy, what's hard, and what would we take with us?

I wanted to take a stab at answering another question that was posed when I was doing the Tiny r(E)volution podcast. 

What's easy, what's hard, and what would we take with us?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Comes to the Tiny House

I'm sick. I got myself a cold that turned into a sinus infection. So I am making myself feel better by thinking about beautiful things. I'll be better very soon. But I thought I would just come here and show you some photos of the autumn colors on our mountain. It took a little extra time for the colors to be really cool up here. That is because our mountain has a lot of tulip popplers. These trees are really cool during every other season, but they aren't the best when it comes to the fall. The leaves tend to just go brown and fall off without any sort of blaze of glory. But now that the tulip poppler leaves are gone we can see some of the other colors.

A view of the tiny house with the leaves.
The fantastic red!
A field of purple in our meadow.
And finally; my friend, neighbor, and fellow blogger Cyndi made me this virtual get well card. Check out her blog at Pictimilitude

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Tiny Halloween

Matt and I love decorating for Holidays. Back when we had our big house we would pull out the Halloween decorations on October 1st. On November 1st we would swap out the Halloween stuff for the Thanksgiving stuff. And finally, as soon as Thanksgiving was over we would put up the Winter Holiday decorations (for whichever winter holiday you prefer).

So, yesterday Matt came home with a couple of goodies to decorate our tiny house for Halloween. We were like little kids putting up the tiny pumpkin lights and the jack o' lantern up on the loft. We didn't want to clutter up the place, but a few key pieces gives us exactly the feeling we were going for.

Before Dark
After Dark

Happy Halloween from Life in 120 Square Feet! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A day in the life of 120 Square Feet

So I really enjoyed doing the podcast with Andrew of Tiny r(E)volution. However, I had asked for some questions here on the blog and we never got around to answering them. But I think I was bitten with the broadcasting bug so I thought I would record my answers rather than just type them out. I'm not quite ready to do my own podcast yet, but maybe one day. So here is the first question and answer. 

A day in the life of 120 Square Feet

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Simple Pleasures

I am convinced that normal homeowners do not get excited about such little things. But I find that a little inexpensive splash of color in the tiny house is all I need to brighten my day.

We got a new shower curtain. Well, in truth we got two new shower curtains because I had to cut one vinyl shower curtain in half to fit our tiny shower - so I stowed the other half for when we need to replace this one.

It was on clearance at some store or another and it was cheerfully green so we snagged it. The one we had in there before was the cheap little one that came with the shower and it was solid white. This one lets in a lot of light when you're in the shower, which the other one did not.

In other news, the visit with my mom and my aunt was quite fun. We took them all over Western North Carolina. From the tiny house, to Mount Mitchell and beyond by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then back in to Asheville to walk around the city we love so much.