Friday, June 29, 2012

The Tiny Table: Shrimp Summer Salad

We went to the Farmers' Market on Wednesday for the first time in several weeks. Our CSA had a great looking selection and we didn't even pick up anything from any of the other vendors. We got potatoes, yellow and orange carrots, butter lettuce, arugula, and green beans. Yum.

In case you haven't noticed, most of the country is experiencing a heat wave. It has been 100 degrees through the Midwest and South East. Atlanta was over 100 degrees yesterday. Our mountain has not been immune to the heat, though it takes longer to get that hot and cools off in the evenings. Today will be about 100 here.  Since yesterday was also a scorcher we wanted to make a light summer salad for dinner out of some of the veggies we got at the Farmers' Market. We decided on a shrimp salad.

We used the butter lettuce and arugula and added cut up slices of the yellow and orange carrots.We threw some shrimp on the skillet with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and ginger. We put a little cheese on the salad, threw the shrimp on top and added a few croutons. We had a chipotle lime dressing sitting around and used that for the salad.

The end result was delicious. Though, to be honest I would have been happy with just the carrots and shrimp and dressing on my plate.

Today I plan to clean up some more of the carrots and eat it with hummus. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Missing the Tiny House

If you've been wondering why there haven't been any new posts in the last couple of weeks, it is because we have been traveling. We went to Michigan for a week to spend time with family and friends and then to central Illinois for a large scale camping festival. We are back in Michigan to pick Piglet up and head back to North Carolina tomorrow.

While we were gone we had an opportunity to present a workshop on tiny houses and off the grid living. We had a huge turnout. We kept things pretty casual and allowed questions throughout so the workshop really just ran itself. After the workshop both of us were approached by several people asking about the tiny house and simple living. It is something that really speaks to a lot of people.

Even though our week was exceptional and we spent time with friends and even had a dinner party with Margot Adler, I can't help but really miss our tiny house in the woods. I am so completely ready to get back there. I want to sit under my trees and relax in my loft. I want hang out in Asheville and continue to meet new people. I have never felt so connected to a place and I consider myself exceptionally fortunate.

I'll be home tomorrow so expect some fun updates soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

100 Posts at 120 Square Feet

I have been thinking long and hard about what I wanted to post for my 100th post here at 120 Square Feet. It has hard to believe I have been writing this thing for that long.  I thought about posting something super insightful about living in a tiny space, but there really isn't much I could say. If you want to see posts like that, check out the things I have been writing about over at Tiny House Talk.

Instead, I wanted to share this with you. My mom just reminded me of this. When I was a little kid, my dad use to read to me every night before bed. And one of my favorite stories was "The Teeny Tiny Woman"

Now when the teeny-tiny woman got home to her teeny-tiny house, she was a teeny-tiny tired; so she went up her teeny-tiny stairs to her teeny-tiny bed, and put the teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny cupboard.
I have no idea why I was so fascinated by this story. Except that I was probably about three or four years old and the constant repeated use of "Teeny Tiny" gave me giggle fits. I mean, when you really pay attention to the story it seems a little horrifying to read to a child. But early in my subconscious I was fascinated by teeny tiny places. (But maybe not teeny tiny haunted bones). 

I am pretty sure we had this version of the story, but I could be wrong.
In either case, the real lesson I've learned  is now that I live in my teeny tiny house with my teeny tiny cat, I will be sure to stay away from grave yards. And who keeps bones in their bedroom cupboard anyway?

My teeny tiny stairs, and my teeny tiny bed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What goes up must come down

Since we moved into the house, Piglet has avoided going any higher than the first two rungs of the ladder.  When she does she will go from another surface like the chair, table, or couch.  But the last couple of days something very interesting has happened.

Our ladder is movable. It attaches with hooks to either the sleeping loft side or the storage loft side so we can access everything up there as well.  Occasionally we will move it over to the storage loft to get something and just leave it there for the day.  Since Piglet can get up in the sleeping loft with her platforms she doesn't need it.

The other day Matt and I were both outside working on our outdoor kitchen counter (photos to come when that project is finished). I went inside to get something and when I did I just said hi to Piglet, which is typical.  I had no idea where she was, I just always say hi. Then she peered down at me from the storage loft! She had climbed the ladder all by herself. As soon as I cam in she climbed down in a couple of big leaps so I gave her some treats so she associates good things with the ladder.

Yesterday, I came in again after working out side and she was up in the loft again. This time, though, there were a couple of bags hanging from the hook blocking her way back down. I have no idea how she got up past them, but she did. Now she was having a heck of a time getting down. I tried to encourage her, but eventually I had to just go up and get her.

Later yesterday night we watched her climb the ladder up to the sleeping loft. Slow and steady. Except she couldn't get up the last step because the bed was in her way.  Keep practicing, Piglet! You can do it!

Oh, yes, I do have pictures. Thanks for asking.

Can I go this way?


Maybe if I go this way?

Maybe if I just go head first.
This really isn't working for me! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuned In

I had forgotten all about this but was reminded in a recent conversation. Our good friend Andrew was here visiting a couple weekends ago. He's been along for the ride a few times as we have been working on the tiny house. Andrew is also a photographer, so he takes quite a few great photos of things on our land. In fact, he can manage to find intense beauty in things I have taken for granted.  A couple years ago he took this photo of an old antenna in the middle of a clearing on our land.

He put it up on his Flickr page, of course, because he took it and it is beautiful. Next thing you know, it is featured in a Wired.com article

Go ahead and check out his other photos while you're there.  He took a few while he was here a couple weeks ago that are just stunning.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Work Never Ends: Chores in the Tiny House

There was an old song written during the Civil War called The Housewife's Lament. Like many old folk songs there are countless versions, but the one I've learned as a verse that goes like this:

Last night I dreamed I was stationed forever
on a far distant rock in the midst of the sea
My once chance at life was a ceaseless endeavor
to sweep off the waves as they swept over me
Here in the tiny house I find myself choosing to live a life where I have a number of chores that need to be done any given day.  I find it interesting that we as a culture have spend so much time distancing ourselves from the daily mundane tasks at hand. I admit, I have been very guilty of it as well. I was lazy to tell you the truth. I suppose I still am to some degree. But now that I am living in this tiny house in the woods I feel motivating to do my chores every day. Here are some of the highlights

  • Sweeping. I've mentioned sweeping before. Really any time someone goes outside and comes back in, we have to give the place a sweep. On top of that we have a cat and she will track litter all over the place so a good sweeping helps keep that down. Not to mention she is a fairly messy eater and we don't want food all over the floor either. 
  • Gathering Water. Right now we've gotten this down to about a weekly chore. We have four containers each holding 5 gallons that we fill at the spring. The only real problem is the spring 200 feet down our mountain near the barn. So we will go down there, set the containers to fill and then bring them all up on the ATV once a week.  
  • Dishes. We no longer have a dishwasher and we don't even have a sink to leave dirty dishes piled in. When we are done eating all of the dishes have to be washed immediately.  We have a small basin in the house where we can wash things like our mugs in the morning. We enjoy cooking outside so as long as it isn't raining we will also wash all the dishes out there. 
  • Laundry. Once a week we take our laundry to the laundromat. I've thought about washing them here, but truthfully it just seems like more work than its worth. Plus, we have just discovered Bar of Soap!  Super fun.
  • Showering. Okay, I know, showering shouldn't be a chore. But there are some things we need to go to get our shower set up since we don't have any indoor plumbing. We can't just turn on the faucet.  We built our own shower. In order to get ourselves clean we have to take the pump outside and fill it with about a gallon and a half of water from the jugs that we brought up from the spring. Then we boil a kettle full (about a half gallon) of water which we can add to sprayer which makes the water the perfect temperature. Then we have to pressurize it by pumping the handle to get a nice shower experience. Even though it takes about a half an hour to get ready for my shower, I don't really miss having traditional plumbing. 
This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of things that we can spend our time on. Beyond the daily things are constant "home improvement" projects including the building of an outdoor kitchen which will begin soon.  I promise to share progress and photos on that!