Monday, November 25, 2013

A Trip to Visit Tiny r(E)volution and Mother Earth Brewery

What do tiny house people do when they get together?

We hang out, drink amazing craft beer, and talk for hours. 

This past weekend, Matt and I drove 5 hours from Asheville to Pink Hill, NC to visit the Odoms and their Tiny r(E)volution. What a great weekend!

Drew and me standing under the Mother Earth Brewery sign

Mother Earth Brewing is one of my favorite non-Asheville breweries. It is great to see it in this small, rural North Carolina town where they are helping to revitalize the area. Saturday was the release of their winter seasonal, Silent Night. We tried that and a few other beers that are hard to find on the western side of the state. My favorite was the Yumsplosion Double IPA.

It is great to hang out with Drew. We usually talk once a week when we record the r(E)vo Convo podcast so I think we've gotten to know each other pretty well. It was also great to get to know Crystal more. The Odoms are just plain good people!

We stayed in the Tiny r(E)volution guest house. The tiny building is typically used for Drew's office but they have a sweet murphy bed design. It was very comfortable. I am also impressed with their shower shack. Seeing their design makes me want to modify our outdoor shower platform for guests at Mt. Matt.

I love having adventures with other tiny house people. Every time we get together with someone else who has built or who lives in a small space we are fired up with new ideas. This is a great community even if we are all pretty far from each other. Take every opportunity you can to get together with tiny house people - you won't regret it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Piglet 101

Since the book came out I've been getting a few questions about Piglet, our crazy little feline companion. I thought it might be a good time to do a formal introduction.

Piglet is a Sphynx cat, like the cat who played Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies. More often they are referred to as hairless cats, but that isn't entirely accurate. Sphynxes have a fine, soft, downy coat which make them feel like a warm peach or like suede. Also, Piglet is a calico which is why she is blotchy. Sphynx cats can come in any color regular cat color but the patterns and pigments appear on their skin.

Piglet joined our family in 2001 when she was only 13 weeks old. When we got her she only weighed 2 pounds! Now she is nearly 13 years old and a normal cat size. Her birthday is April 29th if you want to put that on your calendar.

Piglet is the one in the middle peeking out.
In case you're wondering, we named her Piglet because she looked like a little baby pig when she was a kitten. Piglet also leads to the nicknames of Piggy and Pig.

In the time we've owned Piglet we have moved about 5 times, not including her initial trip to come live with us. She really enjoys rides in the car and we often take her with us if we are traveling to see family.

Piglet is extremely friendly with people. She always wants to check out everything that is going on. However, she wants these interactions to be on her terms. She doesn't like to be picked up and she gets easily overstimulated with lots of petting. She also doesn't like other animals.

Piglet's favorite person in the whole world is Matt. She also really loves food and warm blankets.

We designed several parts of our tiny house to be accommodating for Piglet. We couldn't imagine a life where she couldn't get up to the loft so when she initially rejected the ladder, we built the platforms above the sofa. She has since learned to navigate the ladder to go up but she still won't use it to go back down so the platforms are still very much in play.

We also built in a spot for her litter box in the house to keep it accessible for her and out of sight for us.

For an older cat, Piglet is still very active. You wouldn't know that she is nearly 13. She loves to play with toys on strings and sometimes just runs all around the tiny house and up and down the platforms.

While I've certainly written about Piglet a few times on this blog, I don't know if she has ever been formally introduced. So if you were wondering what that weird little cat was in these photos, now you've had an opportunity to meet Piglet.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Winter on Our Mountain

When Matt and I built our tiny house we made some very deliberate choices about power and systems. We decided to keep things as simple as possible from the start with the ability to add to the systems as time went on. Not only did we take this approach with the solar power, but also with heating. We knew that we planned to do some traveling during the winter, since we usually head up to Michigan to spend time with our families for the holidays. While we did insulate and winterize the house, we chose not to install a permanent heating solution, opting for a small space heater instead.

I do not regret this decision at all.

We have moved back to the city for the winter but we decided to spend this past weekend up at the tiny house. And, as it turns out, it was going to be pretty cold. As in 28-degrees-over-night cold.

And we were toasty inside our teensy house - especially up in the loft where we could snuggle under the blankets.

If you're wondering, we did not bring Piglet with us to the tiny house this trip. Being hairless, Piglet craves as much heat as possible and we didn't want to leave a space heater on while we were gone during the day. She remained at the house in the city where she could snuggle under blankets and lay on top of heat registers to her heart's content.

Like we often do when we are in the mountains, we decided to go for a hike. This one was the Spring Creek trail up near Hot Springs. It is a relatively short trail that leads down to a small river and back up again. We've done this hike before and it was perfect for a chilly day.

Most of the leaves are already off the trees that far north in the mountains. But we did see some color here and there.

We also went out to dinner and enjoyed the nearby towns once again.

On Saturday night, we pulled out the tiny holiday decorations. Yes, I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet but in my defense the next time we are planning a trip back to the tiny house will be in December and I thought it would be nice to arrive to find it already decorated. So, we put the tree up in the loft and our tiny stockings on the ladder hooks over the door.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top 5 Reasons I love Asheville

I have written before about how important I believe it is to love where you live. I didn't go into too many personal details in that blog post so I thought I might give my readers from all around the country, and the world, some insight into my town and why I love it so much here.

So, because the Internet loves list, I thought I would share with you the 5 reasons I love Asheville so much.

1. The mountains. Some people love the beach. Some people love the city. I love the mountains. There is a sense serenity I get from just being close to the Appalachians. Growing up I had no idea that a place on this planet could make me feel as peaceful and as happy as my little patch of the mountains. When I'm driving back to Asheville from Michigan, for instance, I don't really breathe again until I reach Tennessee and my mountains greet me again.

2. I chose it, or it chose me. I was born in Michigan - that was a circumstance. I moved to Atlanta - that was an opportunity. Asheville was a choice. It was the first time in my entire life that I felt in complete control over the place where I loved. This might be a cop out reason because there are so many actual reasons for loving Asheville, but feeling as though we both chose to be part of this reciprocal relationship is gratifying.

3. Beer. I would be remiss if I didn't include beer in my list of things I love about Asheville. Before moving to this town I had zero appreciation for beer culture. I tried my first craft beer at a bar downtown and it suddenly opened up a world of flavors. I had no idea what I was missing. Learning to enjoy beer has lead to a number of opportunities including my blog as well as getting a part time job at my favorite laundromat/bar! 

4. Big small town. Asheville is a town of only about 80,000 people. Its geography is contained in a valley which helps to keep the physical borders of the city limited. I love this about Asheville. When I was in Atlanta I would often get so tragically lost that it was all I could do not to pull over and cry. For about two years I took a long way home because I had no idea that a shorter way existed. Traffic was horrible. There is no rush hour to speak of in this town. I love that I can find my way around even without knowing exactly where I need to be.

5. People. Don't get me wrong. I have friends in Michigan who are still dear to me. The same is very true for Atlanta. I have friends all over this country - from DC to Hawaii and everything in between - who I care about very much. But I also crave a community. I love daily connections. I like to go out and sit at the bar and talk to strangers. I love to have conversations with people who have different views from me. I can do this from anywhere, but Asheville seems particularly open to face to face communications. 

These are just five of the reasons I love my city. I also love that there is an environmental consciousness that makes it a perfect place to live in a tiny house. I love that all four seasons are well represented here. I love that I can walk a lot and don't have to drive as much. I love that so many artistic people live here. I can go on and on and on.

What do you love about the place where you live? 

Hey, don't forget that I wrote a book. Check out the links at the top and side for information on buying the paperback or kindle editions!