Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little House in Texas

Music by Iona

I am reassigning this blog.  Well, I suppose it's not really a reassignment, but more of a re-dedication to it's previously assigned purpose.  I have decided that it is a place to write about and perhaps document our home and lifestyle, because it is considered unique, if not weird.  I'm going to dedicate it to smaller living, and even though I hate to use catchy little cliche' phrases, I am going to use one, just for the sake of clarity: this will be about living in a "Tiny Home."

It is our goal to live on some acreage.  Until we do, most of what we do here where we are right now is subject to change.  Regardless of where we are, we do still live in a small house and the benefits and challenges are very real and present and noteworthy no mater how temporary the surroundings, so blog I will.  Maybe someone will find some bit of information I put in here to be helpful somehow.

Tiny is relative.  If it's big enough then it's not tiny.  There are a lot of people living in spaces much smaller than the one we live in.  Some because they like it, some because they have no choice, some to de-clutter their minds more than their lives, some to make some kind of a  statement.  Unfortunately, it's the latter who have "named" the "movement" and added all of the specialty phrases and niche' jargon that I find so repulsive.  It has taken all the normal and real out of it in favor of cleverness or politics or whatever their motive is.  At any rate, people have their own reasons for living in a small house.

We are a combination of the first two reasons, mostly; we like it and we had to.  We had talked about it, or rather, we had considered and imagined about it, never really planning. 

-- I should add here that given the opportunity to re-do the transition phase, I would certainly have done things a little differently.  Planning the transitional phase was dern near impossible because we had no idea what we were in for, but SOME amount of planning more than what we had would have been advantageous.   Gearing your life down, no matter your mindset or method, is hard, hard, hard:  hard physically, hard emotionally and hard organizationally, if that's a word.  I will certainly address these issues in this blog at some point in the future, but it is far too integral to this whole scenario to let it go in this first blog with no mention at all. In my own defense, and perhaps as a little pat on the back, the move came off painlessly and with little upset or drama.  That was no small feat.-- 

In truth, in my own mind I planned, because it was always appealing to me, but we didn't sit down one day and decide to cut back and pare down and live small.  The details of our life led us to it one day, and we made the switch.  We made our decision and the bulk of our planning revolved around getting rid of unnecessary things and acquiring a new place to live.  We did, and we now live in something in the neighborhood of four-hundred square feet.  That would be myself, my husband, our two teenage sons and our dog.  I think that qualifies me to speak on the subject a little.  

I'll come at this subject from a different angle than what has become so popular.  You'll probably never hear me mention my "carbon footprint" and seldom anything about the environment outside the bounds of discussions concerning hugelkultur or permaculture or how such things might concern us or effect us personally in our living like this.  If I ever mention any kind of alternative energy or something like that, it will be because of cost or availability, efficiency, necessity or whatever, not because of peak oil, the environmental impact of drilling or greenhouse gasses.  We have hand-me-downs, ingenuity and clever inventions, not recycleables, repurposed or upcycled items around here.  If that's your bag, no problem, you blog it, but don't harass me about it.  My lack of damage to the environment and my intelligent use of what has been given to me is because of my love of it and my awareness of my role as a steward of all that God has put into my hands.  May it ALL bring Him glory.

I believe that just because culturally we are a society that thinks living in a small house is not a normal thing to do does NOT MEAN that it is not a normal thing to do.  For many generations and throughout history, more people lived small than lived big, as a rule.  Amazingly, it was enough.  Entire families survived and thrived in four-hundred square feet of space or less, without their four-hundred square feet each of private space.  I'm not saying it's the only way, I can see it's advantages, and I'm not frowning on anyone for doing life differently.  It's your life, your call.  I just don't think it's weird to be doing this and I'm a little caught off guard by the number of people who really think it is.  

One of the things I consider about this is that people need "big indoors" because most of what they do for business or pleasure happens there.  At this point this is true of us, as well, and I am very aware of why more indoor space would be preferable for many people in this generation and culture.  It is our design and plan to be in a place where more of our lives, business and activity, can be conducted in the outdoors, greatly lessening the need for a lot of indoor living space. We will add space onto our indoor square footage in the form of a shop or a studio or whatever our needs dictate as time goes by, but for our actual living quarters, I don't expect we will be needing a lot.

Having laid all that ground work, this will be the official first entry: Mobility.  But not until tomorrow, because this post is already pretty long.  Mobility will likely be the subject of a few blogs.  I don't expect we will be mobile forever, but right now we are, and there is much to say about this arrangement.  

For this post, however, let me close with a wonderful quote from a favorite author, one that I have quoted many, many times, because it seems so fitting to me for my life and especially the way we now live.  In the words of Thorin Oakenshield as penned by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien:  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

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