Building Season

Building Season

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Serenity Prayer

With “Snowmageddon 2017” it seems as though the building season will never arrive and I am anxious to get moving.  Every drip, drip from the roof and sounds of running water in the street remind me that this too shall pass.  My building site currently looks like this …

It is painfully obvious that it will be awhile before a trailer can be pulled on to the site and the shop is operational. Not to mention the challenges that the tiny house will face with big winters!  I look at those pictures and think about how the snow will come off my roof, my front door and the need for a sturdy awning of some sort, and water…always thinking about water, particularly frozen water.

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Scenic 7B has been awfully frosty.

I have selected a trailer!  Iron Eagle Trailers in Oregon manufacture trailers specifically for tiny houses.  Little things like recessed crossmembers, axles positioned significantly forward to carry the load of a tiny house, stronger, lighter and they’ll make free tweaks to accommodate your house design.  The cost for this foundation of my future home comes in under $5000 and I can pick it up in Bend, Oregon which is an easy days drive.

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The Trek to Tiny begins here!

There is a Google SketchUp model of my trailer created by Tiny Nest Project that will allow me to start accurately placing my framing and I now know exactly where the wheel wells will fall in my design.  Thank you Kiva and Jake for making this model available!  If you’ve never used SketchUp, it is relatively easy to learn, is FREE, and fun to use.  I’ve got a cabinet I want to incorporate into my kitchen and this program allows me to accurately place this piece into the design and see in 3D how it will work.  When I was in design school we did most our work on a drafting table and changes were tedious, technology certainly has its wonderful moments.

I spend a considerable amount of time watching YouTube videos, another amazing resource of information.  In addition to Tiny Nest I’ve watched all of Derek Howlett’s videos on the Life Inside a Box channel.  This young kid documented his entire tiny house build and it really phenomenal.  He and his wife are homesteading on 40 acres in Arizona and have quite the gig going on out in the desert.  I also love Ana White, she and her husband build beautiful tiny houses and her creative furniture designs are downright awesome.  Not only is she a bad ass builder in Alaska, she makes her designs available for free … how sweet is that!

Now I patiently wait for dry ground and slip slide my way through our frozen landscape on my Trek to Tiny.

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Beautiful sunrise on Lake Pend Oreille

Hope you all feel loved on this Valentines Day and everyday …

Hillary D.

 

Freak Out!

Freak Out!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.   Steve Jobs

I spend my days with teenagers, lots of teenagers. When sickness settles in the area I am sure to be exposed.  Sometimes you get lucky and avoid all the nastiness and other times it just can’t be avoided.  I’ve been home from work for a couple of days so that tells you where my luck ran out.  I’m a little stir crazy with time to think, and this project, the deconstruction of my life in order to reassemble it into something new has its moments.  Times of pure excitement and energy to move forward and other less enticing periods of panic and fear.  I’ve been here before, fearful of change,  because what if the outcome is worse than the current status?  I know there are people out there that think I’m crazy for wanting to live in a tiny house, and there are days that I believe them.  In those quiet spaces where I can hear myself think, the voice that resides in my comfort zone gets loud and sounds something like this…

“You’ll hate living in a small space.”

“This is a crazy idea.”

“What a stupid waste of time and money.”

“You’re not smart enough or strong enough to pull this off.”

“What if this is a giant disaster and mistake.”

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The sentry that has guarded my door for years gives me courage.

This grand step into a tiny house is not something being forced upon me. I could easily continue on with life as I know it, making safe, well-traveled adjustments as needed.  There are a lot of moving pieces designing this future lifestyle, the actual house sometimes seems the most straightforward.  When the voice of fear is taking over my head, I take a deep Ujjayi ocean breath and think about what is good.

  1. The number of discarded items is growing steadily, over 1200 items so far and I don’t miss any of them.
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My entire laundry room and garage is starting to look like this…   big “FREEcyle”  sale in the spring!

2.   I’m taking better care of myself striving for greater mental and physical stamina.

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YUM.

3.  My emotions are open to whatever they need to be.

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Happy Girl.
  1. I have moments of that “peace that passes all understanding” which indicates to me that I am spiritually on the right track.
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A higher power leads the way.

I think the fear is attached to the subtle hints of the spring that is coming soon…a little more light everyday, much friendlier winter temperatures and lots of birdsong.  Spring will also bring action.

1.The purchase of a trailer…I haven’t figured that one out yet, but have done my research and am narrowing it down.  Still have a couple of local options to explore.

2. Quotes on a material list … I sorta have one of those.

3.   Decisions on windows and front door so framing details can be worked out.

4.  Figuring out my “power budget” so I can price out a solar system.

4.  The organization of the build site …

AKKK … the list goes on and on,  opening the door wide for doubt. I haven’t invested much in the way of money yet.

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Plans and resources
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Love these!

The greatest investment has come in the countless hours going into research and design. I’ve taped an outline of the house inside my house and am feeling out the movement of 286 sqft … and loving the design challenges!  I doodled the featured photo while on a beach in Mexico years ago, I must have needed reminders back then as well.  Fear is a giant brick wall slowing down everything in my path. Time to climb over the fear as the Trek to Tiny gains altitude.

Remember friends … kindness begins at home!

Hillary D.

Downward Dog with Dogs

Downward Dog with Dogs

If you are reading this from outside of Northern Idaho, then there is something you should know about one of America’s “Top Ten Small Towns” …. we have WINTER.  Sometimes it looks like this …

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Winter Snow and Sunshine

 

And sometimes it looks like this …

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Fun to follow when this freezes over.

The winter rain that comes after large amounts of snowfall creates one big sloppy, frozen, snow berm bound, school cancelled landscape.  I actually don’t mind the shoveling.  When I lived on acreage in the country I would shovel paths into the woods. This winter I’ve dug out over and over my car, the truck, the deck, the walks and even shoveled  a racetrack for Vita to express her extroverted puppiness.

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Dog Track

It only took one wrong toss of water laden snow to send a message to the left lower back that all is not well.  Something tweaked, not serious but relentlessly annoying.  This recent twist has brought me to my yoga mat multiple times throughout the day as I did not quite feel ready for the hot yoga room.  I am learning be a better listener when my body speaks, I am learning how to gently unlock the tension in my life and I am learning how to downward dog with dogs.

Vita sees me hit the mat and assumes “floor time = playtime” and immediately pounces into the Sun Salutation.  She sits on my legs while I Cat/Cow and the restorative Child’s Pose is a clear signal to lick my face and nibble on my hair.  The pinnacle of fun is Downward Facing Dog where the two dogs immediately see a perfect tent for wrestling under.

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Post-yoga nap.

Today I will venture into a hot yoga class and work the muscles a little deeper and as always it will be an invigorating, peaceful experience and I will miss my furry yoga buddies when I Down Dog.

Namaste.

Hillary D.

Dishwater Tears

Dishwater Tears

This winter of snowdrifts and deep cold has been a blessing.  Like all big winter years I’ve had some challenges, my furnace became stingy with heat output and the hot water heater took note and is withholding hot water.   I even climbed up in to a very awkward attic space to look at the furnace (thank you yoga!) thinking there might be an obvious part lying on the attic insulation.  There wasn’t,  and if there was I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to do next, but it was an adventure!  I have no idea how that furnace will someday be replaced with its given location.

These normal home owner issues always bring my head back to the tiny house, and the potential issues that water and heat might face.  The extra time indoors has allowed me to research and plan. It reminds me of pre-trip planning when I’m traveling somewhere new, it’s part of the journey and can save you many headaches before arriving to the destination.  If I had jumped right into building the plans I had purchased I wouldn’t have the redesign that better suits me.

I spent my Friday night tackling the craft cupboard, which holds many clues that we were a former home schooling family.  How wonderful that I work for a school that has two amazing art classrooms, a pottery room AND a Makerspace…I know exactly where all these cast-off art supplies can be put to good use.

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Piles of extra art supplies

Doing dishes over winter break started to get under my skin.  The dishwasher seemed to be endlessly full as well as the sink and the dish drainer … we have too many dishes. I emptied all the cupboards and started a new discard corner in my daughters empty room.  My kids will each receive a box of really pretty items when it comes time to set up their own living space.

I won’t have a dishwasher in the tiny house, so after bringing down the sheer number of dishes we use I decided to go on a dishwasher ban to see how washing dishes by hand day in and day out sits with me.   I ask Alexa to play some music, light a candle on the windowsill, and fill the sink with hot soapy water (when the hot water heater is feeling generous).  Turning this daily chore into an opportunity to think has turned doing dishes into therapeutic motion, there are days the dishwater mixes with tears.

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My therapy office.

I’ll be just fine without the modern dishwasher, both my dishes and my emotions will get a good scrubbing.  I will however need a good supply of this awesome product as my hands take the brunt of cold and hot.

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The best hand cream ever!

Thanks for all the great support and feedback as I share this trek, looking forward to posting my first construction photos in the summer sun.

Be Well Friends.

Hillary D.

The Good Life

The Good Life

My lovely, bitterly cold winter break has come to a close and I feel energized and rested all at once, which I believe is how a vacation should leave one feeling.  The weather is North Idaho cold. Snow drifts are growing with every shovel, plow and windstorm that blows through.  It’s beautiful outside with all the sparkly snow and sunshine and it entices me to enter into the scene outside my window. The icy reality sends me back indoors to my steaming mug of hot tea.

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Everyone has ice sculptures hanging from the house.

The gift of days and days of uninterrupted time was priceless.  I’ve taken great pleasure in the ordinary; cooking, cleaning up the place, reading, continuing to downsize,  and joining fellow winter travelers who are healing bodies bent from shoveling snow in the hot yoga room.  There was leisurely time for meals with friends, long phone conversations, nights of rowdy music and dancing, board games and hanging with my boys.  My dog is in heaven, he follows me through the house so happy I’m here and he learned how to share his space with a puppy.  The school I work for has taken on a Golden Retriever pup who will become a therapy dog (I think she already is!) and I co-parented her for an energetic week.

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Vita and Goliath

This was an awesome opportunity to redesign the tiny house to better suit me and I dove headfirst into Google SketchUp, learning the program and having so much fun living virtually in my future home.  The efforts reinforced to me again that a simple life is a very, very good life.

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The tiny house is taking shape…I love it!

My unstructured days are coming to a close. School resumes and we jump right in to a busy 2nd trimester. My task will be to carry the energy and renewed focus into my open, bright, puppy filled office.  Spring is slumbering under the frozen landscape, but the daffodils are there and will make their grand entry signaling a new season bringing a whole new trek.

It’s storming again, stay warm friends.

Hillary D.

 

Honor the Ending & the Beginning

Honor the Ending & the Beginning

Honor the Ending – The journey of a year is drawing to a close. Honor the lessons you’ve learned, and the people who helped you learn them. Honor the journey your soul mapped out for you.  Trust all the places you’ve been.

Honor the Beginning – Beginnings hold the promise of new lessons to be learned, new territory to be explored, and old lessons to be recalled, practiced, and appreciated. Beginnings  hold ambiguity, promise, fear, and hope.

Melody Beattie – Journey to the Heart

2016 has come to a close and 2017 has dawned with a full on blizzard. It feels good to be hunkered down with a cup of hot coffee in a quiet house with nowhere to be, the perfect opportunity to reflect and think, to honor the ending and the beginning.

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2016 Ending in Brilliant Sunlight

The 2016 journey has never been boring, it was full of insight and brought a focused energy to the new year.  Laughter, tears, hope and faith lived together in the perfect harmony they were meant to have.  My family, friends, coworkers, students, furry companions, community and our nation taught me infinite lessons.  Through the beauty of compassion, generosity, and forgiveness and through the uglier sides of anger, bitterness, and pride the lessons came and I am a better human for all of them.

I look forward to this up and coming year, the unfamiliar territory ahead contains both excitement and healthy fear.

Tiny House 2017

My tiny house model sits on a top bookshelf in direct view of my favorite seat. I look and look and look at that future life I wish to live and the model allows me to walk through the space whenever I desire.  I had an electric moment this week when I realized that the floor plan is WRONG, that is not how I move through my life.  I recognized this because I’ve been paying close attention to my rhythms and movement at home.  By taking a moment to acknowledge the fact that I really only use a couple of feet of counter space to prepare the meals I love to cook, or that I appreciate a cozy place to nap, read or watch people build tiny houses on YouTube.

My current plans are beautiful, and the house has the vibe I like, but it is not my house.  So I started all over, better prepared to incorporate design that is going to be perfect for me. I am breaking free of the “resale” mentality and embracing the process of creating the house that will truly house me.  This will be one of many lessons in resiliency in taking a step back to make better forward progress.

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2017 Bringing in the New Year with a shovel.

The snow continues and the wind is strong, creating new blizzards with each gust.  I am out in the storm, along with an old woman bundled and walking a dog and some kids squealing down the street.  You either deeply resent this cold season or you love it … I love it.  Many years ago I stood at the top of the Northwoods Express (elevation 11,500) on Vail Mountain. We had caught the last chair before  they shut down the lift due to the wind and heavy snow.  I happened to be perfectly dressed that day, my hands were warm, my feet were dry, my goggles were clear and my body felt good.  It allowed me to revel in the power of the storm while whooping and hollering as we had the ski hill to ourselves with fresh Colorado powder falling fast.

On this first day of 2017 as the Idaho snow envelops me I feel that same awe and excitement of being in the storm … honoring the beginning.

May you all rock your 2017!

Hillary D.

 

Reality Check

Reality Check

Sometimes, the road ahead is blocked, but clearing the way becomes part of the journey. Learn to tell when it’s time to let go, to surrender, to search for another road, a different path, another dream.  But also tell, when it’s time to move forward, through obstacles if need be, because the dream is electric, charged by Divine energy and love.  Melody Beattie

I’ve purged, and purged, given items away, had garage sales and dropped off garbage bag after garbage bag of clothes, books  and random household stuff.  The hard reality is I am not even close to being where I need to be.

Let’s talk clothes.

I am not an aggressive shopper, I like a new skirt or pair of shoes but shopping is not how I fill my free time. It’s why it is easy for me to live in a town that does not have a mall, at least not the kind of mall most of America would consider worthy. Our mall here has ONE clothing store (JC Penny’s) and the boutique shops downtown generally are priced higher than I am usually willing to pay for clothing, as a matter of fact some of my favorite clothes were a thrift store score.

Folding a recent load of laundry the reality set in that I still have way too much clothing for a tiny house closet.  I want plenty of time to experience living in a minimalist fashion before moving in so that I have one less adjustment to make.  Curious as to where I really stand with clothing I took inventory and it looks like this;

Hoodies (9), Fleece (5), T-shirts (30), Long Sleeve T-shirts (20),Sweaters (18), Sweatshirts (2),  Tank tops (16), Shorts (12),  Shoes (27),  Skirts (17), Dresses (3), Jackets (7), Coats (7), Hats (9), Scarves (23), Belts (9), Yoga Clothes (23), Workout clothes (5), Pajamas (5), Jeans (7),  Capris (6),  Slacks (10), Tights (9), Winter Layers (6), Blouses (24), Vests (4), Jackets (7), Coats (7) … God forbid, have I missed anything?

That totals up to 312 pieces of clothing, after what I thought was downsizing.  This has me seriously looking at my lifestyle and what clothing I need to support the life I actually live. Twenty seven pairs of shoes … there is no way I will be able to store that collection in the tiny!

I have to keep coming back, and keep coming back to my WHY. Why am I  taking such a hard look at my belongings and my life.  It is a growth process of figuring out what I value the most and removing anything that distracts me from those values.  I remind myself that minimizing my belongings is not about what is being taken away, but more about what it will add to my life.

It’s the Christmas season and a tough time of year to buck the powerful system of consumerism that is prevalent in our country. I had to take my fast growing teen son out to get some clothes today.  We dropped off bags of our discards at a local thrift store and went inside.  He found 3 pairs of pants that fit perfectly, were stylish, and cost us all of $10. I managed to peruse the racks of clothing and found several items that were loudly calling my name, but I remembered the bags we had just dropped off and the 312 pieces of clothing still in my closet and walked away feeling mighty about resisting the urge to buy.

I am challenging myself to a ban on buying (except for gifts for others), and will let you know how long I last before some material item causes me to spend. It won’t be long until spring and then the tiny house buying spree begins!

Thank you to those of you who are reading, commenting and encouraging me … I need you!  There will be more updates as I to learn to let go (220 items and counting) as I march towards the tiny house.

Enjoy the Trek, and Love Abundantly.

Hillary D.