Welcome to the Gold Thread Tiny House Blog

Welcome to the Gold Thread Tiny House Blog -

Buckminster Fuller once said, "If you want to change how somone thinks, give up; you can not change how people think. Give them a tool, the use of which will cause them to think differently." The tiny house is just such a tool.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Life and thoughts, one year in.

When I first decided to build a tiny house i told myself, whether i liked living in 100sf or not, i would at least try it out for a full year before deciding if it was for me or not.  Fast forward a year, i only feel excited to continue. Quite literally, I enjoy living here! Whether away from home for one afternoon or one week, coming home is accompanied by a palpable feeling of well-being and ease. This might be due to a variety of things. For one, its nice to own my home free and clear, something that is not too easy to do in today's world. I do take pride knowing that i built it with my own hands, and though not perfect by any stretch, think is certainly good enough. Sometimes, pulling into my driveway at night, i wonder if it is actually real or just all a romantic dream.

Gold Thread amid the glorious autumn colors.

This year has brought many unique and wonderful visitors from the animal kingdom. I've been surprised on many summer mornings by birds of all different sorts.  Sometimes insects from the fields outside my door, (including the beautiful praying mantis), find their way inside through an open window. They don't seem all that holy when they are devouring large crickets on my doorstep...

A large mantis spends a sunny afternoon on my door.

I have recently asked the question, why do i feel so much closer to the natural world living here in Gold Thread? In short, the reason is that I'm always near a window, and the beautiful landscape beyond the glass. There is virtually no place in the house that obscures changes in the weather or sunlight, or prevents you from noticing a whitetail deer or wild turkey sauntering by.  Due to the size of most of our modern houses, we often unintentionally isolate ourselves from the sounds and sights of Nature. While this house is much more modern than the cabin Thoreau lived in at Walden, i feel that there is something about tiny houses that helps us connect to the kingdoms of nature, and this is a wonderful thing.

A flock of sheep (and a donkey) from the farm next door came by to munch some of the tasty grass.

My favorite visitors of all, however, are the various people who have come by with tiny house dreams of their own. I’ve had several groups of school children, and even collage students studying US environmental history visit me here.  A couple of my neighbors from up the road have started construction on a tiny house of their own last summer. (They are hoping to move in by Thanksgiving, but i bet it will take them until sometime next spring). I like to think that having me as a neighbor helped the idea of Tiny Houses and this lifestyle gel in their minds. I have been contacted by over twenty individuals and visited by three or four, all planning to build their own tiny house,  looking for moral support and guidance in the process. I am encouraged to see this idea taking root amongst my contemporaries, love to see people reactions to Gold Thread, and hear about all of their different ideas.

Some boys from the neighborhood stopped by last week. They had very positive reactions to the tiny house, and reminded me that its not to dissimilar to a tree fort...
In retrospect, each of the past few rental apartments I've lived in prior to the tiny house, though wonderful in their own way, have been accompanied by a disquieting feeling due to their transient nature. I knew each personal touch i put into those places soon would be left behind when i moved. I am reminded of the words of architect, Christopher Alexander, who writes in his book “A Pattern Language”, “People cannot be genuinely healthy in a house which is not theirs. All forms of rental- whether from private landlords or public housing agencies works against the natural process which allow people to form stable self healing communities.” In the same way that it is each person’s right to have their body (and mind and spirit), i believe its everyone's right to own a modest, safe abode.  I have heard this notion echoed in many conversations with my friends, young and old.

Living here has changed my life in several significant ways. It has lowered overhead (no pun intended) so that i feel less pressure around making and spending money.  This is something i had hoped for. This does not mean that i work less per se, but that i have more choice in what i do, and that my decisions are based more on what i really feel good about doing and not just “what will pay the bills”. I start to see that meaningful work is one of the greatest joys and privileges in life.  I’m able to do more volunteer work around the community, and more recently I’m spending 10 hours a week assistant teaching in the first grade at a local Waldorf school. This all feels good.

Generally speaking, the all-to-common experience of feeling “fettered in economic chains” is not about working or not, but being free to choose the direction one places their life energy. If one is living in “luxury” but does not like how they spend their time, Is this a good life? I think not. Now that i have paid off my solar panels, I foresee that in the near future i will begin to save some money for the first time in awhile. This is a good feeling. It means that i am not living from paycheck to paycheck, as many people the world over have done.  Let me be clear, Gold Thread has not miraculously removed all the challenges of life or turned it into some kind of utopia.  Some people falsely image that building and living in a tiny house will somehow dissolve all of the difficulties and challenges of life. It is not so.  I do feel, however, that living small has helped create a climate where things are prone to go well. 

Relaxing by the stove on a chilly autumn night.

There are still several project on my todo list. (I imagine there always will be). I am continually working to avoid clutter, and as the year progressed, I've become better and better at this. New shelving and storage ideas come to mind as the need for them press against me.  First, I will turn an underutilized corner of my bench seat, (currently used for storing binders that i don’t want), into a place to keep pants. Pants are bulky, and do not fit well in my dresser drawers.  Another is to build shelves in the small closet space under my hanging clothes. This will be used for shoe storage. One major issue i have, as those of you who know me will attest, is that i love musical instruments. Currently, in this small house, i have five violins, two violas, a guitar, a banjo and a lyre.

Some friends came over for tunes after the contradance. Five is a bit tight, but still okay for a small party.

As winter approaches and days continue to grow shorter, i look forward to having some more quite, cozy moments to write my thoughts down, and watch the snows swirl and fall. Hopefully we will have snow this year. Thanks so much for reading and be well!