I love the idea that one it takes courage to do something that could end in a complete failure and two that as we try new things that may or may not succeed we learn, we grown and we enjoy the journey. When we moved onto 36 acres of mostly dirt we had two small sheds that were on the property. One shed had our solar equipment in it with a little more space that we were able to use for some of our things. The other shed had two lofts and about 10 by 14 feet on the inside of actual floor space. What we did was put up one tent, build a temporary outdoor kitchen and piled all of our things onto pallets on the dirt. A few days later the rest of our belongings arrived on a trailer that a friend let us use while we tried to figure out just where everything would go. It was crazy and on top of that we had 9 kids.
The kids didn’t really complain. Before me made the move we had several family meetings to make sure that everyone was okay with the crazy adventure we were about to go on. Within two weeks our shed that would be converted into our tiny house arrived and we were happy to take the tent down and move part of our kitchen inside the shed. Our first big push was winter. We moved in May but we had to turn our shed into a home before winter hit, so the race was on. I have to admit that I didn’t tell very many people about our crazy plans because, well, they were CRAZY! I also didn’t take a lot of pictures. I wish now that I had. I wanted pictures of the finished product not the outdoor temporary kitchen or the kitchen table sitting in the middle of the field. I wish now that I had seen more of the beauty of that because it was a beautiful time for our family, but I was always worried that others would judge us and so I didn’t really want anyone to see our crazy life.
Some of my best memories are working side-by-side with my kids building our home or moving fences. One day my teenage sons said we need to do this more often. I asked him what he was talking about and he said that we needed to work together more often. It was music to my ears. The truth is that I work with my kids all the time but that particular son loved to get out of work. To hear that he enjoyed working alongside me was so great.
By the first winter our cabin wasn’t quite finished, but it was done enough to live in through the winter months and we continued to work on it. That January my husband lost his job. Up to that point we had been paying for our property and our shed (the shed was on a 36 month payment plan) and we were cash flowing the build of our tiny house. What amazes me is that when the money ran out we never ran out of things to do on our homestead. God always provided the supplies and the ability to keep working on our home and property. I would wake up each day and look around and see what supplies I had and then get to work. Sometimes I didn’t have anything to do buy move fencing which already existed but not in the spaces we wanted it. However, if I was willing then there was always something to be done. When my husband finally found a full-time job that fall we just kept going and the next spring we paid off our cabin a year early. It was at that time after two full years of living in our tiny house we decided that it was time to expand for the sake of our sanity. We purchased another shed on a 36 month payment plan and added two bedrooms, two lofts and a family room. A year later we paid that building off.
We have endured unemployment, rattlesnakes, floods, the loss of one pregnancy and our last baby born early and hospitalized for the first 3 weeks. One secret to our success is our mandatory family time which we lovingly call Forced Family Fun nights or days.
We love to watch movies and TV together renting old series from Netflix like Little House on the Prairie and all the Star Trek shows. We also love the cooking shows like Iron Chef and Cutthroat kitchen. Perhaps some of our favorite shows are building shows that we can learn great ideas from. We love to watch Grand Design from youtube videos. My 6 year old son loves to watch those with me and talk about what we can build next.
For our kids birthdays we let them pick their gifts after giving them a budget. I took this son to the toy section of the store and he just couldn’t pin-point what he wanted down. I told him that he could think about it for a bit while we ran to the home improvement store for some things we needed. While there he excitedly informed me that his present of choice was a measuring tape was what he wanted. I said, ” Are you sure? Don’t you want a toy?” But he was determined that he wanted a measuring tape.
Another thing that we have loved about our experience here is our animals. We currently have goats, chickens, dogs and a pig. However we aren’t in love with the pig. We do love our chickens and goats and will probably get more of those.
Moving to our homestead has helped us to dream and because we dream, we encourage our kids to dream. One of our sons has started his own writing blog and scholarship program for other writers.
Sometimes when I am asked about living in a tiny house I just simply say we traded our indoor space for outdoor space. We love living on our 36 acres and are excited to see the new ways that we use our space over the years.