As I write this, I sit at the kitchen table in our tiny house. It is just after 5:30 am, the dark woods are impenetrable to the eye, but I hear the neighbor’s roosters crowing hesitantly. It has rained for two days, and our solar system is running low, so I choose to write by the light of the oil lamp and a couple of candles that my mother sent us. I plug the computer straight into the DC outlet, rather than through the invertor, and I am as glad to know what I am talking about as I am that it works.
We moved in to our little “Getaway” in the woods! The house has reached a level of finished that we find decently comfortable to live in, but it is far from done. We do not yet have a fully functioning bathroom, our kitchen is only half set up, and we must build the internal doors, get a proper bed, buy and install the larger AC solar system, put up the gutters to collect rainwater, decide what plumbing we want, and get and install our heating and cooling apparatuses. Not to mention that we need to deal with the land itself: I would settle for a pristine forest glen full of wild flowers or an unkempt English garden or any natural looking and easily maintainable garden style, but the current mix of brush piles, leftover building materials, trash and weeds give it that rugged, not to say redneck, backwoods feel, which is not exactly what we are going for. There is still a lot of work ahead, but…we moved in, yay!
We do have the big house” in town with Hannes and April where we use the shower, Internet, and laundry, etc., and we have Paul and Terra across the street who let us fill up our two 5 gallon water tanks, which we need to do every other day. We are grateful for friends who feel like family.
The past month was a whirl wind of work. The evidence thereof is that I am currently wearing wrist braces on both arms and am typing slowly with my pinkies. (Insomnia makes me more patient with time consuming tasks. The hours before dawn feel like bonus time.) I have a crippling combination of carpal tunnel syndrome and “tennis elbow” since I, during the last two days’ rush, built and painted a sink cabinet and two small chests/drawers, spray painted two chairs, polished the floor twice with a car buffer, and scrubbed the whole house with yummy smelling oil soap. The floor buffing is what did me in – crawling on all fours for hours while holding on to the vibrating machine intended for much shorter and upright use made my neck wish it could snap off and go and find itself a more comfortable home.
The most exciting new development is that we got our small DC solar system set up. Sebstienne deserves a load of credit for teaching herself about solar power and electricity (Paul is a good go-to for questions) and ensuring that we now have power enough to use any lamps we need, run the ceiling fan (which she also installed), use the computer (We have already watched movies in bed, which feels like utter luxury.), and almost everything we need besides the small fridge (we put ice in the freezer part) or the still non-exciting air conditioner. To get the solar panel up on the roof was tricky, but nothing compared to knowing how it works, and hooking it up to batteries and invertors and power systems.
Sebastienne has an enviable amount of patience for reading the fine prints of instruction manuals, driven by an endless curiosity to figure out the “why” and “how” of it all, which proved very useful during the house building process. Instructions make my eyelids as heavy as pregnant possums, and I have very little interest in anything that I cannot figure out by myself with the use of logical reasoning and trial and error attempts. Fortunately, there is a surprising amount of things that fall into the latter category. Also, I have plenty of endurance and focus for the actual work, and I got us up and going every morning, which proved very useful, too. In the end, we made a house together – a monument to our teamwork.
The moving day was hot and the humidity had the quality of reversed rain, which came as no surprise, seeing that it was August 1st in Georgia. I was rendered fairly useless with my gimpy arms, and it took us the whole morning to fill the small U-Haul truck. As we got to the land, John Lebowitz and Angie Pace and her girls were there to help us unload our peach boxes full of books and tea pots, and with close to heroic effort, they managed to squeeze Ada’s mattress through the hole to the loft. Despite our skepticism, the sofa slid in through the door without much of fight, and two hours after our arrival, we were already sweatily sipping the iced green tea in the living room.
Now, a week later, Sebastienne is building a dog pen (Actually, right now, she is on the sofa with the hound, blinking sleepily and sipping the tea I made her.) so that Alma can use the dog door, but she is soon about to shift gears completely: In two weeks she will start a PhD program in psychology, and even though we still have plenty of work to do on the house, her priorities have to alter radically. Building will be an occasional weekend and break activity, rather than the all-consuming work (besides our paying jobs) of the past year and a half.
This blogging process is coming to an end as well, (I think). I intend to write one more post during the coming weeks about downsizing, how we fit all our stuff into the house, and how we live here, and there might be a handful of sporadic posts throughout the fall. As the New Year ticks awake, I will attempt to wrestle all this (house building, living small, life in the woods, etc.) into something pleasant and readable in book shape. I will let you know how that goes.
PS: Excuse the bad picture quality, my camera is dying on me.