I think that everyone has heard “necessity is the mother of invention.”  It might just be true in all cases, but when I found the photo below, I was totally blown away by the ingenuity of the fellow who made this place into his home.  It looks humble but it may just have everything that a person needs to live comfortably.

Could you live here?  I think I could, but I am not sure that I would want to; it looks as though it may be a bit spider rich for me.

Categories: Building code, Magical, Materialism, Nature, Simple living, Tiny house | Tags: , | 3 Comments


At the end of the day when dusk comes the dogs are brought out for the last potty trip.  I like the way that Tiny House Ontario looks in the semi darkness now, with its LED lights on, shining through the windows.  Like the paintings of simpler times in cozy little houses, not too different from my own.

I can’t help but be reminded of a section from the the new Tiny House Magazine that Kent Griswold has put out.  If you have an iPad you can download a free first edition preview copy until October 31 here.  Unfortunately, this is only available electronically for the iPad.   The discussion that I found most interesting is about how the McMansions that are all going up now are a fad that will not last because of the sheer magnificent cost of upkeep.

Through history, you know, everyone except the ~1% rich lived in small homes.  Tiny Homes are not new thing.  My friend Donna who is from Jamaica, says that “people all over the world have been living happily in Tiny homes for hundreds and thousands of years”.  Space is not a luxury, rather it is the great burden of our time. So much TIME goes into paying for it, filling it, cleaning it,  fixing it, decorating it and then starting over again and again.  We give away our lives one short increment of time after another… just to keeping up those big homes instead of doing what we want with our lives.  The cycle of it is quite out of balance.  One cannot ever get that time back, not ever.

For me, the space in THO is perfect but when my husband stays I have found it too small.  He is a big fellow; about 6 feet tall and close to 250 pounds.  Hj simply fills the house.  We bump into one another, he is always in my way.  I am of the opinion that another square foot in width would have been better for us as a couple – 12 square feet more (in total) would make this house far more livable.   I am a bit envious of the people who are allowed 120 square feet, for us the interior 97.75 is it. Another Tiny room would be really great!  Still, we have the space that we are allowed, so I gave it a lot of thought and found a simple solution to this and it feels so much more spacious.  Remove the table and chairs.  This opened things up a lot.  Admittedly, one chair still has to be moved back to Hamilton so we will have to wait and see the full result of this.  In place of those items came Vernie’s ingenious little table that is sofa height and this makes a huge difference in the openness of the place already.  It allowed us to gain back ~10 square feet of open space.  Once the last chair goes, we will have about a 35 square feet rectangular open space to move around in.  I think one can easily waltz on a 5×7 bamboo area rug.  More accurately I think we can waltz around one another so that we do not invade one another’s natural space.

Another space saving item that I have planned is a breadboard in the kitchen.  These are an old idea coming from a time when homes were more appropriately sized and still useful in the context of the Tiny House.  When this is installed it will help with the livability because it will add another ~3 square feet of counter space when I need it.  Still I have to wait for this until I get the sink, stove and fridge in because I want to be sure what I notch in is correctly located.

Alas, dusk is falling early which means that the days are getting colder and the nights are getting nearly bitter.  All the planning will have to wait for another  year because now we must soon prepare THO for winter and tuck ourselves safely away in the heated house in Hamilton.  Not really the best of both worlds as one might imagine – but rather, I wish that THO was finished and I could live there permanently.

Heat and water, heat and water, heat and water… So close and yet, so far… sigh…

Categories: Building code, Environmentalism, Family, Materialism, Off Grid, Ontario, Simple living, Stuff, Tiny House Ontario, View | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Closed Eyes & Warm Heart

I had a significantly worse time at the dentist yesterday than I had anticipated.  My eyes were swollen nearly shut and my lips are double big, like that movie star with all the kids.  Sexy, I suppose, if they did not hurt so badly.  They found that the tooth which they intended to crown had to go… and it did not go well.  They had to keep me under for five hours while they yanked and pulled.  I am sore, groggy, dizzy, forgetful and irritable today.  Not a good time to get on the train to Toronto, then to Kingston, then get back to THO.  The trip from door to door takes about 6 hours which is more than driving (if the traffic flow is good) due to the always long and silly stop over in Toronto, wait times and so on.

This said, I am happy to say that the day before my surgery, my cousin Sandy was by to visit me and brought me this wonderful old photo of my Great Grandmother “Ma” Violet Henderson Compton.  I never saw a photo of her from her youth.  I honestly never imagined her to be so lovely because I never saw her before she was old, or before all the hardship she faced.  She was such a good person: sweet, kind, patient and I loved her dearly.  Still, if you will forgive me for saying this, she always looked sort of worn out even when she was dressed up.  I knew her history, that she married young and that she and my great grandfather “Dad” lost their barn to a fire just as the country headed forcefully into the Great Depression. I know that financially they did not recover until the end of the Depression from that single significant loss.  They moved from home in Kingston Mills when the barn burned, to another in Tweed, then to Odessa, then another in Glenvale, and then finally to another in Sydenham during those hard, hard years.  In those years the kids kept coming too, 11 in all, there was no good way to prevent pregnancy in those years.  Too, adding to her hardship, Dad, her husband was more of a poet who loved horses, then he was a farmer who loved to toil.  He snuck away into his room and spent hours reading himself blind, like me.  She was hand washing and bringing in water from the pump, cooking meals and suckling the rejected lambs.  I don’t recall ever seeing her sit down, even when she became sick.  She went from running, to laying down; a woman with no moderation.  I expect she never had time to reflect.

My grandma, also named Violet, spoke often of those times.  She spoke with particular sadness about the Glenvale house.

This small house was just as old then as it is now according to my grandma.  She admonished me for taking a photo of it, she said she only wanted to forget those times.  There were ten children and two grown ups in the house at that time because the youngest would be born later, and the land was such that Dad was not able to pull a living out of it.  It was all rocks.  The boys slept in one small room upstairs and the girls in the other small room.  Ma and Dad slept downstairs in the corner.  She said the wind blew through the house like it had no walls at all.  They cooked all summer and froze all winter.  It was a standard log house with clap boards nailed outside.  The house is a centre hall plan of about 600 square feet 30×20 feet with a sloped ceiling divided loft.  This was a very standard way of building a house about 200 years ago when those who built it settled here.

The joy that they had when Father Carey set them up on the Carey farm was clear.  Finally they had the space they needed and a very comfortable home.

Nice to see the new owners are restoring the Carey Farm to its original magnificence!  Imagine what it would have been like for them to move from that horrible little house to this beautiful well built stone one!  Goes to show you that Tiny is not always best.  Quality matters a whole lot too.

Categories: Family, Materialism, Money, Off Grid, Ontario, Time, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, View | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Let Us Be Kind

I watched a video today which my friend Jim-Bob posted.  It is a great idea this young man had and such a total tear jerker video!  Consider yourself warned!

Anyway, I decided to finally get to the linen closet because of watching this.  You see, I read that the SPCA is always in need of blankets and towels, so that the pets do not have to sleep on cement.

I once lived in a big house and had a big family and when I downsized last year I thought I had pretty much purged, but alas, this is what I had to give!

I am going to deliver them right now.  If you have any old ones that you don’t need I urge you to check with your local rescues and shelters because chances are you have old ones you don’t need and dogs don’t care if they are a little bit ratty.

What other nice thing can I do today????

Categories: Dogs, Materialism, Re-Use, Sustainable living, View | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Repurposing with a Purpose

When I redid the kitchen uppers I made the depth of them more than the little shelves that I had there before.  Because of this, the wonderful little spice rack that my cousin Vernie made for me when I was in my 20’s had to be taken down.  Still, I want to have as many of Vernie’s works in THO as I can fit there so I decided that I would repurpose it as a shelf for candles and pottery at the top of the stairs.  I won’t be needing the candles as frequently because of the new 12volt electric lights, but they are nice to burn from time to time because the bee’s wax smells so lovely.  Too, they are excellent to have on hand in case of emergency.

As a veg*an you might be asking yourself, if I have thought about the use of bees for my own purposes.  Truth is, I have and I am mixed about the subject of bees and have considered quite seriously putting in a few boxes for them.  I am not really a honey lover or even a candle fanatic, but I love the idea of the bees being there to help me with my garden.  Truth is that while I don’t eat any animal products, I am also guilty of killing spiders as well as mosquitos, biting insects as well as house flies and I have a leather jacket as well as leather footwear that I purchased before becoming vegan and I won’t throw them out so that they go to waste.  I hate waste and destruction of useful things, more than anything else.

On the subject of bees, I am happy to say that  I do have a lovely large paper wasp colony on my land right near the escarpment.  I don’t like to get too close to these awesome little pollinators because they do not take lightly to a threatened nest, but Colleen Murphy has a good camera and could take this photo from a good distance away.

The nest is far enough away that I don’t feel threatened for myself or for those who visit, but still, I have had a few of them in THO this year.  I am not afraid of them though, I just catch them carefully under a glass, slide in a piece of paper and then let them free outside.  They leave without problems so far, every time.

Categories: Materialism, Nature, Open your eyes, Re-Use, Simple living, Sustainable living, View | 3 Comments