Big Day, Big Shift!

Today Tiny House Ontario reached 30,000 reads.  I have to say that I really had not expected this when I started this blog back on November 30 2011, less than 8 months ago.  I had intended to keep my interested friends up to date on what I was up to because they are all spread out and I don’t see them a lot.  Basically, I thought it would be easier than explaining what a Tiny House is, over and over again; so it was a laziness thing!

To say that I am surprised at the interest, would be a vast understatement.  Thank you all very much!  I am very flattered by the attention Tiny House Ontario has received.

Speaking of attention, tomorrow is my interview with KBOO Radio from Portland, Oregon!  Oh my!

The other big thing for me is that I am in Hamilton in order to do some work on my book.  I have printed what I have transcribed and will work on transcribing the rest.  What I mean is that draft number one of my book is ready.  I am sure that there is a lot of work to still do on it, nonetheless… it is now nearly all typed up and in a paper format waiting for its first edit by yours truly!

Back to you folks!  Should you wonder, here is where my readers are coming in from for the last quarter of a year:  I notice that I am back up in Canadian readers again, last quarter they were about par with friends to the South.

Thank you very much for reading about Tiny House Ontario!

Categories: Laura Moreland, Ontario, Readers, Tiny House Ontario, Writing | Leave a comment

Tiny House in a big world

Yesterday, I posted about the people I know reacting to my move toward living in Tiny House Ontario and two things happened since then to make me think about perceptions – a little bit more closely.

The first thing is that my beautiful and long time friend, Donna, who lives in Kingston, Jamaica, wrote to me semi-privately about the last post: “I’m a little amused/amazed about the reactions to your Tiny House. People live like that all over the world, happily and joyfully!”  Of course she is correct.  We Canadians have so much space around us that we tend to forget, actually, we really do not know, that people all over the world live in little spaces.

I was oblivious that people would be able to live permanently in anything small until a few years ago when I had an opportunity to visit another beautiful and long time friend Sigita for the first time in Germany.  Then I saw this again when I visited Kafka’s home on Golden Lane in Prague, Czech Republic.  Both of these experiences did not make me want to live in a Tiny House, but they did show me that it is possible to do so, and to recognize that people can, and do live comfortably in small spaces.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I lived in a room when I was a student and I also lived in a tiny (240 square foot) one bedroom apartment when I was a young woman.  But I always saw these smaller places as being temporary – until I could afford bigger, better, more.  I did not aim to live “that” way forever.  The early part of my life was all about saving for a bigger house, and then when I got a bigger house, I wanted an even bigger one.  As a matter of fact, it was my large collection of stuff that made me believe that I needed to have a bigger house.  You know, so that I could put all my stuff in there; just like George Carlin said.  I don’t believe that I am a particularly greedy or unusual Canadian.  I think it is normal for us to expect to own a home when we grow up here.  Perhaps it is part of being a society of immigrants who came hoping for something more and better?

The second thing that made me think about people’s reactions, is that I got my first annual report from WordPress.  I opened it up to read and discovered that I have readers from other places on this planet; this really surprised me!  Given that my blog is only one month and two days old, I already felt pleased at just how many people stop in daily to read about my passion.  I have, to date had nearly 4000 reads, that is about 85 a day, and I really thought that all these reads were my friends and family.  I assumed (because they know me), they are interested in what I am doing.  Or at least worried that I might ask them a question next time I see them.  What I mean, is finding out that other people who do not know me are reading, makes me believe, I should acknowledge there is habitable land outside my own small geographic area.

Now that I know that there are readers from places outside of Canada, I want to be sure that I am not forgetting that to the rest of the world the concept of a Tiny House may be really quite normal.  Also to acknowledge that I come from a position of relative privilege, and I want you to know that I recognize that to a lot of people in the world (including in Canada), having any kind of roof over head is not attainable.  I do know that people live different lives not just here in Canada but everywhere in the world.  I do know and this and this is one of the reasons why the reduction of my footprint on this planet is so very important to me.

So, here you are!  From Canada, USA, Jamaica, Chile, United Kingdom, Romania, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Philippines and Australia if WordPress got you all right.  Wow!  Thank you for reading!  Tiny House Ontario is just this wee spot which I feel is sort of sacred and I am so pleased to find out that other people feel drawn to it too.  The Tiny House has had such a huge impact on me and it is changing me profoundly still, every day, even when I can’t be there.

Here, I have posted a photo of Golden Lane in Prague.  The Tiny Blue House is where Franz Kafka lived and wrote.  It is much smaller inside than it looks from outside because the walls are very thick.  The map is of those of you who found Tiny House Ontario and again, thank you for stopping by!  

Categories: Environmentalism, Materialism, Readers, Stuff, Sustainable living, Tiny house, World | 3 Comments

How big did you say that is?

From time to time I run into people who know me, and they say they’ve heard that I moved home.  Then they ask “have you built on your land?”, or  say “I heard that you were building a house.”

They are nearly always shocked when I explain that it is built, and I am now living half the year in a 9×12 space with four dogs (albeit small dogs and with a little bedroom loft).  Interestingly, there are only two reactions to this.  The first, is that people are so curious and interested that they swing by, or at least hope to swing by, at their earliest possible convenience.  The second reaction is the people who obviously and politely excuse themselves from me, being cautious not to agitate me, and while doing so they make it clear that they have assumed that I have gone quite insane in the time lapse between when they last saw me and this very moment.  This is the reaction that initially I find to be uproariously funny, but also a bit little sad.

When I get this reaction, I make assumptions too. I assume that they have never realized that if they decided to live with a significantly less stuff, then they would not have to spend so much time at a job.  Then naturally it follows, without the need for stuff, one has a lot more free time to do the things that they love to do; as well as see the people who they love.  Ever optimistic about people, I like to think that if they heard this alternate news then they too might want to at least consider life outside of the consumer lifestyle and living in (or hoping to live in) a McMansion.   When I heard about this, I myself had to sell my 4000 square foot McMansion and move to a small 900 square foot home.  I also built Tiny House Ontario, so I really only reduced my footprint by a quarter.  I am not yet ready to make the leap to living full time at Tiny House Ontario.  My husband still works, here in Hamilton, Ontario and frankly the Tiny House is not yet ready for full time living.  I hope to have it ready in a year or two.

As a sort of disclaimer, here I want to say that, I do know that living in the 98 square feet interior of this house is not for everyone.  I also know that living off grid is not for everyone.  Probably, it would also not be much of a leap to say that a bunch of second hand junk furniture is not for everyone.  Perhaps wearing a nose ring is also is not for everyone either, I don’t have one of those.  What I mean, is that I am aware that there are lots of personal choices that we make.  I really do get that.  Even so, I wanted to show that there are other choices in how we live.

I knew some things for sure.  I knew I wanted land at home; I also knew that I wanted to build.  Even more, I wanted to build small but the silly building codes forced me into another even smaller option with standard building materials and thus my choice was made.  I followed through, and stuck to this extreme because I wanted to prove that there are options outside of the box store and one can live very, comfortably.  OK, I admit that comfortably is still a sort of a stretch in Tiny House Ontario, because there are no conveniences, but it is moving toward having comforts.  Still, even without these conveniences there are lots of really comforting things about living small.

So, for any of you who are still here (at arms distance and reading from the safety of your home), I suspect that you may be curious about the space and be wondering what it is like to live TINY.  I knew that you would want to know, so I thought I would show you what the floor space actually looks like with a person in it. Here is my model (husband) standing (somewhat unwillingly) in the kitchen area of Tiny House Ontario while I take a photo from the highest point between floors.  One of the battery operated LED lights is just in front of him, hanging on its hook, if you are wondering what is is… just a part of off grid and Tiny House living, really.

What I really want you to notice is the bamboo floor mat.  This is 5×7 feet with a few inches around it on each side, which is the floor space remaining after the kitchen, storage shelving, entryway, ladder stairs and sofa go in.  Plus, notice too that I added a comfy rocking chair, a table and two chairs into that floor space, which essentially removes a lot of floor space from play.    I was careful to get the sort of chair that could tuck in when I was yard sailing and dumpster diving for the furnishings.  I considered a table that connects to the wall and drops down as well as hanging chairs, but I liked this option best.  It makes for a bit of a tight space for two people to pass through while going in and out of the cloth porch (garden doors upper left) but even so, the table is a functional surface which I need to use often so it is worth that little space pinch.  Even with our dogs, I have found that six people can very comfortably sit here and chat as long as no one is moving around too much.

Looking at it, you would never consider this a roomy space but even so when people come to visit they are surprised because the space moves outward when you come inside.  It grows larger when you sit down and look around.  The huge windows in the place make it feel like you are part of the world around you.  It is ironic really how coming inside of something so small can make you feel like you have entered into something really huge.  I don’t know, maybe you have?

Categories: Dog, Environmentalism, Materialism, Readers, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , | 11 Comments