Posts Tagged With: Materialism

The Trees: Speaking to the Issue

My friend Colleen and I were chatting this morning, as we do from time to time.  Our chats are filled with banter about animal ethics, environmental issues, and we also very often speak about the problematic ways in which human beings behave.  There is often an emphasis on sheeplism and our frustrations in dealing with this.

During our banter, she mentioned a song called The Trees which is both written and performed by the iconic Canadian rock band Rush.  Since I have always been about as far away from the mainstream as possible, I had never heard this song.  My loss.  It is really great; meaningful on a lot of levels.

The way that this song connected to something that has been on my mind for the last bit was timely.  For the last few days I have been thinking a lot about the rules.  Not the dating book series, but the rules of society.  These rules, while put in place for the good of the whole, lost sight of a lot of things that are perfectly sensible.  Specifically, I am speaking about Tiny Houses and the Bylaws that prohibit people from making choices that are better for the land, environment, mental health and in a million and one ways are greater than any McMansion can ever possibly be.

I have for three days had the story on my mind about the fellow who bought some acres in the US and whose neighbour harassed him from the day that he moved there.  The story* messed up on so many levels, sort of Deliverance meets the Tiny House movement.  The post is interesting but here is my synopsis of it this Deliverance story, the blogger bought land and put a tiny house on it.  He hoped to live there for two years but made it only 5 months, in the time that he lived there he was constantly harassed and subjected to all sort of crazy from a weirdo next door (my words, not his).

The question is, who would you rather have for a neighbour?  A quiet person whose house is so small that you can’t see it and who leaves the land as natural as it was when the planet formed, or a lout who blares his music, lets his kid, big scary dogs and insanity into your life every day just because you happen to live next door?  You guessed it, the lout called the government and they are making him remove his Tiny House from his land.  It seems wrong that an innocuous Tiny House can be considered wrong in anyone’s mind.

I am of the opinion that the legality of Tiny Houses should not be questioned.  This should not be an issue.  If indeed laws are put in place to protect people then who exactly is this law protecting?  Why would anyone think that a Tiny House is dangerous?

Is this because refusing to participate in a consumer lifestyle is not acceptable and therefore a crime?

Here are the wonderful lyrics to the song that I think speaks to this issue.

“The Trees”

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw
Categories: Art, Environmentalism, Forest, Materialism, Money, Off Grid, Ontario, Open your eyes, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

The best things in life and the boring details

The best things in life aren’t things; even so, there are some things that you need.  Largely, I really want to believe that stuff is not that important.  But then I think of those who live on, and with nothing; I submit that existing without stuff would be quite impossible.

In Tiny House Ontario, like in each Tiny House, the stuff that I keep must be absolutely considered.  A detailed deliberation must be given to every bit and bob, even if it is as small as a barrette or a box of nails. Food, too, must be closely observed.  I like to grow or buy fresh and since there are farm gatepost stores in the area and a some wonderful general stores too, I don’t have to worry too much about storing it, at least for the time being; I am there living only during the growing season but eventually, food storage will be an important issue and by then I believe that a fruit cellar will be an absolute necessity.

Despite the size, there are five storage areas in Tiny House Ontario.  On the main level, there is the kitchen and the shelves at the West side.  In the loft there is the closet, the dresser and, opportunistically, I bought roll under the bed storage when it was on sale, but I have not put this to use.

The necessities:

Tools for building and outdoor work.  Cooking, serving, eating and food (I keep a few gross but easy dry things there all the time, like Mr. Noodles and dehydrated soup, as well as beans, flour, salt and sugar should someone need to survive there for a few days), my grandma’s kettle and dish soap. Water for drinking, cooking, washing as well as survival books and extra eyeglasses so that I can read them.

A reasonably well stocked first aid kit and toiletries, a wash pan, and a couple of buckets, face clothes, towels and  throw blankets, garbage and recycle bins, clothing, bedding, candles, matches and lighter

A cell phone, bee’s wax candles, lights, batteries, propane, BBQ, camp stove and a heater if you do not have a heat source built in are also required, as well as a cooler or refrigeration source.

Stuff that I love and believe I require:

Literature including the complete works of Douglas Coupland , poet Sean Moreland, and some family history books.  Cards, a few games and puzzles, candy (for the children who come), and chocolate (for me).  I also must have art and art supplies, as well as a solid collection of old Harrowsmith magazines which tell me how to do a lot of homesteading stuff so they may well be required as much as I like them because I use them for reference materials.

I also find it important to have some spiritually, emotionally significant and things that comfort me.  This collection includes: a justice and safety spell, sweet grass, white sage, and burning shell.  A green crystal, the family bible, angel cards, carved boxes, a friendship ball, an Irish shamrock, the ashes of my late dogs, a hat and a salt and pepper poodle shaker set.

I would guess that the stuff I love makes up about 1/10 of the total mass of stuff in Tiny House Ontario, I suppose I could live without it, but I choose not to and I am grateful that I don’t have to make the choice of what to leave behind me, as many unfortunate people have had to do all over the world.  It would be interesting to know how this breaks down in the average home.  When you look around your home now, I wonder what do you need in there?   What do you have just so that your home looks nice when visitors come?

Categories: Art, Douglas Coupland, Materialism, Sean Moreland, Sustainable living, Tiny house, World | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments