Category: our Tiny House And Land


Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section.

anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

Tiny House and Land

1 I am The-Brightest-of-Stars

our podcast Cake Or Death Radio

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So after a year and a half of paying rent again I’m over it. It was pretty much like I woke up one day and was just over it. and that’s apparently how i function in this world. I run my life on major amounts of repetition. Overall I prefer to do, wear, eat and move through my day doing almost the same as the day before. If you look at myfitnesspal I seriously eat the same foods over and over; pasta, bananas and chocolate are the staples of my diet. If you look at what I wear it’s the same Carnival Barker “ice cream freak” shirt 29 out of 31 days. So on and so forth. Because no ones forcing this level of repetition on me I’ll get on a quinoa kick and that will replace pasta and there’s an ebb and flow to it all. I’ll get into small pockets of enchantment where all I’m bathed in magic and feel a tingling & pulse of life everywhere and like everything else in my life it gets replaced almost of it’s own volition. Working out and (these days) dumpster diving food are the standard trying to pump myself up about it but it’s the type of chore that’s enjoyable but always excusable.

To review I’m content with a simple life but just like a light switch going on changes happens in my life often. I think the precursor to change is saying “i don’t want”. Someone asked me if I would ever do a tiny house again and I felt hella embarrassed to admit that I did not want to. For the last 1.5 years I’ve been decompressing from 17 years of work and have reasoned a “real” job isn’t for me. For many people (like my husband) life is very solid and black & white. For me everything is relative which is why I beat around the bush when trying to explain anything, all details are crucial factors.

Scavenger Life podcast (about selling on ebay) mentioned Mr Money Mustache. Mr Money Mustache’s blog really flipped the switch on many areas of my life that I had in the dark. I’ve NEVER thought about retirement and had an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude about it. I think that if something doesn’t matter then it’s fair game to look it. If you have an area of your life that you don’t want to look at because you say it doesn’t matter then talking about it should be easy. If an area of your life is challenging to look at that’s totally fine, we’re complicated humans but it’s unfair to write something off with white wash statements of unimportance because those are just not honest statements. Unimportant things shouldn’t make you clam up.

This is my absolute favorite video right now because it addresses our crazy behavior which branches out from our ideal and the reality. There’s a level of disconnect it seems we humans may always have in our lives. i want to write a blog post on cognitive dissonance.

So I didn’t want a tiny house and a job but now I do. MMM’s blog got me thinking about my future, thinking about what I wished I had given my current self and what I want to pass on to my future self. I think a job will be the fastest way to my goal and like any worth while goal there’s a timeline attached to it.

Having this last 1.5 years away from traditional work has been an eye opener. It seems that time and money are often influx. When I’ve had the most money was I was working a lot and had very little free time. When I was busy one of the main things I wanted was the freedom to go to sleep and wake up when I wanted. Now I have a lot of free time and no money. I get as much sleep as I like and wake up when ever I want but I have very limited options on how my life can play out while maintaining this ultra low income. When we had $24,000 saved we could move where we wanted and could come up with a different arrangement for our lifestyle, options we don’t have now. We don’t want a lifestyle overhaul, we don’t want to live on someones land in exchange for housing and Mark doesn’t want to live in a van. We want to live very much like we live now but smarter. Paying $550 a month for our 2 bedroom, 2 story apartment is not the end of the world but it’s also not smart. We have some of the cheapest rent in Dallas while living in a tiny apartment complex in a nice area and I’m not at all taking that for granted. I am 100% grateful! However paying rent is money we’ll never get back. If we financed a home and payed $550 a month on it then we’d get the money back if we sold the house. I’m just feeling trapped with rent and now that I have serious goals I feel constrained a bit by the trap.

   My goal is to retire in 10 years or at least be very close.

“Time or Money” seems to be the dance most of us are doing. One without the other feels unbalanced and I’m concluding that I really need both. My retirement plan is 100% about having the minimum amount money coming in while having the maximum amount of free time while maintain a lifestyle that isn’t constrained by either.

LIFESTYLE the numbers: Last night I asked Mark to spell out exactly what his lifestyle would look like if he didn’t have time or money constrains. He has one life to live and I wanted to know what his ideal life would look like. Ideally Mark wants to drink top notch coffee that he brews on a top notch machine at home daily. He wants the option to go out to eat (nothing too fancy) about 3 times a week with me if he so choices. He’s like to buy 1 really top notch pair of shoes (a couple thousand dollars) or a few slightly less nice shoes a year. He’d like a few thousand dollars to put into hobbies a year and have a larger budget for buying fancy beer. add in a nice vacation and we concluded that $17,000 a year would cover his lifestyle preferences. $17,000 in very doable! Either I’m some sort of saint or have poor persons mentality but I don’t have any real list of lifestyle wants. Maybe I’d get into permaculture (which cost money… wait, or does it save money?) Or I’d use the tools he has in his hobby budget to create art. Plus most of this shit i think about (going for bike rides, going to the gym, chit chatting with friends) is all hella cheap stuff. Well I do have entrepreneur blood but we’ll not focus on that for now.

RETIREMENT the numbers: Let’s assume that when we retire in 10 years we own (debt free) our home. Let’s say it’s a tiny home and property taxes are $1,600 a year. We build efficient in combination with alternative energy and our utility bills are ultra low.  We eat on the cheap and may grown some of our food. Gasoline, internet, insurance, etc. Maybe we could get by with $10,000 for our livelihood (remember we’d already own our home). So $17,000 for lifestyle and $10,000 for livelihood would require us to have $27,000 as our household income. If we saved $3,500 a month we’d have $615,991.86 in 10 years (8% compound interest). The $615,991.86 would produce $49,279.28 in 8% interest a year so if we just scraped 4% off of the interest that would give us $25,000 to live on while maintaining safety margins and accounting for inflation. This however doesn’t account for taxes ($5,000 a year at 15%), health insurance or unforeseen disability. While these numbers are not perfect they do create an outline on what the approximate steps would be to get from poor to retired.

SAVING for retirement: In order to save $3,500 a month (for 10 years!) or $42,000 a year I’d need to make $42,000 to save plus the cost of living $13,000 would require me to bring in $55,000 net income. While that is a bit of stretch for me to do that all on my own I do have plan. I want to get a full time waitressing job ASAP. If I could earn about $120 per shift and do 6 shifts a week then I’d bring in $37,440. The remaining $17,000 could likely come from ebay because my sellers dashboard shows that i’ve done over $15,000 (gross) this year when I was just dumpster diving and selling $10 items. Plus i’m not leaving the ice cream shop, I love carnival barkers and just making $3,000- $5,000 a year there helps out a lot! Again these numbers are not perfect or taking taxes, health insurance or unforeseen disability into account.

SAVINGS BONUS: my off the cuff savings plan is coming from the point of view that i’m doing all of the work. Marks in school so maybe I can kick some ass, do my best and save a bunch of money. Then in 4 year from now Mark will have a grown up job and we can put 100% of his money into savings. Let’s say he starts out making $45,000 after taxes and within those 4 years of his school I’ve accumulated $194,018.42. Then we add in 4 years of 100% of Marks paycheck then in 8 YEARS WE COULD RETIRE, two years early!!! say what!?! after 8 years our grand total would be $633,442.51! or if we just commit to the 10 years then those extra to years would give us a new grand total of $909,399.02…. almost a million dollars in 10 years. so Marks contributions would double my efforts! that’s a bonus!

This is where the second tiny house comes in!

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RENT the numbers: Our rent is about $6,600 a year. In ten years that’s $66,000 and that same $66,000 could actually be more like $96,798.72 if I could invest it (at 8% compounded interest) instead of giving it to our landlord. When I look at those numbers it makes me want to move in a $2,000 van and reclaim the $550 a month in order to invest it. Our first “tiny house and land” cost $8,000 for the land and about $5,000 for tiny house. <— that’s about the same amount of money we will have spent in when this second lease it up!

If you google “building costs house calculator” there are websites which will show the break down of everything (foundation, roof, plumbing, etc) as well as separating the material costs from the labor costs for whatever basic house design you have in mind. I have my heart set on building another tiny house but a bit different from our last one. Tiny houses are attainable. While they’re more expensive per sqft the overall price can be significantly less if you keep it simple, find affordable appliances and do what you can where you have the skills.

Since this post is long enough I will simply state that it’s now starting to sink in that we actually lived in 150 sqft with no plumbing in the woods for a year. holy hell! We need plumbing and more than 150 sqft, I understand that now. We don’t need it like it’s life or death but i’m no longer trying to live like life or death are my only two options. I’m also willing to admit that I no longer have a desire to move to the woods. I like cities that are under 100,000 people but I live in Dallas and honestly shit is fine out here too. It would be ideal if we could get a small city plot, have our tiny house and do urban homesteading. If we could do urban homesteading in walking distance of friends that would be epic but I’m not hearing anyone say any of that. Urban plots are expensive but right now i’m seeing the value. We’re talking about a 550 sqft floor space with a large loft. I can see us having a shed for Mark’s projects. I can see an epic amount of landscape design for beauty and function.

Besides a lack of money being an obvious derailer for this to come to fruition there’s other issues. I didn’t realize how good we had it zoning/permit wise on our last piece of land until til I started looking through permit requirements just in our area. There are so many requirement it’s hard to absorb it all. Plus “If you want to make god laugh then tell him about your plans”. right on.

 Have you seen this new tiny house TV show? I’m all over it! Mark doesn’t like it but i do.
http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation

LOGOour podcast cake or death radio

anarchist kitchen tiny house and landTiny House and Land

1 I am The-Brightest-of-Stars

Our photography

i’d like to start this out by saying that i think the word free is shitty.

yeah, when i was 17 i thought free shit was rad. i started working when i was 14 because it was clear that no one was going to just hand me things in life. i didn’t get birthday gifts (i remember my mom giving me 50 cents once on my birthday so i could get a soda at school, you know, to make the day special.) around 17 i dated a hippie and had a momentary laps in working. during that time i felt like there might be some magical world of free out there. that some how i had closed myself off to it and that i needed to just say yes to “free” and be open to it.

i got over that quickly. after hanging out in a crowd of mooches i had to get the hell out of there, i was lacking responsibility and perspective for the rest of humanity. i got a job and hadn’t looked back since. i got super jaded about consumerism and all the glory involved in that. i still thought that free stuff existed but shunned it because the origins didn’t reflect my value system. a few more years went by and i became a GM of a small salad shop on the food court of a prestigious medical school/bio-medical research institutions. how it didn’t click until that moment is beyond me. i had placed many orders as an assistant manager, it wasn’t like i thought things come out of  thin air. but it wasn’t until being a GM when i gained greater responsibility which brought in a bigger perspective. every napkin and every fork, the slices of lemon and the extra refill of tea became hard numbers at the end of the day. the bulk bins at the health food store no longer seemed right to sample from. the cool cashiers that would throw over-priced health food in my bag without charging me made me uneasy. at that point nothing felt free any more.

when i saw daniel vitalis he talked about a lot of things including our language become anamorphic or perverted. that people think the word free means something for nothing. that really struck a cord in me….

now that we all feel bad for raiding the chocolate covered almonds from the bulk isle let’s get back to my real intention. as i stated in the blog post the hard knocks of starting a business i’ve been wishing that people who don’t want to pay for my ebook would ask for a copy at no cost. i care more about people reading my ebook and getting value out of it than me getting rich. Pay What You Want isn’t a new thing. the company who emails the downloadable links for my ebook & videos to the customer doesn’t offer a fill-in-the-blank option for payment. instead of bending over backwards and changing companies i spent a short 4 hours trying to figure out the second best option. in the end i created a FREE button as well as a $2,$5, $7 & $10 donation buttons for those who can pay.

the last thing i want is someone who is unable to pay to feel shame or guilt for accepting my offer of FREE. seriously, this is an ebook about improving your life through homesteading, tiny house living and/or living within your means. who doesn’t want to save $24,000 in 18 months like we did!?!  read the book, apply what fits your personality and lifestyle and call the rest good. share my website with friends and family, why not?

here’s a little story about my very good friend nada:

19for years he was really into spirituality. he seemed to be most attracted to eastern philosophy. as an artist, nada has been self employed for the last 12+ years that i’ve known him. he’s always been a struggling artist with lots of friends but super poor. when different spiritual leaders would come to dallas to give talks nada could never afford the entrance fee. he ALWAYS called the events telling them that he didn’t have money but he’d do any service they needed (cleaning or putting out chairs, or passing out fliers, etc). all but one person said no money, no entrance. for someone who has little money he has always brought the most energy, the most creativity and been the reminder to everyone he meets to “just give what you’ve got”. he’s a very giving person. he printed out stickers that said “LOVE IS FREE (give it away)” and handed the stickers out. he’s spent his hard earned money on putting together multiple musical albums and they’re all free to download, donation not required. i am not even close to doing nada justice by explaining what an amazing friend he’s been in my life and so many other peoples life.

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AND he’s funny as hell, champion sense of humor!

do not take yourself too seriously around nada

do not take yourself too seriously around nada


this video is my last attempt to capture nada from 5 years ago.

anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

i’d mentioned on my interview with the survival podcast that our future plan is to get land with some friends. shortly after that interview we put our land on the market. within 2 months our land was sold. we sold our land for almost double the price we paid but in the end came slightly short of breaking even once you include all the work we did to the land. maybe we lost $500-$1,000 but we got a taste of living our dream for a year. plus all of the accomplishments that were achieved along the way, starting our own business & raising chickens. another way of looking at it is that we’d spent $500-$1000 on a years worth of rent to be fully engaged in a lifestyle that was so different from anything that knew.

the couple that bought our tiny house & land were a perfect fit for it. they were artists and woodworkers. when they stepped into our tiny house the first thing they said was, “wow, this is a mansion!” they called our tiny house a mansion, that meant they were going to buy it. “…compared to what we live in now.” when they looked at the work shed the wife started naming off wood working tools that they’d put in there. hearing all that was a good feeling. they have plans to hand build a house on the land. they really did get a sweet deal. the land was cheap and the location is perfect. they’re 10 minutes from a tiny artsy town in the mountains while living in the woods. i loved that land & our tiny house, leaving it all felt surreal.

we left our land because it was all rocks and trees. in order to do the things we want (raise animals, plant food forest, woody beds and permaculture) we’d have to cut down a portion of trees and bring in all of the soil. bringing in soil isn’t the worst thing ever but there can be some problems with bring in soil. plus the amount of money it would cost to turn rocks and trees into a functioning homestead would doesn’t makes sense. why not buy a piece of land that’s already suited for our needs. our rocks and trees will never be lush pasture for ideal animal husbandry unless we invest a lot of time and money.

a year and a half ago when we signed the deed and gave our hard earned money to buy the land we had made a mistake. we looked at the land and saw beautiful woods. we saw the land for what it was and not what it would be. we were so pumped to get out of the city the thought processes was like this, “tree/nature = good. city/concrete = bad”. we really weren’t thinking of the bigger picture. we figured we cut down some trees and the process would unfold and that was a mistake. now we have a better eye for what we need from our final piece of land. how can we create a thriving ecosystem, put more things into the system without having to take what’s there out? that is question. animals are an important part of my future vision. different animals need different things. some need pasture while others need forest. so to belabor my point, i can’t have ALL rocks and trees… i need more.

i haven’t talked much about our friends but we’re getting land with a small group of homies. as that unfolds i will go into that a bit more.

we’ve moved into a house my parents just bought to help them with their mortgage while we’re in transition. the town we live in has a population of 8,000 but feels much smaller than the town of 2,000 that we just left. smaller in the sense that community spaces and community feel is next to nothing here. part of that is because there’s no economy here, people just sleep in the country and drive to the city to work. eureka springs was very alive. here we’re an 20 minutes away from anything alive. but i’m glad to be here. i’m glad to see my parents and help them out. i’m super glad not to be living in dallas though we drive out there regularly.

our backyard is now a cornfield.

we’ve started a photography business *SORRENTINO PHOTOS*  and have been very busy with that.  (recent pictures we’ve taken below)DSC_0125resize copy

we have a thousand new wood working ideas. we’re doing our best to be 100% independently employed.6 copy

not having a standard job right now has really been healing. i’ve had bulk herbs for YEARS that i’d barely touched. now i’m brewing up almost a gallon of tea that i drink chilled daily. i’ve been working out at home (yoga, jump rope, jumping jacks, modified push ups) and tracking my calories to make sure i’m getting enough.6DSC_0233resize

i’m completely pumped about photography right now. all i want to do it take pictures of everything i see. we need more paying clients. we need to take pictures of  beautiful food. we can’t drain our land money to pay for the gas to capture the pictures i long to take.cDSC_0427resize

i miss peeing outside. i miss squatting to take a shit. i miss the stars and the trees. i like the ease of washing dishes with plumbing. i don’t like the toilet but i do like the bathroom.4 copy

we’re still Tiny House And Land just in transition. our next tiny house will be hand sculpted i imagine.z copy

we sold our land.

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the last week we were in Arkansas was pretty amazing. my best friend and her war hero boyfriend come up from tx to elope and I took the wedding pictures.

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the two of them being in town was very refreshing. I had spent the last 3 years so ‘petal to the metal’ with saving money for land that the year we lived in Arkansas was pretty much one long work day (at the best job ever) on repeat. so when the epic couple that are my friends came up for a meaningful few days it was a major shift in gears. which was very much needed because we were days away from moving and their beautiful marriage dissolved my heightened anxiety about the life changes I had ahead. anxiety is no joke, I don’t find it easy to shake but playing photojournalist is my favorite thing of all time & seems to be healing to my soul.

after the wedding eli was telling me about her experience as a paid photographer. by the end of the week we had moved back to tx & started a photography business SORRENTINO PHOTOS.

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about us travelling… I pumped you up, I pumped me up, I pumped everyone up about us all hitting the road but in short we’re trading in the  travelling money to get more photography equipment. we wanted to hit the road but we’ve been given an opportunity to photograph a really wonderful lady’s 60th birthday party. and honestly i’m more pumped about taking pictures, capturing that special something than anything else right now.

to illustrate how pumped I am I did not go to sleep because I was working on the website until 5am then realized that it’s a 1 in a million shot for me to be up this close to sunrise ever again…. so me & mark got in the car and drove to the sunflower mega mono-crop. there’s a mix of beautiful (standard) pictures and some slap-happy ones such as the one below.

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microphone tripod SONG & DANCE. to see the whole album of SUNFLOWERS AT SUNRISE and upcoming pictures check out our facebook page, no log in required for this business page.

https://www.facebook.com/SorrentinoPhotos

reasons to own a tiny house

these reasons don’t apply to everyone all of the time.

1. affordable!
a tiny house isn’t always 150 sqft like ours. the shed people who built ours could make a shed (home) as large as we wanted. they can add a loft, divide rooms with walls and even add a second story. digging through tiny house books, i’ve seen tiny houses from 400sqft to under a 100 sqft. really, at this stage in the game if your house isn’t an average of ###### then it’s considered small, and tiny is a small step away from that. if 150sqft ~ $3,000 then a 1000sqft “house” would be about $20,000. well, i’m guessing that’s the case but if you really want the numbers then dig around on the website i got my shed from. pictures and prices included.

2. shed people take payments
even though i’m pretty committed to paying in full, avoiding interest and living within my means, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that a person can finance one. after we moved into ours, it dawned on me that we could have bought one on loan, though maybe it would have been $5k or $6k instead of $3k for the same home but the year that i was living in the city saving up to move to the country cost us $4,600 in rent anyway. that money i will never get back. lets do the math, $4,600(rent)+$3,000 (home)=$7,600. fuck! i could have saved money even if i had bought our house with interest and would be further along with living my dream lifestyle. *side note: i make more money at my new job, moving sooner would have been worth it & would have saved us living in the car.

3. portable
because our tiny house is 150sqft & mark’s woodworking shed is 64sqft we have plans to move them to our final piece of land as soon as it’s picked out. we bought our current piece of land with the intention of forever. now that we have some country living under our belt we have a deep insight on what we’re really looking for.

4. put your home in storage
strange idea but it occurred to me that if we sold our land before we had all of the chips in place, we could technically put our house and shed in storage. i’m guessing it costs a ton of money to move a shed any real distance. so if we were in transition and were not ready for the big move, we could keep our home and shed safe and pick them up when we are ready. less than ideal but options are always good.

5. transition
i think a tiny house is a champion transitional home. it’s better than an apartment because you’d own it. you’d have the freedom to decide when you’re truly ready for what’s next vs. making decisions under financial pressure. i currently think i could live in my tiny house for a very long time because i’m comfortable even though i know we’re going to build our house when the time is right. no pressure feels really good. our last apartment was only $386 a month (and i NEVER felt pressure about paying rent) the light feeling of the weight off my shoulders is hard to put into words…. and because more people pay for space to go to bed at night, i’ve yet to hear how that feeling is expressed.

6. permanent
as a place to live in while building a home it is also valuable in that you CAN take your time on your final home, building everything right the first time rather than doing things half-ass so it gets done quicker. a guy we met mentioned the value of not moving into a home until it is truly finished. i’ve heard some folks get a tiny house so that they have something to live in while building their dream home, and as time goes on they realize that they’re happy with what they’ve got and no longer find their dream house worth the price tag such a dream.

7. extra space
who couldn’t use extra space? a guest house is one of the first things that comes to mind. my friend’s husband has a shed that he turned into his work-from-home office. extra space, i’ll let you fill in the blank.DSC_0003

8. tiny houses are cute
major book store chains even carry picture books of tiny houses. hundreds of pages of the cutest houses you’d ever see. plus people who live a tiny house lifestyle tend to be more experimental. with little money to lose and having a creative vision, a tiny house is something to impress even the more in-the-box soul. the picture books alone got me pumped way before i even took the idea seriously.

9. no rent = more time
when we first moved into our house, i figured freedom from rent was the reward. a short time later i found the real reward was my husband being able to purse his woodworking dreams. i have a vision for my lifestyle, not a vision for a career. mark however has career goals. he wants to build lots of custom designed guitars and basses for people who want high quality instruments. never in a million years would i have thought removing such a nominal monthly bill as rent would open up the space for something so fulfilling. i guess when we had rent to pay i just turned my mind off what was really important to him. now i would jump through hoops to make sure that he can live how he wants to live. he lives his life with passion so he has the energy to ensure the same thing for me.

10. easy to maintain
our roof is metal but if it were shingles that needed to be replaced, think of how cheap that would be. we made the mistake of buying cheap windows and the condensation coming from them may lead to a mold problem down the road if left unchecked. it would be affordable and easy to fix the problem because it’s such a small space. we bought a huge wool rug that is great insulation but horrible at keeping clean. it would be a day project to remove our rug and replace it with whatever we deemed a better fit. tired of that old wallpaper? we could re-wallpaper the whole house fast and affordably. if one day we wanted plumbing i imagine that would be a snap.

11. heating & cooling
a really awesome home is designed to need no cooling and little heating, that’s what the experts say. our house is not that. we have the smallest size A/C window units ($150) and a small little plug in space heater ($60). they get the job done. it doesn’t take much to heat or cool a tiny house.

12. tiny is simple
we pretty much do not bring things home unless something else is being removed. with less stuff to manage there’s less stuff to clean. we’ve fallen in love with our library. we don’t own movies, we borrow them. if i buy a book i give it to the library when i’m done which contributes to nationwide inter-library loans. i’m a huge fan! less mental management & “attachment”.

13. no rent = new priorities
i’ve said that mark was able to follow his passion full time but that’s about time. i don’t have more time because i still work my day job but i do have more money. i’ve felt empowered enough to resolve life-long health challenges (which i’ve written about) because of our lifestyle change. it can’t be underestimated that having one less bill to pay (even an affordable one) is absolutely liberating. at least for me, while having rent to pay, i felt like it was too risky to explore money-suck-holes like looking into health issues. i didn’t want to over-commit in case something happened. survival first, thrival later.

14. freedom by stair stepping empowerment
action replaces complacency. most of us know that we need to unfuck the world and that means change. the big changes that we need in our life and our world are scary to address. stair stepping to empowerment may impress nobody but i promise each personal victory is huge. personal improvement is hard to start and fun to follow through. each step that i followed through with (save income, buy land with hard earned money, quit my job, rent a moving van, etc.) felt like a huge victory. at some stage in the game i will have that same sense of freedom when i’m feeding myself from my land.

by no way is a tiny house the end-all-be-all of living, maybe an earthship is. for me it’s a tool to get me closer to my homesteading dreams while improving my health and my marriage. my ebook Tiny House And Land is the most A to B, step by step instructional on exactly how to do what we’ve done.

anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

i know people want to change. i want to change.

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with each birthday that brings me closer to my 30’s, i see more of the veil over my mortality. when i turned 26 a few of my friends parents either got diagnosed with cancer or died from it. i look at my aging parent and think about own future.

i had this idea that how i go into my 20’s will set the tone for my 30’s. how i go into my 30’s will set the tone for my 40’s…so on and so forth. soon enough i will be my parents age, mid to late 60’s. elders should really be our role models and i’ve always felt like something was missing because i didn’t have that. when i got into robb wolf’s shtick he talks about the amount of muscle we age with being an indicator of some good stuff, not a direct quote, clearly. that planted a seed which started with recovering memories of 2 different times in my life that i thought i had lost fat-weight but now realizing that it was mostly muscle-weight. so i’m picking and choosing what i’d like to build towards because i’m starting at the beginning.

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when i fantasize about what my best life would be i see a few things that all come down to living like a real human.

1.MY DAILY FLOW. from a month of trainhopping i gained insight into this other porthole of time that does not exist by the clock. having that brief experience of timelessness really makes my civilized self feel like a machine version of a human. it’s hard to put that in words. (vacations do not feel like i’m tapping into anything real just another facet of my civilized life.)

2.MY BIOLOGICAL PRIORITY. really what i’m saying is nature over conditioning. i want to unschool my job-self. when i’m tired i sleep, when i’m hungry i eat, when i’m thirsty i drink, when i have to pee i do it. i don’t want to have to schedule in a 5 second break on the grounds that i have to pee now or else the machine will not go on. i don’t want to feel so second to my services in life. ****that’s the mental side.

****then there’s the physical side. trees, plants, animals, stars, grass, sun, rain, community, etc.

old woman woods

when i think of childhood books where the story is set in the forest with an old grey man living in a hobbit home, WHY, why does that seem so right? my childhood stories did not discuss issues with daily flow or holding your pee til you’ve got everyone elses luxuries (that they’re paying for) addressed.

part of me going into my 30’s means i need/want to build muscle. i need/want to stretch on a daily basis. i need/want to just be able to breathe. my current lifestyle does not support the long term vision of how i see my future unfolding. i’m a workaholic. i’m not on my final piece of land. i’m not getting any younger.

seeing the cob cottage totally put me back into my childhood dreams. whether disney conditioned me well or there’s really something to it, seeing those humble mud cottages in the forest felt right and that’s what i’m going on. i really don’t mind putting the work in but only for a short while. the food forest that our parents never built us requires the extra effort before we can begin but i’m changing my life soon.

here’s an interview that i found super inspiring. 2 people i find very integrated into the natural world:

http://www.rosegoddessbliss.com/ecstatic-parenting-part-one

http://www.rosegoddessbliss.com/ecstatic-parenting-part-two

 

 

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our trip was 15 days.

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we left AR heading to nada in OKC. two hours still to go i get a text message saying, “get me out of here, everyone keeps asking me where the weed’s at”…1 minute later, “if i would have brought weed i’d be rich”.

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*NADA*

when we first arrived at the earthships in NM it was pretty overwhelming. the one we stayed in was an earth mansion and i just couldn’t wrap my head around building it. it had an attached greenhouse, then inside more tropical garden over-growing the living room & walk way, then spacious bedrooms/kitchen, full bathroom and coop & run on the side of the house for the chickens.

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regardless of the million dollar price tag, regardless of the off-the-charts level of kush….
earthships are completely off the water and electric grid. the idea of really building a house without the limitations of those two key things truly puts me in awe each time i think about it. let’s really think about that. the earthship receives 7 inches of rain a year then cycles it 3 times creating 21 inches of rain use in the desert. that line of thinking really punches in the balls my “fuck plumbing” attitude. for one, me not having plumbing doesn’t make my water consumption recycle itself. earthship plumbing does. the moment water goes down a drain it’s already moving onto it’s 2nd or 3rd use. plus their setup is so streamlined that it totally makes me jealous. when we do dishes at home, at some point we need to dump the dish water bucket. the (good) thing about dumping the water is that i know where it’s going. i have to think about it. the (better) thing about having things streamlined is that you don’t have to think about it. and you also know where it’s going. cooler than anything is that the house is made from the land you live on (the dirt from excavation) and landfill trash (tires & bottles). knowing with your 2 eyes where everything is coming from prevents us from making up stories of how “fair” aquiring it must have been. when it’s all said and done you could build a smaller one of these babies for pretty cheap. sure it’s a lot of labor pounding tires but tires filled with earth regulate heating and cooling. worth it.

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we filled up spring water at the grand canyon. mark took a few panornamic pictures too. we had 50 million epic fails at dumpstering all the way.

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*mt shasta, spring untapped*

we went to LA to check out the tonic bar brian gushes over. *ALERT* clearly i have prejudice against (large crowds) of fancy higher class people. the reason i know it’s prejudice is because everything about the grocery store/tonic bar should have been a total win. insane amounts of healthy real food all over the store. tons of the stuff looked like small-batch handmade. everything was top quality, nothing looked like it was skimped to keep the price low. everything was priced to reflect the high quality that it was, expensive but fair. sounds like a win but i couldn’t hang. everyone was way too beautiful, it made my eyes hurt. everyone seemed empowered and assertive while i was holding back a mini panic attack. the tonic bar really seemed like a gem. a low end drink was $8 and a high end drink was $20. had my gut been fully functional i would have picked out something in the $20 range. another stark difference that i noticed was that all the fancy young ladies sitting around the tonic bar all seemed super vibrant, i was expecting to see more sick people looking for wellness. no punk, no hippies, no homesteader, i clearly pre-judge. we dropped nada off and got out of LA in warp speed. i am over the city.

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we completed a 2 year journey to find the perfect canteen. in a suburb of santa barabra we went a food co-op that looked like a little food mart shack. all the workers looked like street kids, they were playing hip hop and had health force on their shelves. their variety of healthy foods and snacks was pretty impressive. there i got two canteens that i’m taking to the grave. one all stainless steel 40oz and one insultated 20oz where only stainless steel touches the drink but has plastic on the outside of the cap. we liked santa barabra, maybe a slower pace city isn’t so bad.

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we head up the coast, i’m working on my tan. we see rami. we couldn’t quite see what he was seeing in covelo CA but it was awesome seeing him and his sweetass beard. rami’s dog was super cute. once we got in covelo the rest of our northern CA trip was cold & rainy. set my tan aside. this is when the trip started to go down hill. we finished all of our gut friendly food (should have made more while at the earthships) and nights were too cold to sleep straight through. when we got to mt shasta (a major point of interest) i was sooo irritable. plus while talking to our homies about our group land via web conference it became clear that they’re thinking about land that $8K per acre; way outside of the numbers i was imagining. that felt pretty shitty but they’re good people and i don’t see setback in our plans.

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we were running short on time because we have a scheduled tour at cob cottage in oregon hours away. total we spent 2 nights in mt shasta and filled up on their untapped spring water before heading north. the morning we left shasta we mapped out the area where there is wicked affordable land. we drove through montague CA which was about an hour north of shasta. the land that we saw was mostly flat with rolling hills in the distance. the land looked mostly cleared, no forest, but the sky had cleared up at that point and i could see potential for that area. because the land was already clear anything we would do would be restoration whereas getting land in the forest (which is my fantasy) would mean anything we do would be destructive. plus flat land means no one would be left out of facing south. whereas if we were on a slope we’d need to ensure everyone had access to a south facing side of the slope to build and grow food on.

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when we crossed over to oregon, mark said that he liked the vibe better. oregon seemed more lush. the prices i saw online seemed that $4k an acre was lucky. most of the drive to cob cottage was rainy. i said at one point, “i hope it’s not raining during the tour”. at that point i hadn’t fully grasped that it’s ALWAYS rainy (8 months out of the year) in northern CA/western OR. about now i’m on & off irritable. we’re running an hour late to cob cottage. as soon as i got cell service i called allie to tell him we were running late. while scheduling this tour with allie on the phone he mentioned that they usually try to serve a dinner afterward but i decided because of my weird dietary guidelines that i’d rather them not go through the trouble. he asked me what i was eating and i was nervous to say meat because he sounded like a hippie. i name a few things and he says, “oh, sounds like what my wife is doing”. sweet.

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we get to the cob cottage grounds, park the car and walk the foot path to the site. FUCKING PROFOUND. cob cottage is inside of the oregon rainforest. i’ve never seem something so grown up, so many layers, so alive and complex. it’s cold & raining but i’m thrilled. we walk up the trail and allie is sitting outside with his cute little toddler. he stands up, we walk to the myrtle (building next to us), we take off our shoes and he says, “so are you doing the GAPS diet?”. we walk inside and it’s super cozy. we took a million pictures but because the cottages are all round and small it’s hard to really capture the experience. we sit on the rocket mass heater bench and i’m in love, the room feels better than anything i’ve even known. allie talks with a smile, he talks like he’s the most relaxed person in the world. him, his wife and their 3 kids live out there, watching over the place while the creators of the cottage are in wales. he slowly starts talking about the room we’re in. he points at the ceiling (not insulated), the wooden door (with cracks in it), and one of the windows that never got finished (huge window space with flimsy plastic semi covering it). he points out all the flaws and concludes that despite all those potential weaknesses, the place was as warm and dry as a person could ask for. it’s also one of the oldest buildings on the property. he talked about the crazy dancing parties, where 30 or 40 people had been in the tiny space and it was all good. he was so relaxed, he kept saying, “we could go check out all of the cottages, what ever you guys want to do.” i told him that we had the $50 donation for our tour and he tried to talk me out of giving it to him. i insisted that his time was valued by us and he ended up showing us around for 3 hours. we toured about 10 buildings. half of them were 80% complete. some had straw bale exposed, some didn’t have roofs, most of them had tarps protecting the completed parts. he took us to a completed building and said that his mom had been staying in it. cozy. amazing. simple. he opened up a wooden door to a small box cut through the wall with a screen on the outside. he points around, “quart of raw milk, butter, bag of carrots, eggs…” holy hell! impressed. hole in the wall for a fridge. the tour is me, mark, allie and his 5 year old daughter. he said that he’s been teaching on and off for 2 years the fire (rocket mass heater) stuff. i asked if he’s built a cob house before. he looks around the building that we’re in and says that the house he built was about twice the size (my guess, 400sqft?). i asked him how much it cost him to build and he said $2,000. he said that it was mostly for the rock foundation. he said it wasn’t complete but it sounded like they lived in it the way it was. i started asking him about his house and he said that it only had one plug for a single light, that they pay $5 in electricity a month and he didn’t even know what the point to that was. he also mentioned that his family sleeps outside on a bed. he was blowing my mind but i was keeping my cool. every cottage he took us into he pointed out the strengths and weakness. one cottage was completely built by workshop students. a few of the completed buildings didn’t even have doors but a blanket over the doorway. i couldn’t believe how beautiful and dry each building was. it was a testament that a beginner could build a beautiful cob home. by the end of the tour my toes were frozen beyond belief. we went back into the myrtle and i stood on the warm bench. i need that bench. at one point i told him that we were looking into land in that general region but the cheapest land wasn’t that cheap. he pointed out that i was from arkansas where land is wicked cheap so of course i’m going to think of $4k an acre as pricy. THEN he asked us if we had looked into tax sales. he said that a friend of his had bought 4 pieces of land from tax sales, including 160 acres near shasta for $26,000! then he told me about a woman who bought land in montague who’s building a cob house and starting a cob community out there. he explained that she had taken a class at the cottage and was really pumped about cob. that she moved her wool felt business to montague and was going to make things happen out there. huh.

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we leave the magical land of cob cottage and i’m totally high on the idea of making an electricity-free cob home for a few thousand bucks within a summer, fall block of time. i bought The Hand Sculpted House book from the cottage and read 90% of it within the next 3 days. (this is a must read regardless if you’re building an earthship or strawbale or whatever. must read first!) so we drive up the coast, get to portland, stay at (the boy) eli’s house and meet up with jonathan for coffee. i’m glad to see these two lovely men but i’m ready to leave. so we head back down the coast to see the redwoods that we didn’t have time for just the day before.

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this time the sun is out and i’m in a good mood. this trip to CA was much better than the first time around. we saw the redwoods, stopped at the beach (lots of pictures), laughed a bunch. we stopped in redding CA for the millionth time to go to the health food store. when we came back to the car the guys in their car next to us say, “thats a good book” referring to my cob book in the front seat. so then i start through my million questions, “have you built with cob, how much did it cost you, how long did it take, how much was your land, what did you need to do to make your soil ready for cob building, etc”. i brought up the $4k an acre thing with this guy too. he said that in that area (which was 45 minutes from mt shasta) but outside of the city land was about $2k per acre and “here look up our realtor, he’s amazing”. we wrote it down: http://mountainvalleyrealestateredding.com/ the guys said land with a spring would be realistic. which reminds me, (the boy) eli said that he had some friends that saved up a bunch of money to get land in OR and moved there to look for it. and since they got there they keep meeting people and keep finding better and better land (better including cheaper).

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this person is pumped. amazing pictures of everything will be posted here: https://www.facebook.com/TinyHouseAndLand

pictures & info about our Tiny House And Land

anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

when we first moved onto our land there was a ton of ticks so i started an early habit of peeing close to home. quickly there was a scatter of tiny amounts of toilet paper all within eye shot. hummm… a good redneck would never do such a thing. i’d look at the mess and think, “i doesn’t matter that it’s going to biodegrade, this is an eye sore for country living”. if shame doesn’t motivate you then money will. at some point pollen in the air took over my nose and i was burning through more toilet paper, the eye sore was growing and fancy toilet paper was $-adding-$ up.

then i listened to a really inspiring podcast specifically about WOMEN PEEING OUTSIDE *WITHOUT* TOILET PAPER. i not only learned an essential technique to peeing outside i somehow got a true education on ‘the goods’. things i’d never thought of, being a woman. how had i never thought of those things before?

then a friend of mine a city over mentions that her family of 5 use cloth instead of toilet paper for their bathroom needs. i’m so glad she showed me what they do and let me video it too.

i got a bunch of cheap towels. they’re color coded for use; green is tissue for my nose, yellow is for my urine & blue is for cleaning the kitchen.
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during my lady-time they all get used and the color system goes out the window. i simply fold one over 3 times and pin it either on or around my underwear. using them for those personal times does not stain them, good as new. one less thing to buy & throw away.

good to know:
cloth tissue is so soft that it does not hurt your nose like over using toilet paper does when allergies strike
plus hankies make me feel like a queen from the wild west times (for some reason)
once i learned real technique to peeing outside i had less than a drop of urine to manage so my cloth towel lasts me a week (or less)

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we have toilet paper for #2 only. i don’t want to see any of it used for cleaning up messes or blowing noses. let’s say it together, BAM-BOO. now that was fun.

any questions?

this article goes along with our NO PLUMBING post. anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

as always, we live in a tiny house in the woods. for pictures & info go to my website TinyHouseAndLand.com

how many people do you know that live without plumbing?
none that i know of but most of the people i know would just assume that i have plumbing too BUT I DON’T.

around the time we were looking for land on landwatch.com and unitedcountry.com i was trying to wrap my head around the idea of living without plumbing. we had been hauling spring water from the country into dallas for 3 years and had a basic relationship with water which was outside of the plumbing issue. we lived with plumbing but hauled water. ok. there was a solid 6 months where i was hauling spring water for bathing and bathed in a bucket in my apartment. alright. though there’s some overlap, where i get my water isn’t the same as how i use my water. benjamin palmers house has plumbed in rain water. marks grandma had plumbed in spring water to her house 70 years ago. bringing water home doesn’t even seem like half of the battle, as long as rain or city water is available it almost doesn’t matter that i haul 100% of the water we use at home. the real question is HOW DO YOU LIVE WITHOUT PLUMBING?

it’s a funny question for a few reasons
#1 because plumbing and water aren’t one in the same. you can live without plumbing but not without water. is it just me or does the question almost sound like HOW DO YOU LIVE WITHOUT WATER? i’m sure it’s just me.
#2 who the fuck has plumbing? really. i’ve heard the number over and over again, 1,000,000+ people lack clean water. they don’t have plumbing. to the few people who have plumbing, it’s only been a hundred years or so. i’m confident there’s been banned diet pills that had lasted longer than plumbing.

i tried looking stuff up online about a plumbing free lifestyle and didn’t get very far. before our move i was so concerned with making sure we built an outhouse on day one. that seemed like the very first thing to do. after 4 months of living on our land mark built our bucket-in-a-box shitter. never needed the outhouse.
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less than best humanure set up to dump the bucket (for #2 only) after every use. saw dust & leaves are our friend.
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we pee outside 100% of the time. if it’s raining or too cold i have a metal bed pan that i got from the thrift store but outside is much better. stepping outside into the woods with the most incredible night sky is really nice. peeing under a million stars is my honor.
washing dishes is a simple set up. i’m not convinced that it’s the most efficient use of water but so far it’s fine. when the greywater bucket is full we dump it outside.
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we don’t shower here but i’ve imagined some set up with large buckets. we adventure out to the rec center once or twice a week for a shower. i think we paid $120 for a year family membership, no biggie. and we do our laundry at the laundromat maybe once a week.

another point of interest is that we pay for all of the water we use. we could make things easier on ourself and simply put up the gutters since we already have the rain barrels.

we fill up our jugs from the store maybe twice a month. it’s about 20 gallons of water for maybe $8 that last us 2 weeks. that water is for dishes.
we spend about $70 in gas to fill up spring water every 6 weeks or so. we collect 20-30 gallons of spring water for food and drinks. ideally we’d have a spring on our land or catch & drink/clean with rainwater. that is our future.

i always feel like i should say more about living without plumbing but there doesn’t seem much to it. i’d love to answer any questions.

this blog post goes with toilet paper & menstrual pad alternatives post. anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

as always, we live in a tiny house in the woods. for pictures & info go to my website TinyHouseAndLand.com