Category: woodcraft sorrentino


DSC_11363 days ago i pissed away most of my day going down a rabbit hole on air purifiers. at first i was looking online to buy one new one then got on craigslist and decided to buy 2 used ones. the more info i looked at the more i wanted to spend a bunch of money and get really nice ones. i was leaning towards a craigslist ad where someone was selling 2 different models of a pretty expensive brand.DSC_1134

i played around on the brands website for a while and looked into the cost to replace and maintain filters and such which lead down deeper into the hole. i started looking up reviews for this craigslist brand on youtube and on the sidebar i was being enticed to watch DIY videos on how to make my own filter at home.DSC_1156

This was the first video i watched and the comments were so intelligent that i had to watch every video on DIY fan filters to see if anyone was taking the recommendations that were given in the comments.

While these filters don’t have an ionizer (which i really like) or any other bells and whistles there is one major factor that i couldn’t dismiss. a 20″ fan has more power/draw to move air so removing particles in the air is ultra efficient.  one of the reasons i’ve always like the ionic breeze air purifier is that you clean the filter instead of replace it but the air filters that were really catching my eye the other day all had proprietary filters that seemed way over priced. DSC_1134.1

for $88 (with tax) we bought everything new at home depot minus the duct tape that i think we found in the trash. 2 box fans (20″) were $17 each. The wicked fancy furnace filter that removes “Bacteria, Filters Dust, Filters Mold, Filters Pollen, Pleated, Removes Odors” each cost $20 and a 3 pack of lower rated filters for $8 total. DSC_1177

Take the fan, put on the “feet” for stability, tape one fancy high rated furnace filter to a lower rated filter then tape those to the back of the fan. Seal the filters to the fan with duct tape to capture the most particles. I’ve watch a ton of videos and some people put the filter on the front with a tiny piece of tape. Some people put the filter on the back and let the suction hold it to the fan. it appears that most people use a single filter and not necessarily the one with the highest rating because they cost more. from the comments under the video i posted above it seemed the best use of a fancy expensive filter ($20) is to extend it’s life with a cheap ($2) filter over it catching most of the junk. Sealing the fan isn’t required but it keeps the efficiency high and does not overheat the motor as explained by someone smart in the comments. DSC_1180

i’ve had a couple different purifiers over the year since hearing daniel vitalis talk about requiring support for all 4/5 elements to bring health, not just focusing on food “the earth element”. for the last 6 months we haven’t had a filter in our room. i noticed one day in the ray of sun pouring through a tiny spot in our curtains that we have insane amounts of dust. it was like a solid body of tiny little glitter dancing and whirling around that i was breathing in. i wish i had a particle counter to tell you how shit really went down but i can only say this, after the fan filter running for about 20 hours straight i looked through the light and saw a MAJOR reduction in dust. MAJOR! like instead of a solid body of dust there was just random little particles a foot apart. i’d say 95% reduction! since the fan filters are running 24 hours a day, one upstairs and one downstairs in our apartment the air quality has completely improved partly just because the air is constantly moving. i am pleased, this is good. DSC_1182

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I stopped working at a “real job” when it was beyond clear to me that putting my all into my job was draining parts of me related to my well being. It’s insane that there are really pronounced parts of my brain that believe I can override needing to eat and that my body can be a workhorse working 15 hour days. There’s this semi-conscious idea where my brain thinks that it’s in control of my robot body. I stretch myself to the point of breaking and wonder how can I do the same thing in a different way. Where’s the loop hole to not needing food or having a balanced life because the last way didn’t work? I think I’m doing it wrong and I need more willpower. “Fuck harmony, I need results” has been a motto I’ve embodied a lot.

zen quote on being busy

I tried pursuing a life of “flow” when I was on an 8 week break in between jobs from Texas to Arkansas. I had so much time to think, I couldn’t enjoy a second of the freedom I worked really hard for. I just felt so anxious. The way I saw it then was that the world was crumbling and I wasn’t doing shit. I wasn’t working to make money to contribute to different radical groups who were on the front line really making a difference. i believed anything thing but the front line needed to play (financial) support for them. My fantasy of soaking up AC while pissing my time away at the dollar theater was in major conflict with the role of playing support. If I cared about this world and all of the life in it then I *should* be contributing to dismantling the problems. Shit’s too fucked to take a passive role. If you’re not helping then you’re part of the problem… and that line of thinking paralyzed me from doing less than shit for 8 weeks. No dollar theater and no AC that Texas Summer. If you want to not live your dreams, the fastest way to chemically shut your brain down is to have anxiety! *self induced anxiety*

At the end of 8 weeks of being on the edge of panic attacks from my brain reminding me that I, the jobless loser, wasn’t helping shit, it was time to go back to work. I threw myself into work and upped the ante. At the end of 1 year I was so burned out that I felt deflated from my robot high horse. The day before we decided to move back to Texas and rearrange our lifestyle my human eyes looked in the mirror and saw a stubborn robot. I remember thinking that I just needed to whip this work horse into shape and was seriously thinking of ways to corner myself into getting shit done with even more ante “for real this time”. Then the robot’s chest started to expand in a way that signaled a human heart would explode as the result from future pressures if I continued. then I gave up.

We moved back to Texas and I tried to get jobs but it really wasn’t in the flow. After hearing my friends 10 years of part time successes of selling on ebay, I decided to give it a go. I figured if she worked part time and earned enough causal money then my drive to over achieve could surely do the same. I got fixated on ebay insider information and read the ins and outs of it all. I watched videos, I lived on ebay facebook pages, I got very obsessed. It was refreshing to learn something new, it really put a cap on my abilities which forced me to tone shit down.

The way I felt (and continue to feel) while working on ebay is refreshed. There’s a LOT of steps to ebay. Sourcing is no small piece and that’s just the beginning. Then cleaning, lots of researching, taking pictures/measuring/writing down descriptions and imperfections then the longer process of editing (which I obsessively love and resent, I over edit pictures unnecessarily so) then writing posts while researching more and storing the item. Add in shipping, managing supplies, general organization, answering questions, refunding shipping overcharges, blah blah blah. But while I do this I can be me. I can go to the bathroom whenever I need and eat when I’m hungry (which is not the case in the food industry). I can listen to stand up comedy or podcasts. I can completely blow off work and get life done (like go to the store and run errands, hang out with friends, help out where I’m needed, go take pictures, go for a bike ride, record a podcast), my life is extremely flexible. Flexibility creates a lot of room for potential creativity which has been the first thing to go when I worked a “real job”. In short, I feel much more in my skin because I’m not people pleasing 40 hours a week, something I’ve gotten very accustomed to doing for the last 17 years. Customer service is wired into my brain at this point and it’s hard to remember the me before it or without it.

And all of that is the pleasure. Having room to breath and feel my living breathing body wake up when I want, go to the bathroom when I need to and eat when the signals are there is very empowering. It feels like I’m winning at life and shit’s coming together….

But there’s huge pressure there as well. Every day I wake up and every night I go to sleep thinking “I’m going to conquer this, I’m going to knock out all of this work” and more often than not, I just live life and put ebay off for another day. No work = no money so me working very little has us living on the edge. A very thin line of comfort that we could easily fall off of if the gods were not on our side. So there’s pressure in telling myself to get around to doing something important and not doing it; that pressure is similar to “are you calling me a liar!? I said i’m going to do it later…” (finger points to self). There’s pressure in sourcing items. For a while there we always had a surplus because I was being too casual and not making goals (like “take pictures of 8 items today”). Once there’s a mental quota and I start actually getting shit done, a surplus doesn’t last long. We get the majority of items from dumpster diving and that is very much a scary cool thing to do. I noticed a pattern that started a few months back, that we’d strike gold (metaphorically and literally) and I’d feel blessed by the dumpster gods… until I’d get everything listed and panic. WHAT IF THERE’S NOTHING LEFT IN THE TRASH CAN?! What if the gold runs out? What if we stop finding shit?

exceptional dumpster gold

exceptional dumpster gold we found when we first started diving for ebay, we’ve yet to top that score

Part of the way ebay appears to be set up is the more you list the more you sell. So I have 375 items listed right now and if I stop listing my sales stop (maybe ebay hides my listings). So if I run out of items to list then my sales (already low due to of my distracted/”in the flow” lifestyle) come to a halt. Remember me saying that we’re living on the edge? I can’t afford for our sales to come to a halt, I actually could use a boost if anything. I’ve noticed that compulsive energy of “yay we found a gold mime” today then a few weeks later “maybe we’ll never find anything again” rejoice /despair is the swing of the pendulum then I decided that I was simply misinterpreting my brain. Rehearing the despair as a question and not as a statement has really taken some of the pressure off (for now). So my brain is not so much stating in the form of a question “what if the gold runs out” but rather is saying “will the gold run out” which is my que to say “no, it’s unlikely but in case it temporarily takes a dip we can buy stuff from the thrift store to get by until the gold refreshes”. Not to mention that trying to get help from Mark often feels like pulling teeth, not always but often, which is more pressure. He’s a great diving partner, excellent shipper but not motivated to do the actual ebay shit so thank god he’s in school! (ultra thumbs up).

So we’re living on a quarter of what we used to live on. We have more rent to pay than in the past but the trade off is we find free food and shop at the discount food store that has a wide selection of raw vegan snacks to total junk food and pastured animal foods on the *wicked cheap*.

While my gratitude for having the flexibility and room to think and breathe is such a big deal, I will admit that if the cards were aligned just right I would get a job (most likely waitressing) in a heartbeat. I loved working with friends, having a total chit chat with the ladies 5 days a week. Plus making a constant wage is no joke, very empowering. Plus having a real job separates your life from your work whereas self employment has married me to my job. I’m always on the clock in some respects. It would be nice to just turn my brain completely off of work but it’s not going to happen.
There’s no complaints here.
*Side note. I help out at a badass ice cream shop weekly and I’m always down to take photography gigs as they come up.

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so here it is, 3am and i’m already reneging on turning this 6am bedtime around to 10pm. I feel like life should NOT be a guessing game. I’ve seen many people just allow life to unfold in a mess, they don’t understand what the next step is and just wade through ‘an unknown’ in their life, waiting for the answers of unformed questions to be revealed to them (as the train wreak gets worse). the sense I make of dealing with chaotic times appears to be rooted in not being ready to understand something. do you know what i’m talking about? where you can’t even form the questions but there’s a strong feeling of wanting some guidance….

what i’m trying to say is, “i’m above confusion, I know the name of the game and the ball is in my court.” and now that I’ve got the smoke screen up i’ll take you around back and fill you in on what’s really going on.

WHATS GOING ON: Sorrentino Woodcraft   &   Sorrentino Photos   &   Tiny House And Land

these are 3 main sources in our life that we spend all day and night thinking about.

well, Tiny House And Land is more on the back burner. it’s a pdf documenting how we saved money & bought a tiny house and land. it’s pretty straight forward but when I started it in January it wasn’t. the challenge was, “how do I know what’s a fair value for it?” i asked folks for their input on what they felt the value was. everyone had a different price limit, the numbers were all over the place. in the end i settled for $30 for a 33 page pdf file with 3 short videos, instant download, no shipping. I’ve paid more money for less quality so $30 seemed fair for what i had to offer. after many rounds of my website getting traffic from other websites promoting us i felt moved to lower the price to $5. i sold about as many ebooks at $30 as i did at $5 but ended on settling with $9.99 (actually it’s now for free, donations optional) where it is today. i don’t loose sleep over. did i learn any lessons from tinkering around with the price, no. it reconfirmed my point of view which is, “people buy what they want within reason”. i wish that people who want to read my ebook but can’t afford parting with $10 would ask me for a free copy. i think the pdf is legit and anyone who wants to read it should, regardless of the money situation. zero sleep lost in this department.

Sorrentino Photos is my love. i love, love, love, capturing little sublet things. i will take pictures of everyone and everything. i started this business because how else am i going to capture the sublets of strangers AND get paid for it. again, like my ebook, it’s a service i would give for free. when we decided to start a photography business mark wrote a friend from high school who is a very successful (natural geographic’s!) photographer asking for some advice. mark was a little disheartened to hear what he had to say. the friend mentioned the lackluster of turning a passion into a job and that starting out we’d be competing with $60 headshots (where as his prices starts at $200, digital files not included). i internalized the advice and said, “fuck it, i’m in”, so the ‘war of worth’ is out the window. i will take the lowest pay, i just want to take pictures. now that we’ve been taking pictures professionally for these last few weeks I see all of the work that goes into it after the shoot is done. on average i take 300 pictures to get 20-60 good ones with 3-10 gems. now that Team Sorrentino is taking pictures together we have 600-800 pictures (per shoot) to go through, one by one, then we resize them and present the best ones. it takes hours to go through 800 pictures, “which one is better? is that one blurry even when you zoom in beyond humanly necessary?” each picture gets a handful of questions. I LOVE IT. i can’t sleep til 6am because i’m too pumped on happy chemicals to put the pictures away. no problems here, just need more clients.

Sorrentino Woodcraft is marks love… and worry. mark is very talented. ask him, “how do you know how to build a guitar” and he will laugh and say, “it’s easy”. <—- see!! natural talent. marks not a salesman, he’s a very shy woodworker. we had a booth at the farmers market in Arkansas and the sales were up and down one week to the next (in a town of 2,000 people). now that were in dallas/fort worth we’re moments away from setting up our farmers market stand again. because this is our sole focus we took the time to actually make our booth reflect the beauty of the crafts we’re selling, no more slobs here. we went to world market to get some display items to hold our woodcraft. originally we were going to handcraft the displays our self (& already bought the wood for it) but i could tell that we’re already spreading our self too thin with all the woodcraft on our to-do list. we came across olive wood spoons for $5! we’ve been selling our spoons for $18. i picked up the spoon and turned to mark, “hey, why don’t we sell these for $18, they’re already made”. that left a bad taste in my mouth. usually i think don’t say shit like that because i find it in bad taste but i was feeling a bit defensive when i saw the price tag. the joke was really bad. it’s like asking Nick Baxter to not bother expressing himself through painting his incredibly moving pieces of art and instead resell something cheaper, all ready done junk. fuck it, it’s just retail, no self expression here. FYI: mark selling his spoons is not a retail job. the craft imparts something of him that can not come out any other way. yet at $18 how does he compete with the $5 mass produced stuff? at $18 a spoon, with his current tools and skill level i bet he’s NOT even making $5/hour after cost. seeing that $5 spoon makes me want to lower our price, i haven’t talked to him about it yet but it’s all i’m thinking about at 4am.

spoon & chickies 032

pricing, that’s really the struggle of where we’re at right now. mark had been making wooden guitar pics for a few years when i first helped him hand sand one smooth. within 15 minutes of sanding i got a new perspective on what it means to handcraft something. for some reason i’m willing to lay down and take minimum wage but mark struggles with maintaining a value. maybe because he’s the one putting in all the work.DSC_0004

with all that said, i hope that everyone understands that i’m talking honestly about our joys and passions. we love what we do. any insight or perspective is much appreciated. DSC_0003

TO SEE SOME RECENT PICTURES I TOOK  CHECK OUT: 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

DSC_0027our adventure over the last few days involved dallas. eli mentioned that she had 2 extra tickets to the dallas symphony and wanted us to go with her and frank. eli is my fanciest friend, that is worth noting. we had the time so we drove from arkansas to tx.

being on time is by no stretch my strong point. it haunts me to the point that i avoid even trying to idenify my pattern. it’s beyond traumatic when i run late, my chest gets heavy (like 100 lbs of pressure is about to collapse my lungs & heart), i can’t breathe and feel like i’m on the verge of having someone hate me…. not hate ME but hate that they have to deal with me.

i’ve been in the food industry for 15 years. i pretty much cannot walk into a place of business like the average person. i can detect exhaustion from a mile away which triggers a feeling like i’m on egg shells.

before heading back home we stopped in whole foods 30 minutes before they closed. to back track, whole foods was also the first place we went when we got in town too. that first morning the guy at the deli counter was an older guy, maybe in his late 50s. he had no extra energy to be nice. that set the tone for this late night whole foods panic attack. i walk up to the deli and asked the young guy (late 20s, early 30s) to slice some meat for me. he said in the most nicest tone ever that he wrapped up what i wanted and that he’d gladly unwrap it and hook it up.

i try to drop those kinds of hints at my job more often that i’m able to. i want to educate every customer. for every one step that you see at a store or restaurant there’s 30 steps and 5 people behind the scene to make this process look as painless as possible. i think that’s an unfair role for employees to play because it sets up an expection that is not based on reality. some modern conveniences seem like they promote living in a fantasy. like if i carry out 4 pre-dinner salads with my 2 hands and you ask me where the bread is… i just don’t want to be that person.

so standing at the counter 30 minutes before close i feel like i’m running late and making your job harder than it has to be. i feel like i can’t breathe. you’re being nice to me. i ask for another item that i don’t see… because you already put it away. you stumble on the way to pronounce the brand name and mention that “it’s been a long day”. i don’t think you’re trying the milk the situation. i think you’re telling me in the most humanly way possible while following family friendly codes that you’ve had enough. you’re doing your best.

the panic that i’m feeling is mounting. i never feel like that at the farmers market.

there’s no celine deon in the background or florescent lights overhead. none of the customers look like they just left yoga class or a model shoot.
our farmers market is so relaxed. because we go every week, year round, the farmers always to throw in something extra for free. i always want to give them our money. i always want to pay full price. i really value their products and the atmosphere. i will pay extra to not have a minor panic attack and to feel comfortable in my skin.

i don’t know anyone else who feels this way. i don’t find this experience universal.

spoon & chickies 032
yay! mark made us spoons! now we’re tiny house people who use hand made spoons. i’ve become obsessed with my bamboo wooden spoon to the point of it falling apart. marks been cranking out so many wooden goods (spoons & guitar picks mostly) that everytime a set of wooden spoons leaves our land we’d have sad faces with hopeful eyes….then say to each other, “maybe we can have epic spoons too?!”

in addition to showing off the goods i wanted to say “good job” to mark who sold his first guitar. super proud. fair well sweet ass beaver spine inlay guitar, god speed.

our tiny home

****read about our NO PLUMBING LIFESTYLE HERE****

CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBSITE: http://www.tinyhouseandland.com/

now that most of everything is done i encourage everyone to take a trip out to see us and our small little mountain town that we live in. 6.5 hours from dallas is a short trip and the pressure to entertain has me creating a list on where we could take people around here…lots of lakes, rives, hiking trails, adventures through the town (lots of magical garden stone stairways leading to god knows where) and a ton of tourist shit that does look interesting. come stay on our couch and shit in our bucket, stay in a cabin on our dirt road (they have jacuzzis) or a cheap motel in town 6 miles away for $40/2beds per night. you know me, i’ll make feasts for dinner and ask you a million questions about your life. so that’s my sales pitch, see you soon.

stone stair, one of many

everything takes longer that i thought. even if we had all of the money when we started, which we didn’t, things just take a while. our first month here we lived in a very hot car, bought ice everyday for our cooler and showered in town at motels once every 5 or 6 days. 2 or 3 blog post back, you can read all about how we lived in a car. mark put together the first thing on our list. MAILBOX, $60

while sleeping in the car, working a million hours a week we saved up for the 2nd thing on our list. EXCAVATION, $300

with the excavation done we had a place on our land to park our car and a flat space to put 2 buildings. we bought marks workspace first because it is smaller and cheaper and we needed to get out of the car. MARKS WOODWORKING SHED, $1,300

we decided that we’d give mark til the spring-ish to working for himself. i make enough money at my job to take care of our present needs (food, gas, etc) as well as save for our land goals. i’ve got a good job but most of the jobs out here are shitty. with one car and living outside of town the stress of juggling the transportation issue is not worth it. in dallas i had a few months when i was being too cheap to shell out $4 a day to take the bus so i’d wait 30 mintues-2 hours for mark to pick me up. i was suprised how easily that brought me down into a depression. i was so suprised that taking the bus made me feel so much better, like my life wasn’t on hold or dependent on someone else. i mean, a lot of times i wouldn’t get home any faster because the bus would take 4 times longer (at least) than if i just waited for a ride. so with that behind me, the idea of waiting around in town, for mark to get off some lame job paying him $7 an hour….no no no. he wants to build guitars, we live in a tourist town in a musical region, we don’t have rent to pay. what better time and place to follow his passion. he can spend 30 hours a week on building shit he cares about and 10 hours a week coming up with different tourist shit that he could sell in town or online. he’s got until spring-ish to work all of this out. we have financial markers, if he can meet those goals than all is well, if he can meet some of those goals he might need to get a part time jig and if this all flops than wood working will become a hobby and he’ll get a job. i believe in him, his wood working is outstanding and i believe he needs to be given a chance. with that said, we were living in his work space so his money making projects were be pushed back so he’s currently in charge of the construction issues. someone’s got to be here when the excavator or electrition comes out. he’s also doing all the manual labor which is a full time job in and of itself.

across from our home in the fog

before the electrition could come out we needed the ELECTRICITY TURNED ON, $285. after a month and a half of living off other peoples electricity (through buying bags of ice or charging our laptop/phone at mcdonalds) i could understand why people living without electricity say that one needs to ween themself off. until i have a set up that doesn’t require electricity then it’s tough going without. weening myself off would simply be creating alternatives to heating & cooling (super insulated house) and alternatives to fridge & freezer (having a fully functioning piece of land with plants, animals and orchards). cold turkey just isn’t going to work. i’m not thrilled about “the grid” but i’m releived to be on it. i am aware of mountain top removal and know that we’re all between a rock and a hard place. “weening” is the word of the day. as you know, i’m against the usage of the words “green”, “alternative” & “renewable” in the same sentence as “solar panel” & “wind power”….it’s still ALL mountain top removal and oil based production. let’s not be confused. so maybe if our land didn’t already have the grid on it maybe i’d go wind or solar. the bigger picture is to ween off. BACK ON TRACK…the ELECTRIC WIRING & METER LOOP, $500.

after 2 weeks of sleeping in the hot, hot shed, doors closed and one window with no air to circulate, we now have power. A/C UNIT, $150 we also got an LED ROPE LIGHT, 2 CHEST FREEZERS, FAN, $400

2 chest freezers took a few weeks to get delivered from the city to our shed, so we continued using the cooler…some times calling it “the fridge” by mistake. i watched this video about converting a chest freezer into a fridge for $12/year in electric cost. FREEZER CONVERTER, $15. we looked into all the ways we could use less energy. it turns out that if set your A/C to 80 degrees and use a floor fan…or no A/C and only a fan that you’d be doing yourself a finanical favor.

turns chest freezer into fridge

yes please! and bought a SINGLE BURNER ELECTRIC STOVE TOP that we can unplug when not using, $70.

8 WINDOWS(craigslist), $25 ~STACKABLE CLOTHES BINS (strong off gas smell),$30 ~WOOL RUG large, $150 ~WALLPAPER, $170 ~PAINT (zero VOCs), $140

i’ve been called extreme for avoiding stryofoam but things like BPA, pthylates (& other plasticizers) and VOCs in the blood have been linked to infertility. every time i come at the crossroads of buying grass fed beef or a cup of coffee in stryofoam, once in a while doesn’t seem like a big deal but I HAVE TO remind myself EACH TIME, what if this is what’s coming between me and never having a baby….really. shit is sad. if avoiding stryofoam is extreme then what does it say about what’s at stake. my odds for getting pregnant so far are not looking good. i don’t want to be living in a home that is off gassing 24/7. we couldn’t find any VOC-free wallpaper glue so we made CORN PASTE, $3 our KITCHEN COUNTER TOP, FREE (used, thanks sue!) a KITCHEN VENT is $70

then we had our money together to buy our TINY HOUSE, $3,224

the company builds these building in all shapes and sizes. they can custom build to your liking and drop them off ready to go. we gave them 5 of our craigs list windows so that we wouldn’t have to buy their tiny windows at $75 each. no good. we could have had them add on a loft for $100 but it was too high up for me. so once it was delivered mark could start his full time manual labor. first he build us a LOFT BED, $104 then a STAIRCASE W/ DRAWERS, $50 then our TINY HOUSE GOT ELECTRIC, $287. as soon as we had some more money collected mark did the INSULATION & DRYWALL, $300

we bought a fancy couch off craigs list that was in really good shape and didn’t smell like shit….like so many other funky couches did. the house that we picked up the couch from was a epic, designed by the owner. the house was a one of a kind. COUCH, $150

UHAUL our stuff from dallas, $500 ~STORAGE while manual labor was taking place, $66

so you add up all the things needed to pull this off. $8,000 for the land + $8,245 for shit mentioned above = $16,245
****read about our NO PLUMBING LIFESTYLE HERE****

anarchist kitchen tiny house and land

our tiny house pictures & info: TinyHouseAndLand.com

now let’s play with the numbers. let’s say you wanted out of the city because living in the woods is SOOOOO SOOOO nice, safe, totally opposite of overstimulating and my guard is never sky-high like it was in the city. i feel much more relaxed. if you didn’t have to buy the land and only  wanted the lifestyle….to own a tiny house would cost you $4500 (more or less)…which would be the same cost as paying $375 per month for one year then NEVER PAYING RENT/MORAGE EVER AGAIN.

we stuck it out for 3 months and now we’re homeowners. starting with nothing, we made it happen.

living in the woods is so much better than i imagined. peeing outside as a standard is good. before i knew it was good, waiting to “go” in a toilet wasn’t an inconvenience, town is super close by. i do not get lonely because i work a bunch and am always around people. having close friends at hand is the same challenge that i felt in dallas…as strange as that sounds, that gap doesn’t feel further apart. i’m always looking forward to getting letters in the mail and want more penpals.

the farmers market is legit. small but so far everyone i’ve meet is organic! and they don’t even know how special that is to me!!! it’s year round, right in town, twice a week, there is live music (mark wants to get in on that). they have a booth that’s just for socializing, it’s like they encourage loitering. wow. organic heirloom tomatoes $1.50/lb….holla!

the library is straight out of my dreams. on the list of things that i wanted out of buying land, i really wanted to be near a library that was like the one from my childhood. in upstate ny we had a little library that was an old stone building and now i’ve got it again. this ones even cooler. being a small town i figured that the book selection wouldn’t be up to par with my high horse standards and that i’d have to inner library loan everything. this is a total artist town and i’ve already read a good feminist book and now onto a composting toilet book. we’ve watched a bunch of wicked documentaries. so far so good.

the health food store in town in locally owned but more expensive than whole foods (yep) but it’s cozy and not a clusterfuck. we like to drive to the city once a week to go to the food co-op because it’s cheaper. they sell ungraded eggs and duck eggs and local/organic produce and tons of pastured animal foods. and no one looks like they just left their yoga class.

now we only shower once a week in the city (no motels) at the TRUCK STOP SHOWER, $10. PS: i love bathing at the truck stop but soon we’ll start bathing in our tiny house. once that’s figured out i will share the info.

our local beef meat share is truly local. they will meet us at the co-op with a 24 hour heads up and we plan to get a quarter cow for $3/lb with 150lbs of steak, ground beef and bone goodness.

with all that good shit out of the way i will say a few things coming from a different angle.

currently we’re thinking that we very well might not be on this piece of land forever. we’re planning to save for another 18 months or so and go check out land elsewhere. we’re thinking about oregon but right now it’s only a thought. i love our land but right now it’s only a home, not a homestead. the ozarks are beautiful and affordable but it’s all trees and rocks. the rocks are a challenge when i think about building up a homestead, more than a novel garden.  with our piece of land i really really do not want to cut a bunch a trees down. we bought this piece of land because we love it, but we love it for what it is. i wish we had a piece of land that we’d love for what it will become. another thing about the ozarks and our piece of land in particular, even though we have 4.7 acres, only HALF of that is really usable. so i’d rather have a larger piece of land. this area is all slopes, to make slopes usable is costly and challenging.  i’m already a bit connected to this area because it’s a small town but full of herbs and organics and artist/gays/bikers (all the mainstream rejects). the shops don’t even have hours on their doors, people do what they please. but if i could be this close to a lively little town with land more suited to what we’re looking for (larger, affordable, no crazy slopes or rocks, cooler summers) then we’d walk away from this with nothing lost. our buildings can be moved. our land can be sold. everyone wants to move here. we paid $8,000 for 4.7 acres. there’s 2 acres (of more useable land) directly across from our plot for sale for $30,000. i’m confident we could make a profit if we sold this. because we’re not super attached to how this land is being used because we don’t have our larger vision here, if any of our homies wanted to come on to our land and use it, it’s free to use and there’s a million shitty joe jobs in town that are 8 months out of the year, many even paying unemployment through the winter…or a 45 minute drive (no traffic through the country) to the city for better job selections. PS: if you’re a hippy, you can sell your hippy shit in town, they’ll love it.

lastly, i really need to be around good spring water, hot springs sucks. i miss canton. canton, i love you! there are good springs in oregon. god speed.

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summer kids, dumpster, woods 077 copy

 

marks 2nd guitar

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Marks current project