Update – In a Holding Pattern


2011 has been a busy year for me with little opportunity to work on the tiny free house. Yesterday we were at the family farm for a few hours to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and I snapped the photo below. The house appears to be no worse for wear. Putting the roof on it last fall was definitely the right thing to do.

The big news I have to report for 2011 is the adoption of a baby girl – growing our family to 4 (mom, dad, and two daughters). Our little one is almost two years old now and we’ve had her in our home full time since she was about 8 months old – but we’ve known her since birth.

You see our daughter’s birth parents are relatives who’s lives spun out of control and into the lap of the law. It’s a sad story but at least their three children (13, 6, and 2) safely landed in the arms of family after a short (1 month) stay in the official foster system. The other two have been adopted by their grandparents.

It’s situations like this that scream for the right kind of help from the community (a.k.a. the system). For example if safe and low cost housing were available to people who fall on tough times, bad luck, drug dependencies, whatever… maybe they would get the leg-up needed to pull things together themselves. Our society seems  to reward those who have good luck with the money game and punish those that don’t. To top it all off all the rules/laws seem to be written to amplify this effect instead of helping everyone achieve their goals.

I don’t have the answers for these bigger questions but I’m sure something useful will be learned by my effort.  Check back in 2012 – if my current time constraints reduce I’ll be back at it and highly motivated to finish my tiny free house.

Oh by the way. Just to the right of the house is another natural gas well going in nearby. The area is now littered with fracked gas wells.

Micro Green Book Error

Just in case you’ve come here after reading Mimi Zeiger’s new book, Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, I need to point out an error as it pertains to my story and this project.

The book incorrectly says:

“Equipped with a bathroom and kitchen, it accomodates his entire family. Janzen, his wife, and young daughter all live, eat, and sleep in one room.”

The house is designed to accomodate my family but we do not live in a tiny house full-time, nor intend to. This tiny house is an experiment in extremely low-cost housing that we’ll use as a home away from home. It could also serve as a Plan B in the event of major economic trouble.

Form more information on this project read:

Besides this error in Mimi’s book I’d say it’s a good value for someone looking to see more examples of tiny houses. Another good book on the topic is The Small House Book by Jay Shafer.

You can learn more about tiny house at TinyHouseDesign.com and TinyHouseBlog.com.

You can buy a copy of Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature on Amazon.

Good News and Sad News

The good news is that I’ll most likely be moving the Tiny Free House off the family farm and closer to home. In fact I may squeeze it along side my regular house and fence in a little more of my side yard to keep my neighbors from freaking out. This is good news because having it here will allow me to work on it much more often.

The sad news is that it looks like the family farm is going to have to be sold. Both the primary legal owners are retired and living there… and living way out in rural anywhere doesn’t always make the most sense as we all get older. So both are carefully working through the details of selling and moving. It’s sad because the land has been in my wife’s family for over 100 years. But then again 100 years ago the world was a very different place and the needs of folks back then were quite a bit different from folks these days.

So while this is good and sad news it also seems like the right thing to do all the way around. Although it does increase my interest in finishing the house soon and finding some cheap land to set it up as a home away from home.

So stay tuned… now I’m working on moving day preparations like finding the quickest way to batten down the pallets and exploring the best freeway-free path to safely make the 60 mile trip. The house IS on wheels but it’s far from complete and will need some added support to make it through all the bumps and turns.