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Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Sincerest Gratitude

This is an open letter of thanks to Lloyd Kahn for writing and publishing the book Tiny Homes Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century:

Dear Mr. Kahn-

I recently purchased your very fine book Tiny Homes and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for it because it has changed my life.  That obviously sounds unbelievable but let me explain. I, like lots of people, have always wanted to live in the country, but gave up hope of ever doing that when I married my confirmed city-boy husband.  Four years ago we moved to a quarter-acre suburban lot as a compromise between living in the city for him, and living in the country for me.  In that four years, I built a garden and a chicken coop and learned to can; he had our asphalt roof replaced this summer with a metal roof so that we can harvest rainwater from it, and had a 4.5Kw solar PV system and a solar water heater installed. He also taught himself to brew beer.  I was surprised but still didn't have a lot of hope when he mentioned during our trip south to the Bay Area for Christmas that the only way we could move to the country is if we won the lottery and could do it right.  Well, that's just great, I thought; all we have to do is win the lottery, which isn't going to happen. The change here is that instead of saying absolutely no way to country living, he was at least considering how it could be done.  And that he was amenable to it it, to a degree.

Then about two weeks ago I bought Tiny Homes.  I enjoyed it immensely, and left it in my favorite reading spot.  I asked Steve to take a look at it because it has some really clever solutions in it, plus it's just a really enjoyable book. He did look at it, over the course of the last two weeks. We've both been picking it up and thumbing through it. Then I started saying things, like, if we did this then we could do this, and he'd think about that. Then I noticed that he was engaging in this conversation, and not closing up to it.  I think it was the stories on the cob houses that did it, partly because they are hobbity, and that would appeal to him anyway, and partly because they are so incredibly cheap to build, but eventually I pointed out that he seemed to be thinking about this, and was he thinking maybe we could move to the country.  I asked him what his thinking was, and he thinks that after buying a property and building a house on it for cash, that it would be a good thing to provide our own water, our own power, and our own heat, and most of our calories with a garden.  The short of it is this: we are now planning a move to the country, and I couldn't be more stoked about it.  We want to pay off the mortgage on this place first, which we figure we can do in a couple of years, and we still have educate ourselves on buying a piece of land, and we still need to figure out where we're going to go, but we have a new goal in mind and are pursuing it.  This changes everything; there are projects that I have planned for this place that won't take place now, because I don't need to spend the time and money on them (or energy).  It also means that because we're planning a much smaller house, I need to start getting rid of a lot of possessions, and I'm totally okay with this. We have a lot of driving around to do, and a lot of thinking and a lot of planning.  But we are going to do it, and I have only you to thank for this change.   That's how good your book was, and I am sincerely grateful that you took two years of your life to put it together, because in two short weeks it's changed mine.

Where I couldn't convince him that this was possible, you did with your book, and I will be forever grateful for that.


Rae said...

Yay! You need to move out our way. :) I'm so stoked for you!!!

And LJ, who thinks he's funny, said, "they already make tiny homes. They're called single-wides." And then chuckled at his really funny joke. (I agree, not so funny, but he's making breakfast and I don't want to, so there you have it).

Miriam said...

Wow, big changes on the home front! Your excitement is coming through loud and clear, and I am just thrilled for you. All your hard work and learning of the last few years is going to be put to such good use as you start your new homestead from scratch - what an amazing journey you're going to have!

Have you seen the Wayward Spark blog? There's lots there, but what I'm thinking of is her writing about how a family of four lives and thrives in a tiny house not connected to the grid.


Christian said...

My copy is on its way from Amazon. :)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Well, THAT'S a big change! And very exciting. Are you going to stay in the Portland area, or expand your search to other places?

Having followed your adventures for the last couple of years, I can imagine how energizing and motivating a decision like this must be for you.

Carolyn said...

I'm very excited for you! It's amazing what a clever book can do. And it's a blessing that you have two years to ease the husband into more changing and growing and thinking.

Yay for you!

Paula said...

Single wides are indeed tiny little houses. My grandmother lived in one. It was supposed to be temporary until my grandfather had their house built on the ranch he bought in Dinuba, CA, but then he died of pancreatic cancer and all my grandmother had left was a little (very little- my aunt's husband stole most of it) money in the bank and that single wide. So my pop moved her up to a trailer park in Campbell, CA (which is long gone) which was mostly populated by old folks, so I think she mostly enjoyed herself. But it was tiny.

Thanks for understanding my excitement Miriam.

Oh good, Christian. I kind of had you in mind when I wrote my last post. I sure hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Be ready for some hippie houses. I also borrowed Homework: Handbuilt Shelter from the library and enjoyed that too.

I dunno, Tamar. We'd like to be free to go where we want but we may still have to keep jobs- I'm not sure about that. We'll definitely stay in the PNW, but don't know if we'll go south or west or north to Washington. Washington has the great lure of being a non-state-income-tax state like we had in FL. But moving in a more southerly direction takes us closer to family. Fortunately, we have a few years to decide!

jules said...


click clack gorilla said...

Oh awesome!!!! No, that wasn't loud enough. AWESOME!