Tag Archives: beginner

November Update: Home Is Where the House Is

Where to even begin!

Our house is dry-in  (as far as we can tell)!  That means waterproof, that means the outside is pretty much done!

And the house moved to Oregon.  Wait…what?  You’re in Oregon now?  Yes, we’re in Oregon.  Our lease was up on the sheep ranch we were still building, so it was time to mosey on.   Good thing we’re building a house on wheels.  Now we’re living in a small community in southwestern Oregon near Ashland.  Trillium Farm is a stunningly beautiful place, and we are feeling very fortunate to living here alongside inspiring people, deep in the wilderness.

Here are some pictures of our little house, as we put the roof up and siding on.

 

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And here it she sits, at Trillium, in Oregon.

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If you blow up the picture below you can see small houses dotting the hillside, and if you look reeally close, you can spot Hoss, our big yellow truck.  If you don’t want to squint, just rest your eyes and know that we live just above that green valley down the middle.
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A baby bear print.

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Joseph is in New York now, planning another fun year of Christmas-tree-forest wonder on the  Lower East Side at St. Marks Church in the Bowery. #TreeRidersNYC 

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Here is a picture of the tiny house he builds every year on the sidewalk of Manhattan… more pics and upgrades to come!

Year one, very little building skills required mostly nailed together then scrapped 😦

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Year two, a little more skillful from year one.  We kept some of the pieces for re-use:

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Year Three: after working on tiny house.  This one was built in panels that bolt onto a base then bolt together… much like our house!  And the only thing I will be replacing is the floor (which got kind of snow/water-logged last year).

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Sarah has started a new job with SumOfUs.  SumOfUs is a worldwide movement for a better global economy, which fights for people over profits, and to limit corporate power.  Sarah serves as the Executive Program Coordinator where she… coordinates programs for the Executives 🙂  She works closely with the Executive Director and Chief of Staff, and also the Board and major donors.   The SumOfUs staff all works remotely so Sarah can carry out her duties while nestled in the mountains of Oregon… or cozied up in a Tree Shack in the East Village, NYC… or even while sipping coffee on a visit to sunny Petaluma!

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Here is a photo from a recent SumOfUs action in Australia, from a campaign to stop Doritos from using palm oil sourced from rainforest deforestation.  More on the Doritos campaign here.  And all of SumOfUs’ campaigns here.

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So, there the house rests in Oregon, and here we are, New York at the moment, and Oregon again soon.  Change swirling around us as we relax into movement as a way of being.  What the new year will bring?  Who knows.  All we know is that this linear time will keep coming and we’ll keep flexing and learning, board by board.

Next up:  Helpful practices we use to keep our heads straight while building.

 

Here’s Annie-Lamb-Boleyn just for good measure:wpid-20141015_161304.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I used to be a pretty good caterpillar

by Sarah

I listened to this episode of Radiolab where they explored what actually goes on in a cocoon.  A caterpillar enters; a butterfly or moth emerges.  And in the meantime, the in between time, the being is neither a caterpillar nor a butterfly but a sort of goo.  Certain things last through the period of change–caterpillars that were taught to react to a loud noise grow into butterflies that also react. Certain baby-butterfly structures, like little wing-lets, grow in the caterpillar, and those don’t dissolve when the rest of the animal does.  But most things fall away, fall apart.  And the next things, the butterfly things, don’t grow in for awhile.

Sometimes I feel that I am this goo–neither caterpillar nor butterfly–but a shapeless being, an unsure being, not knowing of what form I’ll take next or how I’ll get there.  Our tiny house feels gooey to me sometimes.  So does my work. And where we’ll live.

I look back on times in my life when I think I had it more together, and I want that again.  I want to know who I am and what I do.  The thing about being a pretty good caterpillar, though, or even a very good one, is that you have to change.  And change is messy.

So what to do, when you’re goo?  Here are three things.

1.  Stay the Course
We said we were going to build this tiny house and we are going to build this tiny house!  Committed.  To the house.  And to doing the house now, and not doing the next thing until next time.

2.  Try some continuity from day to day, from week to week
For me, not having a schedule feels like freedom–oh!  I can do whatever I want! I’m free!  But I know that’s not so.  I know I end up mulling over what to do next, agonizing over if I’ve chosen the right thing.  I know that a schedule offers some bones, some structure.

3.  Be soft
I am soft, goo is soft, this is all very soft.  As often as I remember to, I remember to be soft, to be patient, to be accepting.  This is how I am right now.  This is how my life is right now.  I’m not that sturdy, robust, energetic little caterpillar that I was.  I don’t know what I’ll be next, or when.  But in the meantime, the in between time–which might be all time!–what about practicing softness, kindness, and not forcing?  It’s hard to be soft.  But I think it’s the thing to try towards.

Is anyone else goo-full (goo-ti-ful perhaps?) these days? Are you doing anything (or not doing anything?) that helps you withstand the transformation?

Lifting Heavy Things

by Sarah

I’ve noticed, both with building and with sheep ranch work, that many of the materials and tools we use are designed for people larger and stronger than me.  We bought the ultralight weed-whacker with the easy-pull string, and it’s hard for me to get it started.   The tubs of nutritional molasses that we give to the sheep weigh more than me.  And the impact driver twists my wrist, rather than twisting the five-eighths bit into the two-by-four.  I have felt small and weak in my environment before, but never more so than now, when I am spending much of my time on building and ranch care, and am working side-by-side with Joseph.

These tools were designed, and standard material sizes were determined, with a man’s dimensions in mind.  Like many things in our physical reality.  Those are very different than my dimensions.  Of course, many women are also strong enough to use the tools with ease, but I am not, and may never be.

Instead, I am figuring out how I need to use tools and move materials.  Sometimes it’s a little different, and sometimes very different, than how Joseph would.  I’ve gotten more playful about this.  It feels more like a creative challenge than a roadblock.  How can I “hack” these tools that were designed for people with larger hands, stronger arms,  etc., and make them work for me?

In the following video, I convince a sheet of plywood and a six-by-six piece of lumber to cooperate with me.

Occasionally, it’s been useful to be small, as in the photo at the top of this post.  Screwing the nut onto the anchor bolt inside the Simpson Strong Tie is work for tiny, tiny hands!

I wonder, have any of you felt that you are taking action in a physical space that was not designed with you in mind?