Category: Small House Living

Paying it Forward Tiny House Project

Today, we have a guest post from Mark Brumbill, a teacher in Georgia, who, as of July 3, will be officially homeless as his mortgage company forecloses on his home. Mark has a great idea, though, to not only help his own family, but to create a community of people who can help each other attain their dream of building a tiny debt-free home by paying it forward. Please consider just giving a dollar if you can.


One of the plans Mark and Sheri are considering

We’re an average middle class blended family with four kids to care for, a mortgage, and way too many bills.  Like many others, we were barely making it when disaster struck.

Last year, my wife, Sheri, became ill and unable to go on any longer as a hair stylist.  After that, what was left of our lives began to unravel.


Crazy Dog Lady Chronicles




Several weeks ago, while taking Abbi to one of her many vet appointments since she came to live with us, I couldn’t help but notice a man signing the release to have the dog that was with him killed. (Note: I only use the term ‘euthanize’ when it is done to relieve the suffering of an animal).

The dog seemed timid, but I could tell she was young. I couldn’t help but notice she had recently had pups, very recently.

He came to the counter and shaking, signed the form. He had tears in his eyes. I wasn’t going to ask but was glad when another woman there with her dog did.

The man said that the dog had wandered up to his farm a couple of months prior. They soon realized the dog was pregnant. He and his wife had taken her in, named her Blair and taken care of her puppies. The litter was barely weaned, but he said he felt he had no choice but to “put her down” because she was chasing and killing his chickens.

As he was led to the back, I paced the waiting room and worried about this poor dog, her only crimes being abandoned and then following her instincts with poultry.

We were led to a room fairly quickly and I barely heard what the vet had to say about Abbi’s latest medical issue.

“Are y’all really going to put that healthy dog down?” I asked.

“Are you interested?”


What Guests can Teach us at Our Little House

We had a great weekend this past weekend as my friend, and Living Large community member, Kathleen Winn, paid us a visit.

Entertaining in a tiny/small home is always a challenge – especially when there are six dogs underfoot – but I think Kathy had as good a time as we did.

She good naturedly allowed the dogs their “wild time” as they always get very excited to see people other than me and Dale (although I gave her free reign to tell them, “enough”) and said Our Little House didn’t feel as small as 480-square feet sounded and didn’t feel cramped, but rather, “cozy.”

As well, we didn’t spend a lot of time at Our Little House, as I wanted to show her around the area too. We took long walks on our road, visited a couple of my favorite retro/antique stores, ate a nice Asian lunch (I had sushi, Kathleen had Chinese at the same restaurant), spent some time on our beautiful lake, ate a nice dinner of bacon wrapped shrimp and even did some target shooting.

When we were home, we made use of the Party Deck. It’s always good to have outdoor living spaces in a small home.

It’s also great that we have The Belle Writer’s Studio, which is equipped with a fold down futon and its own bathroom, which gives us and guests plenty of privacy.

We don’t entertain overnight guests a whole lot, maybe a couple of times a year. I like to give our guests a B&B feel when they’re here, which means setting them up with refreshments in the studio, complete with coffee for the next morning and cold drinks in the mini-fridge.

Unfortunately, I think the biggest glitch to the weekend was that we forgot to turn on the hot water tank to the studio before her arrival. We use it so occasionally that we typically do not pay to keep it on, which also saves energy.

She described her shower on Sunday morning as “tepid.”  Oops.

I love having guests come and stay with us at Our Little House. Last week, I wrote that our first five years here had been full of mixed emotions literally rooted in feeling homesick for our hometown.

Showing Kathleen around Our Little House, the beauty of our area and what our new home has to offer made us appreciate even more our move here. This is a side benefit of seeing good friends again. Acting as a tour guide, it allows one to see their home in a new light too.

I also immediately made a master “to do” list of everything that needs to get done before someone else comes to visit. Maybe they’ll even get a hot shower.

Do you have a small space? How do you accommodate guests or what is the biggest benefit, aside from seeing friends and loved ones that you’ve found when they come to visit?  



At Home at Our Little House

Kansas City


We visited our hometown, Kansas City, over Memorial Day weekend.

It has now been five years since we moved to Our Little House, and it has been interesting for us to see how we have reacted to going “home” throughout the years.

When we first moved here, Dale remained in Kansas City for three months while he trained his replacement at work and sought the job he was after here in our new town.

My first friend here owned an antique shop in town. She had moved here with her husband from another large city several years prior. It was a little disconcerting to see how unhappy she was living in this rural area. While she had tried to build a life here, she didn’t ever seem settled.

That was not the best summer for me either, just months after my mother died, living here alone in a new place; far from friends and activities I enjoyed all of my life in the city.


Ceiling Racks a Great Space Saver in a Small Home

Today, Jakob Barry guest posts about how ceiling racks can help save space in a small kitchen:

When the house I grew up in was going to be sold, I was one of the lucky ones who got to clean it out. Among the things that were given to me were a bunch of good quality pots and pans, the kind made to last a lifetime. In a way they already had lasted a good forty years, so I’ll call it two lifetimes!

After packing and shipping my new belongings, the boxes arrived and sat around in my living room for a while till I could figure out what to do with them. It wasn’t that there were so many, but my kitchen in the small home I was living in couldn’t handle the overload.

I probably could have stuffed a few here and there but I generally like to have the abode in reasonable shape, which means as little clutter and extra tchotchkes lying around as possible.

I searched for all kinds of solutions until a friend suggested I was overlooking the obvious to ease my predicament: a kitchen ceiling rack.



The Dogs of Campbell Town Part Deux


Dexter with Molly in the background


Our dogs at Our Little House are an important part of our lives. No decision is made that doesn’t also affect or take them into account.

Since our pack has changed somewhat since I introduced you to them, I thought it time for a reintroduction.

Our once Fearsome Four has evolved into a Stunning Six. If we thought it was crowded in Our Little House before, now it’s positively cramped. It’s a nice, comfortable sort of cramped, though, with just the right amount of space for everybody and everydog.


Appreciating Each Day

There’s nothing to remind us of how fragile our lives are like losing someone we know, particularly when that person is only 39-years-old. Our friend’s daughter passed away at the end of last week. She was young and of course, it was very unexpected.

When we first moved to Our Little House, one of my goals was to regularly do something we had never tried before or see places we had never been.

We’ve tried a lot of stuff. Bowling, which I had done regularly when I was younger, was something I got Dale to try. We’ve also went canoeing, which I didn’t like because I couldn’t quite get the balance thing, but it was ok. and I’m glad I tried it.


Container Crop Loss, or Tomatoes and Rats Revisited

Our roma tomato plant was as big as this cherry tomato plant



Mother’s Day did not start out well for me.

When I got up, Dale said, “Something got one of the tomato plants last night.”

I went out to the party deck and sure enough, two of the three roma tomato stalks had been sheared off almost at the base.

When I wrote about tomatoes and rats a couple of weeks ago, I was writing a general update on what was happening on the deck, I didn’t necessarily think the rat would eat at the tomato plants, but now I’m not so sure.

We’ve been wondering what has been attracting rats up on our deck since we don’t keep dog food or anything else out there.

One night last week, I took Molly and Dakota out for their before bed potty excursion and Molly immediately started chasing a rat on the deck.