Living Large In Our Little House Blog

Enjoying (Some) of the Wildlife at Our Little House

With cameras on most of our cell phones, it isn’t very often that many of us don’t have one available.

But why is it when I don’t have a camera with me that a great photo opportunity always comes up?

I had just placed a fresh bottle of homemade hummingbird food out the other morning and was standing on the deck waiting for Dakota to do her business when one of the little buggers hovered and then landed on the feeder for at least two minutes, not more than 3 feet away. Of course, I didn’t even have my cell phone with me. Darn!

Photographing wildlife, lizards and cool insects is just one of the many rewards I’ve found of living in the country.

A couple of weeks ago, I was startled by a really high pitched screeching sound. It was night and again, I was out with Dakota. We both scurried back in pretty fast and the next morning, I asked my friends on social media what it could be.


We’re Hot for our Regency Wood Stove

We’re having our hottest weather of the summer right now, so it is very counterintuitive of me to write about wood stoves.

But the reality is that it will not stay hot or even warm for very much longer and we’re starting to think about where we will source our wood and also getting the stove pipe cleaned out for the upcoming season.

Heating with a wood stove is a lot more work than turning on the thermostat, but it provides that deep warmth only a fire can provide and also saves us money on our electric bill during the winter months.

I was reading the Little Yellow Door blog and Ella’s post about her tiny wood stove. Her Kimberly wood stove is beautiful and quite perfect for a tiny house, but as she points out, it is quite expensive.

I have to put a word in for Regency. We purchased ours F1100 in 2003 and it is very small.


Equipment we Need in the Country

It’s almost time to get the winter wood stocked


When we moved to Our Little House, we were very much city folks. In the city, we had services such as trash pick-up, city snow plow services.

If we needed something, we made a trip to the store and made it back in 15 minutes.

We’ve learned a lot about country life since we moved 50 minutes from the nearest large town (in addition to making cappuccinos and iced coffee at home!)

Out here, it’s just us. When there was a major ice storm that stranded us for 5 days and left us without power for 10, there was no one coming down our road to put salt and sand on it and we relied on each other out here to make sure we all had what we needed.

I’ve made a list of some of the equipment we’ve found we’ve needed out here in the country. If you’re thinking of buying or building your little house outside of town, these are some items you might want to consider:


Funny Farm at Our Little House

At the beginning of our Summer of Fun, we purchased an ATV. Yes, I wanted one to ride on nice evenings, which helps me relieve stress, but it has practical purposes too (more on another post about equipment one might need in the country).

For one, I use it to go up and get our mail. The digital miracle of direct deposit isn’t always offered self-employed contractors and I do sometimes receive paper checks. There are also days I am waiting for other packages and such.

Our mailbox is two miles up the road and Dale typically doesn’t make it home before businesses close that I might need to contact, especially on the east coast.

Truly, I’ve always loved motorized recreational vehicles. My older cousin, Mark, who was always staying with his dad, my uncle and my Aunt Kathy, during the summers we visited them in  rural Kentucky, always had a dirt bike or go-kart to ride.

My aunt, who now lives down the road from us, still tells the story of the time when I was about 10 and got on the go-kart and began riding.


Universal Design Could Help you Later in Your Small Home


When I posted this photo of a cute tiny house on the Living Large Facebook page the other day, one of our Living Largers wrote, “Unfortunately, you couldn’t get a walker through that door.”

That’s very true of many of the tiny houses I’ve seen.

Having written stories on retirement, I knew about Universal Design construction and when we moved to Our Little House in 2007 and initially planned on building a 1,000 square foot home, I was going to ask our builder to use Universal Design.

Since it was going to be our home through retirement – and hopefully the end of our lives – I wanted to do everything I could to ensure we could stay in our home even if we became disabled.

That was the plan anyway. As a John Lennon once said, “Life is something that happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”


Is Minimalism Just Another Way Stuff Rules our Lives?

Most of this stuff will be going bu-bye! But we still won’t qualify as minimalists

Minimalist is a word used frequently in the Tiny and Small House Movement. We take it to mean someone who doesn’t have more possessions than they absolutely need. Some go as far as defining it by saying you can have no more than 100 possessions.

This past weekend, I saw a link to a blog post in my Facebook feed entitled, The Problem with Minimalism.

The writer defines the problems as:

  • Minimalism is for the rich who can simply use smaller (high priced) digital gadgets in favor of a backpack full of items (such as an iPad that can do the work of a notebook, address book, cheaper/older laptop, etc.)
  • Minimalism still makes stuff the focus of your life.

I’m not sure I totally agree with his first point, but can see his argument.

On his second point, I do believe that trying to cut your life down to fewer than 100 items or whatever your definition of minimalism is, does still make stuff the focus of your life.

I see it in the same vein as someone who tries to define the Tiny/Small House Movement in square footage.


Summer is Drawing to a Close

It’s almost time to get the winter wood stocked

It’s not officially time to pull the plug on summer just yet, by the calendar, we still have until September 21, nearly a full two months left of summer. Even if we go by the official last party of summer, Labor Day, we have more than a month.

My aunt’s garden is still producing an abundance of veggies, they haven’t even started canning yet and are sharing the wealth with all of the neighbors, including us.

It has been one awesome summer here at Our Little House. We’ve had friends and family in for visits, been on the water a few times, saw the Little River Band in concert and given that it has been unusually cool, have been enjoying many nights with the AC off and windows open.


Getting Exercise in a Little House

If you’re over 40 and intending on downsizing to a little house, there is an often overlooked downside to small space living: Getting plenty of exercise to keep your bones and muscles strong.

When we lived in our split level 1,100 square foot home in the city, I had no problem getting exercise. I’d climb the stairs it seemed a millions times a day. If I wanted something when I was downstairs, it was usually upstairs and visa versa.

Getting into our house required climbing stairs, which gave us plenty of “Stair Master” type exercise, especially when lugging heavy groceries. Of course, cleaning gave me lots of exercise, as did running up and down the stairs of our tall deck.

I was also more conscious of taking the dogs for daily walks in the city as our large dog, Emma, needed lots of exercise and we had a pretty small backyard.

When we moved to Our Little House in 2007, I was in pretty good shape. I got myself up to walking 4 miles per day, even in the heat of summer. After losing my mother that year, I felt as if I was sweating the grief out of my pores, so the more I walked, the better I felt – physically and mentally.