Tiny House Photo

Tiny House Photo

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Time for a little exterior TLC

Last fall it was time to do a little exterior re-staining. It's been over a year in my Ynez and I wanted to get another coat on the outside prior to the rainy season. I am hoping this is not a yearly thing! I was under the impression that I would get at least a couple years before this had to be done but I think the very dry heat and blazing sun were just too much.

I also did a little more gravel and a couple flag stones in the high traffic areas. And I still need to find a couple of nice chairs. Wood doesn't last a month here and the resin Adirondack's are cracking in the sun. I don't care for metal so I'm not sure what to do. Got any ideas?

It took a couple of days to re-stain and I had to get some help from my friends but it looks really good. Except for those dirty windows!

Here's a picture of the finished job. Isn't she pretty.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Living the life

Living tiny has allowed me time to enjoy the moments in life.

I recently enjoyed:

Going to a concert at the SB Bowl which is a small outdoor venue. The picture below was when we first arrived. There was wonderful music and a beautiful sunset over the ocean.

Lots of long walks on the ranch. Here are some of my favorite cows. Yes, the female cows have horns to fight off the coyotes and mountain lions that threaten their babies.

Tilly had her first trip to the dog beach. Unfortunately, no one told her that it was fun to run on the beach. She was terrified. Poor little Tilly, she needed a nap after such a stressful day.

I also had dinner at the Cold Spring Tavern which is an historic stagecoach stop from 1865. It was featured on "Ghost Hunters" a few years ago.

I live in such a beautiful place. Living tiny may not be for everyone but for me it's perfect! Well, almost. As in any other wood structure there is maintenance. I will share that list soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Arachnophobics beware!

My favorite time to see the wild life is in the morning. All the animals seem so happy. The birds are chirping. There is usually no one outside and the weather is cool. Often the deer and turkey will be right next to my tiny house though I don't have a picture to prove this. I have also seen silver fox, bobcats and a couple mountain lions! So far, no bear or rattle snakes. Which is ok with me!

A couple days ago I was walking Tilly when we noticed that we had company. Meet Harry! He was about the size of my entire hand. His hair was a very handsome auburn color. He did enjoy getting his picture taken and would stop walking whenever I brought out my cell to take a picture of him. September and October is when they are usually seen. It's the time of year they are out looking for a new mate. As Harry is a handsome tarantula I don't think he will have trouble with the ladies.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's a heat wave!

The last few weeks we have had a heat wave on the ranch. Usually, this doesn't happen until August. There have been too many days to count that the heat has been over 100!  Luckily, I have a small window ac unit that has been able to keep up with it. I planned for ac during the build by having this window large enough to hold the smallest unit available at the local big box store. This window is a single hung while the others are awning style. I purchased a Frigidaire unit and it does a great job keeping the lower level very cool. For the loft I place a 6" fan at the edge pulling up the cool air from below. Even with the heat over 100 I can sleep comfortably in the loft.

Does your tiny house design cover all weather conditions?

This hot dry weather has been hard on the old trees here as well. This one split during the night and another fell in the tent camping area. It fell between two tents! Fortunately no one was hurt. Two tents, one air mattress and a sleeping bag were damaged. I can bet the young man who was sleeping on the air mattress was a bit freaked out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mr. Green Jean's

One of the perks at the ranch is that we have a garden expert here. He has taken the initiative to start an organic garden in a unused patch of dirt near the picnic area of the campground. It is fenced from the unhappy deer however the squirrels and raccoons are still visiting.

This year I was able to get involved in the planting which was fun except when I bumped into a cactus! Yeah, now I know why they have a reputation. I am still picking out the tiny porcupine like hairs from my left arm and leg. And now my right hand! I tried to remove them only to relocate them in my finger tips.

I will refer to our gardener extrordinaire as Mr. Green Jean's not that he wears green jeans. Here he is talking about gardening.

Those that know me will look at this garden and question my role as I am an organized person who would have everything labeled, have stakes to indicate planted areas, walking areas would be covered in mulch, mounds would be in uniform rows & I would have a map indicating the location of all planted items. However, this is Mr. Green Jean's garden and I am but a serf to his project. My lesson here is to go with the flow and let it be. A seed does not care whether it is in a row or not, nor that there is a stake to indicate what and where it is planted, only that it has good soil, water and sun.

I can't wait for the bountiful vegies to come! Yum, yum. Now if I can only get those pickers out of my arm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Solstice Celebration

The summer solstice, the longest day of the year. What better way to celebrate than with a parade and festival! This is the craziest parade we have in Santa Barbara and has been called the "Santa Barbara's Mardi Gras". The festival started back in 1974 as a birthday celebration with a group of street performers dancing down State Street. It now is a 3 day event with a parade, street fair, concerts, stage performances, floats, costumes and dancers.

Photos of Robert Bernstein by: Bob Debris, Carlos Cuellar, Mark McDonald, Peter Price, Ronald Williams, Scott London, Virgil Elings



Santa Barbarians sure know how to have fun!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I just hate to wait, don't you?

Patience is not a virtue of mine. I hate to be late or to wait, so I apologize to you for not getting out my post on time. I guess that life somehow keeps sputtering along even when we are sidetracked by all of lives obligations. Because my obligations have nothing to do with living tiny I will not bore you with them.

So...I'm back! A couple weeks ago I had a chance to see the "I Madonnari" chalk art festival which is held at the Santa Barbara Mission. This was the 27th annual festival and it drew over 150 artists from master Italian street painters to kids. The artists use only chalk to create beautiful images that will be washed away at the first rain. If you are ever in Santa Barbara during the festival this is a great event to see.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mornings chillin with the chickens

The ranch has several chickens and two roosters which I hear every morning while walking Tilly. I have never been so relaxed as I am living on the ranch. There is something about being outside communing with nature that is soothing to the soul. Every day feels like a vacation.

Mornings are my favorite time to see and hear nature. Most people are still snoozing away while I am checking up on the morning rituals of all the local animal inhabitants. Tilly doesn't bark so we can walk along without scaring the wild animals or even the not so wild ones. Actually the chickens are more skittish than the deer or turkey!

This morning a few of the horses were a bit eager to receive breakfast. They were lined up along the fence waiting for the wranglers to come.

This cute paint horse is a newcomer to the ranch, he was sequestered for a couple days until the rest of the gang had a chance to meet him. This morning was his first day out and you can see he is still standing apart from the others. I hope he finds a buddy soon.

I am so grateful that I have a tiny house on this property. It's really beautiful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's hard to be a recluse in a tiny house

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a recluse. Not a "Howard Hughes" type, more the woman who lives with her cat or in my case her little dog and parrot. This makes me sound really crazy. I am not crazy! Really!

I have always been one who likes to stay at home. No matter what size the home is, 2000 square feet or 136 square feet. With the notoriety I experience in my tiny house, it is overwhelming at times. Don't get me wrong, I love to discuss tiny living with people, but the vast number of people I encounter here on the ranch can monopolize my entire day. So I recently had to put restrictions on my open house visits to the weekends. This allows me to be a bit of a slob during the week. I can come home from work, do my laundry and hang it in the bathroom or let the dishes pile up in the sink. I can work on bills or even a hobby. The dust can coat every surface for a couple days (until I freak out & clean it). I can even curl up on my little storage bench and take a nap with Tilly or Abby. Ahhh, life is good in my little Ynez.

Laundry day

New desk I put together last weekend. Still need to paint or stain.

Nap time! Tilly & Abby last Christmas Eve (dreaming of Santa).

I had to include the last picture even though it is a bit old. They are just so cute when they sleep. You may notice this is before Abby was downsized to a smaller cage (or as I call it Abby & Tilly's bunk beds).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6th - One year in my Ynez tiny house!!!

Wow, I can't believe it has already been a whole year! I think the experiment was a success. I feel confident that I will continue living in my tiny cottage for many years to come. Looking back a lot of things have changed.

Downsized a tremendous amount of "stuff" out of my life
Reduced work hours to 28 hours a week
Paid off 70% of my debt
Got a cute little dog (and still have my cute not-so-little parrot)
Had a shed built and got rid of rental storage
Met tons of great people at the ranch
Lived through a fire and earthquake!
Saw lots of animals including: mountain lions, bobcats, silver foxes, deer, turkeys, horses, long horn bulls and long horn cows to name a few. Oh and Bob the pig!

Life is good in my Ynez!

Some of my new neighbors. Aren't the babies cute!

What's for next year? So far I have just a few things on the list.

Pay off balance of debt
Re-stain or paint exterior (the sun is very hard on the finish here)
Maybe add skirting of some sort
Take a little vacation (there are so many local things I haven't seen yet)

How would I change my tiny house if I were starting it now?

I have often been asked this question. Even at the beginning of the process I questioned whether I should add an extra couple of feet to the length to have a space for an office/single bed, murphy-style but I didn't want to exceed a set price and had to forgo the extra length. The 20 feet that I have is the minimum I felt would work for me and I use every inch of the space. One thing I would change is to have sliding closet doors. I opted for regular doors so I could utilized the inside of the doors to hang things on, but I find it irritating to constantly have to walk around them. And as I said before the blinds are a dirt magnets (perhaps I will change these for roller blinds in an easy to wash finish or stick blinds with a lining that can be removed for cleaning).

Suggestions for want-ta-be tiny houser's?

Be clear on what your needs are and choose multi-functional pieces. Get rid of everything else. Use apartment sized furniture that has a non-bulky style. Open legs on furniture will give the feel of more space. Folding tables and chairs can be removed or stored when not in use. Mobile furniture instead of built-in's will give you the most flexibility. Leave as much open space a possible. Less is more with a tiny house.