Tiny House Photo

Tiny House Photo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

White fire at the ranch

This week has been very exciting. On Memorial Day a fire broke out at the Sage Hill campground off of Paradise Road just north of the fire ranger station. The fire quickly engulfed the campground and moved east toward the ranch. VERY quickly the mountains were on fire. In just 15 minutes the fire hopped from one mountain to the next and burned all the way to the top! Our only exit was blocked. Soon all the surrounding communities were involved to put out the fire. There were trucks, air tankers, helicopters and ground crews. With the winds gusting to 60 mph what started as a camp fire became a 2000 acre wild fire. Luckily, this area is a national forest so it is not densely populated and no one was hurt.

Then, on Wednesday May 29th I was jolted awake by a 4.6 earthquake! I immediately thought that Abby, Tilly and I were going to flip over and slide down into the ravine. This was the biggest quake I have felt since moving to California.

Happily, I can say that we survived both the fire and quake with no casualties.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Embracing my dusty lifestyle

One thing I really didn't consider was the dirt factor! Living on the ranch with Tilly can certainly be challenging especially when the rainy season hits. I did have gravel put down on my lot to minimize the mud and Tilly is good about sitting at the door when we come in so I can wipe off her feet but her whole "under carriage" (yes, I am from the auto capitol of the world) becomes a wet muddy mess.

There hasn't been much of a rainy season for the last few years and instead of rain what I am usually dealing with is dirt. As I previously discussed the afternoon winds blow the hot air out of the canyon making the evenings nice and cool. It also creates dirt clouds whipping through the ranch. I no longer open the windows on west side of my cottage (except in the mornings when the air is calm) but I still have to clean the blinds EVERY weekend! And with 12 windows and 11 blinds this does not make me a happy camper. If I had to do it again I would invest in windows with built-in blinds (the blinds are encased between 2 layers of glass, therefore never need to be cleaned). Whoever designed them was a genius!

The consensus among my fellow full-timers is that I must "let it go". Dust is a fact of life in this style of living. Unless, I want to spend time every day just dusting and cleaning blinds. So, if you come by for a visit know, there will be dust.

This is a picture of the "dirty thirties".

OK, not as much as this, but close!

My new mantra: I will embrace my new dusty lifestyle and suppress my urge to constantly try to eliminate it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life, love and coffee

Recently I received an email from a friend about life and coffee. I don't know the author but it was too good not to pass along. Let me know what you think.

Life is like a cup of coffee.  Click on the link below.


Monday, May 13, 2013

High wind advisory!

Recently we had high wind advisories. Because I am located in a canyon area the winds are high every day, usually in the afternoon around 4:00. They are referred to as Santa Ana winds or Sun Downer winds. The winds blow out the hot air and "no-see-ums" for the evening making it nice and cool. Great for sleeping in the loft. So when I heard about the high wind advisory I wasn't really concerned until the howling started. I'm from Michigan and to me it sounded like a tornado. This could be bad, very very bad.

I had been told when I moved in that there had been an incident a few years back where a couple of RVs had flipped over in the wind. I have a steep ravine just a couple feet to the east side of my tiny house and a large gust of wind could topple me right down it, as the winds always come from the west.  I also have a new neighbor to the west in a light-weight 5th wheel that could tumble over into my tiny house. Operative word being "light-weight" (it says so, right on the side of it). For 48 hours I watched and listened to the howling winds. The news said that the gusts were reaching 80-100 mph! That's a category 1 tornado!

I am glad to report that all is well in my Ynez. The minor shaking I did get from the winds were actually less than when the dryer spins. I did talk with a couple neighbors who were staying in their RV's, they said they were "rockin-n-rollin". Not me, I was just on the "spin cycle"!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What if I build it & can't find a place to put it?

Finding a place to park my tiny house was a huge concern and finding the right place not just any place seemed daunting. They say location is everything. I needed more than just a parking spot I needed a place to call home. As you already know, the laws about this are varied. You can park in many places but living in your tiny house is another matter.

My Ynez all ready for delivery. The deck is tucked inside.

This was the most stressful part of the whole process. What if I built it and couldn't find a place to put it? Financially this could be a very big issue! I lost a lot of sleep thinking about it. I wanted a place that had: a nice view from the windows, was safe, not more than 1/2 hour from work, near my current location, where I could stay long-term and a place I could meet like minded people.

I talked to everyone I came in contact with: work associates, people at the farmers market, neighbors, bank tellers, grocery store clerks, everyone. I listed it on Craigslist. I made a flyer with a picture of a similar tiny house and handed them out. I also put some in mailboxes of homes in rural areas near where I was living. I framed another flyer and took it to a party. This all happened prior to the start of the "Tiny House Listings" site.

Some opportunities that came up were to live in the city and park it in driveways or backyards and one on a sliver of land between two very large homes with a beautiful ocean view. My fear in these locations were that I would get all settled in and then a neighbor would complain and I would have to quickly move off the site. For this reason I decided to go with the ranch. It had all my "Have To's" except one. It was not near my current location. 

The ranch has over 300 acres and a campground on the property. They were familiar with RV's, trailers, 5th wheels, coaches and park models but were not familiar with "tiny houses". So...I brought them up to speed. I spoke with the manager a few times, I brought up the plans for him to review and we went online to see the in-progress pictures the builder had posted (that was very helpful). I got the ok from the ranch and made the final arrangements with the builder.

Now if you are like me, you don't own a large truck to bring your cottage to it's final resting spot. I knew no one I trusted to bring my house to me.  I didn't want to rent a U-haul and try to drive it over Mt.Shasta (remember these houses are not aerodynamic) and the cost to rent a truck, take time off work and get a pet sitter made it impractical. So...I started calling RV dealers in the area and asked who they used to bring coaches and RV's from the manufacturers to the dealer locations. They all used the same people. Perfect! I called them to arrange for the pickup and delivery to the ranch. They also plated the tiny house and insured it! A huge plus.

Where are you parking your tiny cottage? And how did you find the location?