a story about living small


Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator

Perhaps one my favorite things about our tiny house (other than falling asleep to the sound of rain on a steel roof) is that it is entirely off grid.

Christopher and I are both environmentalists of sorts, having spent chunks of our lives studying, researching, and telling stories about humans’ interactions with our natural resources and waste. Part of this tiny house experiment has always been about learning to lessen our own impact.

And there’s also the practical side of things: 40 miles from a major town, our tiny house doesn’t have access to a “grid” of any kind. No gas lines. No power lines. No water lines or sewage system. We’ve had to figure out our own solutions for each of these utilities.

Park County, Colorado gets an average of 246 sunny days each year, so solar power was an obvious choice for our electric needs.  Throughout the building stage, Christopher looked into rigging up a system of his own design, but when we heard about the SolMan portable solar generator, we decided it was be worth it to purchase a professional, pre-made solar unit than to build our own. Continue reading “Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator” »

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Colorado Bioneers Conference: A Field Trip to the Tiny House.

Each year, the University of Colorado hosts a satellite version of the National Bioneers Conference, which celebrates “Revolution from the Heart of Nature.”

The national conference features speakers working on the forefront of environmental sciences and activism, bringing environmentalism to everyday

We welcomed an enthusiastic group of 25 Bioneers attendees to step inside the tiny house, and to ask questions about the construction process, the film, and our exploration of the greater tiny house movement.

Colorado Bioneers from CU Environmental Center on Vimeo.

Beetle Kill Pine Siding: A Local, Sustainable Option.

Siding Stacked Up

Siding Stacked Up

Today, I picked up the siding for the tiny house.

At the beginning of this project, we decided to use reclaimed and other environmentally friendly materials as much as possible. One of my reasons for building the house in the first place was to live closer to the Western landscape that I love. Since this house was inspired by my appreciation for the land, I want to do everything that I can to help preserve it, by building in a sustainable way. Hopefully, this project will help to show how inexpensive and easy it can be to build a house sustainably.

When choosing siding, we decided to go with Beetle Kill Pine (also known as “blue-stain pine tongue and groove”). It’s called “Blue Stain” because of the blue-ish tint of the wood, which is milled from Lodge Pole Pine trees that have been killed by the bark beetles plaguing forests in this part of the country. Continue reading “Beetle Kill Pine Siding: A Local, Sustainable Option.” »