Lessons Learned…The Hard Way…Again.

“Take it slow,” they said… “Think it through,” they said…

If anyone has ever known me to listen to the advice of my elders, or  learn from someone else’s mistakes (or even my own mistakes), raise your hand. Anyone? Didn’t think so. 

I prefer to learn my lessons the hard way. To make my own mistakes, suffer the consequences, learn from those consequences, and then maybe miss a few things and make the same ones all over again. I’ve been learning this way my entire life. My teachers would have told you that I’m an experiential learner, and they were correct and that was never limited to the classroom. 

For example, how do you learn boiling water is hot? You hear your dad tell you, “That’s hot, don’t touch it.” No! You hear that, and then you touch it! And it burns, so then you don’t touch it again. 

Anyhow, you may have guesssed by now from the bitter beginning, that I no longer live with Kyle. It’s true. I no longer even speak with him, which is pretty crazy. It’s been a bit of time now, the whole thing was really short-lived. And I can sit here and tell you all how it was a mistake and I totally misjudged the guy, but in all reality I was just being true to myself. I was happily following my heart and I hope to continue doing so. Luckily for me, Life had another lesson for me and I think it may have stuck this time, by golly! 

In fact, I’m not sure if it’s the progression of lessons or just my age and maturity (hold your snickers folks), but I think this may have been the most multi-faceted lesson I’ve been dealt yet. I think I came out ahead in a few different areas actually! Some gems that I’m working through as a result:

  • Patience is a virtue – I know, I know. I’ve been working on this one for a while.
  • It’s not what happens in your life that defines you, it’s how you handle each situation that really shows your character. – This one is a lesson in optimism and the power of positive thinking, you know. Finding the bright side. 
  • Life is only ever now – I think this one is so hard for me because I’m a planner, I have to have a plan at all times. However, my plan typically changes about 8 or 9 times a week. Sure, I’ll cycle through plans for a while…revisit ones that are pretty good, maybe even follow all the way through on some that aren’t so good. But I also have no idea what my future holds and I really love that freedom. So how do I find a balance between those two things? 
  • Listen.

The “life is now” one is the one I’m really focusing on right now. Pun intended. Go ahead, throw your suggestions at me. I’ll listen to them. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even learn from them πŸ˜‰.

“It’s about being fearlessly and relentlessly true to yourself” ~unknown


More to come shortly, I’ve got some sad news for you all, but I didn’t want to spoil this bright post with it so check back in a bit.

xoxo

E

Snow?

I’ve been crossing my fingers for a few months now that Annie would love the snow. She isn’t a huge fan of heat and gets quite lazy on hot, sunny days. Surely, that means she must really do well in the cold, right?!

This past weekend we finally got to test out that theory. The hiking trail I chose was unexpectedly covered in snow and to my happy surprise, Annie loved it! Hiking in the snow is my absolute favorite, and now that I know Annie enjoys it too, nothing beats snow covered pines and puppies galavanting through powder!

The pines were not covered in snow on this section, but that peak behind me is!


Annie and her pal, Abby, loved the snow. They both did great on a longer-than-expected hike up in the mountains. This was Annie’s longest hike to date and she was happy and energetic from start to finish. 

Although, she crashed pretty hard as soon as we got back in the car.


Our adventure really has me looking forward to winter and all the snowy explorations to come! 

Check out this adorable video of the above mentioned galavanting! 

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Happy tails and happy trails! 

xoxo

E and A🐢

Get Involved!Β 

Do you want to help make a change? 

A struggle for tiny housers is the fact that our government doesn’t really know what to make of these humble abodes just yet. The lack of understanding and recognition makes it difficult to find a place to park and it creates challenges around insuring our homes. 

Think about that, there are plenty of tiny housers who don’t have insurance for their home. We have widled down our belongings to just the most important things, just the necessities. We put all of those things in our home, which is often on wheels, and then might not be able to insure it! I can’t speak for other tiny housers, but I’m sure many will agree with me when I say, this 8′ x 16′ box is literally ALL I have! I need to know that it’s safe, and if something out of my hands were to happen to it, I’d be able to replace it. 

What can you do about that, you ask? You can sign this petition to get Tiny Houses written into the IRC (International Residential Codes), to make Tiny Houses legal. 

Click here to sign! 

I want to thank Parker over at Tiny Cabin on the Move for posting about this petition and helping to spread the word. 

xoxo

E (A doesn’t care about this one, because she’s a 🐢)

Tiny House, Grand Mess!

Cooking in a Tiny House is an adjustment, luckily it has become a very comfortable one. Small kitchens have always felt more welcoming to me. I’ve consistently cooked/baked more when living in a house with a small kitchen than when I had a spacious kitchen. Surprisingly, making the adjustment to the Tiny kitchen wasn’t quite as easy as I expected.

The biggest problem has been a design flaw on my part. Something I didn’t put together when designing my space is the size of my fridge and the distance from home to the market. I can’t shop for an entire week at once because my fridge doesn’t have the capacity to keep that much food fresh. Sometimes that means I stock up on Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese, other times it means I have to shop a few times throughout the week. 

Recently though, I’ve been getting more and more adventurous. Before the climbing trip last week, I made a double batch of zucchini bread to take for breakfast snacks. It is pretty cozy cooking in here, and it’s getting more and more fun, the more I try.

It sure does get messy quickly though.

Check out these photos of my experience!

Prepping the ingredients.

Combining the ingredients, those are dark chocolate chips 😜


The finished product! It was delicious!


You can check out the recipe I used here, on wellplated.com. The zucchini bread was healthy and quite tasty!

My next goal is pumpkin pie, check back in to see how it goes and to get a review on my tiny oven!

Mattress Matters

Rather than buying a new mattress for my Tiny, I decided to make one! My close friend made one about a year before me and I took a glorious nap on it once and was sold. It was so comfortable! Firm, but form-fitting. 

The mattress is made of buckwheat hulls and cotton tubes. It was easy to make and the best part is it fits my space perfectly. 

First, we measured out the buckwheat hulls, tied knots in one end of the cotton tubes, then filled them with the hulls. 

Next, we made the filled tubes into pods by tying the ends together.

When all the pods were made, we arranged them into the mattress shape, and tied them together. 

My dad helped me build the frame which keeps all the pods together. Here you can see that the frame is built into the loft.

I put a mattress pad under the pods and on top to protect them from Annie nails. (You may recall that she was still missing at this time, but I knew she would come home πŸ˜€.) 


I have to fluff the pods every other night before going to sleep, but it only takes a second and I really love sleeping on this mattress. So does Annie girl 🐢! 

You can learn more about my mattress from the Open Your Eyes Bedding website.

Shoot me your questions in the comments section!

xoxo

E and A🐢

Back Again

I know it’s been a while again, but we’ve just been so busy exploring! We may love living on The Prairie, but Annie and I have found a new favorite place for adventuring…The Desert. 

Our most recent adventure took us to Moab and surrounding climbing areas. I fell in love with the splitter cracks and Annie fell in love with the sand!

The pup cruised each uphill approach while we were at Indian Creek, boulder hopping, sand sliding, and all. She is still apprehensive on the downhills, though she made slight progress each day. 

Annie’s biggest weakness, and another area I’m really hoping to see progress in, is with her socialization. She has improved, but still growls or barks at strangers. I’m not quite sure how to help her get over this aside from time and exposure, but I’m totally open to ideas if anyone has any expert advice. (This would be a great use of the comments section πŸ‘πŸΌ.)

Annie wasn’t the only one making gains on this trip, I led two pitches on gear and climbed a bunch of crack routes. I was lucky enough to get on a beautiful route called Annunaki that got me super psyched and it really helped me push myself. A few other factors that contributed to the stoke this week are my climbing partner, who continues to push me past my comfort zone, and our discovery of a cold brew coffee that is perfect to take to the crag. This delicious treat is called Stōk and we decided it is quite properly named, as it totally raised the stoke of the day! For those of you who aren’t sure what stoke is, it’s the excitement surrounding the activity of the day. When stoke is high, good things happen!

Check out these pics from the trip then check back soon for some Tiny House breakdowns. First up, how I made my mattress! 

Annie exploring during our bouldering session at Big Bend

View of the Bridger Jacks from the tent

Me on Mudslide, Annuunaki is the sick crack to the right.

Another shot of Annunaki because it’s just so beautiful!

Here I am at the top of my first lead. This one is called Rochambeau

xoxo

E and A🐢

Inhale. Exhale.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is too familiar with the feeling of taking a deep breath and then wondering where it all went. There’s a reason the exhale is so much more satisfying. The exhale is where we let it go. 

When we are too overwhelmed it’s hard to find the sweet goodness of a deep exhale. There’s too much running through our brains to let go of anything.  Before a thought can float away, we must be sure it’s time to let it go. But what do you do when there simply isn’t enough space to work through all your thoughts? 

I have many vices to help with this situation. Writing, running, music, and most of all, adventuring. 

Something about getting out in the mountains with only what I need, disconnecting from the rest of the world for a bit, and pushing physical (or mental) limits helps me find the space to work things out and let things go. 

Remember when I told you I wanted to live in a tiny home so I would have more space in my life for adventuring? It worked. I’ve been getting out climbing just about every weekend, even if only for a day trip. When I stop and think about the factors that play into my ability to do this, I feel incredibly reassured in my lifestyle choice.

The Tiny is set up so that my gear is super accessible. It takes me less than 30 minutes to pack up the adventuremobile for a weekend trip. That includes Annie’s things too! 

It takes the same amount of time to unpack. I like to keep my space pretty clean, especially now that every square foot counts. A deep clean of my house, which I try to do about once per week, takes less than an hour. 

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross paths with an awesome climbing partner who seriously challenges my abilities. Last weekend I lead a 5.7 on gear. I honestly never thought I would lead on gear. It’s scary!  


What happens in my head when I’m climbing is what allows me to breathe. It refocuses my attention on what’s important. Climbing outside of my comfort zone completely clears my head because I must focus all of my thoughts on the next move. It’s called flow

Before I left the ground on my lead, my climbing partner told me to just focus on the climbing. Don’t focus on the gear, don’t think about falling, just focus on the climbing. It’s the best climbing advice I’ve ever heard and potentially useful when applied to other aspects of life as well. 

Maybe, if I just focus on the next move I need to make, I’ll be able to inhale and exhale.

I’m back, and I’ll have more updates for you soon. Thanks for reading!

xoxo

E and A🐢

Hashtag Prairie Life

Prairie life is hard. Prairie life is harsh, prickly, and at times, lonely. 

You’ve heard the saying, “20 minutes from everywhere!” It’s frequently used in ads to explain how close a car dealership or a shopping mall is to “absolutely everywhere.” Well, when you live out on the Prairie, it’s used to explain just how far away you are from anything you might need; the grocery store, a restaurant, the gym, your mailbox. All of the places you may visit multiple times throughout the week, living on the Prairie will make you think twice. “Do I really need to drive to the grocery store? Or can I make something out of oatmeal, dog food, and…basil?” (Meal planning in a tiny house has proven to be a weakness of mine.) Even eager visitors begin to shy away from the drive, once the lure of seeing a tiny house has worn off.

When you live on the Prairie, yard work looks a bit like your typical yard work. Except rather than raking leaves or mowing your lawn, you’re spending the hours digging up the stubborn yucca roots to prevent them from taking over with a vengence; which they will do in a few short weeks if you just cut them down. Not to mention, your dog’s leash will get stuck on even the smallest yucca stump. Meaning, you run the risk of her getting caught out in the sun without the hope of finding refuge in the shade.

A pile of yucca we cleaned up from the yard


The weather DOES NOT mess around on the Prairie. When it’s sunny, it’s blazing. When it’s windy, batten down the hatches because anything not tied down will blow away. Leaving the windows open through a rain storm will result in a wet bed, a wet floor, and wet towels.
Luckily, you can see the storms coming from miles away.

When you live on the Prairie, watching a storm roll in is better than watching a movie. Especially if it happens at sunset. The vibrant backdrop overlaid with the gray of the storm and the blues of the mountains will move you tears.


The sunrise reflecting off the mountains and the peaceful soundtrack of the Prairie make for the most zen morning walks. This daily light show and soundtrack produced by mother nature herself can’t be touched by crowded streets or bright city lights out on the Prairie.

sunrise colors πŸ™‚


Usually in life, our challenges are what brings us the greatest rewards. When I say #PrairieLife, it’s most likely out of pure joy for the beautiful place I get to call home.

Thanks for sticking around long enough to get to the good stuff!

xoxo

E and A🐢

 

Everybody Poops

One of the most asked questions I get about my Tiny is, “So do you have a septic tank?” Or the more direct version, “Where do you poop?” 

So allow me to introduce my toilet! 


This is the Nature’s Head composting toilet. I read a bunch of reviews on different composting toilets and I ended up going with this one for a few different reasons. I found the review from the Wynn’s blog to be super helpful in even realizing what to consider. 

The NH toilet is small for toilets of its type, which is great for my tiny bathroom. It has a little fan in the composting container which helps to keep it from generating an odor. The fan is hooked up to a vent on the outside of my house. It’s very quiet! Finally, it separates the two types of waste. You know, the #1 and the #2. This makes emptying the waste easier and keeps away odors. 

So, how does it work?! Really, you just sit down and do your business. I have to empty the #1 tank about once a week and the #2 tank about once a month. 


Here’s what the #2 tank looks like pretty much with or without the #2. It’s full of peat moss to help the decomposing process along. And that silver bar is to stir it up after you go. 😜


I made compost bins out of my old tires so that my toilet generated compost can finish composting. Since I am a full time user, it takes a little while to complete the process once I empty it.

If you have any questions, leave it in a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! 

xoxo

E and A🐢 

All Is Right In My World

Annie and I are finally home. This tiny house finally feels like home to me because it’s finally full of everything I need. 

We are settling in after the long drive and enjoying our first sunset together. This sunset is as beautiful as all the people who showed Annie and me their kind hearts throughout this wild journey. I will never forget the overwhelming thoughtfulness from family, friends, and perfect strangers alike. I have been spontaneously happy crying all day out of pure gratitude. 

Our first sunset in our new home πŸ€—πŸŒ„


Now this house is home. 

xoxo

E and A🐢