Mad River Valley

Tiny House Fair: Day 1

Ah, it feels good to be back here! During my very first Yestermorrow course (Ecological Design in the Built Environment - the 3 week Core curriculum for the Certificate in Sustainable Design & Building) my friend Shannon White said "I think Vermont is my spiritual home." The sentiment resonated then, but even more now, with the feeling of homecoming when I arrived at Yestermorrow again yesterday afternoon after nearly a year and a half away.

I loved wandering around campus yesterday and rediscovering this magical place. It was nice to see that although some great changes have been made (there are a few new cabins and the fruit trees in the edible landscaping have doubled in size) most things are just as I remember them. Those things that aren't exactly the same are improved from being well loved and well cared for: a fresh coat of plaster here, a lovely patina building up there, etc.

I pitched my tent near Dee Williams and Joan Grimm of Portland Alternative Dwellings and Tammy Strobel and Logan Smith of Rowdy Kittens. After a nap in the sunshine to make up for that red eye flight I headed down to the giant tent set up to accommodate a dining area for the unprecedented 120 guests on campus for the Tiny House Fair. I miss my old perch on a stool in the kitchen where I could heckle Heidi (Yestermorrow's amazing whole foods chef). But I got to make new friends yesterday. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Elaine of Tiny House Community, Brian and Lee of Boneyard Studios. It's so fun to meet people I've been reading about and communicating with and to see that they're even more amazing (how is that possible?!) in real life. I enjoyed talking to Patti Garbeck who teaches carpentry here at Yestermorrow and will be co-instructing the Tiny House Design-Build class this coming September.

Brian and Lee did a great presentation last night about Boneyard Studios, telling the story of how they're creating a showcase of tiny houses in Washington, D.C. I loved hearing about their meet ups, work parties, and garden projects.

There's a great line up of speakers scheduled for today:

  • How to Build Your Own Home for a Lot Less (using free or recycled materials), Derek (Deek) Diedricksen of Relaxshacks
  • Clever Cabinetry and Finish Carpentry, Abel Zyl Zimmerman of Zyl Vardos
  • Progressive Sharecropping with Tiny Houses, the "Gardeneer" concept, & the Destination CSA, Peter King of Vermont Tiny Houses
  • How to Free Yourself From Your Stuff, Alex Pino of Tiny House Talk
  • Building an Ecovillage, Gwendolyn Hallsmith of Headwaters Garden and Learning Center
  • Composting Toilet Options for Tiny Houses, Abe Noe-Hays of Full Circle Compost Consulting
  • Designing and Building a Tiny House Q&A, Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders
  • Small Scale Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Mariah Coz of the Comet Camper
  • Design and Construction for Specific Climates, Abel Zyl Zimmerman of Zyl Vardos
  • Tiny House Pecha Kucha - 12 presenters each show 20 slides of their tiny houses

I don't know how I'll decide what to attend since I don't want to miss any of it, but I'm glad they're videotaping most of the sessions so I can catch them virtually afterwards. If you'd like to follow along today, follow me on Twitter @littlelifepdx!