frozen hose

Snow Day in the Tiny House

I love that I get my Weather Report while laying in bed. Last night, as I fell asleep in my sleeping loft at Sweet Pea gazing out the skylight, I noticed that the sky had that pregnant golden-gray glow of city lights trapped by cloud cover. This morning I woke before dawn to the sound of the bamboo brushing against the metal roof, long rat-a-tat strokes like the brush on a snare drum. "Blustery out there," I thought to myself and I lay there for a few moments in the dark, grateful for such a cozy place to sleep. Then climbed down the ladder and snuggled up on my window seat to write for a bit while I waited for the rest of the world to wake up. As the sky brightened, I opened the shades and gasped in delight to see a dusting of snow! I crawled back into the loft to see the snow from there since snow on the skylight is awesome, particularly when a flake, distinct and unique, splays flat on the pane as though it's begging to come in from the cold.

It rarely snows here in Portland and when it does, it tends to be Lazy Snow, sloppy non-committal flakes that nevertheless manage to shut down a city that isn't well-acquainted with them. So snow days are exciting around here and I was surprised that there hadn't been a buzz about snow yesterday. I ran next door to squeal with my neighbors in the Big House, the fine folks of POD 49.

They asked how I'm faring in my tiny house and it made me realize there are three big differences in tiny house living when the temperature drops below freezing.

  1. First, my Envi Heater keeps up pretty well as long as the temperatures aren't below freezing, but once it gets this cold I need to bring in supplemental heat. (This was true in Bayside Bungalow, too, though I'm hoping that since the vardo I want to build for myself will be smaller I might not need additional heat. You can read more about Installing My Envi Heater.)
  2. Two, the food in My Chiller with a high water content freezes. This isn't a problem for most of what's in there - in fact, the tofu I cooked up last night with rice noodles was improved by freezing - but I'm glad I remembered to bring the eggs inside!
  3. Three, my water system freezes. This happened to me twice when I was living in Bayside Bungalow and both times it warmed up enough the next day that I was able to get on with life uninterrupted. This time, however, the weather is expected to stay cold for several days. I forgot to unhook the hose before Tuesday night so on Wednesday I had to wait till it warmed up enough to unhook it. Looks like I'll be living without running water until the temps inch back up again, so I filled up water jugs at the Big House. This part reminds me of cooking in the yurt with My Kitchen Cupboard.

These inconveniences are just that: inconvenient. They're not crises or disasters. They're just not quite as pleasant as when the weather is above freezing. They're a reminder to me about the difference between Simple Living vs. Intentional Living. I'll probably experience another week or two of below freezing temps at some point this winter, but overall, this is a pretty pleasant climate for tiny house living. Today there's an extra layer of adventure to a snow day.

Later today I plan to visit my friend Karin and her tiny house Serenity, so I'll get to venture out into the flurry and see how the city is coping. But for right now, its awfully nice to be snuggled up on my window seat with a cup of cocoa and some oatmeal, watching the flakes flutter down.