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Feb 17, 2012

Looking out the window from my tiny house.

Last month,  I sat for hours at my sweet little farm table in my tiny home and looked out the window, I pondered what life would hold in the coming months. Recent storms dumped twenty-one inches of snow in my yard. No power at all or land line phone service for eight days. My all wheel SUV was even stuck in my driveway for three solid days.  I don't own a cell phone on purpose, but even if I did many cell towers were down. Ice storms decorated the surrounding trees in radiance that made shrubs and branches look as if they were made of glass. The iced tree limbs and branches presented danger as the ice melted and the branches heavy from the weight of snow and then ice cracked off and slammed into what ever was in their path.  I was thankful that the huge trees surrounding my retreat didn't drop their branches on my little home.. I also thought about  being better prepared for the next storm and purchasing a generator, especially since having gone through longer storms and power outages for the past twelve years. Sigh. I drove into town almost every night just to thaw out before returning home to freezing temps and no power. I have to make it a point to be better prepared for next winter.

The silence in my life was screaming at me and I just was not inspired to create, decorate or do much. The down time that the storm offered, gave me time to reflect on life, to be thankful for clearing out a unhealthy relationship in my life, to count my blessings, and to deeply feel the pain of the loss of my best friend Bandit. I had the time to just sit and watch and listen and feel the effects of the storm, while taking time to be a human-being instead of the normal human-doing that I am much of the time.

For many months I had anticipated the arrival of my little retreat. I was thrilled when she finally arrived here this past December. I had planned to paint and decorate the interior right away. However, there were delays in even the first step of painting her interior. I painted just enough to do a Christmas post and then stopped and have not done much since that time.  Sometimes life throws curve balls and sends us a bit off track from our original plans.

Because my friends and tiny house enthusiasts have been emailing and asking me to post updates, I decided to post today, and let those who are keeping in touch with me, know about the delays of sharing finished interior pictures. There is still much to do and hopefully as the weather warms up and we ease into Spring it will inspire me to stain my kitchen counter, finish painting, put up kitchen shelves, make a small pantry and create a faux fireplace to add to the charm of my little girl cave.

  In the mean time this post is dedicated to one of the children in my life that dressed in fur and touched my heart in a huge way. I called him Bandit. He spent thirteen years and seven months with me. True love has no ending and the love that a person and a dog share is like no other love. He lives on in my heart forever.


The love of my life, my sweet boy, a beautiful Australian Shepherd, left my side and entered heaven very close to Christmas. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer only three weeks earlier. I was praying against all odds that the remedies I had started him on would allow us to spend yet more time together. I had hoped to be able to take a picture of him inside my tiny home but that never happened. The bone cancer moved fast and two weeks after diagnosis he was not able to walk on his own. I had to lift him, carry and support him every time he needed to get up. With no stairs built to get into the tiny house I was not able to lift him up onto the porch and carry him inside. Besides, it was no longer important. Keeping him comfortable as I prayed for a miracle was all I could do for him. And so he lived out his life in our big home which he was used to and very comfortable in.  He did not show his age and was full of energy and played like a puppy until three short weeks before he left me. The cancer went to war against his health, and I had to release him from his body and life on earth, and with that my heart sank. I know there is a  rainbow over my heart due to all the tears I have shed. I was blessed to  have owned his mother and his brother also. She was my heartbeat dog. Bandit is now reunited with all but one of his litter mates. I still feel lost without him in my life.

 After his passing I threw myself into painting the interior of my tiny home. Painting is therapeutic for me and it helped to quiet my mind from all the questions not answered, that kept me sleepless for weeks since he was diagnosed with cancer.  It helped me to not argue with God, about my dogs fight with cancer. It was not the first time I had been in a battle of this kind with the dreaded disease and a fur kid. One out of three dogs in America dies of cancer under the age of ten and one in two dogs dies of cancer over the age of ten years. Sad... This is why I am passionate about educating people about that dangers of vaccinations, chemical flea products as well as killer kibble that is unfit for a carnivore. OK... that is another blog.

 I was reminded of life's blessings even in the midst of that recent long winter storm.  I was delighted to be blessed with the first eggs from my beautiful Lavender Orpington chickens. They have always had a heat lamp in their coop at night so I filled two flash lights with fresh batteries each night during the storm so they would not be in the dark at night. They paid me back for my efforts with beautiful fresh organic eggs.

Something as simple as those eggs lifted my spirit. I will re group and one day soon be inspired to continue with my plans for fixing up my little menopause cave. Right now I am just giving myself permission to slow down and reflect.

Hopefully spring will bring new posts and further development on my tiny home as I hope to complete some little projects. I am on my way to the store to purchase a set of pink power tools. If that doesn't inspire a girl to use a drill .what will? 

Woof and Wags,

Tonita - a dog mom, a fairy dog mother and a dog co-dependent.

Dogs are not my whole life but they make my life complete.

Feb 4, 2012

Towing the tiny house from Kansas to Washington State, Dec 4, 2012

“Trekking westward with TONITA’S TINY HOUSE      – indeed – an adventure in moving”

{ A true tiny house transporting tale authored by:  Glen }

As an eager soul who’s commonly up to a challenge…I now concur with the famed U-Haul Corporate credo...”Adventure in Moving.” Having moved my household treasures periodically over the past 5-decades, I’ve never referred to such a mundane task as an adventure. However, U-Haul’s popular “Adventure in Moving” phrase recently proved poignant as I transported Tonita’s, just constructed, tiny, trailer-mounted, fully appointed house –2,000 miles westward as winter’s wrath quickly approached.

My tiny house transporting trek began a week before my trip departure day, November 29th, when I began carefully considering whether a central, mountain and western states weather windowwould allow for reasonably safe driving. After assessing weather forecasts across the state’s of Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Washington – I observed a brief driving window, that, while certainly not weather-perfect, did provide me with the opportunity to thwart the disaster of major snow or ice, IF I could begin my trek by driving 500-plus miles west to either western Nebraska or eastern Colorado from Kansas City, Missouri by the evening of December 1st, before declining weather approached Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas.

My game plan was forecasted. I flew out of Seattle southeastward to Kansas City Missouri on November 29th, to rendezvous with Tonita’s Tiny House builder, Scott Stewart, who’d agreed to tow the new tiny house from its Mountain View, Arkansas build location to Kansas City. Meanwhile, in Kansas City, I picked up my previously reserved 14’ U-Haul box truck – with its necessary tow configuration– and we attached Tonita’s 24-foot, 8,000 pound, nearly 14 foot high, tiny house, right there in my motel’s generous parking expanse.

Wednesday evening, November 30th, with bad weather moving closer, I made a final driving route decision to take Interstate 70 westward through Kansas instead of driving I-80 through Nebraska. GAME ON!!

Thursday morning, December 1st, I departed Kansas City just after the morning commute for an all-day cautious race westward against looming weather. Within an hour, after entering Kansas, smack into brisk headwinds, I could quickly tell, upon peering at the ever-sinking gas gauge, that Tonita’s Tiny House haul was not proving economical. My rented truck labored against the headwind resulting in a 5-7 mpg. Guzzling of gas. I was thankful for the (central states) lower gas prices that greeting me at the numerous truck stop fill stations. While driving west the entire day through Kansas, then into the eastern reaches of Colorado, I continued to gain altitude. That evening, upon entering Limon, Colorado at 6,000 feet elevation, it was 7 degrees and blustery with light snow cover. It had snowed extensively earlier that day in Denver, 80 miles further west

However, according to my plan, I remained just east of that day’s extensive snowfall –waiting for the weather-forecasted clear skies that would appear for me the next morning. Meantime, I was very

impressed with how well Tonita’s Tiny House had trailed along behind me that day, with its commercial-grade, double tandem axle, I-beam trailer averaging 55-60 mph along some non-wind challenged stretches.

Friday morning, December 2nd, after scraping extensive ice off the truck cab windows, I departed from Limon on a cold sunny morning, heading west to Denver, before turning northward on I-25 toward Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The truck radio periodically advised me of the severe winds out of Montana, Wyoming and Utah that had created havoc across Southern California the day before.

As I drove north on I-25 toward Cheyenne, the winds became brisk and the clear, sunny skies gave way to fast moving clouds that supplied swirling snow showers.  However, the road surface remained safe and dry.

Having just turned westward on I-80 out of Cheyenne, mid-day, I became certain that I must make every effort to drive off Wyoming’s high plateau and reach the valley floor below in Ogden, Utah that evening.  The latest weather update called for hastening snows across Wyoming by nightfall – and continued snows for the next 2-3 days.

Indeed, I began encountering my “Adventure in Moving,” as I drove west from Cheyenne…UP…UP…UP with my trusty U-Haul rental truck laboring with its 8,000 lb. trailing load at leaner oxygen heights.  Now, very carefully navigating across a 9,000 foot pass, with estimated 60 mph. side-wind gusts, icy roadway and fast blowing snow – my speed now reduced to 35 mph. – with “18-wheelers” s-l-o-w-l-y passing me, thereby causing continual steering correction because of severe wind and the slip-stream effects caused by transporting a large load.

Then, all of a sudden, with no traffic nearby, a severe wind gust caught me from the driver’s side, pushing Tonita’s Tiny House 45-60 degrees sideways from the truck.  Yes…my real moving adventure was unfolding before me in glaring force, second by agonizing second, with clenched grip, mouth agape, fear-filled eyes and hyper-vigilance.  Then, instantly aborting one’s reactive instincts to hit the brakes, which would have, most likely, ended with substantial damage on that icy roadway;  I continued to gently engage power while steering both truck and tiny house between the confines of the 2 westbound lanes of I-80.  After 10 very slippery seconds and 500 precarious feet of heightened maneuvering, everything was back in good driving order with exception given to a, now stressed, driver who’d just survived imminent damage.

Needless to say, I took a short breather and some quick reflective time just a few miles later in Laramie, after slowly driving down from that windy and icy summit.  For those reading, who’ve never driven across the lonesome state of Wyoming, I-80 maintains road gates positioned every 15-20 miles across the entire state, which can be quickly closed in order to stop any transportation from proceeding in case of severe weather.  Moreover, extensive snow fences have been constructed across the state on I-80 because of common blowing snows and poor visibility.  Furthermore, travel on I-80 across Wyoming represents a sustained altitude drive that ranges between 5,000 and 9,000 feet…perfect conditions for cold, desolate, harsh winter driving.

Following my fuel stop in Laramie, with snowy weather quickly progressing westward behind me,                  I continued all afternoon making tracks across Wyoming – with extensive side winds and periodic snow showers greeting me every 10 or 15 minutes.  Around 7:00 P. M., I arrive in Wyoming’s most westerly town, Evanston, on I-80 to gather more fuel.  Blowing snow and stern warning comments expressed by the truck stop station’s attendant, that if I wanted to remain out of serious weather, I needed to quickly proceed west, through the snowy pass on I-80, then downward on I-84, toward my evening lodging goal of Ogden, Utah…far below in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Two hours later amongst remnant snow flurries, I arrive mentally and physically tired from the constant    2-hands on the wheel, focused driving, through high altitude terrain.  Hooray…Tonita’s Tiny House navigated a stressful winter driving day of mountainous terrain.  Upon arriving in Ogden, I knew that I had escaped the looming winter storm that had been chasing me that entire day.

Saturday morning, December 3rd, I awake to cool, very clear skies in Ogden, Utah.  However, looking just eastward up into the Wasatch Mountain Range, I viewed very dark cloud cover.  Indeed, heavy snows were quite prevalent just eastward – in Wyoming.

Leaving Ogden and driving northward on I-84, I encountered my most pleasant drive thus far since leaving Kansas City 2-days before.  Shortly after entering the state of Idaho late that morning, though, significant winds again battered me as I headed northwest toward Boise and beyond.  Again, strong winds sapped my gas mileage.  With the winds howling, coupled by continuous corrective driving measures caused from passing “18-wheelers” and other traffic, I pulled into Mountain Home for another fuel stop.  Upon carefully pulling into the, high overhang, roofed gas pump area, an attendant at the “Pilot Truck Stop” shocked me with her fearful comment…”Your front passenger-side trailer wheel is completely shredded.”


Instantly, I gazed at the tiny house trailer in amazement at what had taken place – miles before I had stopped.  Even though I would routinely glance at both sides of the tiny house trailer every 30-60 seconds during the entire journey – I remained totally unaware of this mishap.  Thank goodness for the roadside diligence of “AAA” and the 2 extra wheel/tire assemblies that Scott Stewart had supplied me with back in Kansas City, I was totally prepared for the local AAA rescue team in Mountain Home.  Within an hour, I’m fueled and back on I-84 heading westward past Boise at dusk and onto the border city Ontario, Oregon by nightfall.

After fueling up again in Ontario, I head westward toward my Saturday evening driving distance goal of Pendleton, Oregon.  Before me, though, stretched a winding 100-mile night passage through Oregon’s Blue Mountain Range – before coasting down the last, long decline into Pendleton.  This segment of my journey occurred without incident and I arrived in Pendleton around 9:00 P. M. on a cool, clear evening.

Sunday morning, December 4th, I awake again to clear sunny skies.  Driving westward from Pendleton,         I made another fuel stop 16-miles west.  Fortunately, my due caution paid off for me as I entered the gas paddock.  I peered at the roof clearance above the gas pumps and assessed that Tonita’s Tiny House roof ridge would not clear the gas paddock roof.  Sure enough, after obtaining eyesight assistance from a station attendant, my suspicion was confirmed, the tiny house roof proved to be 2-inches too high.  Subsequently,

I re-positioned the truck to access fuel, then backed the tiny house away from the pump, after fueling, to continue on my journey home that day to her rural expanse…30-miles from Seattle, Washington.

The remainder of my drive home Sunday, occurred under bright sunny skies…a wonderful conclusion to my 2,000 mile, 3 and ½ day trek from Kansas City.  I arrived home at just after 3:00 P. M. and proudly parked Tonita’s Tiny House in the yard for her long awaited, joyous greeting.

The tiny house arrived home Dec 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

HOORAY… I had successfully navigated my long trip through often heavy winds, high plateaus and mountainous regions, while dodging the most severe weather that December often brings to Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Washington.
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