Pros And Cons Of Tiny House Living

This post may contain affiliate links.

Pros And Cons Of Tiny House Living SledDogSlow.com

We live in a tiny house. It’s not the smallest I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty small for two adults and a growing baby. Including our storage-only loft, our house is still less than 300 sq ft. I think it’s a mansion compared to what we started with out here, which was less than 100 sq ft. As much as I love our little cabin, it has always been a temporary space. There are lots of reasons to love it, and just as many reasons to be excited to start our larger forever cabin. Just like every aspect of life, tiny house living has its pros and cons.

Pros of living in a tiny house:

There is no room to collect junk when you live in a tiny house. This is a good thing for me, as I love a good junk collection!

It’s really hard not to be organized in a tiny home. This means almost always knowing where something is when you want it.

Tiny houses are super fast to clean when you do have the occasional mess.

Small spaces are easier to heat, which is especially nice if you are off grid and heating with a wood stove.

Smaller houses are cheaper to build and maintain than an average home.

Cons of tiny house living:

There isn’t much room to spread out in such small spaces. This means things like big baking projects and art projects don’t really happen.

More than one person in a tiny house means a lot of bumping into each other! It also means it’s hard to have friends over, so we usually end up visiting rather than having visitors.

Unfortunately, living in a tiny home means little to no privacy. There are no doors in our house for example, just a wider than average doorway leading from the main living area to our bedroom.

At least with small log homes, there is no sound dampening. I can hear Kyle running the chainsaw outside, or the chickens singing the egg song, or the goats playing.

Coming home from grocery shopping is like playing Tetris, sometimes more than one round. We will often bring in half of our goods, rearrange and put them away, then bring in the second half and do it again.

If you think you can handle the cons along with the pros, a tiny house might be right for you!

This post may contain affiliate links.
Continue Reading

Behind The Scenes: Homesteading With Chronic Illness

Behind The Scenes: Homesteading With Chronic Illness
This post may contain affiliate links.

Homesteading With Chronic Illness

Homesteading as a healthy person is a task. Homesteading with chronic illness is hard to the nth degree. It’s not impossible, but it does create some interesting problems. I personally have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3. This means I have hyper-mobility in my joints, which cause a lot of issues. The picture to the left shows my thumb folded to my wrist, which is the most obvious and least painful example of hyper-mobility for me. I have regular dislocations, subluxations, scoliosis, and chronic joint pain, among other things. I’ve even dislocated joints in my sleep before! As you can imagine, this causes some serious issues with homesteading. There’s a limit to how much weight I can lift and what tasks I can do. And I can forget about any tasks that require odd positions or contortions. There are so many homestead chores that I just can’t take on, or can only do in a limited capacity. Even things like holding my daughter too long or wearing a heavy back pack can pull my shoulders painfully. Added to all that is the fatigue brought on by chronic pain. I manage, but only with a lot of help and support from my husband!

Read on for more stories from homesteaders with chronic illness who are still living their dreams:

Autumn Rose at Hope For Better Living: Chronic illness complicates every aspect of living, and particularly, my homesteading activities! Since battling Lyme disease I’ve had to relearn HOW to do life as a fatigued individual. In order to accomplish tasks, I must plan far in advance, gauge energy levels (when it runs out, its OUT), and be sure to organize my day, beginning with the important things first. Though it isn’t easy, it isn’t all bad! In fact, because of limitations, I have found more efficient ways to do things. Number one on the list is asking for help, whether a spouse, friend or family member, life is easier when working together! I’ve also come to recognize there’s no shame in using a timer on the garden sprinkler, that mulching methods are awesome and a few weeds don’t hurt, that its ok to have our birds on a system where they are set up for 2 weeks+ and need checking only every couple days. Though it isn’t the ideal, it makes it all possible! The key is in letting go of expectations you put on or allow others to put on yourself. Do what you can and be proud of it!

https://www.reddit.com/r/bipolar/comments/3x5i91/this_a_normal_brain_and_a_bipolar_brain_its_real/Anonymous on homesteading with Bipolar Disorder:

Having Bipolar Disorder changes everything about homesteading. From finding things joyful one day to being completely apathetic about them the next, the emotional roller coaster finds ways to upset everyday tasks. Right now I’m not on any medication due to some awful side effects, so I am learning to manage on my own. This means pushing through debilitating depression to make sure animals are fed and watered, even if I can’t manage finding the energy to brush my own teeth. It also means fighting to finish a single project during manic stages, rather than starting 15 things and not completing any. I am constantly at war with myself, either feeling over or under whelmed with my daily life. That said, I love the life I live and I will always find a way to make it work, no matter how I’m feeling!

Homesteading with chronic illness’s is a challenge, but it is not impossible!

Have your own story about homesteading with a chronic illness? Add it in the comments, or email me at katie@sleddogslow.com to have it added here!

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Continue Reading

Dealing With Isolation And Alaskan Winters

Dealing With Isolation And Alaskan Winters - SledDogSlow.com

This page may contain affiliate links.

One thing about living off grid and off road is the isolation factor. I never thought of this as a problem before, in fact I considered it a benefit in our move! When we lived in town, our door was never answered if Kyle wasn’t home. Part of our moving this far was to get away from the noise and distraction of city life. It is completely different out here though. With so little human noise, we are always glad to have guests. There are also only two reasons for people to knock on our door; either they own a cabin in the area and know (or want to know) us, or they have an emergency. In either case I am happy to answer the door here.

It probably helps that there is no pretending you aren’t home in 300 square feet with smoke pouring out of the chimney!

 

A post shared by Katie Sarvela (@sleddogslow) on

That time neighbors gifted us salmon so we could have a real meal at home.

I think Kyle and I are a lot more excited to see people with so much time between visits. There have been times where a month has passed without seeing anyone. I personally run more introvert than extrovert, so I definitely need space to recharge after hanging out. It also makes a difference that we live in a cabin community here. Everyone is always looking out for each other, so there is a need to know who the neighbors are. People help each other when stuck on the trail, or by dropping off groceries, or hauling loads back here. Everyone has been in a pinch a time or two, so it helps knowing there are people around that can be depended upon. Helping people out is a good way to meet the neighborhood too.

Most cabin owners in this area are seasonal, so we haven’t had much company this winter. We do have a few friends we see in town, and a few others who stop by every time they are out this way. What we are really missing though is our families. We just recently found the show Alaska: The Last Frontier and are really enjoying it. They have several generations of family homesteading, and it’s obvious how much they lean on each other. The also live on the peninsula and live by the tides. Its fun watching people so similar to us, but it does drive home how alone we are. It would be really nice to have full time neighbors, or family or friends that lived out here.

Our closest full time neighbors are 11 miles away, off road. That makes it a little hard to run over and borrow some sugar!

 

A post shared by Katie Sarvela (@sleddogslow) on

That time neighbors gifted us a beach fire when they moved on by 4 wheeler and we had to wait out the tide to take our truck.

The long, dark days of Alaskan winters only add to the feeling of isolation. On our shortest days we only got 5 hours of light. This means a lot of time spent inside, which is probably why everyone is asking us if we have cabin fever. Luckily we have the internet, and winter gave us time to catch up on all our shows that we missed while working on our homestead this summer. Along with video games, we also have been doing a lot of research to prepare for summer. Especially research regarding raising pigs and dealing with bears. Hungry bears around the homestead is not something I’m excited for. We also have our daughter to hang out with. Watching her learn new things is endlessly entertaining!

Spending that much time in the dark has been quite the change for us. Not only did we have more light in Washington winters, but the summer days are so long it makes the winter seem worse. Now I under stand why things like Happy Lamps exist. It’s also hard to make any progress on our homestead when there is so little day light. Outdoor chores are slow to be done this time of year. Sometimes the constant darkness does wear a little bit, so we take “family days” as often as we need.

There was no rush once we had shelter, firewood, food  and water needs met. Although sometimes it’s a chore in itself convincing Kyle he doesn’t need to push himself so hard. Come spring there will be plenty of time for rushing around to finish projects. It feels like winter is spent waiting for spring and outdoor chores again! Indoor projects are something I want to prepare more for next winter. This year we didn’t really have time to harvest any materials for crafting over winter. We spent all our time in a mad dash to finish our home before snow fell.

 

A post shared by Katie Sarvela (@sleddogslow) on

That time when a neighbor towed us out of quicksand and saved our truck from the tide (the second time!).

The good news is the snow is melting and the birds are back and singing. Pretty soon all our summer friends and neighbors will be back. And with the return of long days there will be lots of homestead projects happening!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Continue Reading

Living The Off Grid Life As New Parents

Living The Off Grid Life As New Parents - SledDogSlow.com
This post may contain affiliate links.

As many of you know, Kyle and I found out I was pregnant before we gave up everything to move to Alaska. Starting a homestead from scratch while pregnant was not easy (post here). We didn’t want to try starting from scratch with a toddler though. Luckily for us, our daughter Bellamy is what I would call an easy baby. She slept through the night nearly from day one, doesn’t have many fussy spells and is easy to comfort. That’s not to say life with a newborn baby on the homestead hasn’t been challenging, especially as new parents.

When you homestead with a baby, everything changes. Good luck getting two person projects done in a timely manner! Especially if the project involves anything loud. By the time you don’t feel the need to nap every time they do, baby will be sleeping less. Babies like attention and distraction, so having both Kyle and I out of the house often leads to yelling to figure out where we are and “why aren’t you playing with me right now!?” from Bellamy. And of course I hate leaving her to cry while working on projects, even if they are necessary.

Speaking of getting things done, sometimes baby needs so much time nothing else happens. Sometimes you need time just for yourself so the dishes pile up and the floor doesn’t get swept. Personally, I was hit pretty hard with postpartum anxiety and was almost completely non-functional for a little while. Let me tell you, spending all day stressing everything is not fun, and there is no way to progress on a homestead like that. Thankfully Kyle is understanding and has been amazing at picking up slack, and giving me slack when I need it. Figuring out what I needed from him took a lot of honest communication and airing of frustrations. Luckily we have always had an amazing relationship when it comes to being open about our wants and needs. Having that foundation has made it a lot easier to ask for space, even living in a tiny house!

(read more about living together in small spaces here)

Learning to be new parents while learning to homestead has thrown some real curve balls, especially since it’s winter. I might be okay outside for an hour at 10 in just a jacket but the baby is not! And since we live off road our access isn’t always reliable, like when we were snowed in for a month. It takes us an hour to get from our homestead to the road in good conditions. And in bad conditions it can take over 2 hours. Bellamy doesn’t go to town unless we can bring the truck back because it’s just to cold! That means one of us (cough cough, me) is nearly always stuck at home. We do live close to an oil connex with a helipad in the event of an emergency though, so that is a little bit reassuring.

That said, there are all kinds of things to worry about with a newborn living where emergency services are delayed. A fever after vaccinations, a bump from rolling off the couch, throwing up an entire jar of banana baby food after having it for the first time….. The list goes on and on. Bellamy is our first child, so we get the extra apprehension that comes from not having experience. Then throw in no running water and dogs dragging home bones from dead things. Sometimes I wish we were doing this back in town where things at least feel safer.

Town would also have one other vital thing that living out here doesn’t: a support system. Living off road means it’s hard to come by a baby sitter on short notice. Or a homestead sitter for that matter! If we get stuck in town (it has been known to happen, like here when I wrecked the 4 wheeler) there’s no one to ask to check on our animals. And if we get stuck on the trail (like we did this time, and this time, and this time), there’s no waiting to flag down help or calling AAA. Luckily we have quite a few numbers for cabin owners here, so if we get stuck on the trail we can call for help. And people out here have been nice enough to come help us when we needed it.

On the plus side:

Homesteading with a newborn has given us some opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t have. While we are both looking for work, having both of us here in the meantime has been important for our developing relationship as parents. Having a baby has changed our dynamic, and spending time together has given us more time to understand those changes. We are also both enjoying Bellamy experiencing firsts. First times with new foods, toys, and exploring things. There is so much wonder in watching a child discover the world, even if a lot of that discovery involves shoving things in her mouth!

We are so excited to watch Bellamy grow, and we hope she loves living out here as she gets older!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Continue Reading

Minimalist Monday

Minimalist Monday - SledDogSlow.com
This post may contain affiliate links.

As I mentioned a few posts ago (found here), Kyle and I are going to try and go minimal electricity once a week. So here it is! Next week we will be starting our Minimalist Monday Movement, where each Monday we unplug and unwind to be in the present. I won’t say there will be absolutely no electricity use, but I’m hoping to use this to wean myself away from so much phone use.

We decided on Minimalist Monday because Kyle and his dad have a tradition of watching the Seahawks play together during football season. Which means my first ideas of Simple Sunday and Solar Saturday were out. Monday was the only other day I could come up with a cool name for, because this plan needs a name, ya know?

Monday’s will be reserved for nature walks, cooking, cleaning, homestead chores and family bonding. I would throw reading on that list, but I gave up most of my 400+ library when we moved out here. I’m slowly picking up books here and there, and my mom has sent a few in the mail (thanks Mom!), but mostly I use my Kindle app to read, so that’s counter productive to the whole “put the phone down” idea.

Things I’m hoping to work on over the next few Mondays include:

  • Picking up Yoga
  • Going for a walk each Monday
  • Finishing the burl bowl I started
  • Making a dream catcher
  • Making a weeks worth of bread
  • Working on blog posts (pen & paper!)

Once spring comes I’ll have more specific tasks that will need doing, and Monday will be my set aside “Get Shit Done” day where I pick a project and motor through it. Things like building a compost bin, cleaning out the chicken coop, and hauling water are all projects that can be done in a day (even if they need repeating the next Monday!).

Kyle is going to help me keep on track with this plan too. Even though he loves playing his X-Box, he hates the phone and the fact that I’m always tied to it, so he’s willing to go without video games to help me break my phone habit. Solidarity is what marriages are all about, right? 🙂

The only 100% planned caveat to Minimalist Monday are pictures.  I used the phone a lot to document goings on around the homestead, so I’ll probably put the phone in airplane mode rather than turn it off. That way I still have it quickly if I need to take a picture, and when you live somewhere as beautiful as this, there’s always something to capture with a camera!

 

Beautiful day! #nofilter

A photo posted by Katie Sarvela (@sleddogslow) on


If you feel like you could use a break from today’s toys and distractions, feel free to start your own Minimalist Monday and let us know how it goes!

This post may contain affiliate links. 

Continue Reading