Book Review: Going Tiny

I am sharing a book review I wrote for Hermit Haus Redevelopment, because I think some of my readers here would also enjoy it.

The little book I read is called Going Tiny: Failure + Opportunity in the Future of Affordable Housing  It’s written by a guy named Davis Richardson, who is apparently the age of my youngest son. But, he’s more ambitious or more lucky. Anyway, his age is a real advantage in this book, and his perspective is just what I needed as I looked for books that gave honest assessments of how tiny homes REALLY would work in communities.

I don’t usually write the same thing in my work and personal blog. This time, yes. Why not?

I really enjoyed this charming and idea-packed little book!

If you are a professional book person, you have to ignore some of the obvious signs of self publishing, like random blank spreads in the middle of chapters, and headings even on the first blank page. I also get a little irritated trying to make out the legends on his illustrations, which are in his charming but hard-to-read handwriting. Really, though, you should focus on Richardson’s words, instead, which are written in a colloquial Millennial style that I enjoyed.

Richardson is an architecture student who decided to build a tiny house on a whim, and learned a lot of lessons about building them and (more important to me) what you can DO with them the hard way, by his own experience. Lucky for us Hermits, he did all his learning in Austin, so the examples he gives actually apply to us. What a handy coincidence!

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How Do You Form and Maintain Community?

Monday evening we expanded our usual guest list to include some new people, in honor of Labor Day. We invited our cabin tenant, Tyler, along with his wife, Yanelly, who just moved to town. We also invited our new friends, Kayla and Matt, who recently bought a house from us and now live next to Martha and Mike.

And if you’re in the community, you have to hang out with Fiona (that’s Matt and Kayla)

We realized that we’ve been busy creating a community ever since we started coming to the ranch. We’re so grateful to Sara and Ralph for letting us buy our little slice of heaven and start down the road to making a life in Milam County. And now we’re helping bring in more folks, like my sister, Mandi and family, Mike and Martha, Kathleen, and Kayla and Matt!

You do have to cook a LOT of burgers for a community cookout, says Mike.

Forming a community

Pretty much everyone who’s become part of my social circle in Milam County has been because I volunteered to do something. That may explain why I’m such a “joiner,” as Sensei Larry, who taught my sons karate, has been saying for 20 years or so.

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Life Is Complicated: Fiber Arts Department

I can see why so many people I know are staying away from online communities, even though they provide such great ways to stay in touch, make new friends, and feel less isolated. It just seems IMPOSSIBLE to create a community where people treat each other with respect and dignity. Name calling and blaming seem to be the rule rather than the exception in today’s society in this country.

Case in point

I’m a member of a fiber arts community called Ravelry, which was founded in 2007. Back when I spent much of my time knitting, teaching knitting, and designing patterns, this was like a second home to me. I’m sure many of you readers feel the same, since I have so many knitting friends (before Ravelry we had some wonderful email lists, and some grumpy ones).

That’s right, I showed up early.

I’ve been very proud of the founders and their team, who have truly created a wonderful resource for fiber artists, and have continued to add features and branch out. It’s like Facebook, but with a focus…and generally with more kindness.

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Working on Community

When we first moved to the ranch, I was worried that it would be isolating living so far out here. That’s what Lee, the hermit, wanted. I wanted to have a community to enjoy life with, as well as some peace and quiet. I’m happy to report we are well on our way to a real community out here.

We missed the storms that hit Austin last night, but got cool clouds.

We were relieved to find a place near our friends Sara and Ralph, who warmly welcomed us when we first got here and really helped us set things up. And what would I do without my horse riding companion? Life would not be the same without these folks. We’ve also been lucky to make friends with Cathy, who lived at the cabin when we first arrived, and Tyler, who lives there now and does my snake handling.

When we added Mandi and her family over at Rattlesnake, wow, we could have been happier. They are so helpful in so many ways. One son cares for the horses and hens when I’m in Austin, and another has been helping Ralph with his mowing. Grateful for them.

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