Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Nostalgic Saturday And The Seasonal Compost Flip

Last weekend, we took a break from our own day to
day hub-bub and helped out some fellow tinies.

It felt really good to build be around a still forming tiny be around a pair absolutely lit afire with excitement, conviction, and determination. Our friends, Justin and Jenny, first found us through our blog. They began following along- avidly- earlier than most. With every post they commented and shared our enthusiasm- helping propel us forward on days we couldn't quite do so by ourselves. Then, we started a totally unrelated business, but they embraced that with the same bright delight as our tiny house journey- nearly every week, one or both would visit us at the farmer's market, buying a smattering of items each time. They even put us in contact with a possible restaurant collaboration! 

Before and After in the "Bedroom" :)

They also came over a few weekends back, our first dinner party of any kind! It was a great time, full of enlivened conversation and a genuine desire to learn about one another. We learned that our timelines had certain similarities. In October of 2013, as we moved into our tiny house- still not quite complete- they moved into the small RV they currently call home. It was a strategic step on their part, not only did it help them financially in preparing for the project, it prepared them for living tiny before they even began prepping the trailer. They have faced two hellish winters (for RI anyway) in that small, scantily insulated RV. During the especially bitter days of February, when we couldn't keep the propane coming fast enough, they had to retreat to a family members house. Now that's commitment!!  With all that on our minds, Dan and I just really want to see the marvelous couple enjoy this coming winter in the comforts of their new tiny house. 

We arranged to come help them out some Saturday. With the markets winding down and the weather closing in, we committed to a weekend. We headed out that morning, all layered up, tools in hand, pencils behind the ears, ready to put in a good days work. We showed up to help at a great point in their build too-- they were beginning the interior finish surfaces. We can SO relate to this couple on a level that is hard to describe to anyone who has not faced this kind of project. I remember the utter joy that pulsed through me as we put up those first few beautiful blonde planks of pine. AT LAST! No more bloody insulating! No more ugly insides of the walls to stare at! This is our finished wall! 

We quickly split into teams. Justin and Dan went to work on putting up the rest of the ceiling insulation- up to the bathroom, while Jenny and I worked on installing the first pieces of dry wall in the bedroom area. They have a goose-neck trailer, and like many with that trailer type, decided to put the bed up in that space. I was excited to see a goose-neck design in person. 

By the end of the afternoon, Dan and Justin had completed the ceiling insulation, and started putting up the ceiling sheets. Jenny and I completed all drywall in the "bedroom" and the step down area up to the front door. It was so much fun working with them and getting back to a project like this. Don't get me wrong, I love to bake, but it was a welcome change of pace for the day. Follow their story and root them on as they race to move in before the snow slows them down! Checkout their blog here

Just last weekend, we did our semi-annual flip of the compost piles. I was quite amazed to see how quickly the first year's pile shrunk. The compost bay that was mounded over full this April, only had inches of material left! Our second bay was nearing full, and could use a toss and a good infusion of carbon materials, so we flipped it into the first bay. Dan slowly tossed segments of the pile as I tossed in buckets full of leaves. It was a perfect time-- ample leaf piles had collected along the road and driveway. The material had already started to darken and breakdown. A rich earthy smell rose up from every new stab into the pile. 

This was mounded over the top just 6 months ago!
It's amazing in a way- to stand in front of a years worth of your own bio-material. It doesn't add up to as much as I thought. I had my worries about managing the actual mass of our heap when we first began. I don't know why I thought we would produce mountains of the stuff! Turns out that two compost bays measuring roughly four feet by four feet is enough for the two of us. It took us minutes to assemble using recycled (and totally free) pallets.

Ready for another year's worth!

We got lost in the numbers as we worked the heaps, calling out how much water we saved, how much energy saved for water that didn't need to be treated...the amount of chemicals that never got dumped into the water....the rippling waves of benefits seem to extend out into oblivion. All through such a simple, humbling practice. I am glad we chose to do this. I am glad we did not cling with fear to the porcelain bowl. An effect I didn't anticipate is perhaps my favorite: I feel so much more connected to everything around us, now that we are completing the true nutrient cycle...what we cannot use, we put back. 

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  1. Thank you Jess and Dan so much for taking time and lending a hand to Justin Jenny! Justin thinks you guys are fantastic and I see why! Love all that you are doing for the earth and for other fellow humans!
    Cynthia Fontaine

  2. Look at all those happy orbs! lol Looks like a great time was had by all and what a nice couple you are to help them out. :)

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