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The Next Stage
Shavedhead
gungy
I've been holding onto this post for a while now. It has no pictures. Some may see it as kind of a downer. I choose to see it as a new possibility. In short, I'm going to move. Here's why:



WHAT HAPPENED

So on Thursday, January 12th my parents left for Florida. We had decided that, while they were gone, I was going to stay in their house. For one, their house isn't in the middle of nowhere. Secondly, their neighbors on both sides also go South for the winter, and they didn't want a series of empty houses appearing like a target. My official mail also gets delivered to that address (since my property didn't have a mailbox on it when I bought it) so that would be more convenient. Most important for me, though, is the fact that my folks have a fenced-in back yard for Barney to run around in. I don't spend nearly as much time outside in the winter as I do during the other seasons, but Barney doesn't seem to care if it's below freezing just so long as he has trees to pee on and squirrels to chase.
The morning of the 12th I drove out to my folks' place to see them off. It was early in the morning and I had been up late the night before, so I decided to take a nap on the couch before driving back out to my tiny house to drain the water lines, take in the solar panels, and shut everything down for the winter. By the time I got out there it was almost noon. Turns out, I had just missed a visitor. There was a sticker on the window from the Code Authority declaring my tiny house unlawful.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

The Code Inspector had identified my house to the Code Authority as “a standard camper with fake wood siding and a new roof designed to hide it,” indicating that either he didn't look that closely at it or he's a piss-poor inspector. That was a little offensive, but hardly worth a narrative as I can easily demonstrate that it is NOT what he says it is. The real problem, though, is the size ordinance.
The ordinance in this township (and in every township in Southeast Michigan, as well as most of the rest of the state) is that any dwelling must be at least 960 square feet to be habitable. It doesn't matter if it's your own land. It doesn't matter if it's permanent or not – if you are living in it, it must be over 960 square feet. There are exceptions for trailer parks and apartments, and I'm sure the concept of “living” is undefined and can be argued, but the point of the ordinance is pretty clear.
The Code Authority turned the issue over to the Zoning Authority, and I spoke to a guy from there about the details. He was very polite, but also very firm. He let me know that he had no idea why the ordinance said what it said, but that he fully intended to enforce it and would pursue legal action should I choose not to comply. I hold no ill will against him personally – he is, after all, just doing the job for which he was hired, and is not entrusted to make judgments outside of those issues delineated in his paperwork.
This is not a surprise to me; I knew this going in. I had already confronted the Code Authority in a neighboring township earlier in the year, and they informed me of that requirement (actually, that township had a minimum requirement of 1,400 square feet. There's another nearby that has a minimum of over 2,000 square feet. How on earth they can claim a dwelling under 2,000 square feet to be uninhabitable is beyond me, given that I've never lived in a house that size in my life. And don't even get me started on how that might even remotely be sustainable.) I bought my land knowing that I would be in violation of the ordinance to live in my house there. Unfortunately, in this state, there is no other option – There is no township or city within 100 miles that will allow my house. It may even be further than that, but I felt there was no reason to check.
I chose to take the risk I did because I wanted to have my own land. I chose a place on a dirt road, over 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store and 3 miles from the nearest gas station. It's on 4 wooded acres, easy enough to hide in, with enough space so as not to bother my neighbors. I knew that, eventually, the issue of the ordinance would catch up to me. However, I figured that if I was at least there for two years, the cost of my land would be cheaper than the price of getting an apartment – and I would have something to resell afterwords. Being able to live off the grid, harvesting my own rainwater, managing my own compost, running only on solar power – I've wanted to do that for so long that I had to give it a try. Unfortunately, I didn't get the two years I had financially planned on. Instead, I got 5 months.

WHAT I THINK CAUSED IT

I'm fairly certain that this is the result of the actions of my neighbor. The very first day I was over there after buying the property he came over, introduced himself to me, then distinctly informed me that he had wanted my property. He should have bought it first, I figured to myself, and just kinda let that one go. There is no fence between our properties, and rest of that day his 5 year-old son was constantly playing on my land. He was, in fact, going into my barn, riding his bike up and down my driveway, and constantly getting in my way. The neighbor made no attempts to stop him, in spite of the fact that he himself was outside doing yard work, too. At the time, I just let it go – I figured the kid was just being overactive, as 5 year-olds are wont to do.
The next few days, while I was over there, the neighbor started blaring his music. Now, I used to run a skating rink, so I'm familiar with loud music. As the manager, I had to be aware of the sound level, since anything over 90 decibels over a period of time can cause mild hearing damage. I got to be pretty good at determining when the music was too loud, and when to tell the DJ to adjust it. The neighbor had his speakers turned directly toward my property and pumped the volume up so that, even at a distance of over 550 feet, it was well into the high 80s. He was also playing Country music – BAD Country Music. Now, I recognize that some of you out there may be Country Music fans. If it helps you to follow the tone of the story better, imagine I had just said “Gangsta Rap” instead. To be honest, I don't care for either, but I really don't want to get into my musical tastes at the moment. Let's just say that, to me, the music he was playing was like having an ice pick driven into my ear drum even BEFORE the piercing quality of the volume level was taken into consideration.
That had gone on for several days, sometimes even when I had guests over. Every time, I found a reason to leave. It was around Labor Day weekend, after all, and I figured he was just celebrating the end of summer. After the holiday was over, though, it continued, so I eventually confronted him. I asked him if it was common for him to play loud music like that. He flatly said that yes, it was. I told him that the volume level was bothersome to me, and that I could understand maybe when he had guests or when it was a holiday or a weekend, but playing it every day was unacceptable. He very distinctly said “the reason I moved out to the country was so that I could do what I want, when I want.” I replied that I moved out there to get away and find some peace and quiet, but he had already made his point clear – he had no intentions of working with me.
Now, he did turn the music down – there are noise ordinances, after all, and I have no doubt that he is aware of them. And even later I went over and thanked him for doing so. I, after all, wanted to be a good neighbor. I told him I recognized he was just trying to live his life and I was asking him to make concessions, and in thanks I would buy him a case of beer. He refused, saying he didn't drink beer. I offered soda, water, and tea, but he refused all three, each with a lamer excuse. The point there was also clear – he was refusing my thanks and goodwill.
There were a number of other incidents – the constant screaming and cussing on the weekends, the 4 pit bulls (Pig, Runt, Baby, and Jo-Lee) that he would let run loose, even when I had Barney chained up outside, or the repeated revving of engines, be they of cars, trucks, 4-wheelers, or snowmobiles, that happened for hours nearly every day in spite of the fact that he rarely moved the vehicles. All sorts of things built up to make me feel unwelcome, and I have no doubt that it was he and his brother-in-law that called the Code Authority.
I paid my taxes. I wasn't hurting anyone. But technically, it is the law. Whatever.

WHY I'M NOT FIGHTING IT

When I tell my friends about this, their first instinct was to think of ways to fight this. After all, it IS my property, and I'm not hurting anyone, and most of them want to get revenge on the neighbor. I understand that instinct, but it isn't what I feel. See, the shock I got from seeing that notice on the door left me feeling incredibly “hollow” - that's the closest word I have to describe it. It was a profound emptiness, a lack of will, and an absence of motivation, desire, or even (for a while) basic cognition. I didn't feel sad, or angry, or frustration – I had lost the capacity for feeling. In a way, then, it was fortunate that a friend called me that evening to ask for a ride to the hospital. His appendix had burst, and getting to him and then to the hospital was more than an hour's drive.

Having someone you've known for years start dying in your car kinda puts things into perspective. (He's okay, by the way, but that's a whole other story.)

Why did this have to happen when it did? Why did the inspector have to come that morning? Why didn't I go straight back after seeing my folks off for Florida and shut the tiny house down then? Had I done that, the inspector would have come across a structure that was winterized and obviously uninhabited. It obviously would have been in storage, and there are no laws against that. Had he just been a day later, or had I gone out there a few hours sooner, I could have avoided it all.

But then I realized, this isn't something that's happening TO me, it's something that's happening FOR me, and I'm lucky that it happened when it did. I know I'm going to disappoint many people in the tiny house movement because of this, but I do not intend to fight this, mainly because even in victory, there is no triumph for me here.

Even if I win, I will still be next to a neighbor who hates me. Even if I win, I will be 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store. Even if I win, I will be both physically and socially isolated, far enough away from everyone nearby to where visiting me is inconvenient, but not far enough away to where I'll be compelled to seek out new things. I'll be in an area in which the population is politically and ideologically at odds with my own morals and values. I will, in essence, become a hermit here.

WHAT I HAD ACCOMPLISHED

A number of my friends recognized the issues I outlined in that last paragraph before I had even moved, and they expressed their concerns to me about them. Honestly, I felt them myself, too. However, I went through with it because I knew there was something I needed to do. It was the same compulsion for why I built the tiny house in the first place. With the house, I wanted the experience of building it – of doing the plumbing, of running the wiring, of putting up the siding and installing the fireplace and making something from nothing.
The second compulsion was to live in it. I NEEDED to live off the grid, to experience life using solar panels, to collect my own rainwater and shower in it, knowing that it came from the sky with no chlorine. I needed to manage my own compost pile, and to see just how little waste and trash I could generate. I needed to live lightly, I needed to learn how, and I needed to do it on my own.

And I've done that.

It's only been for 5 months, but I've done that. And, strangely, that need feels “satisfied.” I've learned what I've set out to learn, and have experienced (however briefly) what I set out to experience. In short, there's nothing more for me here. I know that I can do this, I know that it works, and that I can live my life like this. But there's still more I need to do... and because of that, I'm moving west.

WHY OREGON

Ever since I was as young as I can remember, I've felt compelled to go to Oregon. I do not know why this attraction is there, but it's been with me my whole life. Oddly, I've ended up with a job that involves a lot of travel, but even with 39 states under my belt, I have never been close to Oregon. The word even “looks” different in my head, as though it's a different color or shape than other words. Old friends of mine can tell you that they've heard me mention my attraction to the state time and time again, even without really knowing anything about the place. And, to be honest, I really DON'T know much about Oregon.
The closest I can come to a “reason” is that I must have died on the Oregon Trail in a past life, or something, and the destination was never reached, but the yearning passed over into this life. Or maybe I played too much Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe in the school library as a kid. I don't know, but at this point it's been with me for so long that I don't feel like I NEED to know.
I built the tiny house because of an urge. I bought my land and lived in it because of an urge, and now it's time to satisfy this urge. I won't say it's as strong as the urge to build the house was, but it's definitely been with me for much longer. It's been there constantly in the back of my head; not a nagging voice, but more of a steady impression – never begging for attention, but also never letting me forget that it's there.

PLANNING

Some people may interpret this as me running away from the problem. They're certainly entitled to their opinions, but I don't feel that way. “Running away” is usually the easy solution, and this is anything but that. Truth be told, I'm flat-out terrified. It's a long distance to travel, I know nobody out there, and I have no logical reason to be there. Some people thrive on the unknown, but this is far beyond my comfort zone.

And that, perhaps, is one of the more compelling arguments for why I should go.

I'll need to find a job once I'm out there, but that's no different than where I am now. My current job has a busy month coming up for me, but after that there's unlikely to be anything for me for nearly a year. I also need to figure out if I'm going to move my tiny house and have it stored somewhere or keep it on the land it's on now. I can't take it with me quite yet – I really don't know what I'm getting into, and it's quite expensive to haul it across the country. I'm even debating whether I should take Barney with me initially or not.

But I have time to plan. I'm going to be working for the whole month of February, then I'll be back up here shortly after the first week of March. I'll spend that month getting my affairs in order, then plan to make my move in April. And who knows, this urge may be over in less than a year, too. It may be only a few months before I'm driving back. But at least by that point, I can say that I did it. I'll have satisfied another urge, I'll have another accomplishment under my belt, and another story to tell. Or maybe I'll be coming back for the tiny house to bring it into my new life out there. At this point, there's no way to tell what the outcome will be... but I DO know that it's the right move to make. In fact, it's the ONLY move to make.



So, yeah... if anyone has any suggestions, ideas, or leads as to what I should do out in Oregon, let me know. I'm kinda going out there blind.

EDIT: Overwhelming response! Thank you all for your support; it is HIGHLY encouraging! I'm on the road for work right now (a week in Mexico City, a week in DC, 2 weeks in North Carolina, a few days in Florida...) but I WILL be responding to everyone as I get the chance! Also, don't be alarmed if your post doesn't show up right away - LiveJournal flags anything with a link in it for review. As long as you're not linking to Discount Russian Escort Services (yes, this has been a problem,) then it'll show up as soon as I can unflag it.

EDIT 2: Okay, I'm not really all that interesting on there, but for those who want it: www.facebook.com/jonathan.bellows

I think it will be amazing and you BETTER stop in Boise, otherwise I am meeting you somewhere along your new journey! ;)

Don't worry, that's one of the few things I actually have planned for sure at this point. :) But you'd better have some progress on your own house to show me!

Wow, what a revelation of the challenges facing someone who clearly thinks outside the box. I'm sorry to hear of the mess, but glad you're seeing it as an opportunity to fulfill a deeper dream.

Thanks. Honestly, I knew I wasn't going to be happy there before I even signed the papers. It's just a big step to move that far from home, so sometimes it takes a big boot to provide motivation.

Just get your house and go, no biggie.. :)

I know, right? If only I hadn't sold my truck! But no, I need to scout the area first, otherwise I'll be pulling in with a tiny house and not know where to even park. I'll come back for it, though!

You should come down to Phoenix during your trip and visit me, I'm going to be moving out there for my new job, and my days in the military are over.

Dennis! Arizona IS a little out of the way, but it's ALSO one of the few states I have left to spend a night in. Gotta catch 'em all! It might not be while I'm on my way out, but I'll be sure to find a way to get down there!

First, I think it is dumb that your neighbor is a...well, all the words I want to use are grossly inappropriate. Getting away from that kind of negativity, whether he ultimately reported you or not, is a good idea. Just sucks that you had to go through that in the first place.

But I think that embracing change is exactly what the tiny lifestyle is all about. I do know there are other tiny house people in the Portland area - Tammy at RowdyKittens.com for one. Even if you go out on an exploratory mission and then bring your house later, I think it will be worth while. (Portland had been on our short list as well, but we really fell in love with Asheville NC)

Best of luck! As a fellow tiny house builder, I support you with whatever you decide to do!

Thanks, tiny house buddy! And no, I'm sure all the words you want to use are QUITE appropriate. :P This is just an inappropriate venue in which to use them. ;) But honestly, if he hadn't been like that, I might have gotten "comfortable" out there and had become a hermit, and nobody wants that.

Oh, and don't think that because I'm moving across the country you're getting off the hook! The way I see it, you guys still owe me a visit!

We are headed to Oregon in 3 years to build a tiny house. Looking in the southern area off the coast for sun. Good luck!

Thank you! I don't know much about the region myself, but hopefully in 3 years I'll be able to show people around!

Wish you all the best. Oregon's great, I used to work at Mt. Hood. Code is an existing thing that is often imperfect and needs to be changed. Practically, it's good to know your code locally. I'm interested in code because I'm introducing a novel masonry system. I build prototype structures on my property from custom manufactured concrete block that I develop. Here are blog entries I wrote on code http://masonrydesign.blogspot.com/2012/01/curious-case-of-code-concludes.html

Ooh..! Those DO look interesting!
But yeah, building code isn't so much the issue, as I'm pretty sure Tumbleweed Tiny Houses are built to code, and mine was built by me off of their plans. I may have violated code by moving the stove too close to the window, but that's a minor thing that's easily changed. It's the zoning that they're using against me here. But you are right in that you need to know the zoning wherever you go.

outside Portland. Zoning laws.

(Anonymous)
Portland has code laws. Live in the boonies.

Re: outside Portland. Zoning laws.

Even the boonies have code laws. It's the zoning that's the issue. Although, really, where I am right now in Michigan should be considered "the boonies," and they still have zoning requirements. I'm not willing to fight it here, though, since I'm not happy where I am. If I was somewhere in which I WAS happy, I'd be raising hell.

Good luck!

(Anonymous)
It's a shame so many states have those kinds of rules. I have my tiny house in a back yard to avoid that. If you decide to bring your house to Oregon, you might try using Craigslist to find land to rent. It worked for me in CA. I know it's not as nice as owning your own land, but still better than being in an apartment.

Actually, around here even THAT is illegal. Here, if you had your own camper or RV and set it up in your own driveway to host guests for one night because of a holiday or something, you would be in violation of the law. Seriously. On your own land, in your own driveway, with your own property, and with everyone's consent. I think that's wrong.

And I'm not so sure about using Craigslist to find a home... I'm a little apprehensive about that. I suppose it's no different than people using it to find upstairs apartments in homes to rent, but... Hmm. I'd have to think that one over, really.

Sorry to hear about the dippy neighbor, but I'm excited about your move!

Amusingly, I just applied for a job in Oregon. Wouldn't it be amusing if we both ended up there!

DUDE! You just GOT the job you have!

And you can't move yet, since I already planned on inviting myself over while on my way out there. Most of the states I have to visit are in the north, so I want to cut across the north way, and that means going through the U.P.

But being in the same area? TOTAL awesome!

The Next Stage Response

Jonathan,

I've been following the Tiny House Movement for a few months. It's awesome that people are trying to be self-sufficient. It is sad that terrible neighbors would attempt to make the experience a negative one. I hope your next venture turns out to be a much more positive one...and remember, what comes around goes around. People like that neighbor will be treated just like they've treated others. You endured a lot, and I pray you get better neighbors next time around.

God bless,

Rebecca G.

Re: The Next Stage Response

Thanks, Rebecca. And yeah, jerks will be jerks no matter what size my house is; that's just the way of it. I'm hoping things'll be better out west, too.

We're getting ready to move to Northern California (Happy Camp, actually). One of the places we looked at was southern Oregon. Klamath Falls, Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass, and Cave Junction all looked beautiful. The land prices looked reasonable for someone who's used to Iowa farmland pricing. Several of these towns are encouraging new residents, businesses, etc. Good luck on your search!

I'm not that familiar with Oregon yet (have to do some research) so I don't know where I'll end up. Encouraging new residents is a good thing! Given that I'll need to find work out there, though, I'll better my chances if I go somewhere with a good-sized population. Not necessarily Portland (that may be too big for me) but somewhere I can find work.

And I had to look up if there really was such a place as "Happy Camp, California." Ha ha! If you live there, do you get to refer to yourself as a "Happy Camper?" Because that would be awesome.

Adventure is fun! Feel free to stop in Duluth, MN on your way west! I'd love to talk about your tiny home experience as I am hoping to start building this spring!

Well, Minnesota IS one of the few states I have left to visit, so I had planned on taking US-2 across for a ways. It goes right through Duluth, doesn't it? Totally possible!

Given your experience with your neighbor, how safe will your tiny house be while no one is there? Will there be on there to come back and get?

I wish you nothing but good in your experience out west. I've lived in Colorado for many years now and there is a different attitude out here (although, as everywhere, neighbors can be a blessing or a curse) and I'm glad I moved out here.

Thanks for the well-wishes, Ken! I am a little concerned about my tiny house being out there. I'm considering having it stored while I'm exploring out west... it'll all come down to cost. I also know, though, that there were other people on the street who said they'd keep an eye on my property for me, so that's a bit encouraging. Also, after I closed up the tiny house but before I left for work (about 2 weeks) I stopped by many times. There were no tracks in the snow, so nobody's been trespassing... yet.

Jonathan, You are such a smart guy. I really don't get why Michigan is so harsh with their min. sq footage. I live in Portland, OR and have been looking into property within an hour away. There are some really beautiful parcels and I think some of them allow manufactured or stick built. I use this link to search: www.rmls.com. I have no idea how the prices compare to land in MI.

One tip I can give you since I grew up in Milwaukee, WI, is that while Oregon is absolutely gorgeous, there are only 2 seasons: rainy and the hopefully 3 months of summer. I really miss the 4 seasons of the midwest. But I think you could cope and it would probably be atleast 5 years to get tired of the weather.

Good luck! I hope to hear back from you that you have moved to Oregon on a beautiful piece of property and maybe we'll be your neighbors. (Who will keep the music down! ;-))

Michigan is so harsh with their minimum square footage requirements probably for the same reasons that other areas are: because they accept what the building industry says should be required, and because people want to increase their own property values. Also, a lot of people just don't understand how living in a small space is feasible, so they outlaw it.

As for land prices, I got my land here for so cheap, I doubt I'll be able to find a deal like it anywhere else. That's okay, though, because for the right place, I can just save up.

I didn't know that Oregon was "seasonally-impaired." While I do enjoy the seasons we get here, I will be glad to be done with construction season and bug season. Maybe it won't be so bad. ;)

And here's hoping that we'll both be able to find good neighbors (or maybe be neighbors ourselves!)

Hi! I love your spirit, and that you listen to your gut to see this as an opportunity to move on. I really believe that if an idea is in your heart, its meant to be pursued.I wish more people lived out loud, like that! You are an inspiration.
I have only spent vacation time in OR, but the mountains are amazing, and the farmland, vast. The ocean wild, and the people individualistic. There are small cities with very active university life, culturally exciting. We spend time in Hood River, on the Columbia R., north. Its at the cut through in the Cascade Mts. where the best wind-surfing happens, thanks to the wind tunnel effect, there.
Portland is a very open, funky city! You'll be so glad you went to OR, I am sure of it.

Thanks, Nancy! Although, really, I feel like I'd have been more of an inspiration had I listened to my gut ten years ago instead of lolly-gagging until now. But (hopefully) it's never too late!

Mountains and oceans are two things we definitely don't have here in Michigan. I've been around both in my travels, of course, but I've never lived by either. I'm excited about the mountains, but the ocean has me a bit nervous. I just can't shake the feeling that I'm back on the food chain every time I step foot in the water...

Hell is other people ~ Jean-Paul Sartre . . . ;-D

I'm so disappointed in the human race to hear about this. But I can see your point exactly. Part of what you are seeking in this whole adventure is just getting some peace - and peace of mind. Your neighbor has made both of these extremely difficult... which is why the land was probably for sale in the first place. This clown wants the land, doesn't want to pay for it, and makes life miserable for anyone who buys it until they finally give up and leave...and is getting away with it. I myself being the 'St Michael' sort, I think the last part would rankle the most. But tilting at windmills will only get you so far, and sometimes for your own sanity, ya just gotta let it go...

But all is not lost as you pointed out. You proved it not only to yourself, but to all of us, that this is 'do-able'. You CAN live off the grid, be self sustainable, less of an impact on the earth, and still live quite comfortably. If where you're at presently only wants McMansions, then so be it. Find someplace else that shares your vision. 'Go West, young man'. The pioneer spirit still lives. I think you may have an easier time finding it here. We may be called the land of 'fruits, flakes and nuts', but we're also more progressive and open minded when it comes to alternative lifestyles. There are several small house builders here, including your beloved Tumbleweed. Oh, and by the way, we get enough sun that we can GROW those fruits, flakes and nuts - year round.
Harvesting rainfall- not so much- verboten in the west. But I think a little ingenuity on that part can get you that under the radar.

My brother has in laws who live in Oregon, pretty much sustaining themselves on their own land. On a much larger scale mind you, but they're pretty close to being off the grid. I'll write 'em a note, link to your blog, and see if they can offer any suggestions or help for you.

Just one more thing.
YOU ROCK! YOU'RE MY HERO!!!

Re: Hell is other people ~ Jean-Paul Sartre . . . ;-D

Ha ha, thanks!

In my neighbor's defense, he himself has only been living there for a year and when he checked on the price of the land, the lady was asking 4 times as much as what I ended up buying it for. That may have had some influence on his actions. Yeah, it sucks, but I'm not the kind to hold grudges.

...okay, that's a filthy lie. I can and do totally hold grudges, but in this case I honestly think the situation will work out better for me in the long run.

Being able to grow things year-round will be nice! Also, having sun on the solar panels would be great. And my water needs are quite minimal - I've gotten by on less than 10 gallons a week before. With enough storage, I think even desert conditions will provide me with enough. I've been amazed at how much water I get off of that roof!

I believe things happen for reason and sometimes we don't understand when we are going thru bad times. I admire you that you didn't turn into your fighting neighbor.
Enjoy your next journey.
Ps. I would sell him the property for twice what you paid for it. LOL
Good Luck with your move.
Eileen

I was going to say that...

... sell him the land at a nice fat profit and go west. You're right - staying is not a victory as you will always have the feeling of being unwelcome on your own land (we have crappy neighbours, too). Oregon and Washington seem to be more disposed to green ideas (I live in BC Canada and belong to Cascadia). I hope you keep building smaller homes. I hope you bring your tiny house west and enjoy the beautiful outdoors we have here... nothing like a storm on the coast to feel the true awesomeness of nature.

If you get to Portland, look up The Hippie Cook, Jean Johnson. She is a hoot and makes wonderful local food dishes fresh and shares in her cookbooks. Tell her Marion in Texas says Hugs and Hello!

Portland wasn't necessarily the plan, but I just looked her up online. There's some good looking food on there! I will admit, my diet isn't the best, so maybe this is a good idea!

code laws in rural areas - good news

(Anonymous)
hi there, the left coast will be happy to have you!

I am from Davis CA and believe i have found out that on rural land outside the city limits (under county jurisdiction), you can park your TH on someone else's property with their permission and it is considered "camping" so I assume you can "camp" indefinitely! So if you find someone with a lot of land and you could go park off privately somewhere, it would be as good as owning your own! But really get to know the landowner first.

Might be the same rules in Oregon!?

Steph

Re: code laws in rural areas - good news

Ha! "Left" coast. I like it!

But yeah, I know for a fact that you can't "camp indefinitely" out here (you really can't even "camp" on someone's land, period, even your own,) so I'd have to check into it for out there. And yeah, I definitely wouldn't do something like that without getting to know the people! The last thing I'd want is to realize we have different expectations and suddenly find I need to move in the middle of the night!

Life is an adventure, and best lived when you follow your passions. I think its fantastic that you took a setback and let it become a new opportunity instead of a battle. :)

Thanks! And yeah, it really is an opportunity... it's just that the opportunity here is that I have the chance to do again what I should have done in the first place. :)

best of luck live the true american dream

Thanks! That's the plan. :)

Welcome to Oregon

(Anonymous)
Life here in Oregon is great! Their are tons of tiny homes in Portland, despite code. Don't worry about a job, come out here and put your tiny home building skills to work building food carts!

Re: Welcome to Oregon

Heh. Ooh, is there a need for more food carts? Is building them a viable way to make a living? Because I'll totally be bringing my tools! Just tell me where to start.

Hi Johnathan!

(Anonymous)
I just read your post and was compelled to see more so i went looking for pictures of your tiny house. I love your tiny house. I especially love your compost toilet design and I think you should create a website to sell your compost toilet. Also get yourself a facebook page. You really need to have other people check this out. It is a great idea and other people living off the grid would need something like this. This is the kind of idea that can generate income for someone living off the grid.

I have a small suggestion. I saw your fireplace and noticed that you have what looks to be an exhaust pipe/chimney for it. There is a website with a fireplace that burns cleaner and from biodegradable sources. Check out ecosmartfire.com. With a fireplace from these guys, you do not need to install a chimney and it heats up quite a bit.

As for going to Oregon, I wish I could come with. I definitely understand the feeling you have described, for I have felt it too. It is on my life's to do list as well. I am glad you are able to fulfill your desire to move to Oregon. Definitely post an update of how everything goes. I wish you the best and lots of good luck.

if you would like to email me, my email is nikkie dot mcdaniel at gmail.

Nikkie



Re: Hi Johnathan!

Thanks, Nikkie

I remember seeing the ecosmartfire.com fireplaces a while back - they look pretty slick! Thanks for reminding me of them. Right now I'm pretty much tied to propane, but I'd like to get away from that... eventually, that is. I've got some more pressing things on my mind these days. ;)

And I'm glad you liked my sawdust toilet design. A number of others have commented on it - maybe I should try to build more!

Oh, and I do have a Facebook page, it's www.facebook.com/jonathan.bellows. Feel free to add me, although I don't really say anything more entertaining on there than I do here.

Twelve years ago, I moved to Portland on a whim, having always wanted to see the Pacific northwest. While I was only there for a year (wish I'd stayed!) there are few places more exquisite. Both Portland and Corvallis are university towns ad anywhere on the coast is indescribable. Any place in the Williamette Valley will change you forever. I hope to get myself to Corvallis as soon as possible, as I have family there. If that area might hold some appeal to you, who knows, there might be some connections that would put up your tony house.

Moved on a whim, huh? Well, at least I know I'm not the only one! Heh. However, I am woefully ignorant of Oregon, and places like Portland, Corvallis, and even the Williamette Valley are really not much more than names to me. But I hope to learn, and soon! Given the enthusiastic responses I've received describing the state, I'm sure I'll be able to find a place for me!

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