Building Dreams For Others

Although the new tiny house adventure has its own demands, sometimes you have to set aside personal goals for a bit to help others.  Okanogan County is the poorest county in Washington State, and in both 2014 and 2015 this county was devastated by wildland fires.

Foolish me! I thought between insurance and help from the State and Federal governments that folks losing their homes would quickly be housed again.  Well, my friends, I was wrong.  If you are wealthy enough to afford insurance, then you might get your house back.  If you are poor, and you couldn’t afford insurance, well you sure aren’t going to get much help from the government.  And, in case you hadn’t noticed it is winter out, and there are a whole bunch of people in one of the wealthiest states in America living in ramshackle camper shells and trailers.  So who helps you?

Interestingly it is churches.  We leave a lot of heavy lifting in this country for the poorest people in America to the contributions made by churches.  While we can all sit here in amazement that our tax dollars aren’t quickly putting people back in homes after a disaster, the good news is that at a slower rate the churches fill the gaps.  Some churches, such as the Methodists (big shout out here in WA), tend to supply the bucks while other churches largely supply the labor.

I have worked with the Mennonite Disaster Services a couple times now being the labor to build homes.  I must say my dear friends in the Anabaptist religions (look it up) are absolutely the hardest working and happy people I have ever met!  Note to file: never, ever challenge them to volleyball or a game of rook.  You will lose!  Likewise if you challenge the mayor of Pateros to arm wrestle, you will also lose!

This past week, in the winter, we worked on three more houses that we will soon complete.  Whether it was skinnying through a crawl space to insulate a floor, hanging sheetrock, or getting your snoot full sanding mud, these crews worked their hearts out to bring homes to the poorest of the poor.  The call to service is strong!  Working with these volunteers renews my faith in humankind, at least until the next silly political statement finds its way through my barriers.

I am proud to call them friend!  I am proud of what we can do as team!



New Tiny House Has A Home

Well, ok not exactly a tiny house since this is a definition that seems to require wheels and bizarre degrees of deprivation when using TV standards.  The house is only 400 square feet though with a sleeping loft… So, in comparison to the current ranch and most people’s houses, I think this qualifies as tiny.

I found a great property at a fair price near Port Angeles with lots of mature trees (potential old growth in some cases) and two mountain streams. The land has dear and elk based on the tracks I found, and there are certainly bear and cougar in this region.  The property is pretty rugged though.  So if you are coming for a visit, I recommend you do some cardiovascular conditioning first and wear tough outerwear; the blackberries are everywhere.

And, best of all I have a signed purchase agreement.  I have my fingers crossed that all goes well between here and there.  The owner and I meet soon so he can show me the survey boundaries.  Try finding survey stakes by yourself in a forest with decades of overgrowth… Closing should be by mid-February.

The prior owner cut a private trail that connects with the Olympic National Park and its trails.  All possible excuses for laziness have been eliminated. I already have my National Park pass purchased for the year!  However, I may just play Siddhartha and sit under a tree by a stream some days


Attached are some pics of the land.



A New Adventure Begins


Well folks if you found this page, then you know who I am, and you know that this blog is about a new adventure beginning in the Olympic Peninsula.  The vision driving this dream is simple.  There are lots of story lines we live and believe.  We all live in story lines created by our parents and family, our society, our culture, our work, and sometimes even ones we help craft.  I have lived several of them, and at each turn a bit more of me was revealed to me.  So who knows what this latest adventure will bring.  Yes, it involves massive change and downsizing to a lesser footprint.  Nothing worthwhile is particularly easy to achieve.  I am sure this change will involve plenty of bumps in the road, massive ones actually.

So why bother?  Why not just keep living in a comfortable life as a business owner living on private land in a beautiful home with gardens and animals?  Why go to all the work?

  • I am an adventurer, and change is inherent in adventure. You really didn’t think I would just go quietly did you?  Hold on to your butts!  Here we go!
  • I simply don’t enjoy “stuff.”  Actually, I have come to despise most “stuff.” So why live in a way that has this persistent gravitational pull to accumulate “stuff?”  Instead I am going to work on a life doggedly driven to not accumulate stuff, instead focusing on creating memories.
  • I don’t get cities very much.  I think they are great at some points in life, but they are no longer places I would choose to live.  I like the relationships you build in small places, and frankly sitting in traffic stinks.  I want to wake up to the sounds of streams and the smell of the forest whenever possible.
  • Mostly what I like to do is be outside.  I might just wander through the entirety of the Olympic National Park for a few years, and I think that would be just fine.
  • Who hasn’t dreamed of having a clean sheet of paper to rewrite their life.  I have one!  I intend to use this opportunity for the best, including having more time to help those less fortunate.

So my friends, we are off on a new adventure.  Stay tuned for periodic updates.  Did I choose wisely?  We are all about to find out!