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Home – The Death of One Tiny House and the Birth of Another

There are plenty of advantages to living in small spaces: fewer possessions, reduced impact on the earth, and lower living expenses are just a few of them. More people are choosing to live more simply, and for some that means using the bare minimum of living space. writes Jane Roarski in a recent post on the

This is the story of the tiny house we used to live in while we were renovating the cottage and it’s eventual demise, happening now as I write.

caravan in countryside

It all started with a caravan

Then we realised that this was going to be far too small even as a temporary measure, not to mention the cold. We estimated that we’d be in it for approximately 2 years. The photo above was taken in 2002  and we finally moved out in 2011…do the math (s), as they say.

We set about building a straw bale extension onnto the caravan

We set about building a straw bale extension onto the caravan

Nearly there. My dad was still alive at this point, pictured here with his partner and B. Even though he was a bit of a hippy at heart he never graduated from his sensible leather shoes

Nearly there. My dad was still alive at this point, pictured here with his partner and B. Even though he was a bit of a hippy at heart he never graduated from his sensible leather shoes

The finished Balehouse

The finished Balehouse. The join between the caravan and the bale structure was achieved with strips of newspaper and tar paint, a waterproof papiermache.

Tiny house Bale House

Pretty cosy

Tiny House Bale House

Tiny House Bale House

Entrance to the attached caravan where we had a kitchen and eating area

Sheeps Wool Insulation

Home renovating can be fun

Some of the sheeps wool insulation we used in the house. Maybe living in a tiny house is good for you.

But eventually the big damp pile of stones was ready and we moved out of the tiny house.

A year later the tiny house is dismantled.

Tiny House Bale house www.thinkingcowgirl.wordpress.comTiny House Bale House

Tiny House Bale house

Tiny House Bale House

The floor was made of pallets with ply screwed to it

Tiny House Bale House


While we love our new house, in some ways we miss the tiny house. I think it may be a way forward for housing. It was really warm and took barely any resources to heat, once that log burner got going it only used a few logs a day to keep it ticking over.

But there is good and exciting news. My sister C is bravely embarking on her own tiny house project. It’s a bit bigger than the two room job but is to be so well insulated that she expects incredibly low bills. Here she is modelling her model.

Tiny House

A sun capturing verandha and a green roof

Tiny House

Clad with boards

I can’t wait to set foot in it.

Jobs Getting Done Frogs Getting Busy

There’s always a slow period in winter when necessary renewal needs to occur at a fundamental level. A kind of hibernation. I find that living close to the land it’s easier to get a sense of this.

Does anyone else feel like this dormouse?   (No, not you, you southern hemispherans…)


But jobs still need to be done.

The incredible amount of rain we’ve experienced over the last year has not made things easy.

Drip on branch

Very drippy.

However, in the last couple of weeks a few projects have started to get underway.


Digging out the corral and filling with crushed stone to make hard standing instead of quagmire.

Cattle corrall near completion

The small gap to the left of the gate is where the crush will go.

Hedge cutting winter 2013

Hedge cutting before the nesting season. We cut ours every two years to allow the animals and birds a chance.

I also move the cows to the Triangle Field to graze down the grass there. It’s only just across from the Cow Field so I hope it’s going to be pretty straightforward. I get some sheep hurdles at our local farmers shop which provide, along with a couple of cars, a corridor to the Triangle Field.

They follow the bale of hay quite obediently (I make sure there is a long interval since their last feed) until H’s dog gives an excited little bark which sends Belita (the nervy shy one) careering back into the Cow Field. She then becomes very distressed at being separated from the others and runs up and down the boundary on the other side. H rounds her up and I keep the other two from escaping while calling her name at the same time.

Gratifyingly, she is following the sound of my voice and then H says I should show my face to her (she’s a vet so she knows the ways of animals well) so I leave the gate closed on the others and go towards her. As soon as she sees me she comes running and lets me guide her into the new field. And very glad to be reunited with Lucy and Mary-Rose.

They are all quite excited by the abundance of grass and after a few high kicks get down to munching, moving excitedly from place to place as if they both can’t quite believe it or get enough, snatching mouthfuls from each sweet patch. This is before they realise that there is no shelter in this field. They have now been out in the open for a couple of weeks. They really don’t like the rain on their backs.

But I am very pleased that Belita trusted me enough to come with me. This is definitely progress.

H manages to capture the moment on her phone

H manages to capture the moment on her phone

Traditional Hereford Heifers Lying Down

The girls taking advantage of some morning sun after a hard night

Traditional Hereford Heifers in Hedge

This is where they try and shelter from the rain.

I also went over to T & N’s where I was able to catch up with Herald, our bull. Unfortunately he got lice, possibly brought with him from the other farm, which has left him a bit patchy but it’s all been treated now. T says he is very good natured and doesn’t mind a stroke.

Moose, their gentle shire horse whom they rescued when they found her in very bad shape in a field not far from them a few years ago, towers above all the others. She is definitely the top four-legged-hooved-animal in the pecking order here.

Shire horse with cows

Moose, Daisy & Herald (looking very small!)

Traditional Hereford eating Hay

They really like hay

Traditional Hereford Bull

Aw look at that face…

Shire Horse with Yurt

Moose leads the way

Before this current sweep of arctic air the temperature was unseasonably warm for a few days ( = more rain). This has confused the frogs and the tulips. There was much croaking from the pond and when I went out in the middle of the night there were lots of frogs congregating for a bout of procreating. The pond is now full of spawn.  The tulips are poking their heads out too.

Frogs mating in pond

Frog spawn

New Tulip Shoots

I only hope it doesn’t freeze in the next couple of months.

Pacing, Grazing and Stepping Backwards in Port Gaverne

Walsking Boots  www.thinkingcowgirl.wordpress.comWe had a brief encounter with the sun last Sunday and taking advantage of the break in the weather I arranged to meet a friend for a walk on the coast. On days like these it’s not hard to understand why artists and particularly landscape painters have always made a home in Cornwall. The light and skies are simply breathtaking. We headed for Port Gaverne, which has a good mix of wildness and village, plus the added advantage of a nice pub which does Sunday lunch. I never tire of rounding that hill and seeing what’s there.

North Cornish Coast

Today Port Gaverne cove is a very quiet spot but it wasn’t always like this. In 1762 there is an early reference to industry, with a lease on a plot of land for loading lime-rich sea sand, once a very important commodity, used as a fertiliser on acid Cornish soils. Two hundred years ago it was a busy fishing port, although it has mostly been a place of work rather than residential. To give you an idea, in a late summer week of 1815  1,000 tons of fish were landed and carted across the beach to the fish cellars.

Port Gaverne Cornwall

When the fish trade declined the port serviced the slate trade. The Delabole Slate Quarry, five miles inland, had been in production since Elizabethan times and in 1807 the slate company quarried out the existing road down to Port Gaverne enabling access to easy sea transport to markets at home and abroad.

Around a hundred ships a year came, capable of carrying fifty to eighty tons. They were flat-bottomed and able to settle upright on the sand. Heavy mooring ropes were tied to posts set into the rocks on either side of the beach. A few of the granite posts can still be seen, and the deep round rock pools tell of the location of the wooden ones. The slates were loaded by women who passed them aboard by hand and packed them in straw. While the women were working, their children would play at the head of the beach.


Ship being loaded on the beach at Port Gaverne with slate in 1875

But back to the walk. We set off westwards.

North Cornish Coast

And see some amazing rock formations.

North Cornish Coast www.thinkingcowgirl.wordpress.comI look behind.

North Cornish Coast

We climb up.

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And look down.

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Herring gulls for scale…

And away to the west.

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We look out to sea.

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Then we skirt farmland.

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At the edge of this field we find a dead fox. Most likely it was shot because of the lambs but we can’t tell for sure.

Dead fox

A Cornish hedgebank divides fields.

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Slabs of slate make a barrier on the steep path.

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We get back to the village and head down the path to the pub.

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But not before passing this derelict hotel. Anyone got a spare million?

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And Saint Pirans flag proudly flying. (Some people want Cornwall to be independent).

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Flights of fancy…

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Memories of the industrial past.

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And finally we get to the pub. And grub.

It’s cosy. A good traditional Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, Turbot for me, Roast Pork for my friend.

We chatted with these friendly people over lunch. The man with his arms folded is from the celebrated Fishermans Friends choir.

We chatted with these friendly people over lunch. The man with his arms folded is in the celebrated Fishermans Friends sea shanty singers – performing at The Royal Festival Hall next week.

Dogs welcome. We resisted pleading eyes.

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Afterwards I drive home via Port Isaac and stop briefly to look down at the little fishing village.

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