who are we?

Lisa and Hank the Tank

My name is Lisa, and I’m a mama of two awesome girls, an artist and illustrator, wildlife biologist, lover of all animals (cute and fluffy, slimy and scaly, venomous or non-venomous and especially creepy crawly), environmentalist, minimalist and tiny house dweller. A few years ago, my family sold off and donated all of the belongings in our 2600 square foot house, bought a 130 square foot tiny house on wheels and moved to a mountain in western North Carolina. Big changes! I work from my home studio as a self-employed artist, and I’m working on becoming a permaculture based organic fruit and nut orchard owner.

I have always been a veggie eatin’, nature lovin’, recyclin’ kind of girl. I was raised that way. My Mom always took the natural route when possible. My parents had a good sized garden in our backyard in North Carolina when I was little, and my Mom canned and preserved our food. My parents allowed my brother and I to choose and grow our own flowers as border plants for the garden. I always chose sunflowers, and my brother chose marigolds. I loved that garden. My mouth is watering just thinking about freshly picked green beans, steamed until they are barely crispy, or big juicy tomatoes with a little salt sprinkled on them. Yum!

I also loved running around in the woods behind our house all day long. We could run, for what seemed like miles to me, without my Mom having to worry if someone was going to snatch us. We went on great adventures back in those woods. I remember exploring hilly trails and deep, cavernous pits, climbing trees, and making it all the way to the lake that was hidden back there. We thought that was a great feat! That’s where my bug obsession first started too. I would sit in our backyard and watch the flying insects and turn rocks over to see what was underneath. And I especially loved bumble bees 🙂

Lately, I have been obsessed with our food, and a lot more concerned than I have ever been in the past about our environment. Monsanto, GMOs, pesticides on everything, hormones in our meat and dairy, cancer causing preservatives, Colony Collapse Disorder, plastic in bread, arsenic in chicken feed and toxic coloring agents in everything. How about PBAs, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, deforestation, parabens, fracking and flouride poisoning our water supply? And don’t get me started on the pharmaceutical industry! It literally keeps me up at night. I don’t want my girls consuming and coming into contact with this stuff. And I don’t want to keep contributing to the ruination of our beautiful earth.

I want to change the way we live, spend more time out in nature, grow our own food, and live sustainably and independently, free of debt with more time to spend with my children. I also want my kids to experience the things I got to experience when I was little, not just on their summer vacations, but daily. This is the reason we are on this journey.

Adelaide’s senior photo shoot

This is 18 year old Adelaide…born on the 4th of July, my little firecracker with liquid copper colored hair. She is named after my wild and crazy grandmother, who was very special to me. Her favorite holiday was the 4th of July, and she would throw parties, decorate her entire beach house in red, white and blue and dress as the Statue of Liberty. She always wanted a redheaded grandbaby (she got a redheaded great grandbaby instead…and on the 4th of July at that!), so the name is quite appropriate in many ways. Adelaide loves creative writing, and she has won two county wide awards for her pieces. She just left me for college at UNCC in Charlotte. She aspires to be a child psychiatrist.

Hazy playing in the woods behind the tiny house

This is 8 year old Hazy. She is a tomboy with a great sense of humor. She loves gaming, exploring nature and creekin’. She’s a homebody and asks crazy intelligent questions about how the world works. Her favorite things ever are dragons and Minecraft, and her art skills are A-mazing. She has grown up in the Bumbleshack and was potty trained on a composting toilet.

Hank the Tank in the woods

This is Hank the Tank, who we adopted from a lady who could no longer keep him. I was in love with Hank at first sight. He is HUGE (over 150 pounds) and furry with the biggest head I have ever seen. We were told he was a purebred Golden Retriever, but we think he may be part Bernese Mountain dog, Newfoundland or Great Pyrenees because of his immense size. He is sweet, calm, good-natured, great with the cats and the kids, and one loud, mean sounding guard dog. He has extreme separation anxiety, and he HATES anything that has a motor on it, including boats and aircraft, and he barks at the overpasses on the interstate. We think he is about 12 years old, which is gettin’ up there in large breed years. He loves to sleep in his Sissy’s bed.

Cats can pretty much go anywhere in a tiny house

This is Coby (aka Little Batman, although he is not so little anymore!). It was $20 day at the shelter, and I said, “Let’s go rescue us a cat!” He was so tiny! About as big as my two hands tightly cupped together. We had to foster him for a few weeks because he was too young to adopt, only about 4 or 5 weeks old, JUST weaned. He was the feistiest one of his litter, and we all fell in love. When we brought him home, he was always attached to me. He slept on my neck, chest, at my feet or right next to me every night. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom alone. He would howl outside. And I was afraid to leave him home alone. He was so small that I thought he would disappear into a crack in our old house. He still sleeps right next to me each night. I love that cat, despite the fact that he broke my favorite glass sculpture while in spaz mode.

Aslan and Caspian on adoption day

And then we have the kitty brothers, Aslan and Caspian, named for the characters from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, of course. We didn’t really intend to walk out of the shelter with TWO cats, but we couldn’t bear to separate the two remaining siblings from their litter.

Aslan, or Azzie, is my wild one. He personifies the term “fraidy cat” and runs as fast as he can into the loft when a vehicle comes up the driveway or a stranger walks into the house. I watched him duck under the windowsill in fear when a tiny songbird outside darted in his direction. For some reason, he can’t stand when I am working in the kitchen…he chirps at me and jumps on me, trying to get me to give him some affection. Every single time I stand in the kitchen. I don’t know if this is some sort of anxiety or just his desire for affection, but either way, I’ll take it.

And Caspian, or Cass, is a floofy, sweet snuggle bug. His long gray and white hair is the softest I’v ever felt, and he loves to sleep and cuddle. He and Coby like to curl up together during the daytime. He is the oddest shaped cat! He is long with super short legs, like a dachsund, and his paws are huge. I can never get good photos of him because even when he’s awake, his eyes are half closed.

Elliot Ash the bearded dragon

And finally, our newest addition, Elliot Ash the bearded dragon! This guy was a birthday present for Hazy (ahem), although admittedly he was just as much for me. He’s an observant, seemingly smart little dude who loves crickets, super worms and any kind of greens you throw in for him. But watch your fingers!

So that’s the Bumbleshack crew!

11 thoughts on “who are we?

  1. Pingback: My Organic Garden | welcome to the bumbleshack!

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  3. Love your page…..You’re smart people !! I’m starting my tiny house later this summer as my ‘retirement’ plan. I’m in my early 50’s and have no pension coming….I’m an avid gardener, etc….and have lived off grid many times….I was wondering about your compost toilet….did you purchase it or build it yourself? A curious question, I know……Thanks for any info…..:)

    • Howdy! Thanks for your comment! We have no pensions coming either, and we also have both had bad experiences with being unable to sell our homes after divorce. Never again!! My builder put our composting toilet in. It is basically a nice cabinet with a toilet seat and a humanure type bucket compost toilet underneath. For an extra $250, he would have put in an RV toilet with plumbing and a holding tank, but we wanted the composting toilet. We may switch it out in the future for a fancy commercial composting toilet. Where will you be placing your tiny house?

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  5. Hi,
    I love the Bumblebee shirt. Do you have them in any other color? I still plan to buy one just to support your project, but a darker color would allow me to actually wear the shirt!

    I have been following the Tiny House movement for quite some time. My husband and I found it about 4 years ago, I think there was a program on the Discovery Channel or something like that. We built our 2400 sq. ft. home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania (with our own hands – it was hard work). As we were doing the build we were talking about how we really did not need the space, with the exception of housing holiday family visitors. I love that your 12-soon-to-be-13 y.o. will have her own house.

    Well, my husband and I are now, 6 years later, divorcing. Why? Well, I’ll share this reason; I fell in love with the Tiny House movement. I have been actively decluttering for 2 years. I am now in a 600 sq. ft. apartment in St Pete FL. I left a lot of “stuff” in PA and I am whittling down what I did bring with me even more in anticipation of buying my first Tiny House, I too, am chipping away at my retirement but I figure I will be debt free, so how much money will I really need to live?

    I like the idea of community. Jay Shafer is starting one in Cali, where I am from originally and headed back to next May. I am sure you have been keeping up with the developments of this “Tiny Village.”

    I am more of an itinerant. My job skills allow me to work from home and to travel to and fro. I am working on setting up a mobile business. My first thought was to buy a tiny house on a trailer and take my home with me wherever I went but I am rethinking that.

    I have not even been in a tiny house–yet!

    I am happy to learn that you will be renting your tiny house out soon and I will keep abreast of your developments on FB and this blog. I think your Bumbleshack will be a perfect first experience! Looking at the pics, I think your design is close to what I have in mind.

    Please keep the info flowing!

    • Hi, Lesliee!

      Thanks for sharing your story! It is funny how we all seem to go through the same thing…discovering the tiny house movement, and then becoming immersed in decluttering and downsizing. It is like an epiphany! Hubby had never been in a tiny house until ours arrived last weekend!!!! Your mobile business idea sounds fabulous. If I didn’t want a farm, the whole traveling thing sounds appealing. Keep us posted on your adventure!

      PS Yes, I can definitely get that shirt in another color. I seem to recall an organic olive green shirt that was pretty nice also. Let me check that out and get back to you! Thanks again!

  6. have you found your temp Asheville place? I have a mountaintop open field with well and septic hookup. organic garden. barn and chickens. we could talk if you are still looking. building some hoop houses for winter gardens. I’ve grown as much of my own food as possible this year. barter rent maybe..

    • Hi, Suzanne! Your place sounds like heaven to me! We did end up finding a place that we are going to take a look at next weekend, but we will keep you in mind if it doesn’t work out. Thanks so much for your offer!

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