My name is Lisa, and I am a Mom of two awesome girls, an artist, 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 our belongings, bought a tiny house on wheels and moved to a mountain just outside of Asheville, North Carolina from a 2600 square foot house in Tampa, Florida. Big changes! I work from my home studio as a self-employed artist, and I am about to become a homesteader and organic farmer.
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 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. Ticks and scrapes were the worst we had to experience. 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.
This is Jon (and me) at the Christmas tree farm at the bottom of our mountain. He is a C#/PHP/MySQL software developer, currently working for a software company in Asheville. He had no idea he was going to end up on this journey, however, he claims he always knew when he married me that I might drag him on a few crazy adventures. We were junior high school sweethearts, inseparable for about two years from 8th through 10th grade. He was my first boyfriend. We broke up in 10th grade, but we remained friends. Then he moved to another part of town and transferred to another high school for 11th grade, and I never saw him again. This was loooong before cell phones and social media. I always wondered where he ended up and how he was doing. We were reunited when we were 40 years old by a mutual friend from school when she invited us both out for a comedy show. She ran across him on guess what? Yup, social media. Neither of us knew she had invited the other one. And now here we are!
Jon loves to play the old classics – the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and the like – on his acoustic guitar, and he was a keyboardist in an alternative band that played the bar scene in Tampa in the early 90s. He also loves to learn new programming languages (seriously, he does this for FUN) and has been known to spend a bit of time playing online video games.
This is 15 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 family parties and decorate her entire beach house…she even dressed 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 aspires to be a child psychologist.
This is our newest human addition, Miss Hazy. Hazel is 5 years old and named after my husband’s grandmother (we like the older names). He gave her the nickname, Hazy, while she was still in my belly. She is an old soul, has a great sense of humor, loves all creatures on this earth and asks crazy intelligent questions about how the world works. Her favorite things ever are DINOSAURS! Her art skills are amazing, and she takes rock climbing and art classes here in Asheville. She has grown up in the Bumbleshack and was potty trained on a composting toilet. She HATES big flushing commercial toilets! 🙂
This is the beautiful Miss Abby. Jon found her 17 years ago abandoned as a tiny kitten on the street in downtown Chattanooga, covered with so much black grease that you couldn’t see that she was white. She is definitely her Daddy’s cat, sleeps with him every night. Her big yellow eyes seem to be failing her with age. She is the senior member of our furry crew. We almost lost her about a year ago, but she showed us that she plans to stick around a while.
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 (not sure how anyone would know for sure since he is a rescue), 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. We think he is about 10 years old, which is gettin’ up there in large breed years. He is a Mama’s boy. He has extreme separation anxiety and hates it when Mama isn’t home.
And our latest, rescued, furry addition, Coby. 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. Jon could hold him in the palm of one hand. 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! I love that cat, despite the fact that he broke my favorite glass sculpture while in spaz mode.
So I said Coby was our latest FURRY addition because Hazy has some red-eyed tree frogs hanging out with her in her loft! This is Lily. She lives in her tropical terrarium in Hazy’s loft where it tends to be warmer than the rest of the house. Plus, she’s Hazy’s pet. She is nocturnal and hunts crickets at night. Hazy spends each evening before bedtime watching her little frog. Lily has a couple of friends on the way to keep her company since they are colonial creatures. More updated pics of the whole colony to come…
So that’s the whole Bumbleshack crew!