Who Are We?

Hazy and I dancin’  in front of some awesome graffiti art in downtown Asheville

My name is Lisa, and I am a Mom, artist and illustrator, wildlife biologist, lover of all animals, environmentalist, minimalist, tiny house dweller and novice organic gardener. A couple of years ago we 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 currently unschooling my 4 1/2 year old daughter. My 14 year old daughter, Adelaide, is in high school.

I am about to become a homesteader.

I have always been a veggie eatin’, nature lovin’, recyclin’ kind of girl. My mother raised me that way. 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. 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. Especially 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. I have done a lot of research over the past several years, and my eyes have been opened. Monsanto, GMOs, pesticides on everything, hormones in our meat and dairy, cancer causing preservatives, Colony Collapse Disorder (this is why our little tiny house is called The Bumbleshack, for the bees!!!), yoga mat plastic in bread, arsenic in chicken feed and toxic coloring agents in everything (yellow AND blue, what about the rest of them?). How about PBAs, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, parabens, fracking and flouride poisoning our water supply? 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.

“Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Jonny!!!”

This is Jon. 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”. Then I broke his heart, and we remained friends. He moved to another part of town and transferred to another high school for 11th grade, and I never saw him again. I always wondered where he ended up and how he was doing. Then we ran into each other on Facebook through our twenty year high school reunion page. 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 long-haired keyboardist in an alternative band that played the bar scene in Tampa in the early 90s. I would have loved to see that! 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 sports video games.

Adelaide sipping chocolate deliciousness at The French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown Asheville

This is 14 year old Adelaide. Born on the 4th of July with flaming red hair, she is my firecracker. She is named after my 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), so the name is quite appropriate in many ways. Her current obsession is scouring vintage record stores in downtown and taking photos of local graffiti art and abandoned buildings.

Hazy having a snack on the deck

…and our newest human addition, Miss Hazy! Hazel is 4 years old and named after my husband’s grandmother. He gave her the nickname, Hazy, while she was still in my belly.  She is an old soul, has the BEST sense of humor, a fierce temper, loves all creatures on this earth and asks crazy intelligent questions about how the world works. She is a total tomboy who loves to wear pink. Her favorite toys are anything that has wheels and especially DINOSAURS! Tiny living will enable us to travel more, and one of the first places I want to take her is the Field Museum in Chicago to meet Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus in the world. She will FREAK.

Abby Cat

This is the beautiful Miss Abby. Jon found her 16 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.

Hank the Tank

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. He is sweet, calm, good natured and great with the cats and the kids, and one loud, mean sounding guard dog. We think he is about 9 years old, which is gettin’ up there in large breed years. He is a Mama’s boy. He hates it when Mama isn’t home.

Cats can pretty much go anywhere in a tiny house

And finally, 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 until he was old enough to be fixed because he was too young to adopt, only about 4 or 5 weeks, JUST weaned. He was the feistiest one of his litter, and we all fell in love. When we brought him home, he was 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 that’s our whole Bumbleshack crew!

11 thoughts on “Who Are We?

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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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