Tiny House: Work of Art

Dominique Moody, artist and former military child, has totally inspired me to make my place–a palace in terms Dominique’s 140 square foot home–to start working again to make my place very liveable.

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Here is a longer video showing how she constructed her home”

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The Renewal of Spring

Bubble FishI made the decision to stay on in Little House on Belmont. My landlord will be replacing old windows with new, better insulated windows, and putting another roll of insulation under the house. Its part of our deal.

My energy bills were very high last year, even with keeping the temperature high in summer and low in winter, which I admit was uncomfortable and made me doubt whether I would stay beyond my lease agreement.

But, I am enamored with Little House and believe I can eventually make it comfortable and accommodating for my guests.

Hummingbird and ParsleyI have begun planting a new garden but still have parsley, red and blue kale, and all my herbs made it through except the basil. We had a very mild winter, to say the least.

img_overlay-tempThis morning McGuire’s held the 39th running of their St. Paddy’s day Prediction 5K run, with 11,000 runners dressed in green tutus and wild hats, and green on green garb. Bag pipes, and big men with harry legs in colorful skirts were part of my morning’s mix as I gardened in 70 degree weather.

Bird Bath and Eggs

 

Pensacola Treasures

 

Performers at Palafox Market

Just ambling out of the Little House on Belmont Street this morning on a 64 degree day, sun shining and the Downtown Market bustling

First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church

…past the First United Methodist Church and Rectory… past diners on the sidewalk in front of Palanzo’s enjoying breakfast.

Christ Church in Pensacola
Christ Church in Pensacola

Crossed Palafox Street to the Christ Church and Abbey.

Pensacola’s Church Circle at the intersection of Palafox and Wright is impressive, including the Emanuel Lutheran down the block from Christ Church…I amble on a blue sky day under the undulating arms of old oaks …

…past the new Main Library to the Victorian B & B.

Pensacola Victorian Bed and Breakfast
Pensacola Victorian Bed and Breakfast

…deeper into the neighborhoods under the arms of palms and oaks.

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Talked with owners out grooming their lawns. There is so much pride.  One owner explained that his home is over 135 years old.

…on to Devilliers Street .

The Gathering Awareness and Book Center on Devilliers Street, Pensacola
The Gathering Awareness and Book Center on Devilliers Street, Pensacola

Stopped at the Gathering Place, a bookstore owned by Georgia Blackmon, life long resident and local historian and woman leader. We chatted about books, and the long tradition of the African American community. Belmont Devilliers holds one of Pensacola’s richest musical traditions, evidenced in the local art.

Belmont Devilliers Art
Belmont Devilliers Art
Belmont Devilliers Neighborhood Revitalization Art
Belmont Devilliers Neighborhood Revitalization Art

Walked under the oaks to two of the historic African American churches, both over 100 years old. We are deep in one of Pensacola’s cultural districts.

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St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church on Reus and La Rua in Pensacola
Talbot Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church at Reus and La Rua Street in Pensacola

After a wonderful morning strolling old Pensacola streets and neighborhoods I turn for home onto La Rua Street. I discover a brand new B & B, and the owner Michael Greene. See the next blog introducing this exquisite new venue on the hill overlooking Church Circle. Here’s a peek:

Queen Anne Inn on La Rua Street, Pensacola
Queen Anne Inn on La Rua Street, Pensacola
Dining Room at the new Queen Anne Inn on La Rua Street in Pensacola

 

The Downtown Pulse

Susan's Winter Garden
Susan’s Winter Garden

Living in the oldest historic district in Pensacola has been a true discovery year for me. Yes, it will soon be one year since I made the decision to downsize, move lock, stock, and barrel to this little house on Belmont Street in the Old East Hill Neighborhood.

What have I learned? First, the old district is diverse…in living styles, dwellings, and personal persuasions. For example, I live next door to a large house inhabited by 20-somethings, five in all, who are working in the food and music industries. They have been very respectful of the “older lady next door” and live an active life, going and coming at all times of the day and night. Their cars are parked on the lawn, and scrunched in along the street so part of my block looks like a parking lot. There is a toilet parked under a huge oak in the back yard making some kind of statement which to date eludes me.

One of Pensacola's Pelicans in Paradise at the Main Library
One of Pensacola’s Pelicans in Paradise at the Main Library

On the other side of my perch is Ya Ya, a long-time resident who has seen renters like me come and go like the tidal rhythms on the Gulf. He’s what my parents would call a “prince of a man” with a strong set of personal mores and religious beliefs. He often points to various houses in our surround with only the statement, “Sodom and Gommorah,” delivered with a shake of his head and the tone of a man who has given up on the moral character of the world around him. Still, he has been a wonderful neighbor, taking care of my place when I go away, and just enjoying the great weather and outdoor goings on with me and other neighbors. He knows the deeper history of the neighborhood having lived in it for nearly 70 years. According to him, everyone had fruit and nut trees in the old days which people cared for and harvested to share. Satsuma, orange, tangerine, grapefruit,  and pecans.  I have a date palm and grapefruit.

Doors Thrown Open in Warm Winter Weather
Doors Thrown Open in Warm Winter Weather

So, living in “Little House” is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some reason I like the diverse nature of it. Up one block on La Rua, there is definitely a higher income bracket, nicer homes than where my little home sits. Belmont Street runs east- west; I am at the eastern edge which is supposedly more affluent. As a semi-retired writer, I can’t count myself among them, but I am “making it” according to my own standards. I just got a publisher for my first published novel (at age 70!) and a new published anthology includes my essays. So I might begin to see some tiny royalty checks roll in by the end of this New Year.  And, I am now working on the plot and characters for a second novel which will be based in Pensacola. This time I will not take 10 years to complete it as I did with Threshold, my soon to be released novel about climate change in the Southwest. However, the way the plot is going, I might be run out of town when the new book is published! There is mischief brewing in the Little House on Belmont Street! Happy New Year All!

 

A morning’s walk…

Blooming Camellias
Blooming Camellias

On a morning’s walk in Pensacola’s Old East Hill Neighborhood I found much to celebrate. Camellias are blooming on a vacant lot near the little House on Belmont Street. Camellias are an Asian plant by origin but came to the gulf coast in the 19th century. We are home to the oldest, camellia club in the U.S. I find it wonderful that my hometown has such a group of people who celebrate this great flower and have planted many varieties in our town.

Other images include historic homes, light in my house, and my winter garden. Historic homes line the streets in this neighborhood which is the first plait of homes in our old city by the sea.

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Historic home on Jackson Street
Historic home decked out for the holidays.
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Little House at Christmas, 72 degrees and sunny.
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My next door neighbor, YA YA, yard decorations. Enchanted!
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Red Kale, Collards, and Mustard Greens!
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Doors thrown open, light pouring in…I can never return to colder climes. I am in love with the gulf coast, ocean, and this little city.

Downsizing is Cool

Tiny House Hunters - HGTV Show
Tiny House Hunters – HGTV Show

Since moving to a tiny house, I’ve learned just how popular downsizing, tiny houses, and what feels like a new idea about living has seized the public imagination.

First it is now a fairly regular topic for AARP with this article in my mail box today: Downsizing? Ditch These 12 Items.  I am making an A on this list so far. The latest endeavor being to get rid of my storage area. Remember, when I started this new life in February, I said until I got rid of storage I cannot say that I truly have downsized.

Last weekend found me consolidating again, with lots of recycling multiple copies of items such as my dad’s death certificate,  etc. With digitization, who needs ANY copy?

A good friend who hosts the Gumbo Diaries Blog is an avid tiny house follower. She watches these TV shows: Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Builder, Tiny House, Big Living and Tiny House Hunters.

Not having a TV – part of downsizing and also saving me from my addiction to surfing the channels – I have not watched them. I am just living it. But, maybe I should. I might learn how to get rid of storage.

More on this later as I go through box after box of the hard stuff: out of 50 of the funniest birthday cards from my son, which do I keep? AARP suggests one or two  and digitize the rest. What do you think?

The Inventive Mind

Boyd's Sock SleeveBoyd Christensen, friend for life and accomplished artist,  reminded me that with attention, we can invent many practical solutions that are attractive, useful, and environmentally friendly.

Boyd’s solution to sweaty, iced drinks, and to old socks where heels wear out first, is to create the perfect glass sleeve. (Later I learned that they also make perfect sweat bands for athletics.)

Artist’s are attentive to their surroundings – they think about design and function. Boyd’s son, Scott Christensen, designed an amazing and beautiful Toro Tissue Ring. I have one in my bathroom.

Betty Christensen, my other lifelong friend joins Boyd in this pursuit for the ultimate solution to life’s little problems.

Her kitchen is a study in this practice. Take for instance how she solved her need to discard ends and tops of veggies off a cutting board as she moves through several kinds of vegetables. She elevated the cutting board and inserts two plastic vegetable containers from the grocery.

Chopping VeggiesWhen she is finished chopping, the remains of veggies go to the compost bin.