Pages Navigation Menu

high desert. small house.

Food for Thought

I was chatting with one of our regulars yesterday and we shared how we each arrived in Silver City.  Let’s first briefly introduce the characters –

Chelsea –
Lived 8 years in Rochester, WA (generally: rainy, cold, humid and overcast) and 9 years in New England – 4 years in Northampton, MA (generally: cold and snowy) and 5 years in Manchester, CT (generally:  cold, humid and snowy).  You get four seasons in New England, but winter takes half the year.  The snow isn’t terrible in Rochester, but there aren’t enough sunshiny days.

Coffee Drinker –
Lived 10 years in Seattle (generally:  rainy, cold, humid and overcast) and 15 years in upstate New York (generally:  cold, humid and snowy). He commented that he enjoyed the snow sports for the first few years but then winter just began to feel too long.  The only time of year he enjoyed was fall, which was over in 6 weeks.  He didn’t really have anything nice to say about Seattle except that there is a lot to do there.

Why am I talking about the weather?  Because the weather controls the physical environment and influences how you spend your time.  It can help you feel productive or like sitting on your couch with a book.

Thank goodness not everybody feels the way Coffee Drinker and I feel; because then the southwest would be crazy crowded.  Some people want to live in snowy New England because they don’t mind (or even enjoy) the cold or maybe it’s a compromise because they really want to live in a neat historic city that is full of amazing restaurants and culture.  Others want to live in the west for the more accessible weather or again, maybe it’s a compromise because they really want abundant land or privacy.

When you find yourself situated somewhere that you enjoy immensely, either because of the weather or the other bits, you probably don’t think about leaving.  But if you are presently living somewhere that has terrible weather (in your opinion), few opportunities, terrible politics, etc, why not try living in another place?

You may be thinking, “I can’t do that!  My job is here.  My mortgage is here.  My life is here.”  Well, if that’s the case, and you’re not willing to make any changes, then do your coworkers and family members a favor and stop complaining.

If you’re willing to add some disturbance to your life, in the pursuit of a better situation, then start working toward what you want.  Hearing Coffee Drinker’s story made me grateful for the assertiveness Brian and I share and our confidence in trying new things.  We were both set up with great jobs, a nice home and nearby family (his) in CT.  Why leave?  Because we realized it wasn’t what we wanted.  Coffee Drinker waited until retirement to leave.  Retirement!

[It should be added that it sounds like he had a lifetime of exciting career and business opportunities all over the United States and he strikes me as a happy and satisfied person.  But for me, the idea of waiting until retirement to relocate to the place I want to be is unfathomable.]

Brian and I started to imagine living in a warmer place back in fall 2010 (that’s 5 years ago!).  We made plans to move to California early in 2012 but that did not work out.  We tabled the moving idea and decided to work on our business endeavors.  We also started working on the idea of a tiny house.

The tiny house idea prompted us to start selling stuff and saving toward the house build.  We knew we’d have to build new because we wanted a well-insulated structure with passive solar principles.  At some point during the process of selling our stuff (belongings and house) it re-dawned on us how much we disliked the weather in Manchester.  Yes, his family is there and the jobs; but the quality of life was not.

Long story short – We had already done a great deal of work toward becoming mobile because we had been working toward our tiny house.  It was not an unreasonable idea to head west.  It probably felt that way to our family and friends but for us, it had been stewing for 5 years.

You don’t have to live in a tiny home or have a stuff-less life to be mobile or to change states, but it certainly helps.  And the liberation that comes with having little overhead is something you won’t understand until you experience it for yourself.

My objective in sharing this is to encourage anybody on the fence to take a leap.  Don’t wait until retirement to move somewhere that would make you happier.  And don’t hesitate because others tell you that you can’t do it.  You’re the only one responsible for your happiness. *cue Don’t Stop Believing*

Brian taking the leap

Brian taking the leap

Chelsea taking the leap

Chelsea taking the leap…swim

Fred taking the leap...can you find him?

Fred taking the leap…can you find him?

When you make your life more streamlined, you can do whatever you visit Cozumel to dive and drink Mexican beer.

When you make your life more streamlined, you can do whatever you want…like visit Cozumel to dive and drink Mexican beer.


  1. 1. Give some consideration to horizontal bracing between your studs on the end caps, 4′ on center above the toe plates for each section as your end gables are framed in two separate sections. I assume you will eventually be finishing the interior?

    2. A lot of buildings of this style were built in South Dakota in years gone by. I have always been drawn to them and had been considering building one as a guest cabin. I am concerned that yours has the metal siding installed horizontally, to me this is counter intuitive. Instead of the ribs channeling rain down you have a series of mini dams which would surely encourage horizontal water movement. As for snow, who knows? The manufacturer does not address this on their website at all.

    3. Is there any insulation under your floor sheathing? If not you may want to look at Reflectix. Not really high R values but better than nothing & relatively inexpensive. Apply with a staple gun & use real (high quality) duct tape over staples.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for writing this blog. Things you have shared have definitely influenced my decision process in choosing the form my guest cabin will take.

    • 1. We just put in some horizontal studs in 4 of the the wider gaps on the south side. It was more for the siding to attach to than for bracing, but I’m sure it helps.
      2. Cool. Based on brief rain experience so far, a slight horizontal mini-dam effect seems to occur on the top couple runs on either side of the ridge, and we have a few ideas on how to keep water from landing on the [planned] porch when the wind blows it off. We don’t get much precipitation in this climate so even if the occasional rain or snow hangs around up there the sun should take care of it quickly enough.
      3. We plan to install a minimum of R-19 fiberglass insulation under the floor to meet code energy requirements.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Some people prefer family over weather.

  3. I’m happy for you guys.

    • Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *