Hanging Out On Google

As we continue to unlock the “secrets” of being a digital nomad or really just dissecting some of the elements of being one, we can’t go much deeper without first talking about basic video conferencing and screen sharing. It is so important to have the ability to share a screen with a teammate or client or even be able to “see” each other eye-to-eye. We introduced this option and the very notion of Google Hangout at any rate in a recent digital nomad video.

HangoutBundled into the FREE Google toolset Hangout allows you several opportunities to connect with your clients or colleagues and also allows you to do so on any computer, tablet, or handheld device via their robust Tools.

I invite you to spend the next 4 minutes watching this short video on hanging out. Just hover over the video image and click on the red, centrally located, standard YouTube play button to view.

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-OR – Subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution via this link for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Simple Stairs For The Tiny House

When we were building our tiny house I remember several sets of makeshift stairs. In fact, they were so makeshift I would hardly call them stairs (or steps). In fact, the first version was just some old cinderblocks stacked on top of each other. The first fall I took not only hurt my pride but also my shins as I stumbled and caught myself only by my shin skin. The second version involved an old set of mobile home steps that had no real cross-bracing and seemed like a state fair fun house if you didn’t walk up them at a very slow speed and in a straight line. Our travel trailer has proved no different.

Steps

The metal steps on this rig are literally suspended by four bolts. They are not at all designed for the wear and tear of a full time nomadic family. In fact, if I go outside before my wife and daughter wake up my subtle shaking will surely alert them of my absence. It is awful. That is why I decided to cobble together a set of steps that were affordable, easy to break down, and reliable.

I invite you to spend the next 3 minutes watching this short video on how to make a simple set of tiny house steps. Just click on the standard YouTube play button to view.

Click the button below to subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution YouTube channel for up-to-date tiny house videos and access to all archive videos.Subscribe_Button

-OR – Subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution via this link for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Connecting Propane To Your Tiny House

Propane. Can’t live with it. Can’t stop talking about it. I like to call it the “friendly flammable.” But what is it exactly?

Propane Tiny House

WHAT IS PROPANE?

Also known as liquid petroleum gas, LP-gas, and LPG, propane is produced in roughly equal amounts from both natural gas and crude oil sources.  Propane is nontoxic, colorless, and odorless.

(WARNING: technical talk coming) To make propane from crude oil, the oil is separated at a refinery using a fractioning tower.  It is refined into different levels of purity depending on what height of the fractioning tower the propane is pulled from.  The higher the point on the fractioning tower, the higher the purity, or quality, of the propane.

According to the US Department of Energy, the southern states sell propane with more butane, which is at a lower cut point, in the fractionating tower.  In the colder states, the propane sold is from a higher crack that is more pure. All of this to truly say that if you are taking your tiny house from a warmer climate to a colder climate you should either use up your propane before reaching cooler weather or simply exchange your tank at the new climate center. However, the quality of colder weather propane is better, so if you are toting propane from cooler to warmer climates you should be okay.  Rule of thumb: use propane from the climate you are in.

The use of propane is one that can all at once seem like common sense and like rocket science. It has been used by campers for years. However, it is relatively new to the tiny house community since the modern tiny house movement itself is rather new. If you consider the use of LP-gas for sticks ‘n bricks though it only makes sense. Propane keeps water hot, it makes stove burners blaze, and it allows furnace air to be toasty. Put those items on the road and you have a need for a system both new and old. But before going into those areas it is most important to know how to hook your propane tanks up in the first place. The process can be scary for some and even a bit perplexing.

In the next three minutes or so I hope to show you how easy hooking up a propane tank to your tiny house or recreation vehicle can be and even how safe it can be. Just click on the standard YouTube play button on the screenshot below. When you’re finished watching be sure to subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution YouTube channel.

Click the button below to subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution YouTube channel for up-to-date tiny house videos and access to all archive videos.Subscribe_Button

-OR – Subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution via this link for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Note: “What Is Propane” section paraphrased from Ask The Expert.

Properly Hitching A Trailer To A Tow Vehicle

Before building our tiny house I gave very little thought to what we’d do after it was built. I knew the land we intended to settle on was in a different state and that somehow we had to get the tiny house there. But at the time we drove a Dodge Caliber sport wagon so I rested easy knowing I would just find someone to tow it for us. When it came time to relocate I practically begged my father to use his Chevy 2500 extended cab to do the towing for us. He agreed but on one condition. I had to help drive. That meant I had to learn how to tow our 7,800 pound tiny house.

Towing_Odom

What I have learned since that time is that perhaps one of the most important parts of building a house on wheels is knowing how to transport it safely and effectively once complete. This includes the use of safety chains, stabilizer bars, a sway bar, coupler locks, and trailer brakes. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist it does take a few minutes and an idea of what needs to happen to safely move down the road with your tiny house in tow. I invite you to spend the next 3 minutes watching this short video on how to properly hook up your THOW or travel trailer to your town vehicle. Just click on the standard YouTube play button.

Click the button below to subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution YouTube channel for up-to-date tiny house videos and access to all archive videos.Subscribe_Button

-OR – Subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution via this link for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Entertaining in a Tiny House

xmas in the islands-1

The cruising life often takes us to far off places away from our families and our closest friends. We sail off into the sunset with our compass pointed toward paradise. We enjoy the sunsets and sip on tropical drinks with brightly colored straws and little umbrellas. We travel to places only accessible by boat or where air travel can be costly. We take a lot of pretty pictures and make magical memories, though there are also many moments where boat life isn’t easy.

We don’t get to see our families as often as we’d like. Out on the water we are fittingly “all in the same boat” and as cruisers, we all understand the importance of sticking together. Close friendships form quickly and we bind together a new kind of family where everyone is welcome.

This year, we were lucky enough to have my Dad fly into the Virgin Islands and spend the holidays with us on the boat. He got to experience first-hand the different kind of life we’ve been living this past year and he celebrated a very merry Cruiser Christmas with us too!

christmas2014-2

On Christmas Eve we hosted a lobster feast on our 42′ sailboat for 9 adults, 2 kids and 2 big dogs. We have a spacious center-cockpit style boat where we all ate dinner and spent most of the evening. The dogs and kids stayed down below where there was more room to play and go to sleep early.

Parking is never an issue on a boat. Everyone travels by dinghy and can tie up to any point on our boat. There were 5 dinghies tied up to the back of our boat – the most we’ve ever had before. The most accessible place to climb on and off is at the stern where we have a heavy-duty ladder. Up and over can be a challenge for some, but this crowd had no problem.

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Here are a few tips I’d like to pass on for entertaining in a tiny (floating) house:

  1. Take It Outside – Weather permitting of course, there is better ventilation and stretching room if there is enough seating for everyone outside. The design of our boat makes this a breeze.
  2. Where’s The Restroom? – Keep a clear path to the restroom and make sure everyone knows where it is. On a boat it’s important to know how to operate the toilets too. In a small space, you probably don’t want to announce your business to everyone so include this in the tour upon arrival.
  3. Stow Your Breakables – Tiny spaces make it hard to not bump into things or brush up against everything near you. Play it safe and stow away any breakable items that might accidentally get bumped or broken. On our boat, most everything is always stowed away at all times.
  4. Decorations – Keep it simple. We normally like to go crazy with holiday decorations but on the boat we try to keep it simple. Instead of spending hours hanging and displaying decorations, we used ‘warm’ LED outdoor lights to add a little festive feeling. They don’t clutter up the space and add just a little bit of cheer. We actually keep one string up inside our enclosed cockpit 24/7 just because we like the warm glow in the evenings!
  5. High Five For Finger Food – Go heavy on the appetizers if you don’t have enough seating for everyone. All that’s required is standing room, fingers and a napkin. This also saves on the amount of dirty dishes created too!
  6. Keep A Tune – A little bit of background music can lighten up any space, even tiny ones. It raises spirits and keeps the focus off of the physical surroundings. Play something appropriate for your guests and keep it on a low volume. This time of year we had a good internet access and we were able to play Christmas music on Pandora through our cockpit speakers.
  7. Finish The Food Prep – If possible, have almost all food prepared before your guests arrive. There’s probably not room for helping hands in the kitchen and no one wants to see the craziness of food prep with less than desirable counter space 😉 I know my galley doesn’t fit anyone else but me!
  8. Dinner is Served – Skip the buffet style dinner and have one person dish up the plates and pass them out to the guests. There’s always room for seconds but it’s much easier to keep everyone seated instead of creating a line with nowhere to go.
  9. Drinks Are On Me – Keep all the ice, pop, juice, beer and booze in one place. Designate one person to play bartender to mix and refill drinks. Same with the food, it’s easier to have one person within reach of the drinks instead of having each person climb around just to get a refill.
  10. Do The Dishes – Take dirty dishes away from your guests as soon as possible. When there is barely enough room for people in a tiny space, there is even less room for dirty dishes to set down. Instead of letting them pile up in the *tiny* sink, wash dishes and silverware as they are brought in. I keep a mix of large and small plates and a full set of silverware. This is enough for one meal for a big crowd but everything needs to be washed and reused for serving dessert. Staying on top of the dishwashing before it piles up is well worth the effort.

What are your favorite tips for entertaining in a Tiny House?

By Jody Pountain for the [Tiny House Blog]