Tiny House, Big Gathering

Everyone In Front of the Tiny House

May 22, 2017:

We just had a really enjoyable and memorable weekend at the tiny house hosting my college friends from MIT and their families, 22 people in all. We have had several parties at the tiny house now, but this was by far my favorite.

What was especially nice about this weekend was that people came from all over to be with us. We had several relatively local people from the San Francisco Bay area, but also people from Washington, Southern California, Arizona and Connecticut. When I built my tiny house, I never imagined that it would become a way to reunite friends I made years ago that now live all over the country. Somehow, the tiny house keeps bringing people together in ways I never quite expect.

When the first of us arrived at the property on Saturday morning, we spent some time getting set up, unloading cars, pulling things out of the shed, setting up the outdoor toilet, setting up a canopy and tables for the food and unfolding all the camp chairs. We all worked together and had the setup done in about an hour which made things super easy on us and left lots of time to relax and socialize.

After everything was all set up, I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on a propane griddle we had borrowed from a friend. I have to admit that I really wasn’t sure about dragging that griddle all the way up to the property, but Sheila really wanted it and now I have to admit that she was right (after nearly 25 years, you would think I would have learned that she always is). I thought the sandwiches turned out pretty well and it made preparing lunch for a big group of people ridiculously easy.

People trickled into the property throughout the whole afternoon and it was probably about 4:00 PM before the last arrivals showed up. That was totally fine. The rest of us just spent our time sitting in the shade, eating snacks, socializing and enjoying the cold drinks that kept multiplying with each new cooler that showed up.

Once everyone had arrived, people started to set up their overnight accommodations in the upper clearing. By the time they were done, we had quite the tent city going on!

After the tents were set up, my friend Emmin’s son, Ajax, took all of the kids down to the stream and I followed. While we were down there, Ajax started asking about the waterfall on our property and said that he was willing to jump off the waterfall if I was. I thought the two of us jumping off the waterfall might be enough to at least get some spectators to follow us, so I agreed. What I wasn’t expecting and which was totally awesome was that everybody went to the waterfall together and almost half the people ended up jumping off into the incredibly cold creek below. Several people jumped off more than once. I think Ajax had the record with four jumps. Amazingly, something that I never thought I would be able to talk anybody into ended up being the highlight of the weekend for many of us.

Pretending Not to Look Cold

After we got back from the waterfall, we spent a little bit of time setting up the tree tent. While the kids were investigating that, Melissa and I also set up a slack line between two trees that the kids could try to balance on.

While the kids were having fun with that, Sheila and I started on dinner. I made a camp fire and we ended up using that together with almost every outdoor cooking surface we had to get all of the wonderful food that everybody brought prepared. We grilled hamburgers and sausages over the fire and cooked corn on the cob, asparagus and onions and peppers on the grill. Deb put a pot of vegetarian chili on the burner next to the grill and Melissa fried up eggplant on the griddle. Everybody helped with the preparation and cooking, which made everything a breeze. In the end, I had trouble finding room in my stomach to sample all of the different wonderful things.

After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening sitting around the campfire, socializing, making S’mores, sampling the whiskey that Joe brought and singing songs together. People stayed up talking and singing around the campfire until about 1:00 AM. We went to bed shortly after that and I slept incredibly well. Even now, I really can’t fully describe how wonderful it is to sleep inside the tiny house I built myself.


Kids by the Campfire

In the morning, we fired up the generator to make coffee, boiled water on the barbecue burner for tea and hot chocolate and made plain and blueberry pancakes on the griddle. I was amazed at how easy and fast it was to cook more than enough pancakes for 22 people on that big cast-iron griddle.

Many people had to get to the airport or to other activities on Sunday, so most people left the property before 9:00 AM. The people who were left all chipped in to help carry things back up to the shed, take down the canopy and clean up. It all went really fast and the last of us were out of there by about 10:30 AM.

Looking back at the weekend of now, I’m kind of amazed at how easy it was to take care of almost two dozen people at a tiny house located on a piece of property that is completely off the grid. You would think that would be difficult, but actually it was incredibly easy. After the weekend, everybody kept sending us emails thanking us for all of the hard work, but it really was almost no work at all. I have hosted dinner parties for six people at our house in Santa Clara that took much more effort and preparation then this and were not half as fun.

I think one of my favorite things about the weekend, besides jumping off the waterfall, getting to see so many of my friends at one time, and showing off my tiny house, was hearing how much people enjoyed themselves. I was really afraid before the weekend that people would think this was a good idea until they got to the property and had to deal with mosquitoes, ticks and composting toilets. Instead, so many of our friends told us how much they loved the property and thought it was a piece of paradise. Of course, that’s what I think, but having friends that I respect tell me that on their own really meant a lot to me.

So, if you’re afraid that tiny house living might make it difficult for you to get together with and socialize with your friends, you might want to think again. Not only is it relatively easy to have large groups of people visit you at a tiny house, but tiny houses seem to have a way of actually manifesting social events, attracting groups of old and new friends on a regular basis and inspiring adventures and memories that you might never have expected.

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