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Tiny Home Living with Big Dreams

Spring has sprung and even though it has been a little cool in my neck of the woods, I have still been able to start some of my plants in our green house. It has only been a few days since I started my first batch of seeds and though it was only six degrees Celsius outside yesterday, things are going well. I am very pleased that I am already starting to see the green growth of new life slowly pushing its way toward the heat and warmth of the sun. Our green house, which is the most recent addition to our tiny home, also doubles as a wood shed in the colder months of winter. Which can sometimes last five to six months, here in the NB snow belt.

The size of our time home, which was built on a concrete slab, is a whopping 624 square feet. For those of you who are familiar with concept of tiny homes, you will also know that we utilize every possible inch of space. We designed and built our home ourselves with help from some family and friends, some 20 years ago. Which was before tiny homes were a thing and became as popular as they are today. For once, we were ahead of a trend. Lol.

Though we did not know it at the time, this style and layout for our home, would later become a blessing with an added bonus. You see, because our home is all on one level, I was able to be released from the hospital and return home much sooner than originally anticipated. The added bonus was that, because everything is only one level, I was able move throughout our home and maneuver with my walker much easier, as my mobility was extremely poor at best, when I returned.

Tiny home living requires a lot of innovation and is not for everyone, but it suits my husband and I just fine. For the most part, our home is easy to keep clean and organized. Well except for the floors, depending on the time of year. I like that they are small and easily cleaned or mopped up. This is mostly because, during the spring thaw or the fall rains, they require constant attention. You see, there is usually an endless trail of cat paw prints and the odd husband foot print to be dealt with. Especially since the addition of an outdoor run for our indoor cats. Most of these paw prints are extra big and extra muddy, and are proudly provided by Jam(the homepage featured feline), with all of her extra and very absorbent toes. As far as the husband foot prints, well, what are you going to do? Lol

Another bonus to our tiny home is that it is easy to heat and easy to keep cool, depending on the year. We can get some crazy weather fluctuations here in the Maritimes. Our greenhouse was designed and built by my husband and I and was strategically placed on the south facing gable end of our home. We felt that this would allow us to make use of as much of the sun’s energy as possible, all year long. We cut and peeled all of the logs for both the frame and those to be milled into boards, from our own woodlot. My husband has a chainsaw mill which we used to mill our larger logs into boards to be used for flooring, strapping, doors and such. We then ordered some translucent panels to be placed on the roof and sides, which finished it off nicely I think. It makes a great warm or should I say hot place to grow all kinds of plants.

Our peppers absolutely love the heat and last year was our best crop ever, thanks to this new addition. In fact, all of the plants I started in the green house last year did really well. With that, I have decided that I am going to try growing more varieties and try keeping more plants inside the green house during the growing season this year. This will cut down on the amount of time I need to spend weeding and allow more space for wild flowers and herbs. I just love all of the wild flower mixtures we have been cultivating over the last couple of years, in our outdoor gardens and would like to extend that beauty as well as the nutrients available for the bees and hummingbirds. Of all of the different varieties of things that like to grow here, the brown eyed Susie’s are my absolute favourite!

I love gardening and it sure would be nice to have more food production with less weeding. It is something I find quite draining on those hot and humid summer days. By using more of the greenhouse during the season I believe I will achieve my goal. Another bonus to this approach is that the wildlife, who seem to love to dig up and snack on the freshly sown seeds and transplants, will have a real challenge in getting into the greenhouse this year. Lol

In addition to my green house strategy, all of the other plants that I put outside this year will have a chicken wire fencing all the way around them. This way Waffles and Tiny, our two laying hens, will be free to roam and hunt for their favorite bugs and treats, as they choose.

I’ll keep you all posted on how my plants are doing. I’m looking forward to having more time for fun and spending less time weeding this year. Especially on our brutally hot days. The pictures featured in this post are of some of our ongoing projects.

I hope they will inspire you to get out and enjoy nature!

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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The Power of the Mind

the power of the mind

I have to be truly honest. My thoughts, this last week or so, have put me in a downward spiral. The power of our mind and what we tell ourselves, or allow others to impose upon us, can create havoc in our state of well being. Not to mention how this can affect those who are close to us.

Even my indoor feline friends could feel my upset, and, as a result, seemed extra attentive and vigilant in staying close to me with their calm and soothing energy.

I am still learning how to embrace my empath abilities. Sometimes I do not even realize how one little action, or reaction, can turn my whole world upside down for a week or more. Empaths are not the only ones who can self-sabotage. Anyone and everyone can, and at some point, will likely do this. In fact, it is more common than one would think. I think the trick is to be aware of what you are telling yourself and how you talk to yourself. Whether it be out loud or in silence, in the privacy of your own mind. Your mind hears and acts on it all. It can make the difference between sleeping well, or lying awake all night ruminating on a particular topic or situation. It could be an event that you attended and things you heard or saw, or it could be the words or actions of another individual you were recently in contact with. Or, maybe even you yourself have imposed a negative story and set free a destructive thought pattern. It could be as simple as trying to tell yourself that you are something or someone that you quite simply are not.

I used to tell myself I was not smart enough to learn basic computer skills and embrace technology, and yet, here I am, writing this post and sharing it with you, on my very own site. Mind you, I am still learning. But, isn’t that the point? To push beyond our comfort zones and challenge ourselves? I changed my mindset, and now, I am doing it and I love it!

In my case, I was slow to learn how to quickly identify and recognize what starts or triggers my mind into this self-sabbotaging mode. It’s something that my mind just loves to sink its teeth into, once that door has been opened.

Now however, it seems that, through simply observing what is happening in my mind, I am able to recognize and recover from these patterns a little quicker, each time it happens. I think the key component to my continued improvement has been the regular disciplined practice of applying these principles.

There have been times in my life when I was told that it did not look like things were going to turn out well for me. One good example would be after my heart attack, when my speech pathologist told me that there may have been permanent damage done to my vocal cords, as a result of having breathing tubes in for such a long period of time. She said that I may never regain my original speaking voice, let alone be able to sing again. When all of the tubes were finally removed, several weeks after having been put in, you could barely hear the whispered squeaks that came out of my mouth. I refused to accept these words as gospel, however. They were simply an opinion. An opinion based on a few pieces or bits of information that had been gathered and put together. Or, perhaps, were based on data and statistics gathered from the majority of similar cases. I simply refused to accept this and told myself that I would be able to talk and sing again! Just like I used to..

Even today, I continue to do the therapy exercises and it has helped me to make great progress. I can sing again!

So, I sing when I can and rest when I know I should to help with the ongoing healing process. I have not regained all of what I once had but I am singing again and it feels wonderful. Especially when I hit a note with the band that sounds like what I once had. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

So, I will continue to believe. I will continue to tell myself that I will continue to regain strength and tone in my voice. I will get back to where I once was.

What am I to you – Nora Jones “cover” @ Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

So why then, do I let the actions or the words of others, and occasionally myself, set the rules for the game at some times, and not at others? The only answer I can offer right now, is that I am human and I am far from perfect. But, I’m a whole lot better than I used to be.

I will say that being kind to yourself, especially if, or when you slip, will make it a lot easier to get back on your own personal cheering squad.

What we tell ourselves or let others tell us, whether it be positive or negative, is very powerful! It could be the difference between life and death, in some of our cases. Either way, the impact can be like being hit by a train or a soft pillow.

I truly believe in the power of the mind! So, tell yourself, repeatedly, what you want to be true. Focus your thoughts on what you desire and how you truly want things to be and it will happen.

Be very careful and aware of the negativity and negative energy that floats around, do not take it on to be your own. It is usually someone trying to get rid of their own heavy baggage and you could become the recipient, if you allow it. I made this mistake this past week and it felt awful! It has had a negative, ripple effect on everything I touched and did.

Once I recognized what had happened, and what was happening, I began taking the necessary steps to correct it and it has made a real difference.

The power is in me and you. Live your life free! Free of all limitations. You can live the life you desire! It is all about the power of your mind.

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Beautiful Blue

Beautiful Blue Jay

Good morning. Here is a pic of my latest piece. With this piece, I decided to use colored pencils. I chose this option for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because this amazing species has the most vibrant shades of blue in nature and I really wanted to challenge myself to capture it as my eyes do. We have many Jays who frequent our feeding station daily, at the this time of year.
Secondly, I decided to sketch rather than paint as I am still boiling sap and I can leave the piece at a moments notice in order to tend to my sugar making duties. Painting makes that a little more challenging. You see, I can sketch anywhere with very few tools.
I really wanted to create a piece with color and the feeding station has been busy with many feathered friends all singing there spring songs. Although the blue jays are not my favorite sounding feathered friend they sure are beautiful to watch. Spring is here and I can hardly wait for my gardens to start to bloom. They add such color and beauty to our little piece of heaven. Especially after a long and cold snowy winter.
Hope you all enjoy my “Beautiful Blue”.

As Always,
Love Tanya Jean

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Sugar Making time

It is that time of year again! Spring has sprung and Maple syrup season is once again upon us. My husband and I decided to tap just a few trees this year. Going small is a lot easier to keep up with if mother nature decides to cooperate and the trees poduce a lot of sap. Which they certainly have done, so far this year.

Sugar making, which is what we call the process of making maple syrup, is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the warm spring weather. Which I so look forward to after the long cold and dark days of late winter, here in New Brunswick’s snow belt!

Instead of using our camp on the back part of our wood lot, we decided to set up in the back yard this year. Our thought was to just tap a few trees near the house. Just a few mature maples that would be more easily accessed, considering how much snow has fallen this year. It is my thought that, after gathering and carrying the full buckets of sap back to the holding containers, it was the right call! Lol

We will get back to the camp and enjoy it, once most of the snow has melted. In the mean time, the back yard suits me just fine. The closer everything is, the better! Especially since, this year, in order to get around on our wood lot, we have had to be on our snow shoes more than we were off of them.

My neurologist is still quite surprised that I am able to use my snow shoes as well as I can, considering my physical challenges and disability. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I am determined to try my best! After my event, I decided that if I could live through a widow maker, I was no longer going to let anything stop me. I was going to give everything I tried my absolute best effort. That includes lacing up my snow shoes and breaking a trail in the fresh snow. Even if there’s 4 feet of it!! Lol

We decided that 14 trees should give us enough sap to produce a sufficient quantity of maple syrup to stock up our household reserves and maybe share a bottle or two. At the start of this year’s season, we were down to and using our last one litre mason jar of syrup.

This year’s weather has been very good on our little piece of heaven for sugar making so far. The sap’s sugar content seems to be nice and high, which has made for a super yummy first batch.

I love making homemade pancakes this time of year and topping them with strawberries, whip cream and our fresh warm maple syrup.

It really seems more like a dessert than a meal, but who doesn’t love dessert for lunch or maybe even supper, sometimes?? Well, I certainly do! Even my doctors agree that it is okay, in moderation, and of course it is good for heart health.

Every time I look at the plate, it warms my heart! Lol

Also, this year, our laying hens, Waffles and Tiny have enjoyed having some extra company outside with them on the warm sunny days.

And of course, we can’t forget about Missy, who enjoys overseeing the whole operation, from her directors chair. Lol

I wanted to share my homemade pancake batter recipe with you all. Maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to track down some fresh Maple Syrup and give them a try.

Tanya Jean’s Homemade Pancakes

This recipe makes approximately 10 regular size Pancakes

1 1/2 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt(optional)

1 egg beaten slightly

1 1/4 cup of cow’s milk or almond milk unsweetened

Combine all ingredients in order, in a large mixing bowl. Wisk or stir together until well blended but still somewhat lumpy. Pour 1 cup of batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle (a cast iron griddle, for best results). Cook until puffy and bubbles appear then flip over to brown on the other side and enjoy. This recipe can easily be doubled and will produce the same results.


This is how much Syrup we have bottled so far this year and based on how well the trees are producing so far, we will easily double this amount for our pantry reserves.


As Always,

Love Tanya Jean