Gyrtle’s Next Journey: A Tiny House Changes Hands

Hi, Folks,

It’s hard to believe this as I write it, but it’s been almost two years since Gyrtle embarked on the next phase of her journey. The last time I wrote, I was looking for the right person to take over the care of my mom’s tiny house, and in August 2017, I transferred title to just that person.

The first time I heard from Brandon after posting my mom’s house for sale on Tiny House Listings, something clicked almost immediately. I received tons of emails in the first 24 hours of posting (an overwhelming amount, actually!), and started speaking to a few serious buyers. But something about Brandon’s message stood out. He had taken the time to read this blog, and he’d even watched my talk about tiny homes at Ignite Phx; beyond his own “passion for off the grid, green living, and leaving a small footprint,” Brandon resonated with my mom’s personal story and all the little details (and love) she put into building her home. The first time we spoke on the phone, the conversation was natural, friendly, honest, and practical. Brandon was my age, a creator, and he had been dreaming and planning for years to make his dream of living tiny come true.

All the little details started to add up, including the fact that Brandon already had a visit to Colorado planned in a few short weeks! We met in late August 2017 in Monument, CO where Brandon got to see the house in person for the first time. Afterward, we sat and chatted for almost two hours at Serrano’s, my favorite coffee shop in the area (an old favorite of my mom’s, too), and the next day we agreed to a sale price. We took care of the paperwork that very day, and I handed over the keys.

Brandon easily arranged transport with Uship within a few days, and by September 1, 2017, Gyrtle was on her way to the friend’s farm in Richmond, VA where Brandon had arranged to make his home. She looked beautiful in his care from the start.

Tiny house at dusk
Gyrtle settled in VA. Photos: Brandon Wood

In the two years since selling my mom’s tiny house, I’ve kept this story close to my heart, watching Brandon and Gyrtle’s story start to unfold. Now, it’s time for him to take up the telling. I’ll be transitioning this blog to his ownership soon, so he can keep my mom’s story alive with chapters of his own.

Thank you all so much for riding with me and my mom the past 7 years. Until we meet again…

Happy Trails,


Learn How To Title a Tiny House

I wrote the below in response to a question in the Tiny House People Facebook group: “How do I get a title for my tiny home?” I hadn’t yet captured a clear record of each step it took for me to get to this point in Gyrtle’s journey and what I learned along the way, so I figured I’d post my full comment here to help other people who may have the same question.

Now that Gyrtle is titled, all I can say as far as her future goes is that still don’t know.  I had been really hopeful about one option that would have transformed her into a mobile technical school that went around teaching students in Arizona and the surrounding  areas about energy efficiency in collaboration with a local technical school — but my tiny just doesn’t quite fit their needs. For now, I’m looking into hauling Gyrtle down to Phoenix on my own and storing her close by, where my uncle and I can work on her systems at our own pace and find a solution for her future that feels right.

For now, if you have a CDL, OTR, or owner/operator commercial driver to recommend, I’m all ears! I’ll also be diving headlong back into the insurance issue to help ensure Gyrtle stays safe whenever and wherever I do move her. Any tips or ideas on that front are more than welcome, too, since my deadline to relocate Gyrtle her current location is this Friday, November 18. 

Enjoy the recap of my trip to title town, and wish me luck on the next leg of my journey.

Blessings & Happy Trails,



Disclaimer: these were the steps required to title in Colorado. Check with your local DMV for specific instructions in your state.


I didn’t have to do this part, because I had the original title for my trailer. If you don’t, you’ll likely have to do a record search request to determine any previous owners or liens on the vehicle. You’ll need a VIN number to perform a record search request, so if you don’t have one of those, you’ll need to check with the DMV about your first/next step. Provided there are no active liens, you should be good to move forward.


Before you can title, you need a valid VIN number to accurately & legally identify the trailer on all future applications & documents. If your trailer already has a VIN number assigned and it’s valid, you may be able to skip this step, BUT CHECK WITH YOUR DMV about whether your VIN is valid before doing anything else. Colorado state required that I get a new VIN because the original VIN sticker had been damaged AND the body style had changed from a flat-bed trailer to a live-in camper.

  1. Get a certified VIN inspection performed by the local sheriff’s office or other authorized inspector (check requirements with DMV) that classifies the home as a self-built live-in camper trailer.
  2. Take your certified VIN inspection to the DMV and fill out an application for a new VIN number. You may need to provide other details to support the findings of your VIN inspection, including photos of each stage of construction and current state, receipts for all labor and parts, and a statement of work.
  3. REMEMBER: your new VIN number will be used on every application you fill out from this point on. If it’s not valid and accurate for the vehicle you’re trying to title, all of your time, money and effort will be wasted from here on out. MAKE SURE you do this step first, and do it right.


The DMV uses surety bonds to provide a bonded title when a previous title is no longer valid or available, but first, you need a valid bond appraisal in order to determine the amount of the surety bond you buy. My bond appraisal in Colorado had to be done by a licensed auto dealer, but this requirement varies by state. Your new VIN number will be included on this appraisal.

Note: You’ll want to work with whomever does your appraisal to come up with the proper value to title your tiny home. Keep in mind that the higher your bond appraisal, the more expensive your bond will be. This number shouldn’t affect insurance or sales pricing, so valuing your home LOW but within the realm of reason is OK in this step. You appraiser should know a reasonable number to value your self-built THOW at.


I got a recommendation from my bond appraiser about a local insurance agency that could provide my bond same day. I took the notarized appraisal to her office and got my bond within minutes. This bond will also have your VIN number on it.

Note: A bond costs about 1.5% of its total value, with like a $150 minimum. Colorado requires that you bond a vehicle for 2x its appraised value. So, even though I think my THOW is worth a lot more than this, the appraiser and I agreed on a value of $5,500. My $1,100 bond cost me ~$165 – a much more reasonable amount than I would have paid if I’d appraised it at, say, $30K ($60K bond = $900 dollars!)


Take ALL of your documentation so far (records search; VIN registration and supporting materials i.e. statement of work, receipts, photos etc; bond appraisal; & surety bond) to the DMV and apply for a bonded title. Again, you’ll want to work with your DMV representatives closely throughout this whole process to ensure you follow your state’s specific steps and requirements.

Note: Usually, there are one or two DMV managers in each county that know the ins and outs of titling and are required to sign off on any title requests. Find out who these managers are and become their best friend. They will be your greatest resource to ensure you get everything you need done in the right order.


Registered, Titled and Tagged. Gyrtle is Finally Ready to Roll!

I don’t think I can express the relief I feel. My tiny home is finally titled, tagged and registered properly — which means now, I can take her wherever she needs to go! All it took was three years, multiple trips and calls to the DMV, three separate VIN inspections, one temporary registration and haul to get it weighed, calls to every car dealership in Colorado Springs to find the single bond appraiser who could do what I needed (Bob from Bob’s Colorado Classics), a trip to Heather at Colorado Springs Insurance for an on-the-spot issue of the bond I needed to re-title, and Voila! Gyrtle is tagged, titled and ready to roll.

I’m not sure that most tiny house people have to deal with all these steps, but because I inherited this house from my mother, there were quite a few hoops to jump through. Boy, am I glad it’s over!

It was wonderful to be back in colorful Colorado. Even though I had a lot to accomplish, I still got a chance to renew my spirit and soul. I was lucky enough to visit my dear friends Ed, Sallie and Tad of Germinal Stage Denver and to stay with a now dear friend and exceptionally talented metal artist in Historic Monument, Jodie Bliss of Bliss Studio & Gallery. I even got a great yoga class in with my mom’s good friend (and now mine), Raleigh Dove of Yoga Pathways Studio. I highly recommend her classes if you’re ever in Monument. She made two adjustments to my positions that made a world of difference on the long drive home to Phoenix!

Jodie, who had just returned from an incredible looking vacation in Belize, and I had a blast binge watching Hulu, sharing stories of our travels and passions, and cooking dinner over the fire pit in her backyard. We even got an outdoor, island-style dinner party in with Jodie’s musician friend Harry Mo, Raleigh, and her husband Lewis on my last night in town! The company, the music, the food — it was all exactly what the doctor ordered!

Island-style eating. Photo courtesy of Raleigh’s former career as a photojournalist.

This trip — from the drive up through Albuquerque, NM, where I stopped to visit family, to my last day in town, where I left Gyrtle behind once again — was exactly that, a trip. Driving up, I relived the last time that I’d made the 12-hour journey in November 2013, when I sped straight through to get to my mom as fast as possible upon hearing about her cancer diagnosis. It was autumn after the big Black Forest Fire, which broke out just a quarter mile from where Gyrtle then stood. At the time of that fire, I thought losing her house was the biggest threat my mother faced. I had no idea of the battle that was brewing in her body.

It’s interesting to me that Gyrtle’s current home is on the opposite edge of Black Forest’s massive burn area. The last time I stopped at the house on this trip, I pulled over to snap a picture of the damage that still lingers. My mom’s friend Deb didn’t seem to quite understand why, but to me, the stark skeletons of charred pine trees standing in contrast to the lush woods around them are a perfect metaphor for the struggles, strength and simple dumb luck that’s required to live tiny. The forest persists, despite its setbacks. Here I am, still working to discover Gyrtle’s future in the face of both a beautiful and tragic past.

Black Forest burn area, October 2016

I can’t believe all this happened just last week, when I returned to Colorado from Phoenix to get Gyrtle ready for her next journey. I’m still working to finalize the details of that journey, but I’m hopeful it will be something my mom would be proud of. I can’t wait to tell you all about it once I know for sure what’s happening! My November 18th deadline to move her from her current location is fast approaching, but I’m confident I’ll get something figured out — even if it’s just a temporary storage solution while all the details are ironed out.

In the meantime…

Blessing and Happy Trails!


See Inside My Tiny House [Video]

While digging through my mom’s old hard drive recently, I found a video that I shot back in 2013 on her iPhone, hoping that she would include it in one of her posts on this blog. Her readers have been asking for a video tour of the inside of our tiny house for a while, and now, I’m finally able to post one!

So with no further ado, let me walk you through our tiny house!

This video was taken in July 2013 in Black Forest, Colorado, on my first visit to my mom’s tiny house – right after the bad forest fires. Although Gyrtle has moved twice since then and most of my mom’s personal items have been moved out, it feels right to let you see it for the first time just as I did: her vision come to life, the full realization of her tiny, living dream.

I hope you enjoy it. I’m driving to Colorado next week – and seeing friends and family along the way – to get Gyrtle’s paperwork in order, just in case I end up having to sell my tiny house.

I’ll keep you posted on our journey.

Blessings and Happy Trails,


Selling My Tiny House: Some Highs & Lows

Hi, all –

I realize it’s kind of a bummer that I haven’t posted in so long. The truth is,  I’ve been kind of bummed, myself. I’ve been stuck in a rut on my big plans for Gyrtle, and honestly, I’m not even sure anymore that I’m the right person to watch over her at all.

It was always my mom’s dream to live tiny – long before it was my dream to continue that vision. I love the home she built, as I’ve loved every family home I’ve had the joy to make memories in. It’s the memories I have of my mom’s home (and of my mother living in it) that I cherish, and if circumstances demand I part with the house itself, so be it.

You see, the beautiful property where Gyrtle has been safely sitting since last spring has been sold, so I rapidly have to find her a new home. This change means that I may have to sell my mom’s tiny house – soon – and simply let her next owner shape her future tiny life. Or, she could end up in storage for some time.

I haven’t figured out the next part yet, but I’ll be making a return trip to Colorado soon to keep getting things in order. (You may have guessed, I sadly missed the Tiny House Jamboree this year – my uncle needed emergency surgery and I thought it best to stay put in Phoenix while he recovered.)

As I renew the process of getting Gyrtle’s tiny house registration in order and finding a new place to put her,  I do have some more lighthearted news to share!

Big Problems, Tiny Solutions: My #IgnitePhx Experience

On April 1 this year, I was privileged to have 5 minutes on the Ignite Phoenix stage in Scottsdale, AZ to talk about my vision for tiny homes – inspired by my journey with Gyrtle.

Here is a video of my tiny house talk:

Speaking at #IgnitePhx was an incredible experience. It gave me the chance to dive deep into the real potential I see for tiny houses in our over-populated and rapidly warming world. I hope you enjoy the ideas I share, along with the chance to hear more of my and Gyrtle’s story.

Here is the full transcript of my talk:

This is a tiny house. Can you see it? Right there, below beautiful Pikes Peak in Colorado. It’s the view my mom Robin had for the last year of her life, living in the tiny eco-house on wheels that she designed and built – and she absolutely loved it.

My mom always talked about building a “gypsy cart” to carry her on adventures around the world, and starting with a Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop in 2011, she started to realize this dream. Armed with all her savings and a ton of research, she took the plunge to build the Gypsy Turtle – “Gyrtle” for short.

My mom was a classically trained pianist who aimed to live in harmony with the earth and the people on it. She installed solar panels, a composting toilet, and radiant heat floors to go green, then added a spot for her keyboard and room for six to sleep in order to realize her vision.

But it’s a lot harder to build than dream. Not only did she have to prepare to downsize and actually use the composting toilet, problems from weather delays and the wrong parts to shady contractors and a burglary presented constant challenges and added expense.

With hard work and help from friends, in late 2012 Gyrtle stood 13-and-a-half feet tall on a 28-foot flatbed trailer. Building on trailers provides a work around the strict building and zoning codes in certain states, which is why you see so many T-H-O-Dubs, or “tiny homes on wheels.”

But avoiding those codes meant my mom had to be careful. Though Gyrtle was off-grid and cost under 50-grand to build, my mom was out of money and insuring self-built tiny homes is notoriously hard, while living in them is especially risky.

The Black Forest fire broke out a quarter-mile from my mom’s house in June 2013. Emergency teams blocked the road out, so my mom hiked in illegally every day to wet the ground around it. Though Gyrtle survived and many permanent homes didn’t, the fire was a wake-up call to the risks of living small and uninsured.

My mom got back to her tiny life tweaking systems, hosting guests, and planning trips. But in December 2013, Robin succumbed to advanced-stage pancreatic cancer, and along with my grief, I was left with a tiny house built on big dreams.

So it was my turn to dream. It didn’t feel right to sell Gyrtle outright, not only because my mom was still figuring out the systems when she died, but also because she had always intended bigger things for her tiny dream. So I started my own research.

Living small and in sync with nature’s systems is not a new idea. The Uros tribe in Peru and Bolivia still survives on small islands made from living reeds they use to build their homes, boats, outhouses, and even the ground they walk on.

Today’s intentional communities also embrace the idea. The Gobcobatron built by Brian ZIGGY Lil-oy-a at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage was made from cob, a mixture of subsoil, water, and straw – basically mud, but beautiful mud nonetheless.

High schools now build tiny houses to teach construction, and these examples of student housing from the Netherlands, California, and Taliesin West right here in Arizona prove that tiny design can teach innovation, cooperation, and intentionally around how we live – and where.

Today living small has been dismissed as a novelty, joke, or only suitable for vacations. People ask, “how realistic can it be when some building codes won’t even consider a structure habitable if the bedroom is under 120-sq ft. – the size of some tiny houses?”

But it is realistic. I know because my mom did it, and so did the family who started Story Coffee Company in Colorado, a business that operates out of a T-H-O-Dub so the owners can put their profits toward ethically sourced, quality coffee instead of higher rents.

SquareOne Villages in Oregon, Quixote Village in Washington state, and CommunityFirst! in Texas provide housing for the homeless – and with 17 thousand 500 homeless in Maricopa County, finding more models for affordable housing simply makes sense.

In some ways, Phoenix gets it. The Containers on Grand offer eight units made from re-purposed shipping containers. Roosevelt Row’s Hot Box gallery is also a shipping container, and micro-apartments are being planned for downtown – but they’re expensive…

Phoenix has a problem with vacant lots. A growing demand to develop them and still provide affordable, sustainable solutions for our growing population has spurred several community and city initiatives that are thinking big, but starting small.

Downtown Phoenix Inc. opened the Space Between last year on a vacant lot at 1st and Fillmore streets. Space Between responds to the city’s community initiative to fill vacant lots with urban farms, public art, and innovative seating.

Spearheaded by Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix Renews is a massive lot activation on Central Ave and Indian School with community gardening plots, public art, and a solar-powered model home. Phoenix Renews teaches sustainable solutions, decreases criminal recidivism, and rejuvenates otherwise dormant spaces.

Witnessing the problems and opportunities in Phoenix and around the globe, I can’t help but imagine the potential of tiny houses for cities today. I know my mom imagined it, too. Today I invite you to join us. Dream big. Think tiny.

Thank you.

Some Big (Tiny) Acknowledgements

There are several people who were especially helpful in my research for this talk or who offered to let me include photos, and I’d like to thank them for their work and inspiration, too.

A very special acknowledgement to:

Tiny Home Builders

Ross Beck, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Bruce Melms, Solargon Homes

Monique Wijnands, Wikkelhouse 

Organizers & Community Organizations

Greg Johnson, Small House Society 

Jaycie Osterberg, Quixote Village 

Coles Whalen, Tiny House Jamboree and EcoCabins

Arizona Community Development Projects

Nicole Underwood, Roosevelt Row CDC

Tom Waldeck and Cindy Moss, Phoenix Renews at Keep Phoenix Beautiful

Quinn Whissen, This Could Be Phx


Until next time, TTFN.



On Fires, “Security,” and How to Rebuild After a Loss

I want to provide some background for you all on why I’m so concerned with getting Gyrtle registered as a self-built, live-in camper so that she can be insured for the full amount needed in the event of a total loss.

Here is an excerpt from an email my mom Robin sent out on June 16, 2013 (I’ve added some photos in for reference, as well).

“Dear Folks,

“You’ve probably heard of the fire in Colorado Springs known as the Black Forest Fire.  The fire started Tuesday on the north side of the road that leads to where my tiny house on wheels (Gyrtle, short for Gypsy Turtle, soft “g”) is situated. Because the winds kept blowing north my home was never actually in danger.  Unfortunately some 470 homes across the road burned.  I’ve been evacuated since Tu. or Wed.  I went back in over land on foot to move mulch away from my house and wet it down.  They have started to open up areas around the mandatory evacuation area and let people back in.  We can’t get in on our street because of being only connected to Shoup Rd. and because that is where the fire started and there are so many affected homes down the road.  I’ve been well taken care of and have had a lovely place to stay.


“I’ve been fine and my house is fine.  Biggest problem is that we can’t get back home because the road that we get to our houses from is closed.  The fire started right across that road from us and luckily it never crossed the road anywhere near where we live.  It did further east.


“I’ve lost some work do to the fire – that’s a little bit disconcerting because I’m not really making enough yet to get by.  But I’m sure something else will come through.  Our trio managed to rehearse yesterday – we have our first concert on July 2nd.  The cellist and I were both evacuated.  Luckily we rehearse at the violinist’s house.

“I’m determined now to find a way to insure my house.  And I’m going to park my truck on the property where my house is!  I’ll let you tiny house people know what I did to get insurance once I do.

May Your Life Sing,
Robin Kissinger

My mom drafted this blog post shortly after the Black Forest Fire that made mention of other folks who’ve been threatened by or completely lost their tiny homes due to a fire. The reality is that, especially during construction, the risk of fire for tiny homes is large, while the chances of having building or tiny home insurance is small.

Kim Langston of Olympia, Washington lost her tiny home in an unexplained barn fire partway through construction. Having spent all of her savings and some of her friends’, she had nothing left with which to rebuild. Luckily, the tiny house community is tight-knit and familiar with both seemingly insurmountable obstacles and otherwise unworldly perseverance. Kim created an Indiegogo campaign to fund her second build and was met with a generous amount of support. She has since finished construction and moved on to living out her little dream.

Likewise, my mom spent her entire savings to build Gyrtle, and the threat of losing everything loomed large during Black Forest. I am similarly wary of being uninsured now, not only because wildfires remain a threat where Gyrtle is stationed in Colorado, but also because the idea of transporting a tiny across state lines or actually using the experimental systems she needs to run is terrifying without a financial safety net. I, too, don’t have the funds to re-coup this testament to my mom’s dreams should she be destroyed.

That’s why I’m simply taking things slow. When it comes to tiny living, it truly is better safe than sorry. I’ve reached out to the one multi-state provider of tiny house insurance that I can find for a quote and have started the long process of appraisal and re-registration that I outlined in my last post.

Sorting these issues out hasn’t stopped me from exploring all the options out there for Gyrtle’s next move – when she’s ready to take it. I recently spoke about the potential for tiny houses to contribute to affordable housing and adaptive reuse projects here at the Ignite Phoenix conference on April 1. I’m looking forward to sharing the video when it’s ready.

In the meantime, I have several more posts to come with news about mom’s journey both during Gyrtle’s build and beyond, plus a few more about the plans I see taking shape. I hope you stay tuned.

Happy Trails,

Gyrtle on the Move: Tiny House Registration and Insurance

Hi, Folks,

Though it’s been over a year since I last posted, I haven’t been sitting pretty – and neither has Gyrtle! Get ready, because you’re about to get hit with a slew of updates.

Last month I set out from Phoenix to Colorado, where Gyrtle has been nestled since my mom’s passing in a little nook in her friend and fellow musician Pam’s yard. For several reasons, including the fact that it’s time to  weigh and re-register Gyrtle as the amazing tiny home she is (an important step for getting tiny house insurance), it was the moment for my mom’s house to find a new, if temporary home. So with the help of an old friend, Deb, and a new one, Morgan, we hitched her up.

It wasn’t easy! Deb, Morgan and I all had to take turns cranking Gyrtle’s weight onto and off of the hitch.

The story of how we found Morgan, who’s a former semi-truck driver turned firefighter and horse rancher in Colorado Springs, is remarkable in and of itself. Deb and I had been discussing Gyrtle’s future a few weeks prior, and we decided it was time to move her.

“Now all we need is a driver!” I told her, and Deb promised to send it up for the angels to deal with.

Would you believe it, the next day Deb was driving home and saw a truck in front of her with the exact hitch we needed to tow a fifth wheel gooseneck like Gyrtle is built on. Bold as she is, Deb decided to follow that truck a ways down the road.

When Deb noticed the license plate on the truck included her birthdate, it was a done deal. Deb trailed the truck all the way home, which happened to be around the corner from where Gyrtle currently stood. She explained our story and our needs, and Morgan agreed to help. Woohoo!

Gyrtle’s new pad.

Gyrtle’s new home came in the form of another friend’s generosity. When my mom was looking for a place to land, one spot she considered was a beautiful lot close to Elbert in El Paso County, CO. The land is owned by an engineer who is an inventor in his own right and, clearly, also a very kind soul. Our rag-tag crew scoped it out, and the next day we were ready to move.

After hitching her up, we had to run by the weigh station off I-25 in Monument to get Gyrtle weighed. She came in at a whopping 24,000 lbs! The weigh station inspector said that weight was within normal limits for an RV…now we just have to hope the DMV thinks so, too! But Gyrtle sure drove pretty, according to Morgan, who manned the wheel of the truck that hauled her. From my perspective in the passenger’s seat, the ride seemed plenty smooth…though I was incredible nervous the whole time.

Driving passed the scales.

From there it was smooth sailing out to Elbert, where Gyrtle got settled on her new pad – but I can say for a fact that without Deb and Morgan’s help, the entire process would not have ended nearly as pretty and pain free as it did. All told, it took us four hours to move Gyrtle from one spot to the next and get her weighed without incident.

Me and Morgan after unhitching the house.

It was a truly productive trip, and to have Gyrtle weighed and re-situated where people are ready to help take care of her is a huge weight off my mind. But there was still more to do.

I needed a certified VIN inspection before Gyrtle could be reclassified by the DMV as a live-in mobile camper rather than a flatbed, and I spent my entire trip trying to find a certified state trooper to do it. On my last day, with just hours to go before I flew home, I found one! He even met us out near Elbert, so we didn’t have to move Gyrtle again, and by the time he finished up I still had time to get to the DMV. I thought, “For sure, I’m gonna walk out of here the proud owner of a registered, self-built tiny home on wheels.”

But, alas, I was getting ahead of myself. While everything I’ve done to this point has been a necessary step, I still need to head back out to Colorado again to have a bond appraisal for Gyrtle that declares her value as an off-grid THOW (“tiny house on wheels”) so the DMV can issue a new VIN that accurately reflects what she is.

Ultimately, getting the bond appraisal is an important step in the registration process, ensuring that I walk away with paperwork that reflects all the hard work and improvements that my mom made to that flatbed trailer she bought almost four years ago. I need these documents to be accurate so that when I reach out to one of the only providers of self-built tiny home insurance, I get a policy for the correct amount to protect against anything that might happen.

While it is somewhat disheartening to not get everything taken care of at once, I take solace in the fact that nothing in this process has moved too fast. In fact, sometimes moving slowly is a blessing so that things get done right. I’m also lucky, since I’m already planning to return to Colorado in August for the National Tiny House Jamboree! That will give me a good chance to get some more things checked of the registration and insurance list.

The best news is that outside of the paperwork, some amazing things have been happening in my life that directly support my mom’s vision for Gyrtle and her attempts to spread the seeds of sustainability overall. I’ll be sharing them in the next few weeks, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s where Gyrtle will be, safe and sound – for now.

IMG_1930 (1)

Blessings and Happy Trails,

Messages from Robin

A series of delightful synchronicities occurred just after I last updated this blog, as if my mom was sending messages straight from heaven; so I had to share a few.

It all started when I received an email from Robin’s dear friend, Deb. Look who she found while digging through old photos to commemorate her upcoming 60th birthday!
100_0009…If you knew Robin, you know this look of contentmentplus the flush of a glass or two of Merlotwell! Both Deb and Robin are April babies, and I know my mom will be celebrating with her in spirit.

On a separate note, my friend Carol Jean Lovette Young takes the most incredible photos of birds from her very own backyard in Baltimore. It just so happened that right after Deb’s email came through, Carol Jean posted two beautiful shots of a particular favorite of mine to her Facebook: the American Robin.

Check out more of Carol Jean’s photos on her Facebook. I hope you enjoy!


As always,

Reflection & Renewal

Dear Ones,

I am Robin’s daughter, Lianna, and I hope this message finds you well. Today we welcome Spring. I write of new beginnings, and of endings.

Robin passed away on December 24, 2013. (You may read her obituary here.) Thank you for following her journey as she made her dream to live in harmony with the earth a reality. My mom cherished your connection and support, and your communal energy gave her great strength.

Me and Mom on Gyrtle's front porch, July 2013
Me and Mom on Gyrtle’s front porch, July 2013

It has now been over a year since Robin passed—a long year for this planet. Many of us have known loss. We have felt the emptying out that comes with change, and the void it leaves behind, begging to be filled. We must be careful what we put back in.

In addition to being my mother, Robin was my teacher. She taught me what it is to listen and be true to oneself. To create Gyrtle took tremendous vision and power, and that vision lives on. As does our community. Gyrtle’s journey continues.

For now, Gyrtle is safe in Colorado, nestled comfortably on a friend’s land. In the coming months, she will embark on her new life as a residency program for artists and green innovators. I look forward to sharing the process with you on this blog, and welcome you to share your ideas, questions, concerns, and stories along the way. I look forward to getting to know you.

As you set your intentions for Spring, count my mom among the angels who are listening and will help your dreams come to life.

Blessings and Happy Trails!

As always,
Lianna K-V

A List of TinyHousers

HI Folks,

Macy over at Minimotives – “Less is More” has a page that links to over 200 tiny house blogs! This is a fantastic resource if you are researching building a tiny house of your own. Here’s the link: TinyHousers One section links specifically to a cob house and another to other useful sites. Her whole site is filled with useful information – check it out.

Just to let you know, I am planning on catching you up soon on the finishing of my house and aspects of living in it and what my future plans are.

Happy Trails,


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