Downsizing

small house

This is the first house Dave and I ever lived in. Prior to it, we rented apartments. This is where we brought Nathan home and where he lived until he was four.  It was (and still is) a whopping 1000 square feet. Three small bedrooms, two bathrooms, typical, and all sort of squashed.

But it was plenty of room for the two of us, and later on, the three of us.

The only reason we moved was that it was rented and we bought a house. The one we bought was similarly sized but had yellow wood siding, was on a better, bigger lot and we liked it better. It had more “character.”

Since then, we’ve lived in lots of houses, in lots of places.

The biggest was 2000 square feet in Alaska. Our only reason for buying something that large was that in Cooper Landing, you pretty much buy what is for sale, and not much is usually for sale.

 

living room RV

The smallest is an RV that measures about 280 square feet with all the slides in.  With the four slides out, it’s probably around 400 square feet.

kitchen RV

bedroom RV

Living room, kitchen/dining area, bedroom/bath.  Basically three rooms.

Here are the upsides of living tiny like that.

It can be cheaper, sometimes far cheaper. RV’s don’t cost as much as houses, although per square foot, they are pricey. There just aren’t many square feet. In addition, though, there just isn’t any room for anything.

I remember walking into Walmart one day and thinking that there wasn’t a single thing in that whole store that I wanted, or that I could use, or that I could store if I had to.

It makes you far more conscious of space.  You don’t have much, so you have to pay attention.  If you’re not using it, whatever “it” is has to go. If something comes in, something else has to go out. You find out that you don’t need twelve pairs of shoes.  Three or four do nicely.  You don’t need as many clothes as we’re wont to keep in our large closets. Dave’s tool set fit in one small box and was stored in the RV “basement.”

The traveling part can be a big positive. When you don’t like the weather,  you just move. Same thing for the scenery.  And ditto for the neighbors.

The feeling can be one of freedom, at least at first.

But there are also downsides, and some of them are major.

You have to park the thing someplace. One solution is to buy a plot of ground and park it, but then you’ve negated or seriously reduced the traveling thing. If you go into an RV park, you have nice amenities, but you get to pay for them, and you get to pay whatever the RV park wants to charge you.  In south Texas, we were paying almost $100/month for electricity, well above the going rate per KWH in the area. The RV park controlled the rates.

Living in an RV park gets old, at least it did for us.  Because the RV is so small, it’s nice to get outside a lot and “outside” means the rest of the park.  Neighbors are close, sometimes too close. They also tend to be old. (I know we’re old, but these folks were older.)

And if you opt for parking elsewhere, that gets really old, really fast. Who wants to actually live in a Walmart parking lot or a rest area?  Not me.

In addition, moving is a major pain. Everything has to be secured, all the slides brought in, the RV hitched to the truck.  Then all this has to be reversed at the destination.  We could do it in our sleep, but we tired of it.

There is no community when you are a part-time resident, and that might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a major one for me.  No responsibilities might sound delightful, but I really need to have something I have to do, or some place I have to be.  If I don’t, I start to get depressed.

None of these things are pertinent, of course, to a fixed so-called “tiny” house, except the lower costs.

We did not find the close quarters to be a problem, and I really want to emphasize that. We were fine. But there were only two of us, and as you can see from the photos, our RV had definite rooms, three of them. It was totally possible for one of us to watch TV in the living room while the other prepared a meal in the kitchen or took a nap in the bedroom. Privacy was never an issue.

So, what is the deal with the current fad regarding “tiny” houses?

I think it’s a backlash against this.

mcmansion

When we decided to upsize and buy a real house, this is what we did not want.

I have watched houses get bigger and bigger over much of my lifetime, to the point that the little house where Nathan was a baby is considered teeny nowadays, but was pretty much average when I was a child.

As Americans have gained weight, they have also reduced their family size and greatly increased their house size.

And all that house has to be heated and cooled and furnished and cleaned and maintained.

If you Google “tiny house” or even “average sized house 1950” you will find dozens of articles talking about this, and gushing over so-called tiny houses and bashing “materialism.”

Somehow, we can’t seem to find balance. We upsize dramatically, realize that it was a mistake and then downsize dramatically. The pendulum swings and tends to always swing too far.

garden shed

Here’s the article she’s linking.

not safe

Nicole’s garden shed has not been “turned into” a cabin. That’s like saying that if I put a saddle on Frances, she’ll be “turned into” a horse.  She’d simply be a very pissed-off cow with a saddle on her back.

But I am curious about how Nicole thinks that her garden shed is “safer” than most of the rentals they’ve lived in. Safer how?

Obviously, they will not all burn up in an electrical fire.  Nor will the place be flooded from a burst pipe. Nobody will forget to turn off the range and have the gas fill the place.

The wood stove is, of course, a problem. I’ve looked at photos of it and shown it to my husband (who knows about wood stove installation, having done it several times in several different houses) and he says it’s not installed according to any sort of code.

Beyond that, I fail to see how it’s “safer.” In what way were those rentals substandard?

Anyway, the comments are all about how cute garden sheds are and how delightful it would be to live in one.

Seriously.

We have a wood shed.  It’s actually the original garage that was built when the house was built.  It’s a shed.  Walls. Roof.  Shed.

I do not want to live in it.  We store firewood in it. We park the milking wagon in it. It houses chicken feed and other supplies.  My cats play in it and hunt mice, but even they don’t want to live in it.

But anyway, apparently people think living in one is a great idea. So cute.

However, the majority of the stuff you find online about this is not about a family of 13 people living in a garden shed with no utilities of any kind.  They are generally about one person living in a garden shed. Two people at the most, complete with an itsy bathroom and electricity and plumbing.

I know that the Blessed Garden Shed is a step way up from the Blessed Little Shitshack, but when you consider that a tent from Walmart would also be a step up, that’s not saying much.

In fact, the largest family I could find (apart from the Blessed Nauglers) living in a shed was a mother with five kids, and people were rightly appalled. She is a recovering drug addict. Nobody thought that their housing was adequate.

What Nicole is doing is jumping on the “tiny house” bandwagon so she will look all trendy and crunchy, when the reality is homeless, broke, and no place to go.

And not surprisingly, some of those who ran bustling out at the beginning of this rather silly trend and began buying and building and decorating “tiny houses” and writing blogs about how glorious it all is. . . are upsizing.

They aren’t upsizing to McMansions, but to something that offers just a wee bit more space per person.  You know, like a normal house.

I know exactly how they feel. We did it too.

 

 

44 thoughts on “Downsizing”

  1. I grew up in a town that was once tiny houses as far as you could see. How tiny? I live in one that’s been expanded over the years, like most of them. There are currently 5 people and a cat in 800ish square feet, not counting storage. We have a tumble-down structure on the property that is “obviously” a shed judging by the size, but nope–once upon a time it was a house, with a kitchen and everything. And there are a few houses left about that size that people still live in. If you have a tiny house, you can heat it with a tiny stove and use most of your land for growing food. It makes economic sense.

    BUT.

    Our tiny house community was clustered around a set of relatively large public or commercially available gathering spaces. There’s a big flat green area where kids can run around. Churches with parish halls. An outdoor mall. A big parking lot that can be cleared out for community festivals. A soda fountain (back then; now it’s a coffee shop). A movie theater. A flowery plaza with benches and shade trees. A public library. There used to be a ground-floor dance hall; now there’s a bingo hall. And it’s all walkable. It’s easier to stand life in a tiny house if you can get out of your tiny house and go somewhere else for the afternoon, and if you have somewhere to go that’s big enough to host a party.

    Modern tiny house enthusiasts don’t generally have the right neighborhood. And of course, the Nauglers don’t even have a tiny house.

  2. The case you referenced about the woman and her five kids living in a shed is heartbreaking and yet so so typical for many poor people these days. The books Evicted and Less than $2.00 a Day feature story after story like this and make me crazy. Most of the people in these cases, are like this woman, trying as hard as they can but they can’t catch a break. It doesn’t take a lot. Then you have the Nauglers who can somehow game the system, though in some ways they’re living similarly but just painting a rosy glow around it.

  3. The article she links to also contains lots of statements about how unsafe living in garden shed is. Funny, she doesnt mention that.

  4. My husband and I are buying an older house and we were at Home Depot looking at tile and on our way out, I said, let’s look at these sheds. My husband said, no, we are not wasting money on one of those poorly built sheds….I’ll build one. So I explained why my interest. As it turns out, they have one just like the blessed little shed that the Ns live in…it was set up so we talked to the store person and they let us go in and walk around. I asked my husband, who has also installed a ton of wood burning stoves, if a wood burning stove could be installed and he said that even if the person installed the stove correctly, the place doesn’t have adequate ventilation….leaving the door and windows open sort of defeats the purpose of the wood burning stove. He said there’s a chance of carbon monoxide poisoning from poor ventilation and those sleeping up high would die first. I looked wood burning stoves online and the first thing that every article I read said is do not put a wood burning stove in a garage, a shed, a portable shed, or an aluminum storage building. Plus, my husband said that the walls are not sturdy nor is the roof and that they will sag and begin falling apart after a while. Based on Joe’s behaviors in the past, I assume he didn’t reinforce the flooring or the roof or the lofts and from all the crap jobs they have done in the past, I can also assume that he didn’t insulate…I think about the kids living in the port-a-shed and using a port-a-potty without a proper wash room or a place to take a shower or wash vegetables and it’s heart breaking. Plus, and this may be a little too much gross information but N has had 11 children and some of those 11 she had without prenatal care or a doctor or midwife present during the birth…and we know how hard having 11 kids can be on a woman’s plumbing and I’m just saying that unless she does a million Kegals a day, that heifer has to keep a piss jug near her at all times, which, as you all know, would stink to high heaven cause she isn’t the cleanest person at the rodeo….I say this based on her behaviors and the looks of their previous shit shacks in the past……

  5. If people still have to sleep on the floor,there is a problem.

    My issue is the latest YouTube video of 4 people talking about unschool, or attempting to, and obviously HIGH as a kite.

  6. Don’t worry the video pimping out the oldest kids did not get Nicole the attention she craves. She gave it a few hours and then pimped out the two youngest kids instead. The fish are biting for that one. I suppose she will just have to keep pumping them out and then ignoring them for as long as her body and her psyche need them for her online attention fix.

    Breed them. Pimp them. Neglect them. Repeat.

  7. They’re all high as a kite? And you gauged that from their laughing and a sometimes blurry video? Wow….
    Seriously, I saw a group of four teens, messing around and being silly and laughing, a lot, and not really answering their mother’s questions. Just kids who get along, goofing off a little for the camera. Accusing the kids of being “HIGH as a kite”, with no proof other than a short few videos is pretty unfair IMHO.
    I was more interested in the fact they wouldn’t really answer Nicole’s questions in her attempt to use them as poster boys and girl for the unschooling movement. And that they seem fun kids.

  8. IMO if her intent of this video was to showcase how well she managed to educate her children, it was an epic fail. I can only hope their inability to answer her questions was because they just did not want to, not because they couldn’t. Please make it be because they just didn’t want to!

  9. Ruvina, “The case you referenced about the woman and her five kids living in a shed is heartbreaking and yet so so typical for many poor people these days.”
    I do have a problem feeling sorry for the adults in both the N’s situation and the case of the woman and her five kids. Just like the N’s, the mother of the five, I feel, brought it all on herself. By her own admission, she kept going off the wagon and doing stupid things that caused her to get into trouble, losing her housing benefits, etc. While I do feel extreme pity for the children of both the mother of 5 and the N’s, I really think that the parents are to blame. Here’s the deal: I married my children’s father and after a couple years of marriage, we had our daughter and once she was born, he took off. He would come over to visit my daughter but late, late at night. I was young and stupid and had to be at work early in the morning, so when he pressured me to have sex, I did and after a month or so of his stopping by and pressuring me to have sex, I got pregnant with my son…we got back together and shortly after my son was born, I left him…In all the years that I was a single parent (my son was 3 weeks old and I didn’t remarry to both my children graduated college) I was never homeless. I worked; I paid my bills; I took care of my children without a dime of support from the sperm donor…Do I deserve a medal for my efforts at single parenting? No…I do not…that’s what we do when we make the choice to have children…we act responsible and put their needs above our needs. My children needed new clothes, a clean house, a safe environment, education, etc. so I made sure they had it. There were times when I would be sitting up at night and thinking how cool it would be to move up to a little cabin up in the mountains and make soap and shit like that….stay home and live off the land but reality always hit me square in the face….while I could surely suffer through living like that for a minute, my children didn’t deserve that lifestyle….they deserved safety, food, etc. There are parents who do fine moving up to the mountains and living off the land but it’s not a risk many of us will take. That romantic notion of living in a little house in the big woods is not very romantic when you realize you have to cut trees to get firewood and you have to have some money to buy certain things and you cannot grown shit in the winter and clothes or material costs money…..If N and J want to play pioneers, which I know they don’t based on their need for certain conveyances, they should wait until their children are grown…until then, they need to put those kids first….just once put them first and provide them with a safe home, a clean home, food and clothes that are safe and appropriate, and educate them so they will do better than their parents….holy crap who doesn’t want their children to do better?

  10. I promise this is the last time….but damn…..Why is it the “powers that be’s” fault that the N’s are at the level they are at: “competent enough to sustain without them, but not stable enough to be stronger.” First, what is stable enough to be stronger…stronger than what? Here’s a thought: Since the older children are raising the younger children anyway, why not become a two working parent family where J and N both work and bring home the bacon. They can become stronger than they are now and much more “competent.” I’m assuming she means economically competent but that doesn’t really fit…I think she means financially sound or something like that. Competent isn’t a word I would use with either J or N since the state seems to have legal custody of their children and since they blew through 45000 bucks without doing one bit of home improvement other than spending 900 bucks on a 300-buck chain saw.

    There’s a theme that follows N’s reasoning: she is never responsible for anything…never. It’s the neighbors who called the child protective services on her and J who were doing nothing to deserve it even though they did steal water and threaten the neighbors. They don’t pay their bills and it’s the powers that be’s fault they don’t have much money….they have to pay for gas they don’t use and it’s the evil utility company’s fault…not there fault for not really reading their lease or investigating what the cost would be. Their children become sick from unsanitary conditions and it’s the pancakes fault and not the filthy living conditions. They accept no responsibility for anything….J didn’t pay child support and they never attempted to contact his son until the child support folks came looking for him….and it was the relative’s fault….holy crap, they are like a small child who looks at the floor and says, no, the dog ate my homework…..

  11. Amen Jeannie Waller, the single mom who posted above! I have ZERO sympathy for that ‘mother’ of 5, actually 7(!) kids. Her situation is entirely of her own making, not because “trying as hard as they can but they (she) can’t catch a break” as Ruviana said.

    Can’t catch a break?! How’s about stay off the “8 balls” of cocaine while giving birth? GAHHHH People like this are a drain on the system. No better than the Naughlers.

    I also suspect the comment about the kids looking ‘high’ is coming from an angry FJer. Planting comments to give them a reason to bash this great blog!

    Once again, thank you Sally for the informative and interesting post based on your life experiences. It’s fascinating. You and your husband have done well in life and I only wish there were more of you in today’s society. Conscientious, intelligent AND kind.

  12. I do not know if the kids were high or not. Actually it would not surprise me at all if the older two were. However all four of the children did an excellent job of making their mother look like a fool lol.

  13. Not sure if anyone has seen Take 3 on “unschooling” yet? Can’t believe they didn’t know what elaborate meant. Why would N post something that really makes those kids look ridiculous and uneducated? What is she trying to prove? I just don’t understand unschooling or what those kids can possibly do when they go out into the real world. Nowadays you are required to have a Bachelors degree to get a decent job. It’s not like it was years ago when a H.S. diploma was all that was required. But, even so these kids won’t even have a H.S. education. She’s is doing such a disservice to her kids. I guess we all know that and that is why we are following Sally’s blog.
    Sally, thank you for letting us know the truth about what is going on at the BLH. Before I found your site I had no idea about the real story. I’m sure I would have figured it out eventually. N just loves the drama and the attention and if it wasn’t for her screen shots of a “troll’s” like of your FB page I would have never found your blog.

  14. Addiction is complicated. It really exists. If everything in your life is falling apart it’ll help you to feel better for a moment. Do I know this isn’t really true? Of course I do but addiction creates its own reality. I think people who’ve never been addicted (really, to alcohol or serious drugs that impair your ability to function) sometimes have a hard time realizing how hard it is to get out from under them. This isn’t to demean or downplay those who survive under terrible circumstances or who make it out of an awful situation, and I exclude the Nauglers from this conversation–they’re actually using their situation as a kind of grift.

  15. Joe Bloom wrote, “However all four of the children did an excellent job of making their mother look like a fool…”

    15 minutes wrapped up neatly in a little package of 18 words. Can’t get much more succinct than that.

  16. Holy Crap…..I should have proof read my last post…not their fault instead of not there fault. But, since I had to correct my bad grammar anyways, I thought I would say that N is trying hard to garner sympathy over there on her little FB where she is saying, with her lips hanging to the ground, that she isn’t going to blog much now because every body is picking on her and the reason she blogged to begin with was because her family needed updates and then she had hoped to educate others….but, don’t worry, she has a thick skin because of her maltreatment by her mother….Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty…her mother mistreated her…..join the club…we all have someone in our younger lives who mistreated us. While my mother didn’t treat me any better or any worse than she did the other children, I had older siblings who were not kind to me or my younger sister but hey, I do not blame them on anything that is amiss in my life now. Me thinks N is about to try a different strategy for garbing donations….the recovering abused little girl who is all grown up now and still suffering from effects of that abuse….Hey N., if your mother really did abuse you, why not look at your children and realize that there are causes and effects that begin in a child’s live that can carry over into their adult life and that can create some unfortunate behaviors such as bad choices….like, for instance, lack of education; lack of grooming skills; lack of socialization….it goes on and on and on.

  17. My thoughts when I watched the video of the four oldest children being prompted to talk about how they learn or their favorite time in history was that Nicole was getting annoyed when they decided didn’t respond the way she wanted. Her voice got a bit shrill. I was heartened to see that the kids seem to get along, were laughing with each other, and seem to be close. That sibling support and shared experiences will be so important all their lives. Nicole seemed like an outsider, not part of the “clique”. I think the oldest kids know the score, know they are more adult than their parents. For now, they have to put up with their living conditions, but I sure hope they can move on into their adult lives and leave the parents behind like a bad memory. Nicole blogged this morning, more “poor me, everyone picks on me”. Apparently it all started with her mother. Nicole was never good enough. Sounds like she was a difficult child. Too bad she turned into a difficult adult and a negligent mother.

  18. Unfair to label the children as high. There is no evidence to support this and just adds fuel to the fire that the family is being bullied. I see a group of kids that get along very well with each other who are humoring their mother. Good for them! I would be more concerned if they were giving robotic, memorized answers.

  19. I dont think they were high. I did find it weird that during the time I watched (about 7 mins) not a single kid evwr answered a question seriously. That speaks to the overall tone of their home. There is a place for sarcasm and jokes, but I personally think that people who exclusively speak this way are covering up feelings of inadequacy. That is a personal opinion, of course.

  20. The sad thing is she can undue this train wreck with a few simple steps.

    1) Enroll the children in public school so they catch up and get support.

    2) Move to a house in town. I am sure cps would assist you. This homesteading dream is never going to cut it. Just admit you made a bad decision under duress and move on.

    3) Start co-operating with cps and utilize the supports that they can offer to turn this around. That includes doing the psych evals and getting treatment.

    4) Have Joe get to work in a full-time permanent position.

    5) Limit your online activities and if you can’t do it alone seek treatment in a progressive addictions program.

    Can you imagine how much better things would be in a relatively short period of time if they took these simple steps. Nicole, you are not stuck. You have lots of options to make things better for your family. Call the whole homesteading bullshit off and move forward!

  21. Poor N is trying so hard to demonstrate how smart her little students are but all she is doing is showing us the opposite. I don’t think the kids are high and I don’t think N, as cray cray as she is, would post videos of high kids. I do think they are trying to do what she says and maybe have a little inside joke between the kids about their mom….LOL….

  22. @Anna Nimuss I don’t have a bachelors degree or any degree of any sort other than a HS diploma, and neither does my Mother, I am 52 and she is 73, I have been working for close to a year now at our local public library running the circulation desk and my Mother has been working in our local school library doing the same for 27 years. For 18 years prior to that I worked in Human Resources, all the way up to Director for a major hotel chain, nothing can stop you if you want to work and are well read, well spoken and want to continue learning. I hope that J and N kids can find their path to success despite their asshole parents!

  23. The video Nicole posted was interesting. If it was a video to show teens and pre-teens being goofy then success. If it was intended to show that the kids endorse quasi-unschooling, unschooling, learning your ABC’s, how to learn math they did not help Nicole’s position on the matter. It was just a vid to pimp out the kids and beg for money. In any case Nicole does look (sound?) like an ineffectual idiot in the vid.

  24. High or not the video exemplifies the fact that the children could use support to meet educational goals. Joking or not they seem well below grade in their articulation of ideas. They certainly are not in a position to pursue post-secondary opportunities. Jacob should be preparing to attend college, or a trade school, job core, anything, in a few weeks but that does not look like that is happening. That is not his fault, that is the fault of his parent’s educational neglect.

  25. Enjoyed the share on your RV tiny home, traveling adventures. The romantic of living in an RV is the changing scenery. The freedom to just pack up and move along to some where else, when the urge hits. Kind of like the “Poppa was a Rolling Stone.” I have thoughts of a similar lifestyle soon, at the empty nest stage. Although, I am thinking more of renting an apartment or condo. And move around when a change of scenery urge takes over. Of course, downsizing and ridding of no longer needed life accessories will be planned also.

    I too, grew up in a modest sized home. There were 5 kids. Very similar to your first house, as pictured. Although there was a basement. Dad finished out the basement. It was the 2 boys’ bedroom, a family room. And a laundry room. I don’t remember it being tight quarters or too close for comfort. I had my own bedroom. The other 2 girls shared. Mom and Dad had a bedroom. So we all had adequate personal space. When I grew up and got married, we bought a new home. I was 23 years old, fresh out of college. A very modest home, but we were so proud. We had saved not a lot of money, but enough to have a manageable monthly mortgage payment. Comparable to renting an apartment.

    But about the garden shed “tiny homes”. In watching the video link from the BLH post, there is some notable information. The one man that constructs the interiors of garden sheds with home amenities like plumbing, electric and so on. And by code and regulations. Then the other report, of the dangers and hazards of living in a plain old garden shed. Does anyone think 11 kids, 13 total people living in a plain garden shed is acceptable? No plumbing, electric, beds. No utilities. Having no inspections, most importantly for fire and carbon monoxide poisoning risks. Each person having roughly 4 feet of living space. No adequate emergency fire escape. Isn’t the wood stove close to the door, eliminating as a potential fire exit? The rusty wood stove and flue pipe, installed by Joe, with apparently no inspection from a qualified expert. Even a small fire would probably result in tragedy. So many people inside to get out before smoke took over. Also with that wood stove, doesn’t there need to be good ventilation with that small space? Windows or door open? And then thinking of summer time, that shed has to be a hot box.

    Romanticizing garden sheds as lovely tiny homes is nice. But not the Naugler garden shed. That’s not a home. It’s a garden shed.

  26. I don’t think the kids were high, either, at least not on anything other than adolescent humor. They’re clearly bright kids who are close to each other, and who were embarrassed about being put on the spot with these videos. The youngest son did seem to be taking it a bit more seriously than did his siblings – who seemed to be more than a little cynical at times.

    Such use of humor and mild cynicism indicates discomfort and mild irritation with being grilled by their mother, considerable self-consciousness and an effort to guard and protect inner selves from intrusion. Nicole is extremely intrusive in this video, as with others. Again, the impression received by viewers is unlikely to be what she had wanted.

    Compare these videos with the recent video of the oldest son providing a tour of his vegetable garden – his manner is very different there, serious, demonstrating a sense of accomplishment and perhaps empowerment and achievement. Other than very definitely stating that horticulture is his favorite kind of science, little of that previous serious manner is evident on these latest videos.

    The daughter’s stated interest in the Ice Age as her favorite historical period would seem to have come from her reading “The Clan of the Cave Bear” books several months ago. Similarly, her eldest brother’s claim to be interested in the Old West may have come from his reading Louis L’Amour westerns, which are visible in the “Boy Cave” (which in a fairly recent photo, looks cleaner and tidier than it ever did when the senior Nauglers were in charge of its maintenance and keeping).

    Historic fiction is a fine jumping-off-place for grabbing readers’ interest. But what sort of follow-up has been provided? Did Nicole and/or Joe ever take the kids to the public library, ask the librarian for suggestions for non-fiction or related historical fiction on the topics which engaged their interest, which would have been a prime example of effective “non-schooling”? Or did they just figure fiction and the Internet are sufficient?

    Moving back to the previous generation, Nicole’s mother and siblings, whom I think live in New England, have posted on her Facebook page from time to time, always with supportive messages and never criticizing. One of her family of origin posted earlier today, in fact, saying how good it was to see the kids in the videos, how much they’d grown, etc. They clearly are trying to keep communication open. I hope the children read their messages.

    There have also been references over the years to Nicole’s family members sending clothing, toys, handmade knitted or crocheted items, etc. to the children, and inviting them to visit during the summers. Nicole, however, seldom if ever responds to these posts, and it’s unclear if the children have been allowed to keep the various gifts. It appears (no proof) that at one time, when the Nauglers were in a rented house, the extended family was “allowed in” more than seems to be the case at present.

    Too bad – even if Nicole, who left her family of origin at a rather early age and who has never provided any details about her claims of having an abusive mother, clashed with her mother during her growing-up years, there is plenty of evidence that her family of origin is considerably more stable than she is, and would provide balance and emotional support for her children, if only they were allowed to connect with the children in a typical grandmotherly/auntly fashion.

    But that would mean that Nicole would have to admit that having loving aunts, uncles, and grandparents would improve her children’s lives, and to her, that would equate with losing control of her children. However, this latest video indicates that control has slipped considerably with the oldest four, as they grow, mature, and begin to think for themselves. This is a normal, natural – and desirable- process. But I doubt very much if Nicole views it that way.

    So, older Naugler kids, if you read this, keep on reading, as much as you can. Keep on being there for each other, and for the little kids, too. Ask the librarian for suggestions – he or she will love to help you find good books on things that interest you – all kinds of things, not just academic topics. Don’t argue with your parents excessively, but keep open minds about how you want to live when you are adults. Especially keep open minds about your relatives – they love you and would love to know you all better.

    Big guys, if you can buy some good new or used tarps to reinforce your “boy cave”, you should be able to stick it out there a little longer, come late fall. You’ve already done a great job with it. Some heavy plastic and duct tape would help block the drafts, too.

    Not sure how many of you are staying there now, but if there’s room for the three eldest guys, that would be great and would help relieve the crowding at the “cabin” quite a bit. Let your sister(s) hang out there during the day, too.

    You all could even start digging a privy hole next to your hang-out, for convenience. You could hang up some old blankets for privacy. Ask about this at the library if you can – they should have info.

    Good luck and best wishes to you all, Naugler kids. You deserve it, richly.

  27. Acting goofy or nervous can look like being high. The kids are acting goofy and nervous. Don’t know why anyone would be offended by that observation. Especially about a family where the parents themselves are publicly very vocal about being pro marijuana and
    anti-establishment.
    Don’t want people to speculate that your kids get high? Then don’t parent like the Nauglers, brag about supporting drug use, go full blast anti-police
    and insist on sharing that all publicly online.

    I have teens. If I asked them to help me make a video to share publicly, they would not be disrespectful like that through the whole thing. Can her kids really not have an intelligent, sincere conversation with their mom?

  28. ” They would need to make $66,890 to reach the Federal Poverty line for 13 people.”

    You can up that number if the rumours are true that she is expecting baby number 12. By the way, Nicole, in case you have a hard time with math, kids are not cheaper by the dozen!

  29. Well, her “new project” is utterly ridiculous.

    …If only she had received messages and stories written with an ounce of aptitude, or any respect for grammar and elementary composition!

  30. I have no desire to live off grid. I am wholeheartedly a city girl. I do enjoy camping several times a year. My grandmother used to take me camping when I was a little girl. It was very primitive. I prefer to camp with a little more luxury.

    We do though attempt to limit our footprint in the world. We live in an old home, certainly not a McMansion. We’ve moved walls around to make sure each of our children have a bedroom of their own, even if the rooms are small. They shared when they were young but teenagers need privacy.

    We are hooked up to the grid. I do garden. I manage to grow enough tomatoes each year to have them last year round. It’s not much but it’s city living. I appreciate being able to walk places and use public transportation.

    I truly do not believe the Nauglers are off grid, it’s just a cover story for poverty. There is assistance for poverty. They can get help with utilities, food, medical care and probably even rent. But it would require asking for help from the evil government instead of grifting. I guess in Nicole’s eye grifting and lying about being off grid is more moral than taking help. Pathetic.

  31. If I recall correctly, Nicole posted a couple weeks ago that the older daughter did not mind if she was subject of a written post, but daughter preferred not to be in video interviews. It was her flimsy transparent -type response to critics who accused her of using her children to attract attention, symlpathy and donations.

    Since life is all voluntary at the Blessed Lethal Hovel, daughter apparently did a 180 degree flip on her video position and was eager to promote the Naugler version of unschooling …… or she felt pressured to fulfill mother’s wishes.

  32. Freedom Fighters Gone Wrong,

    Your right, Nicole could turn this whole train wreck around for those kids if she really wanted to. She does have options and following your suggestions would absolutely turn things around for these kids. Nicole has even admitted that Homesteading is not working out for them.
    Quote, “Honestly I had hoped we could be in a different place right now. That we could have shown more progress.”

    This statement alone hints that she has to be very disappointed in Joe because he odiously has not lived up to his end of this Homestead Dream. Sounds to me like he broke a lot of promises to her and the kids when they took this big risk and moved to that land.
    She had so many plans, she’s told the whole world about. And honestly she never asked for anything that he could have not done for her and his family these pasted 4 years.
    A larger cabin, water, a bathhouse…a simple garden !!!

    Folks, my brother and I built a small Logging Camp up a hollower in the middle of nowhere after our father died. That little bit of Logging equipment our father had…was all we had left and a giant Tax Bill coming up every year on our land. In less than two weeks we built a small cabin with chain saws, we put one old gutter on it to collect rain water, and we hand dug an outhouse.
    Hell, neither one of us was even old enough to drive the Logging truck…but we did it anyway half the time or called one of our Uncle’s to drive it when we knew the law was out on the roads.
    Joe has NO EXCUSE…NONE WHAT SO EVER !!!!

    Nicole needs to put her foot down on that boy and make him MAN-UP or GET-OUT !!!

  33. Andatje: you’re correct. She did admit, by name, certain kids who don’t like to be photographed for promotion. Then promptly posted 3 videos with two of the named children. Last year she downgraded the future profession of one child in that video from a vet to a groomer because the child lacked ability (to teach herself?) in math and science. Then she puts her on live video to talk about what she knows in math and science. 🤔
    Nicole’s mania combined with compulsive lying is her worst enemy. She can’t remember the bs she spews.

  34. We lived in a RV for 3 years, and it was more expensive. Stupid us. We had this thought that we could spend $15k on the rig, save up for a year years to buy a house, and sell the rig. We went into it bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, sure we did the research. Reality was more different than we imagined it could be. This is part, big part, of why I get so mad about that Nicole and Joe are doing.

    Since RV’s aren’t well insulated, propane to keep warm in winter was extremely expensive. It was cheaper than electricity to run space heaters. We couldn’t buy economy size packages of anything. We didn’t have space to store out of season clothes, do constantly had to give away and buy more. What we didn’t spend on nick knacks was spent on higher food prices and heating and clothes. We moved into an apartment to save money. We saved a lot. We couldn’t just travel. Our travel was limited to where we could still get to work. All of that applies to the shed too.

    Where we parked the RV, only rigs 5 years or newer could stay longer than 3 weeks at a time. The weekly rate was almost 2x the weekly cost of an apartment. It included electricity up to a certain amount, which wasn’t much. The alternatives were gennies or no heating or AC in summer. Neighbors were never more than 10′ away since the pads are usually 10′ wide. That’s all the space you get. 10’x40′ usually. And our kid learned that friends weren’t going to last and she became reclusive when she wasn’t very clingy.

    In short, we were miserable.

    When I had a mental breakdown, we moved into an apartment within a couple weeks because of a miracle where an apartment complex advertised the wrong deposit, but honored it. Less than 3 years later, we were able to buy a house. Our income wasn’t any greater, but the cost of living difference enabled us to save enough to get a special loan to buy. When we bought, we sought a house with as many floors as there are people. The need for feeling privacy is always available is too important. Our house is 2500sq.ft. for 3 of us, and I’m so happy to clean. Friends say I’m obsessed with the floors, but when you have so little space for so long and no chance for privacy, sometimes the best feeling in the world is knowing you can be alone, and that you can clean a wood floor, and your pets have space to run and play, and your kid can have more than a few small toys. Better, your kid can have FRIENDS.

    The Naugs have a lot less space per person. Our RV was about 300sq.ft., but square footage always includes the space that fridges and sinks and other other fixed items take up. It’s not free space to move around. We felt cramped, badly, even though we had a bed and a couch, so enough sleeping space. I don’t know how the Naughler kids are surviving. I saw how little my child had, and it broke my heart having to deprive her of things so many other kids had, because we didn’t have the space. It crushed me when she started seeing friends as temporary fixtures in life. My husband’s and my intimate life died because children in modern America shouldn’t witness parental sex lives. Yet JoCole doesn’t care.

    The Nauglets have less than my kid did, because their parents refuse to use help given to give those kids decent lives. They claim their kids get to control their lives, yet there’s so much they aren’t allowed to do. Nicole said her kids wouldn’t get to go to a school even if they wanted. They don’t all have birth certificates. They’re stuck, and cramped, and denied of basics like hygiene and enough non-mystery food that they won’t eat rancid pancakes and space and privacy to change clothes without someone nearby who can watch. And Joe and Nicole are fine with this. I don’t understand how any parent can love their kids and think this is okay.

  35. This whole entire Blessed Little Homestead makeover Nicole attempted for her family reminds me of a botched plastic surgery fiasco. At first, she thought she could just make a few tweaks, adjustments, and her poverty-stricken life could look all outdoorsy and el Naturel! But, like a woman who keeps on having breast enlargements because she does not know when enough is enough she turned something that could have been good into something disgusting and painful to look at. She just can’t admit she failed because her useless piece of shit hubby will not lift a finger. Nicole, just accept you failed and move on into town! Get off the internet before you mangle yourself up further. You have already cut off your nose to spite your face!

  36. We lived in a RV for 3 years,

    You make some great observations. Food most definitely is more expensive in a small dwelling of any sort due to storage issues. And fulltime RVers are nearly always retired or have mobile employment so that they can move the RV to a pleasant climate from season to season. Wintering in an RV in a cold climate is a very expensive proposition.

  37. Allow me to give a quick accounting for just rent and heating/coolng: Weekly base rent for the RV parking spot: $185-$350 depending on season. Summer travel months are always more. Our apartment was $950. 1100sq.ft. of an apartment. 3 bedrooms. 2 real bathrooms.

    Let’s go with $185 first. Winter time! 4.3 weeks in a month, that’s $795.50 for winter months. In winter, we could heat the apartment with heaters using power that wasn’t marked up for profit by the managers, like RV parks do. We spent about $100 per month in the apartment. Propane was about $200 a week for the RV, and space heaters were often banned for safety. We’re several hundred dollars ahead without even considering the additional costs for small packs of food and having to replace clothes all the time. For a space to sleep and heating, the apartment saved us about $605 per month. As a bonus, we didn’t have to lash down everything we owned to get more propane! Having to get propane was so time-consuming that we ate out a lot to avoid having to get more propane to cook or heat water.

    The summers at parks could be $1,505 a month. We couldn’t afford AC in the parks in summer, and it cost about $50/mo for the electricity in the summer in the apartment with our Energy Star AC. Savings of about $505, and we could keep cool.

    Over $6,000 a year difference! In the 3 years of that apartment, this alone made a good down payment. But we saved more than that.

    When we moved into the RV, we thought we’d get to stay somewhere for $375/mo. We didn’t know those are for new rigs, and older rigs than a measly 5 years have to keep moving along.

    We met several other families in our area with the same thoughts we did, and got stuck like we did. “Tiny living” means “big budget” if you don’t have a very new, very expensive rig around here. Even Tiny House people are getting pinched on heating and cooling bills.

  38. The irony is if Nicole made angry rant vlogs about CPS, the gubmint and LE on YouTube among many other topics (like public school devils), she’d make more views, gain subscribers and even make a bit of income.

    Crazy sells on certain platforms, yeah? YouTube is one of them.

  39. Sally, we did it because we thought we’d get ahead. A lot of our peers have tried it in the last few years and didn’t believe us that it’s harder and more expensive than it looks like. One of my best friends is right now trying to get out of the mess RVing landed her in.

    The Tiny House movement is big here, and a lot of people get RVs, thinking it’s the same. In some ways, it is. It’s always harder than you expect when you sign on, and it’s hard to get out without a lot of money. There are a lot of local groups for people who are making a try of it, and there’s a lot of heartache and broken dreams.

    The summer months see a lot of retired tourists who have the means to head south for winters. The winters here belong to young people trying to get ahead, and a lot of them are people made to live poorly because of how much more expensive it it to try to keep warm, whether metal RV or wood house-on-wheels, in a box covered in snow and ice.

    Just a random memory: We were at an RV park and needed to save propane for heating. I once went to the RV park’s showers to take a shower, and when I was walking back to the RV, some of my hair froze! My fingers were blue. There was no way out little kid could do that and live. She usually went with me. Thank goodness I went without her that day. After that, the way we did it is we had an adult drive the car to get it warmed up, drive the other adult to the showers, drive around to keep the car warm, pick up the fresh-showered adult and drive back to the RV.

    I honestly can’t think of any positives of that experience. We’re pretty embarrassed by it all. How can Joe and Nicole be proud of the existence they’re force their kids into when we are so embarrassed at what we put out kid through because we mistakenly thought we’d get ahead?

  40. It’s always harder than you expect when you sign on, and it’s hard to get out without a lot of money.

    The saddest thing to me is to see the retired people who sold their homes and used the money to buy a big beautiful RV. Big mistake. You never, ever, ever use the profit from an appreciating asset to buy a depreciating asset. Ever.

    When we scraped together the money to buy our first house (and scraped is the correct term – it was tough) we made a pact. Every time we sold, no matter how tempted we were, no matter what the need was, the money was rolled into the next house. Always. That’s why we’ve never had a mortgage on this farm.

    I can’t claim credit for this. My dad told me to do that. He told me to establish credit, I should save up enough money for whatever it was that I wanted (say, a television), and go down to the store and get them to open an account with credit. I should then make one or two payments on time and then pay it off. And then work on saving again. I believed him and did exactly what he suggested.

  41. “The saddest thing to me is to see the retired people who sold their homes and used the money to buy a big beautiful RV. Big mistake. You never, ever, ever use the profit from an appreciating asset to buy a depreciating asset. Ever.”

    Very good advice. I know the retail on our RV was $86k 18 years ago. The people we bought it from had the paperwork. We paid more than the rig was worth 6 years ago. In just over a decade, they got $70k less than they paid. When we got rid of it, we found no buyer, and so donated it to an org that uses them as housing for homeless people (a big step up from the streets here where people die in winter). The write-off value was $2k. Just $2k. Scrap value might have been more. But who wants to buy a many-years-old house on wheels with all the wear and tear that its mere existence causes? Park it, and it needs maintenance. Drive it, and it takes more maintenance. It’s not like a car’s maintenance. RV maintenance is heart-stoppingly expensive! Our inverter went out, and it’s only thanks to a kind soul on the Yahoo group for our model RV that it was fixed without breaking us. An RV mechanic was going to run is $350/hr unless we drove the rig an hour to his shop, with no guarantee of same-day service, for $250/hr. The nice man who helped us wouldn’t accept payment, and he even provided the inverter since he upgraded his own. We paid it forward helping someone else refloor their RV. There are actually support groups of sorts for people who full-time! I don’t know if you were full-timing before or after that thing started.

    Your pact with your husband is spot on. That’s our rule as well. We’d rather have a home in full to reverse-mortgage if needed when we’re elderly than to put our support on our kid. With some luck, maybe we’ll beat our generation’s odds and have enough saved to pass the family home to our kid. Taking a vacation with sale proceeds isn’t a smart move.

    Your dad’s advice is how we went from no credit at all to having the credit to buy our house. Saved for a small vehicle, like we’d always do, but sucked it up and bought on credit, made 6 payments, paid it off.

    If it’s not too personal to ask, how many times did you buy/sell since buying your first home, and how is the value of the property you have now (values not needed) compared to the value of your first property today? Would there have been a benefit to staying in the first place, or has it been worth it to trade in? All in the same area, or different cities/counties/states? If those questions are too person, feel free to disregard. We’re first-time homeowners who don’t know many other homeowners, so take chances when we see them to try to learn more so we can plan ahead for our own future.

  42. Ruviana, I have to disagree with your not blaming addicts (aside from babies born addicted and children who are forced). There come a point in every addict’s life where they have the choice to take drugs, with all that it risks, or to say no. You don’t become an addict on accident. There’s a choice involved. A lot of people in my family are addicts of everything from alcohol to heroin, and none of them became addicts without choosing to say yes one day. I’ve witnessed that first time for a few of them, and saw their lives go down in flames for it. Saying no would have made all the difference in the world!

    When you have kids, you are obligated to put them first, ahead of whatever powder or liquid you want. I don’t care how hard life is otherwise, or what else is going on. When you choose to have kids, you have an obligation to them. I will never, for any reason, excuse people who put their own relaxation/mental escape ahead of the needs of the children they chose to have, who then become addicted because they chose to say yes. This is why a lot of people say addiction is a choice. You don’t become addicted to substances you don’t choose to use. I favor scads of help getting people clean who want to get clean, but part of recovery is accepting responsibility. But if you don’t accept responsibility, you won’t feel empowered to make change. Us relieving people of responsibility for their choices that led to a life of addiction disempowers them and ignores their choices. When addicts realize they had a choice, they can know that they have the choice to get help, that they aren’t victims of something someone else did to them, that they’re victims of their own choice, and they can change that choice.

  43. If it’s not too personal to ask, how many times did you buy/sell since buying your first home, and how is the value of the property you have now (values not needed) compared to the value of your first property today?

    We’ve owned twelve houses. However, we’ve only lived in five of them. The first cost a whopping $25,000. Our little farm here was $185,000. That’s actually less than our Alaska house sold for, but we invested the difference. We don’t spend house money. All five houses (actually, all our houses) have been sold at a profit.

    The other houses were investment/rental property. However, we have the same rule for them. They were investments, not vacation money.

    And we moved only to actually geographically leave the area. We went from NC to SC to NC to Alaska to KY. I’d be perfectly happy in our original $25,000 house if we still lived in that area. (However, it was hit by a tornado – years after we sold it – and completely rebuilt, so probably doesn’t even resemble the original now.)

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