But let's start by looking at washing and loos... at Stjärnsund, as in our Finnish host's home a month earlier, the use of compost toilets is de rigueur. Here there are several, offering varying degrees of comfort, knee room, decoration and natural light! In one block, volunteers and kids have clearly been let loose with a pack of wax crayons, and adorned the cubicle interiors with fun pictures and quotations. The Fridhem building (which we were welcome to use) has standard loos and showers, which we did appreciate :) There’s a laundry room, which has a single washing machine for twenty-odd people. The rota system for using it seems to work well, as long as you remember to book a slot two days in advance! If your day happens to be rainy, it’s no major problem as there are metres and metres of washing line in a wonderfully warm room :)
While at Stjärnsund Simon and I had the chance to try out two different sleeping spaces :) For the first eight nights we were in a tepee, a new experience for both of us!
The idea of living in smaller dwellings, as an alternative to increasingly large ones that reflect an individual’s or family’s social progression and prestige, was put forward by two pioneering US authors, Lloyd Kahn and Lester Walker, in their books published in 1973 and 1987 respectively. When the financial crisis hit in 2007-8, the appeal of these mini-houses as a more affordable, environmentally-friendly housing option was clear, and the US “tiny house movement” began to attract more attention. Tiny houses still represent only a tiny proportion (about 1%) of US house purchases, but they offer streamlined, low-maintenance living spaces, they are inexpensive to build... and in many cases you can MOVE them! There are thousands of pictures online of beautiful tiny house properties, and personally, as someone who likes to keep my “stuff” to a minimum and is in the market for an ultra-cheap place to own, I love the idea of building one of these! David built the one that he and Eliza currently live in, a project that took a couple of months from start to finish.
Next time: food from nature and a tour of Stjärnsund’s beautiful produce patches... thanks as always for reading!