As I outlined yesterday, the last 4 months have been spent- every waking, non-working, non-raining hour- has been spent getting the tiny house ready for it’s reenacting debut. Go back to the beginning and my whole plan has been to build this and avoid the 4-6 hour set up of my tent compound. So much physical and emotional stock was set on getting the tiny house to a reenactment and setting up a period homestead.
I left Sanford at 3:30am last Friday morning headed for Olustee and the scheduled debut. I had sent out a number of emails and Facebook polls to fellow reenactors about the design and color of the house and overall had very positive responses to what I was doing, so I did not anticipate any issues with my peeps in Civilian Camp.
What I had not prepared for was the reaction of the Olustee Park manager.
The house traveled like a dream as did my new truck Betty Boop. We rolled into Olustee at 7:30 am. There was no one at registration so I filled my water tank and headed on back to Civilian Camp. Several people had coordinated a parking space for me the day before, so I quietly rolled in, unhooked and set up- an “A” frame tent over the tongue and black burlap stapled over the sides and wheels of the trailer. Within 10 minutes we were set up and ready to start getting changed for the “School Day”, about 2000 kids on field trips to the site.
The first sign anything was amiss was the overall commander for the event came over and said the park service was “concerned” about the tiny house and had asked him to speak to me. So I was to consider myself “spoken to”, but he liked it and I didn’t need to move it. So I continued unloading and setting up. Along about about 8:30, the park manager rolls up in her golf cart. You can see where this is going….
I was told I had to move this. Why? ” Well what if everyone starts to do this?” Well, that’s kinda sorta been the idea. “Well, the park service didn’t approve this.” Well, they knew about it (she is new) and they didn’t disapprove it, and they have invited me to bring it to other events. “Do you have a letter giving permission?” Well, no. “Then you need to move it. IT IS TOO HEAVY FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE. You have to move it to modern camping (also an archaeological site) NOW”. This said as the afore-mentioned 2000 kids are pouring into the park. This also said with a straight face as we are looking at the 6 sets of bleachers, several other half ton and 3/4 ton trucks, and the portable stage that are also currently sitting on said archaeological site…. Never asked how much it weighs (6000 lbs) just move it….
Well, as you can imagine, I was emailing and messaging all of the higher-ups I know in the park service trying to get her mind changed for her, but being in the same position as those higher ups and supporting MY staff in similar situations (even when they are sometimes wrong) not holding out much hope. Out of safety (and stubborness) I decided not to move until after the school day, and we had a great time showing the kids the tiny house and talking about life in Victorian times. My grandkids from Atlanta came and played and it was just a really nice day.
Water was pumped from the well….
Just a nice morning. But the reprieve did not come from Tallahassee, and so I was banished to Modern Camp.
…. Where we were very well received, but asked over and over why we were not in Authentic Camp. And so we were able to tell the story- over and over and over- about the small minded park manager and the “too heavy for an archaeological site” determination to a very receptive audience. It was a blessing in disguise. People that mattered- other reenactors and a lot of CSO members who would not have seen us otherwise- came by. Sutlers. Followers of my Facebook Page went looking for us in authentic camp then complained to management that we weren’t there. It was an awesome backfiring of whatever her agenda was, and we had a wonderful weekend and successful debut. I found I am very thankful for the show “Tiny House Nation”, as I can start mid-conversation with people- they already know what tiny houses are now! I heard lots of “I am going to build one of those for next year”. I told them we would need to start a “movement” :) End result- 2 archaeologists have stated that there would be minimal impact to the site from my house, especially considering the controlled burns (15,000 lb trucks), Port-o-let disposal trucks (10,000 lbs plus poop), 6 sets of bleaches with about 250 people in each set (45,000 lbs each). Offers of peacemaking from several fronts and an established group aiming for a “town” next year.
Probably the funniest thing that happened was a couple ladies in way-too-long skirts were walking by staring and one stepped on the other’s skirt and tore it right off the waistband. Hopefully that will make her shorten up that skirt to where it needs to be (4″ off the ground) but probably not. I have fought the farb battle for years, I am moving on the the tiny house battle now!
Monday morning the adventure continued as we packed up (another 15 minutes vs the old 4 hours with tents) and rolled out to Jacksonville. We came in on Beaver Street, turned onto Main Street and rolled right through downtown. It was really fun- lots of people slowing down and turning around and picture taking and thumbs up. A guy pulled up beside me at a light and asked if I had built it. Yes. Did I do it for a living. No. Could I build him one. Nooooo and the light changed to green……
We visited my old stomping grounds at MOSH, my mom, my friend Jake, Aurora’s friend from our old neighborhood, my friend Karen who lives in a tiny house on a foundation, and Alpine Groves Park where I get a lot of my inspiration from. Then we rolled on through a perfect Sunset and home to Sanford. The house traveled beautifully, the truck pulled smoothly, we’ve been invited to a number of other events, we had way more thumbs up than the other direction and all in all, it was a very successful roll out.
Now to finish the porch, battens, kitchen window, shed, lattice, THEN start on the interior…….