Ryan Steven tied 10 different tomatoes and picked lettuce as it started to grow. His Raglan In the rest of his garden, the leeks are nearly complete, and the kale, sugar beet, and beans are growing well.
Steven and his partner Jiski Poshuru now grow about 30-50% of their food, but have only been in their new location in Waikato for eight months.
The vegan couple expects their food needs to increase by 80-90% in the next few years.
Steven, 34, says he’s pinching himself over how good life is with his partner and 3-month-old baby, Ori, and has about 2,000 of the off-grid tiny homes the couple built themselves. Lives on sqm of leased waterfront land. With the help of friends, family, strangers and YouTube tutorials.
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Poschl is currently on maternity leave from her work as a child and adolescent counselor and wants to go back part-time, offering counseling to other residents of Raglan for as little as she can.
Bayleys sales manager and auctioneer Steven can only work a few days a week. He says such a lifestyle is possible because the overhead is so low. The water comes from an on-site spring and is collected from the roof.
Solar panels generate and store electricity in-house. On sunny days like last weekend, the panel will charge the electric car, the 2021 MG ZS. Raglan town center also charges for free.
Steven says he and Poshru “filled up our dance cards too much” before moving to Raglan from Kumeu, west of Auckland.
“We both tend to work hard and have been on the pedals for the past five or six years. We built a small house, Jiski was studying…
“At one stage, she had nine different jobs: a suicide and anxiety helpline, a face-to-face with Youthline, working with children with cancer…she was really skinny.”
He himself ran two real estate offices and had auctions in four more.
“We both tend to be really busy,” he says.
But their long-term goal has always been to live a simpler lifestyle.
“I knew that to get here, I was going to have to rely on conventional working conditions. Saving money was a big part. We had to get to a point where we could earn 100,000 dollars.”
When the pair met six years ago, they quickly established a mutual interest in small lives.
“I was talking about a tiny house and her reaction was, ‘I keep all my design ideas on Pinterest.’ It was so amazing,” Stephen says. .
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Steven, who served in the Navy for eight years, says life on a warship is used to the cramped life, and Poschl once lived in “an old pottery workshop at the bottom of someone’s garden.”
Their house, which they plan to live in forever, is 9m wide, 2.7m wide and about 4.1m high. Eventually, we plan to add additional pods to the setup, but not until Auri needs her own space.
It will be a “simple four-wall dwelling,” Stephen says.
Oliver, a Samoyed, and Nala, a golden retriever, have kennels in the same style, made from offcuts from the main house. It also has its own stained glass windows.
They lease land on a “one plus one plus one” basis. This means that after one year, the tenant has the right to renew for another year (twice).
Working in real estate, Steven says he recognizes the need to formalize expectations and contracts with landlords using a $65 template contract purchased through Tiny House Hub.
Couples love Raglan’s slow pace.
“There’s a real sense of community. For us, it’s a cup that wasn’t full before.
“[Here] We even pinch ourselves that it’s happening. Isn’t it wild, at this age, to be able to live in ways and places you never could if you owned or rented in the traditional way?”
Next month, Steven and Poschl will share the knowledge they’ve gained over the last three years with other aspiring tiny home owners in the first of their planned two-week Tiny House Workshops.
“We see how housing prices and the general cost of living are affecting people. We hope to help as many people as possible start their own small lifestyles.”
The $645 course includes design, hands-on skills, legal information, and how to find land. Stephen says the solar panels should help people avoid some of the costly mistakes he and Poshru made, like buying an induction cooker that doesn’t work with his system.
He believes others will benefit from his approach of “work less and live more”.
“When we worked hard, we gave the workplace the best hours of the day, the best energy. There was a time when it made a lot of sense. I realized that I was doing it to the detriment of my mental and physical health.
He says he can now choose what to spend his time on.
“There is a perception that millennials don’t work hard. [But] It means choosing what we work hard for. We do ourselves the more primitive things, the more basic aspects of life, like growing food. ”