This is Sage, my grandson, who likes to live simple, green, and magical in his tiny house in Boston. (Don’t you love that cedar siding?)

He also makes guitars.


And gets light from microbes

Just a simple — and sage — guy.


The house moves.  And Sage sings about it.



House on wheels

Much later (May, 2013) Sage was visited by a couple from Lisbon interested in tiny houses.  Here is what they wrote about his Gypsy Waggon, translated (loosely) from the Portuguese.

I read the translation and see a view of myself from far away … it is a very nice view .. thank you to Paulo and Catarina for visiting from Lisbon .. and seeing me with fresh eyes while my own have sometimes gotten jaded and faded .. feel hope and motivation .. i like how Roslindale is “a neighborhood almost chic” and golf balls are “small white balls come here to stop as meteorites from a hostile galaxy” ..

“” The ecological consciousness, the philosophy of do-it-yourselfers, the financial crisis and the real estate sector were the conditions for the movement to break out. In the U.S. and all over the world, more and more people choose to build their own home, tiny, and live in it. Just feel like owners of their lives

Since the address is odd. “Backyard No 50 Street W …” Yard of the number 50? Sage Rad lives in a backyard? No doubt, it is here. The number 50 corresponds to a huge house, wood, identical to all others in Roslindale, a neighborhood almost chic not far from downtown Boston. But access to the garage is covered by an old Dodge van with a stranger pegged wood. Next door there is a bike with a trailer too long where you can get a person. And then the cabin.

This is the abode of Sage, one wooden shack he built himself four years ago in a backyard borrowed. There are also materials all around, and trash, boards, logs, tables, mirrors, buckets, chairs and tables, services porcelain, plastics, clocks, vases, ladders, lamps, guitars, chickens …

Your world escapes any logical arrangement. Or so it seems. Includes the cabin and the land around it, and the garage converted into workshop. Adjacent to your yard, there is a huge golf course. Sometimes, small white balls come here to stop as meteorites from a hostile galaxy. Never returns.

Inside the small house chaos reigns. It is the first impression. But there is a stove for cooking and a stove to heat. Electricity is provided by solar panels installed outside. A bed, a bunk bed, shelves and walls with hundreds of bottles, cans, containers, knives, kitchen utensils, fruit, turnips, onions, eggs, cups and teapots, paintings, paper hanging. Underneath the bed is the place of clothing. It’s hard not to consider that is crumpled. On top of the mattress and sleeping bag behind the wrinkled, have the books, lined up like a showcase. Featured at the head, The Origin of Species, Darwin.

The chickens roam up on the shelves of food, pecking here and there, flitting through the house. Sage Rad (short for Radachowski, your apelino Slovak) sits on a bench and makes coffee. Beard, shaggy hair, 39 years old, a t-shirt with colored spots and the phrase “Legalize Life”. It would be easy to tell who has a crazy look. Too easy.

Your lifestyle is radical. Do not agree with the present organization of society, so decided not to spend money. Get everything in other ways. “I have what I need. Food, water, shelter, warmth. I try to simplify my life as much as possible. ” It has everything but does not buy anything. “This is my way. I’m going to look for food in garbage containers, food cultivation, gathering food in the forest. Chickens give me eggs, honey bees. There are ways to get food. Does not have to involve money. I live here, paid a small income, but hopefully not have to pay anything in future. To be free, I have to live on the margins of the system. ”

To show that this is true, will get some cabbage leaves stored in a pile of manure. Caught them in the trash and will cook them, explains. Almost everything that has been caught and that consumes the trash. The materials to build the house, clothes, shoes. “I still buy some things, but not much. I would spend a whole year without buying anything. ”

What is your profession? “Carpenter” answers. He adds with a sheepish grin: “I also work at Harvard in the field of electronics.”

In the world’s most prestigious university, Sage Rad is involved in important research project. Is it better to be explaining: “At this time with a Chinese teacher working on a project to produce water purification technology, which will be applied in China. Remove arsenic from water, eliminate pollution. Working with microbes and electricity. Microbes are electric. The process is called bio-electrosíntese and basically consists of living microbes have a piece of graphite in the slurry. Another electrode in the water produces some metabolic reactions that help purify water. ”

At university, he was asked to work full time, but he refuses. Will there only one hour per day. We also offered jobs in large companies, not accepted. Has worked in software and high technology. Let all the carpentry. Builds houses and paint walls. Another activity that is engaged in the construction of guitars. Already have many hanging in the workshop. The format is strange, invented by him, and serves two purposes: ease of transport on the bike, and the production of a unique sound.

For this purpose, Sage surrendered to the deep study of acoustic science. After many experiments, invented their own techniques. Inside the box resonance places a wooden structure shaped Nautilus, inspired by investigations of Leonardo da Vinci. And to tune the instrument arm adopts models approximate tonal scales, following the example of Bach’s tuning in Well-Tempered Clavier, because the song explains, completeness and accuracy are not the same.

“Many builders guitars use mathematical models to define the measures of the frets. But the music mathematical formulas do not work. You need to find some imperfection. Everything is compromise. ”

Grab one of the guitars and start playing. The sound is pure and perfect pitch. Performs Cantata 147, Jesus, Joy of Man, Bach, interpreted blameless, clean, moving.

As with so many other things he can do, Sage did not learn music. It comes from a poor family, and, after high school, he studied Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. But soon traveled to Nepal, where he lived in villages, teaching sociology, English and Computer Science. Where’d you learn that?

Prefer to explain how she learned to live simply, in the nine trips he made to the Himalayas. On his return he began working in carpentry, construction of houses. “I have built many, for others, but had no chance to build my own home. This shows how the system is not right. Have to pay simply to exist on this planet. We were born here. Because we have to pay for the privilege of living here? I believe we can build our own home. But the fact that some people possess the land and others have to pay just to exist is not right. Is not moral or ethical. ”

One day Sage found a book about the life of Gypsies. It was then decided to build his tent. Even created a site on the net called , but as has not paid the annual fee for accommodation, canceled it.

It took four months to build the house, working only on Saturdays and Sundays. Live here, alone but not lonely. “Nothing like that. What I need is more time alone. People are always visiting me. Spend some time alone, but I need more. I’m still in the system, and wasting a lot of time to make money. Each day brings more cards in the mail. Accounts of the Government. I try to have more time for me, cutting the things that mean nothing. I do not need more stuff. I just need more time. ”

In the backyard there is a roost with nine chickens and a bee hive. Sage that was built, after much study on their own, as is his habit. Shows the book that’s been read – The Democracy of Bees, Thomas Seeley. “They have a process of decision making. Bees have more democracy than the U.S.. ”

Want to show the hive, but when it gets there waiting for a terrible surprise: all the bees had died. Soon finds an explanation: “It was pollution, chemicals. Stress. ” Removes the boards of the tenement, with a razor, and finds thousands of dead insects inside. But also swollen combs of honey, which brings home. His eyes no longer seems crazy, just immensely sad and human. Makes plans to capture a new swarm by the flowers of spring, and build a new hive. “It is a sweet tragedy,” he says, sucking his fingers full of honey. “I will build a hive very good, so they want to go there to live. Bees choose their own home. ”

Sage Rad chose this cabin and does not intend to ever go back to living a “normal” house. Will build another hut for his girlfriend, and maybe one day buy land where they can live a few dozen people, each in their tiny house. Sage thinks it will be possible, because not alone. Despite all their uniqueness, belonging to a movement.