Welcome to Small Scale Life

Welcome to Small Scale Life!

Hello!  I am Tom, the creator of Small Scale Life.  I am a husband, a father of two great young men, and a professional civil engineer.  Throughout my life, I have worked hard to deliver services to my clients, coworkers and stakeholders.  In my life, I have worn many different hats including:

  • A regional manager for a Federal agency
  • A manager for the Southwest Light Rail Project, which is the largest infrastructure project in the State of Minnesota
  • A self-described “logistics coordinator” for Julia’s Blooms
  • A content creator of my blog Small Scale Gardening
  • A Branch Office Leader
  • A Group Leader leading teams across the country
  • A consultant to railroads and communities
  • An apartment manager

From the kitchen table office to remote railroad tracks to the cube farm to public meetings to the board room, I have been a lot of places, done a lot of things, and met some incredible people.  It really always comes back to those experiences and the people that share them with you that help forge your character.

Our family has been through a lot in 2015, but we are coming out of this year stronger and more compassionate.  There are a lot of lessons that Julie and I have learned, and we are going to start putting them into practice.  We are going to do life better and be better examples for our young men.  There are brighter days ahead.

Small Scale Life - Family

What is Small Scale Life all about?


Learn. Do. Grow.

Small Scale Life is documenting our journey as we develop a sustainable small scale life through healthy living, gardening, and having adventures along the way.  We will develop this sustainable life by learning new skills, practicing what we have learned, and growing mentally, physically and spiritually.

If you have come to this blog looking for a lot of magical answers, I have to level with you: we are a work in progress. This is our journey, and we are learning life’s lessons as we go.  We fall down, make mistakes, screw things up and make bad decisions.  The keys, however, are getting back on our feet, learning from those mistakes and not repeating those same errors.  It is a darn fine day if no one is injured, no one is missing and no one is dead.  You can recover from a lot of mistakes as long as you meet that criteria.

Core Principles

We have learned that you don’t need to be wealthy or have status to be happy and be satisfied.  In my experience, those things usually come with a boatload of stress, tension and unhappiness.  Instead, you can be very happy by cutting back on the rat race and living at a slower pace.

How do you do that?

You need to set up boundaries and core principles.  Then, you have to live by them (which is the hard part).  Our core principles are the following:

1) Learn skills
2) Lower the cost of one’s lifestyle (minimize your footprint)
3) Eliminate debt and stay debt free
4) Conserve and control resources (particularly water, energy, transportation)
5) Gather and maintain your tribe
6) Establish roots in the community and be useful to others
7) Take control of your health as much as possible through exercise and diet
8) Lead by example

To be honest with you, for years we did not follow these principles.  Work consumed me, and I was a people-pleasing workaholic on the “fast track to nowhere.”

Just because you failed doesn’t mean that the game is over.  You can change, and I have learned time and time again that a simple life, one that is smaller scale and focused on intentionally doing the small things right, will lead to a more fulfilling and more healthy life.  This blog will be documenting my journey towards a sustainable small scale life, which is a life that focuses on improving areas of life I neglected including my family, diet, fitness, personal finances, fun and adventure.

Learn. Do. Grow.



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