Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
When Jesse and I moved far away from our settled city lives into the adventures of building our own homestead last year, we initially assumed one of the first projects we would start on would be our new home (our barndominuim, as we call it). It didn't take long for us to realize that home construction was too big a project to jump right into, so instead we've been working on smaller projects, like building our DIY cedar hot tub and deck.
The response to these projects has been predictable. People seem to think we are thick headed, or at least have our priorities completely flipped. We disagree, and we finally have a response to justify our reasons.
Keep reading and watch this video to learn our thoughts!
It's Possible to Have a Home, Even Without a House
Our homestead land didn't come with any modifications, much less a home. That means we had to bring our own, and it's worked out surprisingly well. It turns out a travel trailer, RV garage and small cabin addition are really all you need to survive the Idaho winters. We've been more than happy with it.
Confidence Through Skills
We've had an idea since we moved here that we want to build our home from recycled, local materials (including trees on our own land) but how the details of that will work out we had no idea. Even more important, we didn't have building experience. Starting to build a house right away would have been completely overwhelming.
By building a hot tub deck we familiarized ourselves with the process of turning trees into lumber without the anxiety that building a house causes. Now we feel more comfortable taking on a bigger project.
Our goal has been to keep our home costs low by using as much available material as we can, but that's easier in concept than in reality!
Through our initial hot tub projects we've learned what types of supplies we don't want to skimp on. In contrast, we also found that our reclaimed materials pile was super helpful for building the tub deck. Lots of material that we'd stored away with no real goal ended up being useful and saving us money. This allowed us to build our hot tub and deck for a fraction of the expected costs, which has taught us what it will take to build an affordable, high quality house. Practicing with a range of materials now lets us know what we need to invest our money in later.
Jesse had some construction experience before moving to our property, but he felt he had a bit of brushing up to do prior to starting construction of our home.
In contrast, I barely knew a hammer from a saw and had a lot of ground to cover before I'd be ready to be helpful with a house. Jumping into such a big project right away would have been a disaster for its success- and probably our relationship. Moving to a new property is stressful enough, we didn't need to add on a monster project like house construction right away.
Taking Time For Ourselves
Our trailer is a great place to live… most of the time. Sometimes the cramped space can get to us and make us want to relax somewhere else.
And that's where our hot tub comes in. After a long day of work there is nothing our bodies want more than to sit in warm water to recover so we can start again the next day.
We care about our construction tools, but the most important tool is our own bodies, and not taking the time to keep them at their healthiest will lead to the ruin of all our homestead projects. For us, building a therapeutic hot tub is an investment towards our future success.
A Community Space
Our lives may be busy and frantic, but we still love the chance to socialize with our neighbors. Having a hot tub and deck space allows us to be better hosts and encourage more people to hang out with us.
We'll Build Our House...Eventually
We are in this project for the long haul and know that we'll get to building our home when we know it's the right time. Our goal for this entire year has been to tie up our lives in the city and keep things moving with this property so that we can use all our energy to build our home.
We don't know when that will be, but we know our lives will be filled with new learning experiences and unexpected projects along the way. If you want to stay involved, then so stay connected with us!
Alyssa Craft moved to Idaho after purchasing 5 acres of land where she will build an off grid homestead from scratch with as little money as possible. She is blogging about the journey from start to finish in hopes of inspiring others that wish to take a similar path. Follow her many DIY projects, getting started with solar power, creating an off grid water solution and improving clay soil. Follow Alyssa on her blog Pure Living for Life, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. View Alyssa’s other MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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