From Nomadic Marine Corps Family to Rooted Modern Homesteaders


| 2/12/2015 11:05:00 AM


Tags: permaculture, homeschooling, community, back to the land, Idaho, Sean Mitzel,

Winter Homestead 

“Just don’t do things too quickly, take your time, you don’t want to get overwhelmed.” These are the words we have heard over and over from well-meaning friends and family. Maybe they understood a little more than we did, and maybe that’s a good thing — ignorance is bliss!

Making a Radical Life Change

We were making a radical life change and we are not the type of people to ease our way into it, we jump, with both feet, straight into the deep end, and learn under fire. So here we are, on 40 acres in the mountains of Northern Idaho making a go of it.

I spent 24 years in the Marine Corps. My family was accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle, if we didn’t like where we lived, that’s okay, we’d move soon anyway. Gardening? By the time it got established we were taking off across the country (or the world; our last duty station was in Okinawa, Japan). My days were filled with long hours at work meeting “mission requirements,” long deployments fighting wars for reasons that were ambiguous and unclear at best, basically filled with constant uncertainty (don’t count on anything until orders are in your hand). The only exception to that was our steady and predictable income, and with seven children, that income was a real, tangible benefit. But after years of talking about, planning, searching and purchasing our land, we were ready to trade that security for the unknown challenge of becoming homesteaders.

When we moved here to Idaho a few months ago we didn’t come totally unprepared. Neither my wife nor I had grown up on a farm or learned any “homesteading” type skills; we knew that we needed to get an education. This started several years before we made the move, watching videos, reading books, books and more books and discussing ideas with each other. The closest I came to getting a “formal” education was to take Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Course. After I discovered permaculture, I knew this had to be our approach to homesteading.

Planning Homestead Goals

Zonal Map 




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