Moving to the Country: If It's Your Dream, Go for It!

Armed with little more than back issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, the Heilig family made their dream of country life come true.

| July/August 1976

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    The Heilig family didn't let their lack of experience stop them from pursuing their dream of life in the country.

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I have just two words of advice for anyone who wants to move to the country: "Do it!"

We started "doin' it" on Independence Day, July 4, 1975 ... exactly one year before some of you will read this. Armed with ten issues of MOTHER, a few books on how to build log cabins, and a truckload of determination, the five of us—Mom (49), Linda (22), Gary (17), Erika (5), and myself (30)—made our move to the woods of New Hampshire.

Upon our arrival, we set up a campsite and then planted a small, late garden. (We didn't hold high expectations for the vegetable patch—our intent was just to see if anything would grow—but we did get a harvest.) For most of the summer, we felled and dressed logs for our long-dreamt-of cabin (although I confess we took off many a hot afternoon to go swimming in one of the numerous nearby lakes).

Since we were interested in salvaging any free building supplies that we could, we quickly made it our habit to keep an eye peeled—any time we drove anywhere in our van—for old wooden structures that we could get permission to tear down and salvage. As a result, it didn't take us long to scrounge enough usable wood to build a privy and a small shed to hold our belongings.

Just as we'd laid the first row of logs for the cabin in September, however, we really hit pay dirt. A family about 25 miles away advertised that they'd gladly give their three-story barn to anyone who would tear it apart and haul it away. We hadn't the vaguest idea how we could accomplish the feat, but said we'd do it nonetheless.

And we did! Despite the fact that I have a permanently disabled right arm, and despite the fact that none of us had had any previous experience at this sort of thing (except me ... I'd worked as a carpenter's helper for six months when I was 16 years old).

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