Doug and I are often asked how we got “here.” “Here” is a 600 sq. ft. 1800’s style log home that Doug built with no experience in 90 days. Inspired by the pioneers before him, he set out to build our new home with his own two hands. While he studied the art of joinery and log cabin building, I was on my mission to find a simpler life. We found 11 acres in the Midwest with no electricity, no solar power, and no public utilities. We call it “Living the Pioneer Lifestyle in the 21st century.”
Our journey started in 2008. I was experiencing some major health issues that were affecting my day to day life. No doctor could find anything wrong with me until I visited a naturopathic physician. I learned that the stress from toxic foods, environment, and hectic life needed to change. By educating myself about living a holistic life, I was ready to change my whole lifestyle and my husband was as well. He was tired of the rat race. One night in rainy rush hour traffic, Doug and I committed to re-prioritizing our life.
During our 20-year marriage, we had plenty of adventures. However, this next chapter would be like no other. The next thing I know the doorbell was ringing nonstop and Doug was selling all our belongings online…even my favorite stainless steel kitchen table…and a for sale sign was in the front yard!
If we were going to do this, we had to be 100% committed. All that “stuff” would not fit in a 600 sq. ft. cabin. This downsizing experience was very cathartic. I thought I would feel sad, but I felt so free after that first step! Moving from a 3,000 sq. ft. home to a one-bedroom apartment while searching for rural property was the first step. While looking for off grid/non-electric wares, I came across this awesome catalog from Lehman’s. In the apartment, I started circling all the things Doug and I would need to get started to live a simpler life.
Doug found 11 acres with a nice pasture, woods with lots of nut trees, and big pole barn. I was still working full time in the city while Doug was sleeping in a tent with our dogs at the property. I would come up on weekends to help until the cabin was finished in late September.
I will never forget the wonderful feeling of empowerment and satisfaction the first time we slept upstairs in our loft when our home was finished. Living a simpler life has become more rewarding than we could ever imagine. Doug and I have more energy, vitality, and our health is better than ever. By the soft flicker of the oil lamps and the heat provided by the wood cook stove, I am sitting here reflecting on one of the best decisions my husband and I ever made. Today I am growing, harvesting, and preserving most of all our own food, collecting rainwater and gravity feeding it to our cabin and raising sheep, chickens, and ducks. Now we have a passion for teaching what we learned so others can live a simple life as well.
Note: This article was originally published on March 2019.