2015 Highlights of Our Living off the Grid Journey

I don’t know about you, but every time I near the end of the year, I take a moment to reflect on everything that happened that year. It’s easy to feel like I didn’t get enough done, but when I look back on the year, I’m always pleasantly surprised at what was accomplished and often, the personal growth I’ve gone through. 2015 has been one of the craziest years of my life by far, so we thought we’d share some of the highlights.

It’s really important that we share the highlights of 2015 in particular because this is the year that we really committed to starting our off grid homestead, and early on in 2015, we didn’t even have our land yet! We merely had an idea of what we wanted and we were determined to find a way to make it happen. Even in June of 2015, we had no idea that we would be living on our land in September!

2015 was full of change, work, stress, uncertainty, and all of those things ended in our dreams coming true and here I am, writing this end-of-the-year summary from the comfort of a log cabin on our snowy property in Idaho. We’d like to invite you along the journey of what this year has looked like for us.

We won't soon forget all of the hard work it's taken to get here. Never in a million years did we think that we'd end the year 2015 by living on our own property.
We won’t soon forget all of the hard work it’s taken to get here. Never in a million years did we think that we’d end the year 2015 by living on our own property.

January 2015

To give you a little bit of background… we made our first trip to Idaho in July of 2014 which is when we fell in love with the area. We found one property we thought we would buy but couldn’t find the property lines, we we put the property on the back burner. Here’s where 2015 picks up…

  • Put in an offer on a property and it was accepted, contingent upon walking the property: As we were anxious to get rolling with land, we put in an offer on this property and drove immediately to go check it out. We walked the property lines in 18″ of snow and it was nothing like we though… the MLS map was completely wrong. The property was awkward as heck and while we could have mad e it work, it really wasn’t ideal or our first choice.
  • Were introduced to a second property, 10 acres with a cabin: We checked out this property and fell in love. It was listed at $130,000 but the Realtor suggested that we offer half of the asking price because he knew the guy personally and based on life circumstances, he had a hunch he would be interested. We did, and he was. But we had to get back to Oregon quickly. And $65,000 was still quite a bit more than we wanted to spend.
    Second property we thought we would buy... 10 acres with a cabin for $65k and $10,000 down.
    Second property we thought we would buy… 10 acres with a cabin for $65k and $10,000 down.

February 2015

  • Put our search on hold and worked 70-90 hours / week each on our online businesses: We talked over the above property but couldn’t quite justify the cost. We did know that we would need a down payment for whichever land we ended up with, so we worked relentlessly on our businesses. We also knew that we needed to make the shift to making all of our income online. This was a great month for us but we definitely worked past the point of exhaustion.

March 2015

  • Took a trip to Southern California to spend time with my family: We needed a break from our stressful life in Oregon (working too much on our businesses and on our house rehabbing project) so we went to Southern California to spend two weeks with my family. In this time we got to lay by the pool, eat great food, share some laughs, and hot tub nightly!
    Took a much-needed vacation to Southern California to visit family AND de-stress a bit.
    Took a much-needed vacation to Southern California to visit family AND de-stress a bit.
  • Put in an offer on the 10 acre property with a cabin and had it accepted: Although we weren’t 110% convinced this was the best property for us, we thought that 10 acres with a cabin for $65,000 was a pretty good deal even if it was more than we wanted to spend. We were also feeling desperate for some land and knew that we just needed a “starter property”. We had our offer accepted with contingencies and tried to plan a time to look at the interior of the cabin.

April 2015

  • Made our third trip to Idaho to look at the interior of the new property with an accepted offer and to see the property without snow on the ground: It turns out that the property wasn’t as dreamy as it was on that snowy day in January; the cabin needed a lot more work than we initially thought, the property was more logged than we would have liked, the general vibe of the land didn’t feel so great, we didn’t get a good vibe from the neighbors, and we could hear the highway loud and clear from the cabin which was a deal breaker for us!
    This cabin just didn't feel right when we saw it a few months later.
    This cabin just didn’t feel right when we saw it a few months later.
  • Splurged on new Macbook Pros and Thunderbolt Displays: We had no other properties in mind, nor were any new properties coming up for sale that we were aware of, so we spend our “land money” on new computer equipment which helped us to take our online business to a new level. Our computers were holding us back HARDCORE and this was a huge life upgrade for us. We figured that at a minimum, we could make our little office nice and inspiring so that we could continue to work hard even though we didn’t know where we were going. We knew we’d make the money back quickly.
    Sometimes it's hard to know when to hoard money or spend it when spending it helps you to make more money. We decided to not take the scarcity approach and upgrade our money-making equipment.
    Sometimes it’s hard to know when to hoard money or spend it when spending it helps you to make more money. We decided to not take the scarcity approach and upgrade our money-making equipment.

May 2015

  • Put in another long stretch on our business but struggled to find motivation: We felt like we were constantly running only towards what, we didn’t know! We were constantly reminded that we were working way too hard and that we needed to do something come summer (when our house rehabbing project would come to an end), but we wanted that change to bring us closer to our goal of owning land in Idaho, not move us further away from it. We continued to work ourselves into the ground as we didn’t know what else to do, but having a profitable business is always better than having an unprofitable business, right?

June 2015

  • We called it quits on work because we were so burned out that we didn’t even care, nor did we have a property we were interested in: One thing we learned here is that breaks aren’t bad… breaks are good! For many weeks in a row, we would wake up daily and decide NOT to work, but to go lay in the sun or to swim instead. We had endless chats about where we were going with our life and talked about the options again and again and again. We were hoping that if we talked about our future enough that we would find a solution.
    Another vacation from work... this time it was a "staycation" where we river hopped around Southern Oregon.
    Another vacation from work… this time it was a “staycation” where we river hopped around Southern Oregon.
  • Had the revelation that the only thing keeping us in Oregon at this point was Jesse’s business, and if we could sell it for what it was worth, that would give us a huge boost: We realized that the only reason we were in Oregon, and not in Idaho which would be closer to our goals, was Jesse’s business. He worked hard to build it in the previous three years and it was doing well, but selling a business isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. We knew that if we could sell the business for what it was worth that we could pay off the land, all debt, and give us a nice cushion, but we didn’t know how long to hold out for that option.

July 2015

  • We found our current land listed on Craigslist: It felt like love at first sight even though I had not yet seen the property, so we decided that we had to leave immediately to go take a look. It was love at first sight. But we also asked the Realtor for a ton of other listings so that we could see every conceivable option and hopefully come home with our name on something. We tired to remain open minded.
  • Our offer was accepted and although we hoped to close on the land within a week, it was drawn out quite a while: We planned to stay up in Idaho until the land closed. We only wanted to go back to Oregon to pack up our belongings and snag the kitty cats! We did a little vacationing, some soul-searching, some swimming, and some relaxing. The only thing that was holding up the property from being closed on was the land to be staked at the property lines. We waited for a week but nobody knew what was going on, the job wasn’t getting done, so we decided that we had to go back to Oregon because it could be a month before the property lines were staked.jesse-lake

August 2015

  • We received notice that our house rehabbing project was to be completed within 30 days and then we had to be out of there: The project didn’t end as we all had hoped and the house was foreclosed on and was scheduled to go to auction. The owner incentivized us to leave even earlier sooner than the 30 days. We had to be gone, yet didn’t know if the property would work out or not! You just never know until it’s official. We packed up our bags regardless and got rid of our excess belongings as clearly, we had to go somewhere.
  • Made the decision that we were going to go to Idaho: We were 99% sure that the property would work out, but if not, we really wanted to be in Idaho regardless and didn’t want to find a new area because we loved it so much. We knew we would have more opportunities living there than living over a day’s drive away. We looked for apartments in the area and even called on a couple of rentals in the same town as our property, with no luck. Land or no land, we were going to Idaho.
  • Jesse sold his business: Jesse was passively (and actively at times) trying to sell his business for over a year and we had the opportunity to sell it just as all of our other plans were coming together. He didn’t sell it for what it was worth, but it the profits still made a large contribution towards our homestead.
  • Sold my brand new car: It became obvious that my brand new car was of no use to use, especially when homesteading, so we sold it and were able to put $14,000 back in our pockets.
  • Bought our 19′ travel trailer: We knew we wanted to live in a travel trailer on our land, and that this would probalby make more sense than renting an apartment, so we searched near and far until we found the perfect RV, just 40 miles from our house.
  • Bought a used pickup truck: We knew we needed a truck to haul our trailer, and didn’t want to have to rely on family towing it for us, so we picked up a truck too.
  • Bought a generator: We wanted to buy this sans-sales tax (no sales tax in Oregon, yo!) and we also thought we would appreciate having it on day one. Look back on it, it was a great decision.
  • We were 100% ready to go by the end of July, just were waiting anxiously and nervously for our land to close! 
    Test-driving our "new" pickup truck.
    Test-driving our “new” pickup truck.

September 2015

  • Got notification that our land was ours: We were ecstatic and you can imagine how relieved we were. We were literally ready to go and four days after we got that phone call, we were on our way to Idaho! Scary huh? Talk about good timing! HAHAHA!
  • Made the move to Idaho: Watch the short video below about our move! It still gives us goosebumps to watch. Those two days were very hard, stressful and emotional. We almost wrecked, the cats were stressed, the cats tried to get in a fight in the back seat, one cat peed in the car, we ate one meal in two days, we had one cup of coffee in two days, and we arrived on our land with a truck, car and trailer full of stuff, but we made it.
  • Secured a storage unit: We wish we would have done this DAYSSSS in advance!
  • Put up a portable RV garage to protect our travel trailer
  • Built a deck and platform for our RV garage
  • Paved our driveway with rock to help keep the dust down
  • Bought tools for our homestead: 4×4 ATV, a trailer, installed a hitch on our Subaru Forester, a 660 Stihl chainsaw and MORE! $$$! Stay tuned for a “what it costs” page!

October 2015

  • Applied for a septic permit
  • Had our septic system installed
  • Milled a bunch of lumber using our DIY Alaskan Chainsaw mill: We haven’t written a post on this yet exclusively, but we milled up the ends of two entire trees! We are so proud!
  • Built the framework for a hot tub deck: We hoped to get this done completely, and planned to get our wood-fired hot tub hooked up, but other priorities took over. Hopefully we can finish this up next year.
  • Collected $10,000 – $15,000 from one house in second-hand building materials: We paid $1,000 for $10k-$15k in building materials. Score! This is how we were able to find that opportunity.
    We were able to get 2,000 bricks ($4,700 value) for just $75. We can't even explain all of the uses for brick but let your mind wander!
    We were able to get 2,000 bricks ($4,700 value) for just $75. We can’t even explain all of the uses for brick but let your mind wander!

November 2015

  • Demolished an old house and barn in which we collected $5,000 to $7,000 in building materials: We found the opportunity to demolish a house and barn for just $300 (covered the cost of all the metal roofing) and then we got to collect all of the lumber and materials we could salvage in a few days! This was exhausting but it was SO WORTH IT as it allowed us to build the cabin mentioned in the next bullet point for $300 instead of $3,000.
  • Built a small off grid cabin addition to our portable RV garage: This was our biggest project of the year and really helped us to validate a lot of the skills we’ve been learning! The cabin came together in 3-5 days and is really helping to protect both us and our travel trailer for our first winter.
  • Survived a nasty windstorm: This windstorm nearly destroyed our portable RV garage, and could have destroyed our cabin, but we prevailed! IT turns out that we got pretty luck as there was a lot of damage done to the area, many barns collapsed, trees through windows and cars, etc.small off grid cabin homestead

December 2015

  • Had our off grid internet installed
  • Ended our six-month break from work: Since winter arrived this month, we decided to put things on hold and get back into our online businesses, and we need to fill up the bank account and work on building a few extra streams of passive income!
    This is what we get to do all winter... yippee!
    This is what we get to do all winter… yippee!

In Summary

In short, 2015 was a great year for us to say the least! At the beginning of the year, we knew something big was going to happen, we just didn’t know how big. In a perfect world, we thought that we would be living on our land by the end of year but new the chances of it happening were slim. It turns out, that sometimes everything does work out exactly as you hope!

We hope that you all had a great year as well and for any of you that are embarking on similar journeys, always remember to keep your chin held high, work hard but don’t be too hard on yourself, and hope for the best. We like to think that things always work our (or don’t) for a reason, so we try to be happy with what life throws at us.

Most of All… Thanks for You Support

We hope you all have a a happy New Year and want to thank you for your continued support on our blog! Documenting the journey would not be possible if it weren’t for the support you show us each and every day, and we’ve already built some great relationships with our online friends! We look forward to sharing a lot more great stuff on the blog in 2016!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

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Comments

  1. says

    Holy cow! What an exciting adventure! I am a ‘suburban homesteader’ at the moment, but my husband and I dream of doing exactly what you are currently doing. I have a feeling I’m going to be visiting your site often! So glad to have found your site through Facebook. :)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by our blog Andrea! Excited to get to know some more HBN members! Suburban homesteading is still an accomplishment but hopefully one day soon you and your husband will have the opportunity to fully fulfill your dreams! Look forward to keeping in touch :-)

      • Julie Young says

        Hi Alyssa, Reading your blog and adventure is so awesome. I am excited for you and Jesse because it will be an adventure you will never regret. My husband and I live on a 5 acre ranch in California, we raise our own beef, pork, chickens for eggs, vegetables, and have various fruit trees. We barely have to buy much from the stores with regard to groceries. We use a wood stove for heat, and if we must, we use our swamp cooler in the summer. I feel we have done as much as possible to become as self sufficient as we can given we live in a house and both have fulltime jobs. My husband is self employed and I work a goverment job that I would not mind leaving any time soon. Our dilemma is the outrageous costs for agg water to our ranch that now has been taken away, taxes and fees for everything that is making it impossible to be self sufficient here. We have considered moving to do the same as you and Jesse. California is not the place to live if you want to be off the grid. We are at this time making plans to live in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez where we have purchased a home and have good friends there who live minimally and much cheaper, altho it is not off the grid so to speak we are now accomstumed to living simply and like it very much. I believe it will give us time to consider what we would like to do with the rest of our life. We may in the future purchase land (outside of Calif) and do exactly the same as you and Jesse however, the only dilemma we face is we are 53 and 54 years of age so we are running out of time to be able to build our home, start a life over again completely off the grid. Plus we have grandchildren here that make it hard to leave. No matter life is alway challenging and what I believe you are attempting here is quality of life which is what most of us desire. Congrats and look forward to hearing about your journey ALL of it! Best regards,
        Julie

        • says

          Hey Julie,

          I’m from California as well and still have family there, so I know the types of things you’re talking about! I hear it’s illegal to even have a solar setup in many places unless it’s tied into the grid, so if power goes out, you sitll have no power! The only incentive is to “turn your meter backwards”. I think that’s great that you and your husband always have your quality of life on your mind. That is one thing we realize… Idaho may b the ansewr for us today, but we’re not sure how things will look in 5, 10 and even 50 years. Things change so sometimes families need to change their plans too to adapt. TO think that one place will remain the same forever is naive. We’ve heard good things about portions of Mexico especially in regards to a lower cost of living and even a stronger community. We enjoy being 100% self sufficient, but ultimately, I think living in a strong community is better than being a strong one-man-show. Unfortunately, in the United States, many people aren’t neighborly and don’t act together, so we fear our neighbors rather than work together to make ourselves stronger. There are always many things to weigh the pros and cons of (self sufficiency, quality of life, money, family, etc.) but it sounds like you’re doing a good job trying to find the best options for you. Best of luck to you, sounds like you have exciting stuff in your future!

        • Peter says

          Hi Julie and Alyssa

          I am 54 and in Europe (France) It is very hard to do what you are doing here due to building codes and development permissions.

          As for being older, I agree the sheer physicality required is daunting, but very healthy.

          I am renovating an old House and Barn in rural France and will watch your blog with interest.
          We might be able to swap some tips

          Good luck

          Peter

  2. Mike Springer says

    Wow! What a year and what an accomplishment! I’m so excited for you both. Can’t wait to see the new additions in 2016. I’m so glad you responded as you did to the criticism of your wood stove chimney. I grew up on the farm and we burned wood for heat all winter every winter. Our furnace was a converted coal furnace and when it was really cold, we used a cord of wood in three days. We cut our firewood early and allowed it to dry and season all summer. We only cut and burned white and red oak and hickory. Sometimes my Dad would throw in some green wood but we knew that could be dangerous because the sap can build up as creosote and catch on fire in the stove pipe. So we did this sparingly. As you know many homes burn down because of this. It is most important to not let that stuff build up in the pipe. As for single wall pipe, many people used it around us and never had a problem. So…I wouldn’t get overly concerned and just keep an eye on it. Well, I sure enjoy the blog and I’m excited for you guys. Keep up the good work and keep the faith and you’ll get to your desired goal sooner than you think. You seem to have a handle on it. When you finally reach your goal, you can stand back and see all that you accomplished together and be amazed! Happy New Year to you both and continued success in your homesteader journey!!!…..Mike

    • says

      Hey Mike! WOW, a cord of firewood in three days! We are happy because we’ve optimized our burning to where we’re going through one box a day… which makes us happy as we don’t have a flourishing supply of firewood this winter. We receive a lot of criticism on our wood stove setup, especially on YouTube, but that’s okay. Everyone has their opinion in how things should be done but the most important thing is to use common sense. We feel that we have a strong grasp on what we are doing and when we are in doubt, have knowledgeable experienced people we can reach out to and they let us know what to keep an eye on. Sounds like you have a lot of experience with wood heat over your life. You’re right… as we make progress on our goals, it’s really awesome to look back on what we have accomplished! Hope you have a Happy New Year as well!

  3. Brian says

    That’s awesome what you 2 kids have done! I’m hoping when my son graduates high school in 4 1/2 years to do the same but a little farther north, Alaska. I absolutely love reading your blogs , it really helps with what to expect and I learn a lot from your blog and others like it. Good luck and thank you for allowing us in your life’s journey!

  4. Mary says

    You’ve accomplished so much and should be proud. I think the hardest part is deciding where to purchase. I love following your blog and FB. My hubby will be retiring in a couple of years and we’re trying to figure out where we’ll be moving because NJ is too expensive. We want to buy soon and have it ready for retirement.

    What are your winter projects?

  5. says

    WHEW! That is exhausting! What an amazingly blessed year you had! It looks like all your hardwork is really paying off, can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2016 :)

  6. Bill Barnhart says

    I really enjoy watching your journey me and my famil made a journey just like you guys did we are going on two years now

  7. Joe says

    Just found your blog. Can’t wait to see how you progress. First question. How do you handle food? A trailer I know can’t store much food. How far to the store etc?

    • Jesse says

      We haven’t given much thought to food yet. You’re correct that we aren’t storing much in our trailer. When we have mental space, I would love to work on a food storage system, even if just having a few bins in our cabin. The store is close… we go to town probably twice a week. We’re really looking forward to this portion of our journey as we’re both huge foodies, and food is kinda important :-)

  8. says

    I gotta admit I had a big lump in my throat as I watched your moving video – especially when I saw the signs to Hwy 395, Colville, and Sandpoint. My wife and I live near Seattle, but we have our little get-a-way home on ten acres near Elk, WA not far from the Idaho border. We both love that part of the Northwest, and we look forward to retiring there in a couple years. Meanwhile, we go there as often as we can (I was there during the recent wind storm!) We are setting the place up to be as self-sufficient as possible even though it is still on the grid.

    I am really looking forward to following your very well-done blog posts and videos! You guys are the best, and your journey is very inspiring!

    • Jesse says

      The Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful place, I bet your get away home is beautiful! Hope all was well for you in the recent windstorm… our little home we having going on this winter was almost destroyed by it!! Hopefully there aren’t any more of those anytime soon. So happy to hear that our journey is inspiring to you… we’ve been working hard trying to make our dreams come true as best we know how! I’m sure moving to your home in Elk will be very rewarding in a couple of years!

  9. Ed Johnson says

    Glad to see you saw the importance of projects like the off-grid hot tub. Too few folks burn out by focusing too much on brass-tacks projects like house or barn. It is best to leaven it with such an important spirit restoring project. Imagine a day of tire muscles and flagging spirits, when you can slip into the hot tub and reheat your drive….. You go girl!!!

    • Jesse says

      Exactly… you get it! Going straight for the house or barn as project #1 (or even #3!) would increase the odds of quitting due to burn out. We like to think we are superheroes but we know that we can’t ignore ALL luxuries (like a warm place to soak) for years while we get the house completed. In all honesty, it’s a rather small project that we’ve only worked on for a few days between everything else :-)

  10. Chris says

    Congrats on making it this far. It’s a fascinating project you guys are doing. My wife and I are considering doing something similar.. but with cargo containers… you can make an amazing home out of them if you do it right.

    I read you grew up in the Cali desert… me too..I’m from Barstow…left there in 91 and have never been back! I’ll keep following your blog…I’d be interested in what you think you will do for a home. I checked out the Yurts and they look pretty cost effective and would probably make great Air BnB places too.

  11. dan says

    I live in florida, have had a mountain home in north Carolina since 1998. its not much and its not off the grid but I love the place. 3/4 acre. just finishing 37 years at one job and looking forward to being up there more after retiring in may. Alyssa, the video you and jesse did where you were singing about homesteading reminded me of my daughter who is about your age and how I could see her doing that in the same situation. well done I have to say as well. anyway it brought tears to my eyes and I miss her terribly, she married last year and lives in southern Arizona. I am happy for her though. you even look like her. well, I just feel like I know you and jesse and I have watched most of your videos. I will be watching as you document your journey. thanks for doing this, I love it.

    • Jesse says

      Our long-term plan is to have a well drilled, and before that we’ll likely get a large cistern and have water trucked in four times a year or so, but these things don’t happen overnight so we’re going to town once a week or so for water. We have a bunch of 6-gallon jugs (that exact size is very strategic) that are easy to fill, easy to put in the car, easy to lift (for both of us), and we spend a quarter each time we will them up, so $1.25/month for water :-)

  12. Anton says

    Hi to both of you, and really enjoying your posts and videos.

    I have a very similar property (size, shape, layout) in New Zealand that was bought over 10 years ago to do exactly what you are doing. Some major life changes happened, so it mostly went on hold since then but in the next year or so my girlfriend and I are hoping to make a full time start on it, although over the years I have been working on a few projects such as leveling some areas and a driveway.

    A couple of tips that I have found very useful that might also help you.
    1. Storage. I noticed you have a storage unit, which I presume you have to rent. I also had stuff in storage and after working out the cost vs convenience, I decided to buy a used 20′ shipping container. This worked out to be more or less the cost of 1 years rental of the storage unit. It is dry and very secure, but the best thing is it can be placed on your property so you no longer need to drive to your stuff. The prices for used containers are very stable over the years, so eventually when I sell it, I doubt I will lose much on it at all. In fact, found it so good I bought 2 more. The important thing to look for is the roof damage and heavy rust, and the doors/seals. With a lockbox welded to one, it is very difficult to break into so you can store your valuable tools in there without worry if you head out of town for a few days, and park a vehicle in front also as a backup.

    2. Excavator. My property is very much like yours in that I have a steep hill behind the flat yard area. I figured the best way to maximize the property was to put the house site up the top of the hill, also for views etc. The problem is levelling a site up there and putting in a driveway to it is very expensive as it typically takes weeks to do properly. I decided to invest in a used 3 ton Hitachi Excavator (2004 ZX30U, used import from Japan). It was a large expense at around 12-15000 USD, but I use it ALL the time, and haven’t really got started yet. You have seen how useful one is for digging holes and spreading rock, which I also have done, but I also use mine for lifting heavy things on and off the trailer, dragging felled trees, pushing trees in the right direction, clearing weeds, digging out stumps and most importantly cutting a new driveway on the side of the hill. Already it has saved me a huge amount in hiring. Also, if you buy right, you get a good deal for a machine that will not lower much in value, so your eventual loss will be tiny compared to hiring or paying someone to do it.
    It also opens up a massive amount of layout options for you, as looking at some of your videos I wonder if a really nice house/cabin site would be further up the hill, if not the top, but perhaps until the cost of preparing that seems prohibitive. The same goes for preparing a place to grow food. You could terrace garden areas into the hill. Also, this will allow you to leave the barn, workshop and other noisy/dirty activities contained in the yard, away from your living space.

    Anyway, a couple of ideas that may or may not be of interest. Unfortunately both involve some $$$ but eventually you will get most of the capital back, but you’ll save a lot in the meantime.

  13. says

    I really am happy for y’all watching you go to your property brought tears to my eyes reminds me of where I’m at I am 64 years old and disabled but now live in the country ,about the heating take them bricks and stack them around and around the wood stove this is the basis of the European model that we have neglected here in the United States which is to not put your fireplace chimney outside but inside that way it collects and stores the heat in the inside bricks when you go to bed at night you still have heat in the morning when you wake up excuse the mistakes on this but this is voice activated and it doesn’t work too well y’all have a good day love what you’re doing and many wishes, PS I saw where you said you’re getting your internet together and I’ve been playing around with the Sprint network I have a hughes satellite system but I’ve been experimenting around with the Sprint network and me and the Karma go and out here it doesn’t work very well so I put in a piece of aluminum foil on the window with a, gogos and I get now I can stream videos, I have a 41 second video called free karma go booster on youtube or you can just look up Bryce Irwin on youtube, I hope when you make your decision to build your house use the passive methods there are many paths of houses on the internet that are in cold cold country that never require heating sources and also the thing same thing for the greenhouses I wish you best of luck

    • Jesse says

      Hey Hans, thanks for checking in! We are hard at work on our businesses but are hoping to post something soon! Sometimes no news is good news? :-)

  14. Stefane says

    Hi Alyssa and Jesse,

    Thank you for sharing your story. We are doing the exact same thing next year when we sell our home. We’ve had our 20 acres for 3.5 years but have not built anything more than an outhouse/shower. We will be living in our 5th wheel until we build our cabin. It looks lke you are in North Idaho ( I think I saw the Green Monarch Mountains in one photo?) if you are, we will be “neighbors” as our place is in the very north east part of Washington. It would be fun to meet if we are that close.

    Best wishes!

  15. Sarah says

    Just found the blog today. This is what my husband and I dream of! Living in beautiful Ontario, Canada with dreams of escaping to the woods as you have. Finding your blog is an important step towards this dream! Thank you, and good luck!

  16. says

    Wow, you two have embarked on an amazing adventure! I’m quite jealous. My husband and I have to go about things a bit differently, due to lots of debt and having three children. However, our ultimate goals are somewhat similar. I will definitely be following along on your journey.

  17. says

    WOW!! You two are awesome!
    My hubby and I are about to sell our home and we’re looking to probably build our next home ourselves. You guys are probably doing more by hand than us but still I love all the tips you are posting!! One question, are your cats in the trailer with you? We’re thinking of having our dogs in the trailer with us – my mom would watch our cats for us while we build.
    Our goal is to build the garage first, move into the garage and out of the rv (take our cats back), and then build the house.

    We want to do most of the home ourselves but we know we’ll be hiring out for certain things. :-)

    • says

      Glad you’re gaining some tips from the blog! Yes, our kitties live in the trailer with us. They do have 100% free roam so they come and go as they please which works out well for everyone. They are pretty well behaved for the most part so we hardly notice when they’re in the trailer… the mostly only come in to sleep in which case they curl up on the corner of the bed or find a cubby to lay in. Dogs would be a little more cramped but I suppose it depends on the type and personality of the dog, and size of the trailer. Certainly not out of the question though. Best of luck to you and your husband!

  18. David Gibson says

    My brother mentioned your YouTube site to me, so after picking up a new tablet I thought I would check it out
    I am very impressed with all the planning and preparation you both have put into your venture
    I would like to tell you both about my life starting in 1976 when my family did just what you are doing now I was just 11 years old living in Springfield Oregon when we moved to our soon to be homestead in Fall Creek Oregon. We were also purchasing 5 acres of land that was about 1/2 timber and the rest grassy pasture. We loved in a tent and a camp trailer that my dad built.
    We built a stick frame house from plans my dad drew up on the back of butcher paper. We also purchased used materials for building. We had planed on running power to the house but it was too expensive so we just learned to live without power. Colleen lanters for lights but we did have a propane stove and refrigerator. Well to end this long winded story, we raised cows for milking and chickens for meat and eggs. We had about an acre of gardens that we watered by hand from our artesion well. Our family has grown up there and moved on but my father and brother are still out there living still off grid these past 40 years. You are just getting started and I wish you all the best on your journey.
    God bless, David.

  19. Gregg says

    Hey Alyssa & Jesse.

    Youtubing Alaska living, off the grid, I stumbled across your Youtube channel. Love it, watched them all. My wife and I want to do exactly the same thing to become self sufficient, we wanted to say hello and let you know that we are watching from Australia, with hopes of relocating to the US “little more freedom it seems” when trying to do what your doing. Too much government involvement here. I’m sure I’ll write from time to time with suggestions having built one house and renovated another, and of course the occasional question about what your working and how it differs from here.
    We wish you two all the best and happiness for your quest for Off the Grid living. We’ll be watching and reading.

    Kind regards
    Gregg and Gemma…….& Everett 22months

    • says

      Hey Gregg! We’ve certainly heard that this type of living is difficult in other countries but don’t know that first hand. There is A LOT of government in the US and this type of living isn’t an option most places, but there are still some counties that are pretty relaxed if you do your research! We’re glad you found our blog and YouTube channel… always love to be in contact with folks that have home building experience! Keep in touch and feel free to follow our Facebook page if you haven’t yet… great community and lots of updates on there!

  20. Leanna says

    Haven’t seen any posts this year and it’s already mid May. What have you guys been doing and when will we see the continued journey?

    • says

      We’ve posted lots Leanna! Navigate to the home page and you should see our recent posts. Also, feel free to follow us on Facebook (if you haven’t already) as we’re able to post somewhat real-time where the blog is usually behind a bit as it takes more time to manage and update.

  21. savannah says

    So you survived the winter!!!! Have you seen those cabins and such they have built using pallets? I thought of y’all because you repurpose stuff and some of the things created are awesome. If you could find a free source I bet they would work great for some things.

  22. Reuben (Sydney Australia) says

    A little perplexed, in the text you Watch The Short Video Below and when I attempt to watch it I get the message This Is A Private Video!

    Why is this/

    Reuben

  23. Cindy says

    Love what the two of you are doing, just found your sight.
    Originally from Washington State with a ton of regulation I found a Dairy Farmer from Idaho and absolutely LOVE Idaho, as you commented on one post here, things don’t always stay the same, Idaho used to be a lot MORE relaxed (regulation wise) nevertheless it is still a pretty awesome place to live. We live in a community that is very ‘service’ oriented (Where can you find a community in which ALL of the different denominations get together for Christmas and co operatively have a street fair.) So close knit communities still do exist. Good luck on your journey

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