A Solemn Confession We Don’t Want to Make

We’ve been living on our property almost a full six months now and couldn’t be happier with the amount of work we’ve gotten done. In six months’ time, we’ve been able to collect tons of tools and materials that we will need to build our home, install a septic system, build a cabin, mill some lumber, and work for a few months on our online business. Going into 2016, we had some equally lofty goals (or even more lofty than in 2015). But we have a confession to make…


Since we are going into 2016 living on our own land with a roof over our head and our basic needs met, we planned to get a lot done. Some of the thing we were / are hoping to get done this year include:

  • Build the framework for our barn and get it dried-in by winter: Living in our travel trailer was never meant to be a long-term solution. We would like to be living on solid land as soon as possible.
  • Finish the hot tub deck: We didn’t think tackling the barn first was a wise idea as thought it would be better to start on something small… and having a place to soak away our sore muscles would be absolutely amazing.
  • Take care of unfinished business in Oregon: We have a rental property we would like to sell and have some unfinished business with the sale of the business. Because there are loose ends in Oregon, there is a chance we will have to return at some point in the near future… hopefully on our own terms.
  • Pay off all debt: Our original goal was to pay off all debt this year, including our land. This is a lofty goal, but we do think it is feasible. We have a significant amount of money wrapped up in assets but the problem is… we can’t simply pull the money out when we want to. It’s a timing thing and we have to continue to be wise investors.
  • Slow down a bit: We’ve been going at this pace for many years, and it is exhausting at times. We would consider ourselves “workaholics” which means that we get a lot done, but we often disappear for months at a time (ask our neighbors and families!) and ultimately, we only stop working when we reach burn out. We have been doing this to accomplish goals, not for fun, but our pace is not sustainable and continuing to go at this rate could end very poorly.
  • Continue to strengthen our business: We catapulted ourselves into a new industry over a year ago so the first year was really a lot of trial and error. This year, we feel that we are in the optimization stage where we can fully analyze what is working, what is not, reduce expenses, cut out parts of our business that aren’t working well, and invest in the things that we feel strongly about.
  • Continue to blog: We are passionate about helping others transition to a similar lifestyle and find a greater sense of happiness in their lives, and the blog is a great medium to do that. We would like to continue to produce great, helpful content that is high-quality.
  • Build relationships in the community: We didn’t move to the community we did to be hermits. We love this community and want to strengthen our relationships in the neighborhood. We want to have neighbors over for BBQ, be frequent visitors to the farmers market, and even understand how we can bring about positive changes to the community, even if it’s just helping to preserve what the community already has.
  • Collect materials: We want to build our barn and develop our property with as little money as possible (don’t mistake that with being cheap… we always strive for quality). We want to be on the lookout always for great values on materials.

Are you exhausted yet? Us too!

A Solemn Confession

We were hoping to hit the ground running on the first warm day of the year but we’ve had warm weather for a few weeks now, and we are completely exhausted. 2015 was a big year for us, and we have spent the last 10 weeks working on our business 14+ hours a day.

Because we spend so much time staring at a bright computer screen, our bodies are out of whack, we have messed up sleep schedules, we’ve been sleeping poorly. The sun is out, the birds are chirping and more people are stopping by to say hello. We could get started on the barn if we wanted, but our bodies are so out of whack that we don’t even know what day or time it is. We are really, really tired mentally.

Maybe you can or can't tell from this photo, but we are mentally zonked!
Maybe you can or can’t tell from this photo, but we are mentally zonked!

We have one again hit the “burn out” wall. Looking at our self-imposed to-do list for the year is overwhelming. We can’t continue to go at the pace we’ve been going or we could face some serious consequences or even injury.

We’ve come to the conclusion that we need to slow down and lower our expectations of what we can accomplish in the next year, which is really, really hard for over-achievers and workaholics to do.

A depressing fortune cookie message for workaholics and over-achievers.

Going Forward in 2016: The Plan as of Today

While there is a chance we can accomplish all of those goals in 2016, it is unfair to put the pressure on ourselves to get it done OR ELSE. That is suicide.

At the end of the day, all we can do is make sure that we have taken steps in the right direction, and then be happy with where we are in life. We’re living on our property in a dwelling that we own, and are become more and more self-sustainable on a daily basis. What more could we ask for?

We think we are going to focus on having an “optimization year”.

How We Plan to Optimize

In all honest, I think the biggest stressor so far of this year has been the idea of getting our barn up and dried in by winter. There is so much that needs to happen to achieve that goal, and it’s not our only goal, so that’s an awful lot to have on our plate.

Here are our new thoughts for 2016:

  • Don’t worry about getting the barn up and dried in by winter: There is so much to do in order for this to happen, and would have to be basically our only focus. That is just not possible. There are reasons why we haven’t started on this yet and the main reason is that we just have no mental space for such a project.
  • Continue to collect materials: We do know that we will need a substantial amount of money to build our barn so we would rather build it more slowly, but with affordable materials that we either make ourselves (lumber) or find second-hand.
  • Give some TLC to our belongings: We have many belongings in need of TLC including our four wheeler, truck,Β  Subaru and other various tools. In order to tackle a large project such as our barn, we need all of our tools and vehicles to be working properly.
  • Give some TLC to ourselves: We have been neglecting our bodies for a couple of years. We do our best to eat a relatively healthy diet, but we both have some back pain we would like to address. We may take time to seek out a chiropractor to see if we have anything more serious going on or if we simply need to give ourselves more self-love (going on relaxing hikes, stretching more, upgrading our bed, etc.)
  • Finish our hot tub deck: This is a priority. We hate things that are half-done and in all honesty, I think we could finish this up in a week or so.
    Look how lovely she is! We've been collecting hot tub wood all winter.
    Look how lovely she is! We’ve been collecting hot tub wood all winter.
  • Start a small garden or developing our soil: If we don’t have the pressure of getting the barn done, we can do more small projects. Starting a garden would be extremely rewarding.
  • Start canning: We still spend more than we would like to on food, but canning would be a relaxing and fun project, could help to lower our food bill (buying meat and veggies in bulk, anyone?) and it really would be nice to have more than a week’s supply of food.

You Can Only Do What You Can Do

The last thing we want to share, as we know many of you are in the beginning stages of embarking on a similar adventure, is that you can only do what you can do.

While we all want to be perfect and get an insane amount of stuff done in a short amount of time, we can only move so fast. We are only human, and that is okay.

Sometimes, you just want to pet the kitties while they sun bathe, and not feel guilty about it.
Sometimes, you just want to pet the kitties while they sun bathe, and not feel guilty about it.

If you know us well, you’ll know that we will still get a lot done this year, and we very well may get the barn up and dried in by winter, but we simply need to re-prioritize. Sometimes, in reducing the pressure on yourself, you can actually get more done. While being patient is hard for us, we feel it’s the right thing to do and our gut rarely seems to lead us astray. We can’t wait to see what the warm weather has in store for us.

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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.


  1. says

    Very thoughtful post. I think a lot of people are running their bodies and minds on red without knowing it. Pushes and pushes without thinking of the consequences.
    Great to hear you have the ability to watch yourself from an helicopter perspective and see that some things are not as the are supposed to be.

    Keep calm and start living life.


    • says

      I like the way you are telling what is going on in your “NEW” place πŸ™‚ Started to go around the U-tub system ! WOW πŸ™ what is the next game there going to? Liked the Solar part a lot Saving me some time πŸ™‚

  2. bryce irwin says

    Follow my advice and its probably on the back of your mind also is to like you say take your vacation meet with your community and then spend lots of time with your community and your neighbors and then in the end you can have a barn raising all the people will help you in probably donate their time and part of their supplies so number one solution done did that would be the most important thing is to have that barn because you can do anything in the barn and put animals eating put yourself you can put neighbors you put all kinds of thing is that’s the first thing you do when you go out is it the barn first and that’s what neighbors do they help each other get that bar and raise first then after that they make their cabin

    • bryce irwin says

      Another reason for the barn is you know how you can live in that initially and other people that have Barnsley say that your place that you had a cabin or a house that burned down they would allow you if you didn’t have a barn to live in the barn temporarily and so when they help you raise your barn up you are in an agreement where that if one of the neighbors ever has something bad happened that they can come stay in your barn on your house but in your barn and which day will be much obliged to be out of the harsh weather

      • bryce irwin says

        Once you let your intentions to be known to the community your intentions will start to manifest through all of the other people, because thoughts have wings

        • bryce irwin says

          Here is something that few people know about but you can take a barn expecially the south side facing the Sun and if your barn is say 30 feet higher or close to it on that side you place little wooden strips about and 1 inch and then over that you place plastic and then you leave an opening at the bottom now what will happen is the heat generated underneath the plastic from the Sun will draw the air up from the bottom of that whole side and then at the top you make inserts into the wall holes and then the heat automatically through induction will heat up a portion of the barn especially if it is consolidated into parts it will raise the temperature of way over 100 some degrees quickly it’s a free source of heat that’s one way to live in a barn in the winter and then of course you can use a storage method which where the heat hits water bottles or water containers or if you can have a earth wall instead of a wooden wall and then the room you would live in would be something like a cabin and it would automatically heat up that but that’s only when the sun’s out so you would have to have no alternative heating source, just another source of passive heat, ancient technology

  3. Nancy says

    I am an elderly woman who has some experience in homesteading projects. Health issues too. I have this last year been making kefir from raw goat milk I buy and also making raw fermented veggies using a lot from my small organic garden when I can. I recommend Ricter’s how to for raw ferments on YouTube. These two things have improved health and stamina. Kefir means ‘feel good’. It really helps. What is more, when you are working and busy you have food prepared ahead and you don’t have to stop and cook so much. I prefer raw ferments over canning. It is what our ancestors had to do to survive!

  4. bobbi dougherty says

    Sounds like a good plan. I am NOT a wokaholic so can’t really relate, but I am also older than you so have had time to go through all this, lol. You can only do what you can do and you HAVE to take time for yourself. It clears the brain and gets you in tune with the earth. πŸ™‚ Enjoying the trip with you guys, you’ll do great!

  5. Richard Ladner says

    Well first off let me say congratulations!! You’ve done what I’ve dreamed. One day (soon I hope) I will convince the wife, and then the journey begins. I read of y’alls adventures (and sometimes misadventures) chuckle, sigh, and ponder how I would have handled that situation. Yes, I’m learning from you as well as going along for the ride. We are not as young as y’all, almost to retirement age, but still got some left in us. Y’all are real and write real. You don’t sugarcoat and that’s what I love about your blog. I spent 23 years in the military and I like straight shooters. I agree that you have to take a step back and just breathe sometimes. It’ll be there tomorrow. Break it down into small steps and celebrate the little accomplishments. Just thought I’d throw my two cents worth in.

    God Bless and Take Care

  6. Anton says

    Hi Guys, happy new year!!!

    I think it’s great you are changing down a gear. I know exactly what you mean by being stressed by the IDEA of planning something properly.
    I mentioned it briefly last time I commented and now with your latest thoughts on the barn it applies even more: consider a good used shipping container. It’s dry, secure and roomy for all your stuff and they are not very expensive. Often resale is the same price anyway. Sometimes you can even get a 40 footer for the price of a 20 footer but transportation is more difficult. Anyway, I’ve done this on my land and it was one of the best decisions I made.
    All the best!

    • Fernando Yanez says

      I did exactly the same, the first thing was to buy a shipping container for a multi purpose shed. Really saved time and also I feel like storage space is never too much, especially on a farm.

      Considering that in the some of the videos you show you rent or maybe own a storage unit, maybe getting one onsite would really help.

      I’m happily following your journey.

      Best of luck for 2016

  7. Cindy says

    Sounds like you are finding “balance”. Awesome! Best of luck. I appreciate you sharing your journey. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  8. Barbara says

    Hello … you hav e quite a lot on your plate. Take care of yourselves first or you won’t be able to do any of what you want to. Breathe, figure out what will make the biggest difference in your life (hot tub, garden, etc) then focus on one thing at a time…..if you have too many things going on at the same time nothing will be finished. Then that becomes a bigger frustration even for people who are use to multitasking. Wish you the very best! Enjoy the warmer weather πŸ™‚

  9. CHris says

    Well, you don’t owe it to anybody to do anything other than what you need to… so I wouldn’t say it’s a solemn confession. If I were you, I’d make the hot tub a priority since you’ll use it daily… then I’d ask myself about living space…will the trailer do for another year? If so, then plan accordingly…

    What are you guys doing as an online business? Is there anyway that we could support it by buying through it? what about an Amazon link to buy through? (I’m not sure if that generates enough money to be worthwhile.

    Keep on enjoying your life!

  10. Mike says

    Wow, yes you guys look tired in that picture. I think its a great plan. Just pick out a few small projects like that hot tube and complete them. Then take a day off and get off the property to go into town for dinner and a movie or just to meet some people. For the barn its great that you are collecting materials. Another idea could be to investigate a shed kit that has a loft already. I know of one person that bought a large shed with a loft at a hardware store like Home Depot, had it delivered and he put it together. It was not more than $700 and only took him and his brother about a week. Then he just spent time roughing it in inside with gathered material like insulation and pallet boards, ship lap, etc.. He did electric, plumbing and insulation in his spare time. That’s just another option because its all cut and instructions and materials included. That would cut you building time down in half. He also had plans to add on another room with gathered material and also build a large deck. There are lots of ideas on youtube about people that have done this. Just a suggestion to help with the work load. Love your channel and your blog.
    Best Wishes

  11. says

    It’s a hard lesson to learn in our driven society. We have experienced the same thing in our early retirement to move out of the country and off-grid. I am very goal driven and I have really struggled with this, Some days it seems like nothing gets done but that’s ok because it was a pleasant day anyway! It’s good to stop and smell the roses or pet the cats!
    But we are in the exact same position you are in. We are a family of 5 living in a one room cabin and we are very anxious to get the barn done before April when the winter rains set in.
    A suggestion about improving your soil for gardening. Steve Solomon wrote some excellent books
    Gardening when it counts and The Intelligent gardener
    and he has some great advice for how to improve soils
    God Bless and enjoy the journey!

    • Troy Stutsman says

      Hi Lori:
      I noticed that you mentioned getting out of the country.
      Would you mind sharing where you moved to?
      My wife and I are trying to decide where we want to go to start our dream of having a homestead.
      We have awhile before we can start living our dream, so we are working on learning new skills, gathering information, and trying to come up with the money to make it all possible.
      I’m mobile but disabled, so are only income is from SSI.
      My wife is 50 and I will be 54 this year…
      Any information you might share would be appreciated.
      Also, we would love to hear from any other Expats out there too.
      Thank you again for any help you might provide and have a blessed day.
      Troy and Tracy

      • says

        Hi Troy
        We moved to Chile
        You can follow our homestead adventure
        You can contact me through the blog anytime
        And we are chile expat family on youtube
        Thanks for asking and thanks to Alyssa for letting me post this comment!

  12. Anna Marie Antonucci says

    Alyssa, It is a blessing to be able to follow your journey. You are living my heart’s desire to homestead. My wish is to do so with my children and their spouses. I am 57 and my aging/ailing mother, son and his new wife live with me and my three dogs. It is a peaceful life here in Jackson Township, NJ. I have a half acre lot on a corner. I love my property and work very hard to make a respite for my mother, a sanctuary for me. But i do it all by my self with very little help. In the summer i am outside working to maintain the property. Mowing, weeding, planting, on the land, Update, fixing and maintaining the barn and the outside of the house. Last year i had a new cedar fence put in and by the fall, i was out there staining before winter to protect the investment of the fence. This year is to stain the barn and put an above ground pool in for me and the dogs to enjoy. Those are the on going projects. i realize i need to pace myself since i am the only person doing these projects. I may never get to live like you do, but i need to be grateful i have a half acre of land I can call my own to grow some veggies, flowers, where my dogs have a large enough yard to be safe in, and mother can spend her time sitting in the garden under a canopy in the warm weather. You do encourage me and i want to encourage you to pace yourself, understand the importance of first things first and to be reminded that Rome was not built in a day. Give yourself some love, and enjoy this time. In time, it will all come together. God bless you and your husband. Cookie Antonucci

  13. Plinker says


    My Mum said do the best you can do, perhaps this should be prefaced with don’t push yourself because we all need to enjoy life and this includes loving those in our lives and being loved. When I see what you and Jesse have done I am surprised because I have so much to do and feel very overwhelmed sometimes, that mental and physical exhaustion you mentioned.

    Years ago you would if you did the same thing not have the ability to move geographically back to Oregon or even have the communication of today. At night you would cuddle in bed with Jesse to keep warm and listen to the wind outside, maybe with a cat or two! Your main concern would be with everyday life and nothing more than a few miles away.

    Today we have so far much more on on plates and minds to do yesterday. Yesterday I went to a funeral of a friends cousin who quite quickly succumbed to a terrible disease at the age of 65. She left a husband and two son’s and many other family devastated and wondering why. She was a very beloved elementary school teacher and some of her past students attended.

    Life is very short and we only have so much physical and mental energy, so never feel your not living up to any supposed standard that is “So much our present generation”, striving and striving and yet feeling like there is something more they need to attain.

    Life is the journey not the destination and so far it appears to me you two are doing very well, stop and relax, sit near the fire and hug each other and the cats, have a little red wine!

  14. Crystal says

    It’s hard sometimes to remember when there is so much to be done but don’t forget to enjoy yourselves before you end up hating your property.

  15. Stephen M says

    Keep up the hard work guys! I’ve really enjoyed following you all, the modern requirements for a homestead are enlightening. This post was great, the wife an I have a 1/2 acre and our first bun in the oven, plus a project list a mile long! We often beat ourselves up over not completing a project in a given amount of time. We’ve found, like you, that stretching out big projects over a time, and completing little projects as we go keeps the “tanks” full.

    Best of luck in 2016

  16. says

    Your blog as quickly become one of my favorites and I really look forward to reading your posts and watching your (very informative!) videos. A lot of great information and it’s awesome watching your process.

    That being said, it’s not worth it if you’re wearing yourself down! Take it easy and do one thing at a time. This is not a race (although sometimes it may seem like you’re racing against time, the seasons, etc.). It does sound like you’re good on refocusing your priorities, which is often the most difficult.

    When my kids grew up and grew out on their own, one of the most challenging things I had to address is that there are limitations of what I can and can’t do. Limitation of physical, mental and financial had to be addressed and Plan B put into place. Sometimes, that mean removing a goal all together, but I try not to feel guilty about it and just keep moving forward (with rest and reflection in between!).

  17. Fran says

    Great post Alyssa. Really enjoy following your blog. Always good to reflect on what you’ve done and where you’re going (and make a new plan if need be). I have to remind my self of this often. Priority one, take the time, if you can, to enjoy the beauty around you.

  18. Phil says


    I sit here reading your post completely understanding your exhaustion. short story, My wife and I bought some land back in 2011 bought a 26ft TT to live in while we build our 600 sqft house. We are paying as we go, hire out what we have to but for the most part the two of us alone are building our house plus making improvements to the land.
    the weather was awesome this past weekend so as we always we went to bed Friday night thinking of all the things we could get done in the next 48 hours. so here we are Monday morning exhausted, sore, moving real slow. our friends and family tell us that we work to hard, but don’t want to come out to visit knowing that will just slow us down.
    when I first started reading your post, blog, facebook page I was inspired once again that what people like us are doing is never easy, and we need each other to keep moving forward to reach the end result. A debt free, self-sustainable, and Happy life.
    so keep up the good work!!

  19. Connie says

    I just bought some land and am anxious to get started. But it seems that I need to learn to be patient first. Escrow closed two weeks ago and my mind is racing about what I need to do first and what tools I’ll need to buy. But I’m waiting for the surveyor to mark the boundaries for me. Nothing can happen until that is done. So here I sit practicing patience.
    I really enjoy your blog. It makes me feel like I’m part of a community and it is very informative.

  20. Rich says

    Sagely advice in this last post. My place will be a retirement abode, small and practical; the first place I will have designed for myself and lived in. If it gets done within my lifetime that will be an accomplishment. As you said “At the end of the day, all we can do is make sure that we have taken steps in the right direction”. That’s good enough for me. You might enjoy reading “just enough; lessons in living green from traditional japan” by Asby Brown. Take care . Looking forward to your future posts, Rich

  21. Dieter Dittrich says

    Hi Alyssa,
    don’t burn yourself out. Start a garden as soon as you can, a very rewarding activity. Poor soil, grow some nitrogen fixers such as beans and peas, they are tasty when pickled or canned for meals.
    I have the same instant garage behind my yurt, great storage for bulky items like kayaks which I rent during the summer, rototiller and cement/mortar/cob mixer.
    Your hot tub deck can use a neighbor by the name of root cellar. Start planting some fruit trees or berry bushes such as Haskap, which are bred at One Green World in Oregon. The flowers can handle -7 degrees with no damage, same color as blueberries, but ripen 3- 4 week earlier. They will be a hit at your farmers market. Get some mason bees to help will pollinating, they fly at a lower temperature then honey bees and are much more efficient, 1,500 per day compare to 30 for honey bees. Need to stabilize some sloped land, nothing works better than sea buckthorn, the worlds most nutritious plant, producing so much nitrogen on their fast growing roots that will provide nitrogen for neighboring plants, like elderberry, saskatoon, chokeberry(Aronia), chokecherry, sour cherries, etc., think about starting some kind of permaculture. Just some thoughts to ponder. Most of these plants take 3 years or longer to produce., except Haskap, produce 1st berries same year.

  22. Karen S. Mergner says

    Alyssa, I too am project oriented and love finishing one and starting on another. I also have difficulty relaxing and I also have back problems. What works for me is to listen to classical music, sacred music, artwork, sewing, gardening, writing letters, growing herbs, playing an instrument and simply gazing out the window or going for a walk. You could learn to tell stories, memorize poetry, etc. I love Scrabble and other word games. I am learning to color with pencils, markers and gel pens.
    I suggest three products for sore muscles: 1) Elasto-Gel lumbar heating pad and 2) Elasto-Gel neck and shoulder heating pad; both can be put in the freezer for ice packs or heated in the microwave (1-2 minutes) to provide a warm heat to help your back muscles relax. Both available from Amazon.com for approx $35.00. 3) Healthmate Forever Massage Pro-8AB is rechargeable, has four extension electrodes embedded in sticky patches you place on the affected area like your back, shoulder, foot, or knee and the control unit lets you choose the time, strength and mode of massage you prefer. There are at least 6 different massage choices. I have used these items continuously for five years. Recommended by physical therapists and will not hurt you. Remember you are loved by our Creator God as one of His children. I am a committed Christian. Blessings and peace to you. Karen.

  23. Heather says

    Hi Guys,

    I think this is a very wise plan. Can’t wait to see your new hot tub. That will no doubt help with the back pain too, especially after a long day of working on the projects.

    We’ve lived on 2 acreages (AB, Canada). The first one was a small place on 1 acre with an older house. The second one was 13 acres raw land by a beautiful 10 acre pond where we built a house (did most of it from scratch, hired the subs we needed, etc.). This took us 9 years and a ton of work. We were also both working ful-time and commuting 1.5-2 hrs to our jobs each day, plus a big garden, etc. It would take us several hours to cut the grass (weeds cut short) and in the end we burnt out, of course. Then we moved back into the city into a modest house which we completely renovated, which also took 9 years. In that time hubby changed careers and became a licensed carpenter so he’s pretty handy. We just did it for ourselves, not for resale.

    About 13 years ago we bought 4 acres of raw land on the east coast, on the ocean, and have been waiting patiently to start that journey. Hopefully, almost there. We have a little cabin about an hour from there (650 sq. ft) on 55 acres so will heat with wood. We aren’t spring chickens anymore but desperately want to get back to the land. We sold our house last summer which was good timing as the market has dropped somewhat – since our Province is based on oil and the price has been low for a while. We are just renting now and it’s so much nicer than the worry of when to sell, etc. it works out to be much cheaper as well since we don’t have taxes, high insurance, and all the other associated costs. I think we saved $700/mo. just by renting and have invested the funds from our house to retire with. We sleep well at night.

    God willing, we hope to start the journey this fall after finishing up some job contracts and the hopefully live simply (which, as you know, often isn’t, due to equipment one needs on the homestead). Our little cabin was built by a cool hippy and all the windows are on the south side and it’s an efficient shed roof design, which we love. We need to add in a mud room and insulate but have a nice shed for storage and will move our sea can there – 3000+ miles across Canada. Can’t wait but it’s scary too.

    You guys are very encouraging and thanks so much for sharing your journey.

    I will be very interested in your wood-heated hot tub post as we want to do that too, in a gazebo of sorts as the bugs out there (PEI) are voracious. I’ve written before in your blog so if I’ve repeated myself, I apologize. Take good care of each other and enjoy your spring and summer. What fun exploring your new landscape.


  24. Bobbie says

    I believe that you are making an excellent decision to slow down and relieve some pressure from your shoulders. I know it’s hard ~ we are in the same position. We purchased a foreclosure property (25.5 acres) that has been neglected terribly for years and years. The barn was ready to fall down, to the point of being dangerous. This property use to be a Christmas tree farm (many years ago) so it has hundreds (not exaggerating) of over-grown, leaning and just plain ugly trees all over the property.
    We only had a small garden tractor but managed to pull out over 150 trees so far. We kept the good wood for firewood. We burned the rest. Talk about months and months of work!
    We are closer to our 70s than our 60s so this is going slower than we anticipated. I was getting really upset and nervous that we weren’t meeting ours goals.
    Then one day I realized that something had to change. I decided to slow down, enjoy the day while working hard, and what got done would get done. At first this was a hard pill for me to swallow, however, it soon became obvious that we were getting as much done in the “relaxed” mode as we did in the high-stress mode. And it was actually enjoyable.
    At the end of the day we could “see” the improvements we made and ended up very satisfied.
    We have years of work to do here, but decided to take one day at a time and do the best we can with what we have. We also make absolutely sure that we are having fun while working too!
    I hope that you will have the same experience. Besides all this, you are building your future home from bare ground. This is going to take years, many years, so take your time, enjoy what you are working on and be appreciative of what you accomplish (small or large) every day. Don’t set hard deadlines either — that might flip you right back into the position you are in now.
    I know you two can switch gears, just don’t beat yourselves up while you’re making the transition. Eventually this will all come together for you. You aren’t be judged by anyone (except yourselves) so let it go, and enjoy your day and the fun ahead.
    Love your blog and enjoying all your pictures. Thanks for sharing your life and journey with us.

    • John says

      So many great comments and advice here, but what surprised and inspired me most were how many were from older folks like me…My wife and I are mid-50’s and on our second country place. – ten years this fall on the present one – 22 1/2 acres in Southern Ontario, Canada. I grow virtually all of our vegetables (even in the winter, via a greenhouse and “hot beds”) and keep chickens for eggs. We heat with wood as much as possible, and all of it comes from our own woodlot out back. Interesting how all us oldsters seem to have learned the same lesson – Bobbie you express it very well indeed and better than I ever could. So Alyssa and Jesse, take a giant step back, slow down and give it time. You’re young and you have so much more time than you realize at the moment. Enjoy the journey and each other.

      Sending you good wishes and thoughts,


  25. Everett Crouse says

    Watching and reading about your journey has helped me stay motivated to continue put mine together that I will soon venture on. I believe our good lord has put each an all of us that you inspire in one another’s path as we all have very similar common interests and goals. If you would ever like help, I am a carpenter by trade, and I am sure I speak for many of us whom are inspired, I would like to offer and enjoy nothing more than to spend my vacation helping you.

  26. Edith says

    Some great ideas. Sometimes we ask too much of ourselves and end up with a pile of disappointment at the end. Re-prioritizing like you’re doing will not only give your bodies and minds a break, but will set you up for success! πŸ™‚ so proud of you guys!!

  27. Eric says

    All that you’ve ever needed is inside you. You need only continue to trust that the Universe will provide, as it has your entire life.

  28. Adele says

    Hi Guys pat yourselves on the back for what you have achieved. There is an english saying. ” How do you eat elephant? One bite at a time!”
    Oh and epsom salts in your hot tub is a good muscle relaxant. And magnesium oil rubbed into the sore spots or massaged in will do wonders for a sore back.
    Enjoying your blog.

    Regards from Adele Stev

  29. Jim Forbes says

    How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Stay the course and keep the faith. I love everything you two are doing. One more thought. When I started my business back in 1987 I bought a used desk. Inside that desk was a faded piece of paper and printed on it was the one statement that has held true for the last twenty-nine years. EXPERIENCE. The totally ruthless teacher. I framed it and it still hangs in my office. Good luck and continued success.

  30. Corky says

    I believe I have a partial solution for you guys.
    I have studied every type of DIY house online and one stands out for sheer
    practicality and speed of construction.
    He built it alone in two weeks at a cost of $2000 with free windows and doors.
    Likely you have those already.
    The only thing I’d change is using a shed roof instead of the conventional style.
    Good beams under that could support the snow loads.
    The shed roof would also allow more room on the loft area upstairs.
    He uses the simplest foundation which worked.
    Also he built on a footprint of under 200 square feet so it was officially a shed
    to avoid codes.
    For power he uses solar and a generator.
    He rented gear and dug his own well.
    He uses propane for stove and fridge and heat.

    I bought his book which is a great value and he’s in north Utah, also a cold area.


    That video will introduce you.
    Building that small dwelling would enable you to sell your trailer
    and have a much more comfortable place to be.
    This house is so cheap and easy, you could start on your barn after that.

    Another more expensive but larger house is Andrew Morrison’s “Tiny House”.
    You will be surprised how much space is inside this design with a shed roof.
    He did it out of high quality materials for $23K, whereas another couple did the
    same design for less than $10K, using many recycled materials. He sells plans for it.


    Both of these guys are ethical and offer good values.

    I hope you see this, as this is the second time I’ve sent this info.

    Good luck to you both.

  31. Dena Martin says

    Soo excited for both of u! And so glad I found u on youtube!! We are doing almost the same thing this spring. In fact, we had the same conversation about what to live in on our 16 acres in Maine while we build. Decided the same thing, buy something cheap to keep us out of the elements til we finish building. Then sell it. We have bought and paid for the land and a steel quonset hut. So glad we are starting out debt free and have been saving for 2 years now. We are soooo ready to get started. Selling our house next month & getting to our property in April.
    Your videos and blog are so inspiring & we know we are part of a revolution of many that want to change our way of living… By not working our lives away!!!
    Looking forward to watching your progress while we get started on our amazing adventure. Thank you and be true to your dreams!!

  32. Fred says

    Alyssa & Jesse:

    It takes a lot of courage to live your lives as an open book—–and on line! You’ve impressed me as to how challenging meaningful goals can be to even the most disciplined among us.

    Approaching retirement I look back on my life and am reminded by your posts of similar times and experiences.

    I sense with a little self care and a beautiful summer you will recover/repair emotionally. You both are obviously very strong and young enough to enjoy rebounds. Enjoy a weekly Sabbath has a religious ritual that has saved many.

    I wonder if your experience is just how it is when you shoot for the stars.

    Best of luck

  33. Chris Roth says

    Looks like priority 1 would be to get the hot tub up and working. Then when you have body and mind burnout from all your hard laboring you can get rejuvenated/relaxed. Blessings! -Chris

  34. Carson says

    Keep up the good work. I have enjoyed watching your journey. My wife and I quickly realized that our dreams and goals for our new to us fixer upper home far surpassed what we were actually capable of doing with everything else in our lives. Take your time. Enjoy the journey!

  35. Thomas says

    You have years to live so take care of the essentials first which include a steady income. I’m sure you know all about sacrifice so keep it steady and progressively forward even at baby steps.

    Thank you for all the hard won experience. I plan on using it for my homestead in a few years.

  36. Jeremy says

    Great job guy’s,my wife and l are in our mid 50’s we are starting our nineth year .what we have found that works for us is to get into a rhythum with our Lord and the seasons.our week starts in church were we enjoy worship and building friendships,coming home and resting we both look forward to our day of rest God designed it that way.The next thing we found is to prioritize what our needs were and work with seasons.We use the winter to work inside our home we have gone from functional to finished in the last eight years in most of our home that is still a work in progress .The next season is spring we start working on putting up our fire wood,and starting our transplants .Then planting the garden from mid May until mid June and continue to do work on our wood which we try to finish by the end of June.Our next season is building season part 1,during this time we keep the garden tended and begin to enjoy the fruits of our labor and start our project for that year or season some of our projects have been a storage shed,chicken house garden shed combo,greenhouse,woodshed,workshop,generator shed,addition to the house,siding our home with reclaimed boards from my dad’s old dairy barn and many others.The next season is the harvest canning and putting up what we have grown that year and fruit we purchased that we don’t grow yet.The next season is building season part 2 when we try to finish our projects out side for that year.The last season is the holiday season a time to enjoy rest reflect and give thanks to our Lord.This is what works for us .Thank you.Jeremy&Mary

    • says

      Thanks for the recommendations Dustin! We are in the research stage right now trying to decide which would be the best route to go for a hot tub and stove. Our research is proving that there are lots of options! A sauna would be pretty awesome.

  37. says

    Love the honesty here…and people looking to go the same road need that too. Take care of yourselves or nothing else will be enjoyable. πŸ˜‰ I can’t wait to see posts about your garden and wish you a year of both productivity and recuperation.

  38. Dan says

    Be careful of that burn out thing. Been there in a serious way and it ain’t pretty. Just remember, whether you burn out, or strike out…either way you are out. It’s not a road to travel at any point in life and especially when you are just getting started. The simple life is about the journey, not the destination. Learn to love and enjoy every minute of it. Even the tough times, because that’s where the real learning comes in if you allow it. When we started our homestead journey my motto was “Keep it simple”. If it is simple to make, it’s simple to fix, and usually less expensive than something complex. Once we had that ingrained into our DNA I embraced the philosophy of “Accomplish the significant”. I still have that saying posted on my bulletin board above my desk and have patterned my past 3 years after it. It’s amazing how focusing on those two things has help to define, and refine, almost everything we do. Psalms 119:105 says..”Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. The thing we often forget in this complex world, is that it only takes a little bit of light…to show you the next step. Have fun and God Bless

  39. Shelli says

    My husband and I started the same journey in Nov of 2013 in northern Washington. With a slowing down comes a peace and bodily rythem that you are gonna love. Spring feels pressured every year as things sometimes need to be done only at this time. Relax, enjoy the world your building. God Bless

  40. Brian says

    You guys are doing a great job. It will be good to make sure you involve yourselves in the community as they will be of help to you and your journey. We are a family with two children and have begun the steps to go off the grid. Do you have any ideas on online business. My wife would like to be able to continue homeschooling and do some type of online work. We certainly have a long way to go, but it is always exciting to watch your process. God bless and relax. You are living in God’s country.

  41. Peter says

    Thanks. We have similar situation with selling some investment property and getting out of other past/present income generators.
    Question: Have your neighbors invited you to BBQs? I was thinking the same but also realized we have not been invited but done other things like a weekly walk.

  42. says

    clearing my inbox I noticed I had not opened this blog. Coming to it after watching your progress for three months is revealing. I am 76 so I have to adjust what I expect to get done,
    Now that you can relax in your hot tub. Heae is what you can do for your spine that I have discovered as a massage therapist. Once you have warmed up put a pillow under your neck on your back over the edge of the tub. Hold the edge of the tub with your hands by your shoulders. Stretch out full length and rotate the hips all the way each direction slowly. Have your spouse check for any vertebra that are not rotating and hold a gentle pull on the spinous for up to two minutes.
    The safe floating feeling , warmth and feedback from the touch allows the protective reflexes to let go and restore safe motion without a forceful adjustment.
    Know anyone else that massages people over the internet?

    • says

      Thanks for the massage tips, we may try that out! So far, the heat from the tub has felt great but hasn’t relieved us of our different back pains completely. Stretching and heat is definitely a good combination though. We have actually considered getting a massage table and putting it on the deck so that we can massage each other back to health, but we’d want to read up on technique and the body so that we understand what we are doing, rather than just rubbing skin around! I don’t know anyone else that massages people over the internet so you’re a first!!

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