I was a child of the wide open Plains, tucked away in the woods of Missouri, drunk with the sights and smells of the forest. Each new discovery was a thrill, the little stream tucked under the brush, the large wolf spiders that guarded their trees, and the perfect spot to build our home hidden in an overgrown clearing. I was living a childhood dream, singing to the song of my pioneer blood.
The camper that was to be our tiny home while we built was not new, but it was well taken care of. I quickly set about figuring out what was important enough to tuck into the tiny space we had. Everything else stayed in the horse trailer. The first order of business was to build a corral for Sugar, my little mare. Then we began to clear a place for the trailer and our home. I found a job 57 miles away and began my daily commute. That winter I learned how to change flat tires and that even a 4 wheel drive won’t go up the hill on the ice.
In the summer I bought my goats, Chloe and Tinkerbell. They were both in milk and I quickly discovered that the tiny kitchen in the trailer just wasn’t enough to make cheese. Since the kitchen table was generally a place where everything I should have put away but hadn’t collected, we decided to remove it and put in some more counter space. The kitchen table from our old home was cut up for that purpose and the benches that went with it became my milk stand.
One thing about living off-grid in the woods is you discover just how much of everything you use. We purchased a couple of large tanks for water and some of our wonderful neighbors let us fill them when we needed to. Our heat and cooking were propane, although we did get a wood stove for our second winter. Our big expense was gasoline. I was driving 114 miles every day and using a generator is not the most efficient way to produce electricity, even when you only use it a little. It became obvious that our “utility” costs off-grid were more than they would be in town.
There was something else that began to bother me during this time. We were taking this bit of wildness and slowly taming it. The clearing grew, the road was graded, and the goats pruned the trees all around us. The spiders, unhappy with the commotion, left. I hated driving so much and the sight of all the small animals killed on the road during my twice daily trips made me terribly sad. Then we discovered that in order for us to have electricity brought in we needed a well and the foundation for a home that was at least 1000 square feet, much larger than we had planned. I had wanted to go back in time, but the modern world kept intruding.
It was time to look for something else.
- Hanging On – Steps to Simplifying Part 1
- Letting Go – Steps to Simplifying Part 2
- Even Less – Steps to Simplifying Part 3
- Walking the Path – Steps to Simplifying Part 4