Building A Homestead From Scratch
This latest contribution in our Resilience Spotlight series, featuring stories from Peak Prosperity readers, comes from reader Sebastian. He and his family have spent the past year building their own resilient homestead from scratch.
Sebastian here wanting to give PP readers an update of our last year or so, starting our homestead. It has been and continues to be an amazing journey filled with learning.
We are in our home now and have been for a couple of months. The family has had time to relax, stretch out and to begin to re-establish ourselves in our new home/community.
The build was an epic effort, 90% done by myself with great support from our neighbors. The year of the build I would describe as a mini-crash. What I mean by that is that we went from a standard urban setting in our own home with the conveniences of a city within a 5 minute drive. To living rurally, 30 mins away from town into a 24’ 5th wheel. By today’s standards, we went down a couple of notches in standards of living.
No hot water (unless boiled in a kettle), outhouse, dishes cleaned outside, laundromat laundry, frozen water lines, and showers once a week at the neighbors’ house. Through all 4 seasons and with 3 kids going to school.
Generally, I worked 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week. More than a few times we questioned our sanity and were pushed to our breaking point. But had limited options except to continue forward.
One of the biggest take-aways from the “mini-crash” was how important mental strength is. Without it people will flounder in the best of situations, let alone during a prolonged crisis.
Now that we have been in our home and are starting to settle, the positives of this move are becoming more and more evident.
We have meaningful relationships with our neighbors, we trade our skill sets and are beginning to integrate into the broader community. Our hope for the next couple of years is to continue to work on the systems that will bring us further resiliency across the 8 forms of capital.
It has been a hard fought road to willingly pursue. But it is filled with meaningful purpose.
I want to thank you Chris, Adam and the broader PP community. Without all the great accumulation of knowledge and resources at PP.com, we would likely not be on this journey.
Timeline & pictures below.
Ted retired builder/carpentry instructor, back-filling our foundation. Literally the best neighbor to move next to:
Oscar helping level the floor one little shovelful at the time:
Nature’s wonder at our doorstep:
August 2nd, 2018 — Our lumber package arrives:
August 26th, 2018 — Framing is mostly completed with Ted great help:
Sept. 6th, 2018 — Roofing membrane completed literally the night before the PNW winter rains came in:
Oct 20th, 2018 — House is at lock up:
Nov 27th, 2018 — Our ponds are dug and 5 acres are cleared:
March 10th, 2019 — Drywalling with Omar:
May 3rd, 2019 — The home is coming along. Not sure what Oscar is doing 🙂
May 11th, 2019 — Braving the cold and going for the years first swim:
May 26th, 2019 — Oscar helping with the hardwood:
June 3rd, 2019 — Omar and Maya whitewashing their TnG ceiling:
June 20th, 2019 — A very happy wife in a 1000$ kitchen. It’s amazing what some folk will throw out:
July 3rd, 2019 — The kids helping build their bunk bed frames:
August 30th, 2019 — Having some fun:
To share your own story, email us at [email protected]
Here is a 6 min video I took recently. It’s of a walk around to all four corners of our property.
What a beautiful series of pictures. Your place looks well put together and your family looks like they are having the time of their lives. Well done!
PS: I love the floor.
The floor was one of the jobs the kids really got into as the boards where fairly short and easy to handle for them. It has been an arduous but very meaningful build. I’m really looking forward to the work outside the home, the earthworks (swales), planting, fencing etc…one step at the time 🙂
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by sebastian.
Nice to hear we aren’t the only family doing this type of thing. We moved into an unfinished tiny house (off grid) in early September, currently still finishing it off so that we can survive the winter and start on our permanent home in the spring. I’d love to hear more about your ponds, how did you determine their locations? Did you seal them? How are they fed water (rain water catchment?)? Thanks
What you’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time is really incredible. It looks like you have a beautiful home and that your family is thriving. Congrats.
Our ponds came about as an aside from our logging. Specifically our top large pond. We started logging in September, when the rains came and raised the water table we began to notice that we had an amazing amount of water moving through the property. It had been hidden underneath the humus layer of the forest. We decided to put the top pond as high up on the land as possible as that is an important part of a permaculture design. Next up will be to build slightly off contour swales to move water slowly from the upper pond down towards the bottom four ponds. As far as sealing the ponds go the bottom ponds hold water all year and have flow as the water table is quite high. The upper pond holds water from around now til mid June. I’m hoping to extend the “full pond” time through the summer, so far I have my roof runoff as well as a home made ram pump adding water to the pond. I’ll see how it goes this summer and then decide if gleaming the pond with bentonite clay is worth the labour/expense. The design aspect is one of the funest parts.
From the look of the forest, It looks like you may be in the inland Pacific Northwest. Just wondering if we are neighbors. Congrats on all your hard work and the results.
We are coastal PNW, near Lund BC. I feel very blessed to be in this spot. It’s got the ocean 3km away lakes and rivers endless forests and reasonable growing weather. Town is 25km away not too far but not too close 🙂
Love BC , my wife and I always enjoy our trips up there. Its only 40 or 50 miles to the border from our house. We actually looked into what it might take to become citizens there many years back. We concluded it would be best to be a boat person or a billionaire if wanting to move to Canada.