As new Vermont land-owners, our first priority was to pay off the property we'd purchased. Our goal was to begin our homesteading project debt free. Just like during the lead-up to our bicycle tour, we stayed with Jodi (Tyler's mom), during the saving marathon.
In the meantime, we made lists of things to do for our eventual arrival, pored over natural building books, and gathered inspiring ideas about unconventional homes to keep us motivated. For some time, we were convinced we wanted build with cob, but eventually we decided against it, opting for more insulative strawbales.
When summer came, we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to North House Folk School, where we cut the beams for our own 12'x16' timber frame cottage. With the skeleton of our home complete, we built a scale model and began planning what to do with the real thing.
In the fall, we took a family vacation in Vermont, met with Deanne Bednar to learn about thatched roofs, visited Tim Sefton to learn about stirling engines, and took a tour of the oldest strawbale house east of the Mississippi.
Not much more than a year later, we'd paid off our land! With zero debt, and zero savings, it was time to start preparing for our cross-country move, and the beginning of the next major chapter of our lives.Start Reading!