When I was 13 my family moved from the suburbs of Raliegh, NC to the foothills of Upstate NY to homestead. We left an upper-middle class lifestyle and everything with a electric chord to live off the land, first in a tipi, eventually moving into a cabin that we built with trees off our own property. We cooked over an open fire, hauled water from a spring, ate what we caught in traps, learned to garden, earned thick calluses and bulging muscles (even the girls!) and earned the right to tell some pretty tall tales. I have begun the account in a series of posts on this blog.

(The Episode posts are linked to each so you can read them easily in chronological order)

Episode One: The Adventure Begins
In which we leave everything we know and drive North in the middle of the night, and awaken to a whole new world.

Episode Two: Smoking Angels
In which our attempt to ‘take the land’ ends up with us stuck to our axles in mud, and God sends some interesting characters to help.

“You lived in a tipi? Are you crazy???”
With a conversation with my Dad and Mom, I’m able to (sort of) I answer the oft-asked question, “Why a Tipi?”

Episode Three: Pitching the Tipi
The art and science of arranging 18 pine logs and a really big piece of canvas to {hopefully} keep out the wind.

Episode Four: Our First Night As Indians
2 adults, 6 kids, one stove and a whole lot of drafts. Yet it was beautiful.

Episode Five: A Blustery Day, part 1
“Suddenly his voice was overwhelmed by the strongest gust of wind yet, and we saw the canvas lift, ghost-like, up and out from the poles, until we saw night over the top of the inner lining.”

Episode Six: A Blustery Day, part 2
“I could just imagine the canvas breaking free from the remaining bits of twine and flying up over the tree tops like a conical parachute.”

Looking Back Again
A few photos of my scrapbook of the tipi days.

Episode Seven: Spring on the Homestead
Winter eased its gripped and we found things to love about our new home.

Epidsode Eight: Exploring the Land
200 acres and all of it ours to explore, with the fun of naming landmarks.

Episode Nine: What’s Cooking?
What we ate and how we cooked it. Rabbit lovers, beware.

Episode Ten: Same Old Soup
The day we broke up the monotony of our typical homestead fare with a botched science experiment. (Coming Soon)

Episode Eleven: A Day in the Life of a Tipi-Dweller
I cannot say our days fell into a rhythm, for it just was not so. We had embarked on such an unknown adventure, with such a steep learning curve, that each day, if not each hour, brought new challenges and something to disrupt the fragile routine of our new life.”

Episode Twelve: The Skunk Episode
Some of our neighbors were not as friendly as others, and our attempts to define boundaries for our relationship didn’t end well. For us, or the skunk. (Coming Soon)

Episode Thirteen: How to Take a Bath in Your Fridge
“Many wondered how we handled life’s necessities in our primitive living conditions, living in a tipi for 8 months, and then a small log cabin with no running water. Here is how we took a bath…”

Of God, Mountains, and How I Met My Husband, Part 2
The account of one of our first visitors to the homestead–he came by plane, identifying us by the large circle of canvas that was the tipi. (Part 2 of the story of how I met my husband despite living in the boonies.)

Of Pancake Zoos and Native Accomidations
Although that first year on the homestead was hard, I still manage to love tipis.

Life Was Like Missionary Boot Camp
A reflection on how homestead life prepared us for whatever the future held, including living in a bus in Alabama for the summer.

A Fresh Perspective on Pee
Memories of the bathroom arrangements on the homestead give me a refreshing perspective for today.

My Year Begins With Willow
A favorite spring pastime that began that first year on the homestead.

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