Friday, October 30, 2009


When we moved to Vermont four years ago, we did so deliberately

~to live in a rural area where the cost of housing is affordable

~where we wouldn't be alone in choosing to work toward a more self-sufficient, local economy

~where we would be reminded constantly about the need to rely on God (living close to nature and not relying on a 9 to 5 job)

When our family made these decision, we also decided that earning money, while a reality, wouldn't be our family's life. In doing so, we chose to leave a lifestyle of consumerism and chose to conserve, re-use, and make-do.

Our first year in Vermont was not so radical as we rented a house in a small northern village.

Our next two and a half years were spent in our off grid mobile home three miles down a gravel road. Now we are just one mile further down that gravel road. We have been blessed with a rustic cottage that is large enough to fit our family, friends, hens and soon - goats, sheep and gardens.
Now, more than ever, we are deliberate and thoughtful about how we spend. We don't spend unless it is absolutely necessary and has been well thought out.

What this is leading to is the projects that we to attend to around our homestead. There are many, many areas where one does not see beauty. However, I have a vision of what it will become. We don't have money, though, to hire backhoes, buy landscaping plants, buy materials for walkways, fences or even to fix up our barn right now. I am not sure if we did have extra money if that is how we would choose to spend it either. (with six children, someone always truly needs something).

We make-do. We also wait and pray and it is amazing that the very thing I had been praying for will either be offered to us from a family member or friend or we will find in a free pile or at a yard sale or thrift shop.

After we bought our home this summer and had a foundation put under it, we have been left with lots of ugliness. There are piles of soil, some with the large concrete foundation blocks that the house used to rest on. Here is an example:
(That wheelbarrow was one that was thrown away. My husband built a new handle and it is an often used tool on our homestead!)

While digging around this area, I discovered a neglected garden with excellent soil. (A wonderful find when much of the ground is full of clay.) This will become our herb and early greens garden. I didn't want to look at those big ugly concrete blocks, however, so I am in the process of building a branch fence to put right in front of them. I will plant sweet peas in front of the fence and I can envision the beautiful flowers and green vines climbing over the fence this summer. I piled up rocks around the well head as a worked in the garden. There was trash to remove. I found some flat rocks to add to our entryway walkway. (The chickens enjoyed finding insects and worms while we were cleaning up!)

While I don't have a lot of beauty to share today, I can imagine the beauty that will result from the work of our hands.

Warm wishes. Tonya


  1. I think you post was full of beauty, your imagination, faith and testiment is the beauty. Thanks for your continued inspiration!

  2. What a great post! As someone who's family is on the path to getting out of the corporate world (my husband is a banker and is going to quit soon...shhhhh) it is nice to read a post like this. Re using is such a great way to make things work. We also find that when we put things out into the universe through thought or words we will find what we seems so simple!
    Thanks Tonya!

  3. Beautiful! Oh, those concrete blocks..We just built a huge wall & patio entirely out of concrete & gravel. The garage floor had to be pulled up and we reused it. I' have also used the chunks for stepping stones. Love reading your blog

  4. Having a vision is so important and can help you be content with what you have. Good things come to those who wait. I've found this in my own life over and over. Thanks for sharing! Your house is awesome and I can really see the potential.

  5. I'm so glad you came by for a visit! Our house is blue and white, too :). It looks like you're off to a very good start for next year's garden.

    I read in your other post about St. Nicholas Magazine~It's one of my favorites from the 1800s. I, too, marvel at the level of intelligence children were expected to have back then.

    Blessings to you and yours today,


  6. I so love reading your blog. You post was so full of inspiration and hope. It's frustrating sometimes to look around and see projects you want to do but don't have the time or money to work on. Learning to see the beauty in everyday life, as you do is something more people should work on mastering. I'm thrilled that you found such a wonderful spot for your herb and early greens garden. Yay!

  7. I started to write a comment and it became a blog post in it's own right. :o) Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Hello, Tanya. I've been reading for a while and enjoying a view into your life! I am quitting my job in 3 weeks (yikes!). We live on a farm and raise about 80% of our food but both hubby and I have been working 45 min away....I'm really nervous.....thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Hi Tonya,
    Your family is so rich!.....Rich in many ways that have nothing to do with money! What a beautiful life style you have chosen! I wish you and your family all the best on this homesteading adventure!

  10. Tonya,

    We have so many things that need to get done...but we just don't have the money right now. Our basement flooded 2 monthes ago we had to pull off dry wall.It looks like a real mess but it will get fixed someday. I look at many things and know it will happen in Gods time...which I believe:)

    I love reading your blog because you are "real" and it is nice to see someone trying to live debt free!

    Do you happen to have a few menus that you do weekly. I am having a hard time coming up with lunches that a cheap but healthy. Any idea's would be helpful.

    I will be renewing my subscription soon!! Just give a little more time:)

    Renee aka Lynn

  11. HI Tonya,
    Love seeing how everything is going:-) Since moving to our homestead the reality of waiting on God hits you. There is never enough money, but living simply is the greatest reward because we "simply" don't worry about it.God is in control:-)

  12. what courageous souls you are! thanks for sharing all of this neat to see someone getting away from it all to live life to the fullest. Good for you all.

  13. Dear Tonya, Thank you so much for sharing a part of your family's beautiful story with us!