Everyone knows the steps to the dance: Work hard, buy a house, perfect the lawn, buy stuff, have kids, buy a bigger house and more stuff, work harder to afford more, forget about sleep, reschedule that vacation, clean the giant house, fix the broken fence, run to the next task, run, run, run...
The dance is the Suburban Shuffle. The problem we have here, you see, is that neither of us like to dance.
So, with the goal of escaping the stress of the shuffle, we are attempting something considered uncommon; let's call it modern homesteading. No, not like Little House on the Prairie. More like Tony Stark on a camping trip. But how do we do it?
We both have full-time careers and high-tech hobbies, but we also want the serenity of homesteading. We dislike the cluster and crowding of suburban life, yet we don't want the maintenance, responsibility, or spatial commitment of livestock and/or farming to make our living. We want to be able to travel and participate in activities away from the constant attention required of a typical homestead. Our goal is to achieve the best of both worlds.
To find that balance we crave, we need to create a house and cultivate a property that is largely energy-independent, with a food and water supply that is at least partially self-sufficient, and ensure that the long-term maintenance is minimal. That means the initial investment will be high, but the long-term labor and material cost for repairs will be low. This is especially important given the uncertainty of such repair costs in the coming decades. We'll also be able to reduce the initial investment by doing the bulk of the work ourselves.
So what are we building to make that dream a reality? It’s an off-grid, super-efficient, tornado-safe, earth-bermed, ICF small house with a green roof on 100 mostly wooded acres. Our guiding design goals are for it to be minimal,
simple, robust, and redundant. Our philosophy is that our legacy and impact should far outweigh our footprint.
As for the land itself... it’s our own little paradise that we’ve named the Hundred Acre Wood. We’ve always wanted a forest to ourselves, with bluffs, creeks, and diverse terrain with just enough open land to plant food for ourselves.
This one nailed all of those requirements, and even has multiple gorgeous waterfalls here on the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains. We will be stewards of our young woods, returning it to its former glory as an old-growth forest and ensuring protection long after we're gone. This is one beautiful little corner of Alabama we want to preserve and foster, and eventually aim to turn the Hundred Acre Wood an educational destination for sustainable living and environmental stewardship.
We hope you’ll continue to follow us as we break down the technical details and processes involved in the build!