Saturday, January 7, 2012

Modern Day Pioneers

Thursday, I finally got to visit my think-out-of-the-box, can-do spirited friends, the Harvey's, at their dream-home-in-progress on 8 acres of Missouri prairie.

The back story.

They lived in a small house in Independence, MO, tolerating suburban living while dreaming of acearage and an energy efficient home (their dream home).

Most people think of a dream home being sprawling, spacious and castle-like

(well, I do, anyway! ha!)

Not Amy and Robin.

Small footprint, efficient use of a small space and eco friendly materials.

The "big" part of their dream was land, animals, a vegetable garden and a machine shed for Robin's power tools and antique car tinkering.

Fast forward to last spring.

They sold their suburban home too quickly and suddenly found themselves moving to land that had nothing but a Morten shed (large metal clad barn).

They lived, er, camped in the barn for 4 months before they even broke ground for their house.

Remember the 103*(F) days this summer in Missouri?

They lived through it without air conditioning.

They are brave and insane.

But living the dream nonetheless.

The Pioneers (left to right)- Max (13), Amy (artist, experimental cook, health food devotee), Robin (photographer, jack of all trades)

When I visited with them, they were living in the basement of their Amish modular log cabin, bought as a kit and they had done the construction themselves, with the help of family and friends.

I was/am in awe.

I got a tour of their former barn apartment (now Robin's wood shop and general storage), the upper floors of their cabin home (studded in and waiting for wiring, some limited plumbing, plank flooring, a few windows and dry wall).

They are doing all of the construction debt-free, using Craig's list for builders' surplus (like the energy effecient windows throughout) and salvaged materials (wood flooring from houses slated for demolition).

I am in awe.

Their footprint is about 680 square feet and is all they will pay taxes on (according to the county they live in).

The upper floors are property tax free.


The upper floors will have spiral stair case and ship's ladder access so precious space is not wasted on grand staircases. The house is adorable inside!

Like a luxury treehouse.

Speaking of luxury...

... Here is the fancy accomodations for the chickens.

Three hens and a rooster.

Inside the walls are painted with words of affirmation to encourage happy fowls and good egg production.

"You are EGGcellent egg layers!"

And above each box of straw,

"deposit here"

(with directional arrows).

Their water trough is painted with their own patron saint (attached to the inside of the clean out door).

Amy lavishes her talents in unusual places.

The chickens are a blessed brood.

Lunch was simple but wonderful.

Sorry, all I am showing you is the empty dishes.

We had vegetable soup made from duck stock

(the poor duck was put out of his misery because he had a broken leg)

and home made bread generously spread with home made pesto, which I brought

(saved it, in my freezer, just for this visit, since July;

thawed, it tasted just like summer!)

With a bottle of Missouri wine- heaven!
The visit was too short and I was already planning my return trip even as I left.
I was totally inspired.
And I want to bring my kids next time so they can run around the 8 acres with Max,
in wild abandon.
I'll take more pictures next time.


khess136 said...

What a wonderful adventure for your friends, Nathalie! And to think of the BIG difference their making with their "footprint"....amazing! I believe that it makes each of us stop to think and ask "What can I do differently to make a positive change on the planet?" Thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to more photos!

Kathy said...

So happy for this family. What a fun and interesting blog post you did...I loved it. Except for the duck stock *eeekkk* I wish them many happy years in their dream home. I dare say, they deserve it.

carole brungar said...

It's a huge lifestyle change. I'm so jealous they have chooks and such a lovely chook house :))

Linda said...

Amazing!! Yes, we all have different ideas of our dream home, don't we! Good for them!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I love these people and their debt free approach to make their own home on the prairie. We built our log home 25 years ago and did as much as we possibly could ourselves...I never want to move. Thank you for sharing this creative living story. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Margaret said...

inspiring post, what pioneering spirit they all have, love the chicken house and the artistic touches! Mx

Joanna said...

Nathalie I loved all of this interesting post - but you know the bit I keep coming back to? The chickens' water trough - I ADORE what Amy has done there! So sweet and imaginative and clever!


ooglebloops said...

A smaller eco friendly footprint is a dream of mine!!! But, these friends have done a great job!! I especially LOVE the chicken condo!!!!! With art, no less!!!