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After almost 5 years of planning we’ve officially moved off the grid.
It’s a 20 acre parcel with amazing views. We’re still in Wyoming as evidenced by the lack of trees.
The property was part of a large cattle ranch that was divided in parcels from 20 to 40+ acres. When we purchased our land only one other parcel had sold. Now all but one in our area is sold and 2 houses have gone up in the last year with plans for 3 more in the next year. It’s almost a little community! We’re only the second family to actually move in full-time. The rest are building part-time or retirement properties.
The property is a pie shape. It has a draw that dissects it on the west side and two smaller draws that begin on the east side and merge when leaving the property. The draws are very popular with the deer, elk, rabbits, etc. The summer we purchased we put a shed on which became our very rough tiny house. Not like those nice tiny houses on TV. Ours had a dirt floor, we slept on cots an had an outdoor kitchen.
The next summer we broke ground for our cabin. Our very good friends harvested and milled the lumber for us then transported it here and assembled the house on site.
I got to help a little bit with putting in the foundation.
This was an exciting day when the first piece of the floor went in.
Since the property was several hours from our home we weren’t able to be as involved as we would have liked but had regular updates via pictures.
It went together very quickly. Ground breaking was July 11 and the shell was completed mid-October.
The footprint of the house is 24 x 30 with a loft space.
Over the winter the septic system was installed and last June we began working on the interior. We had a small solar system installed plus internet so I could continue to work while we also worked on the cabin. Here’s my handymen lining up the boards to start installing the loft.
The “bones” of the loft are in.
The loft is in and the wall studs are up.
These shipmen stairs are a little quirky but we love them. In the future they will have doors or drawers covering the storage cubbies. And a stair rail. Considering I have a habit of falling down stairs we’ve decided this is an important feature.
Early September we had a cistern put in. Eventually we’ll have a well dug which will fill the cistern but until then we’ll haul water from town to fill it. Joe also put up rain barrels on the house (one on each side) and one on the shed. Any future outbuildings will have water catchments added. We’ll use the harvested water for animals and crops.
The last thing we did before winter last year was to install the floor on the main level. It’s hickory with a natural stain. Isn’t it the most beautiful floor you’ve ever seen? The shine went down quite a bit once it was fully dry so it’s a lovely matte finish.
We officially moved in on March 5 after installing a propane heater on March 4. We are roughing it a bit now since the house is no where near done. While we do have a cistern it’s not hooked up to the house yet. We’ll be adding a hand pump for now. While we have a septic we don’t yet have the toilet installed so we utilize the luggable loo idea. The septic spout does come in handy for dumping the loo.
No shower/tub yet. We have an outdoor shower that Joe’s been brave enough to use but the little guy and I will be going to the local campground or a friend’s house to shower until it warms up. Of course I do hope we have an indoor bathroom in the near future. In fact, we’re planning on one downstairs and one upstairs.
The kitchen still looks very similar this picture. Most of our meals are cooked in outside in a barrel grill, on a rocket stove or in a bean hole (it’s perfect for more than just beans). We do have a propane stove for quick things and during the day time on very sunshine days I can use the crockpot. Our solar system is on the small side so we have to really pay attention to our usage. We also have a Sun Oven to use on days that aren’t too windy.
Our wood cook stove will be installed before next winter. I’m really looking forward to having this! While not known for heating it will help some and will be nice for cooking and baking. I’ve baked on a smaller wood cook stove in the past and look forward to trying it again. While we don’t have trees on our property we are near a national forest that we can get wood. It will take several cords to get us through the winter. We’re also adding a second propane heater for heat and will add a propane cook stove so we aren’t relying solely on the wood stove or our current cooking outside methods. It’s a little bit harder to cook outside during the winter in Wyoming.
It’s nice to be up at our cabin. We have only the bare essentials with us still. Most of our stuff is in a storage unit in a nearby town and there is still stuff at our old house so we’ll be going back and forth a bit. We’ve not moved our livestock up yet. We’ll get them in May. We’re fortunate that our girls are willing to ‘babysit’ the chickens, ducks and goats.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour and look back at our journey!
Learn more about cooking outside! You’ll love the Cooking Outside ebook from my affiliate partner, Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.
Another favorite book of mine for outdoor cooking is Roughing it Easy by Dian Thomas.
I use and highly recommend both of these books!
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