Awakening the Homesteader
We came to the Bruce Peninsula in 1989 with a dream to become more self-sufficient and to live a lifestyle that was more in step with our natural surroundings. What better way to start than to build a house from the forest that surrounded us! We had very little carpentry experience and no log building experience. We had a few nay sayers, but we decided that it could be done. We were right!
We left our jobs in Mississauga, stored our belongings, and headed up to the Bruce Peninsula to live in the forest for a couple of years, to build our house and along with it, a new life. The two years we spent building hold some of our fondest memories. It was a wonderful time, filled with learning, freedom, simplicity and, of course, some trial, tribulation and hard work.
Our goal was to build our own house using as many local resources as possible in an ecological manner, and in the end, remain debt free. By the time we were thirty years old, those goals had been met!
Harvesting the trees for our log work, beams, shingles, ceiling and floor, was both economical as well as ecological. We had the control to selectively remove the material in a thoughtful way with very little impact on the land base. The majority of our building material had only to move from the forest to our building site. We also used stone for our foundation that was either extracted on site or locally from farmers' fields.
Over the years we have added an addition to the house and built the straw bale shop/studio, always trying to remain true to our original goals. People who come to visit and work with us often say we are an inspiration for them towards their own dreams of self-sufficiency. For those who doubt their own abilities to do what we have done, we tell them, "Hey, if we can do it, so can you". All you really need is a burning desire, an openness to learn and the fortitude to stick with it.