Dropping Out of the Rat Race for a Self-Sufficient Life
Tom Kerr writing on self-sufficient living…
America is on the move. More and more folks are seeing the light and taking back control of their lives. I’m always curious about the different ways they choose to make a success of it.
Recently, Zacharay Bauer told me how he cut his costs, became self-sufficient, and earns with an online business in an off-grid home.
Zachary and his wife, Jaimie, left St Louis in 2012 and moved their family to a remote 56-acre homestead site they dubbed “An American Homestead,” on a gorgeous mountaintop in the Arkansas Ozarks, near Huntsville, Arkansas.
“I see more deer than I do people some days,” he says. “The cost of living here is so much lower, I don’t have to work that much. And I haven’t paid a utility bill or a water bill for five years.
“I was a computer website developer, working in an office cubicle and making really good money,” Zachary explains. “But I wanted to get out of the city, grow my own food, and have a better life.
“I love that I can just do what I want. This week I’m going to pick up more sheep, a heritage breed, to expand our herd. And I love to garden. You can’t get better food than you grow in your garden.
“I’m growing onions, garlic, potatoes, squash, spinach, lettuce, green beans and pinto beans, all kinds of stuff. We have two peach trees, they are doing well, and apricot, cherry, and apple trees. There’s also a pomegranate tree growing in the greenhouse.
Not only does Zachary have his own food source…he’s also able to live comfortably without being beholden to the utility companies.
“We got out here and liked the land. But it was going to cost so much to get the electric utilities hooked up, we lived off-grid for 10 or 11 months. Then we just thought we’ll keep living this way.
“There were two wells on the property when we got here, that were hand-dug back in the 1800s, and we drilled another deeper one for drinking water.
“I’ve run aquaponics pumps with solar, I can run a fridge or freezer, and we charge our laptops and phones and video cameras. Inside the house, we heat with wood. I’m not a doomsday prepper, but I do like to be prepared. The world’s a mess, and if things get really bad I will be least affected by it out here.”
And he’s able to generate income from his land – and his laptop – while living his dream life in the mountains.
“I have a sawmill, and I have a bunch of logs I need to get down there and cut. A lot of cedar logs, they make beautiful lumber that is resistant to insects. I will hopefully start selling some of it soon, and we recently got a solar-powered kiln to dry our lumber. We also have some wind turbines, and up here on top of the mountain we have tons of wind, especially during winter.”
The only utility on the homestead is a telephone. Zachary called the phone company and they said, “If we put a phone line out there, how are you going to run it without power?” He replied, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll power it with solar.”
Zachary also got a DSL line for internet, which allowed him to launch a website and video channel.
“It’s fast enough for me to continue doing some of my website development work on the side,” he says. “We live in a time today where you can work remotely and make a living.
“I quit the rat race. It’s a lot easier to do that these days than it used to be.”
Editors Note: Zacharay Bauer owns and runs An American Homestead.
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