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Accomplishing the dream.

My husband and I are accomplishing our dream. We've given up the fast life, the lucrative income and retired at 55 years old. We've moved out of the smog and turmoil of Los Angeles and into the countryside of Idaho. We're actually on the border of the Boise National Forest, 42 miles from the nearest town of Mountain Home, and 28 of those miles are on a narrow, winding dirt road.

Ten years ago, Jim bought 40 acres amidst the pine trees, with the goal of building his own house someday, and now we're doing it together.

We're fortunate because we can live in my brother-in-law's vacation cabin while we're building. We travel seven more miles up the mountain road to work on our house. Our budget is tight, so most of the materials we use are recycled. The windows, sheet rock, chip-board and boxes of caulking were purchased from a Boise auction. We also bid on boxes and boxes of ceramic tile to use on the bathroom walls and kitchen counters. They're different colors so mixing and matching them will be a test of our artistic abilities.

We refinished an old used claw-foot bathtub, and dream of finding a used pedestal sink one day.

Jim has made all the doors, inside and outside, out of rough lumber and recycled hinges and latches.

The local river will supply the rock for the fireplace and for the path leading to our front door.

Not all has gone well, however. We've had our share of mishaps. A misjudgment while banging a nail into a window frame shattered the entire pane. We poured cement floors for the east and west porch without reinforcing them with steel. A few months later they shrank away from the house. Wheel-barrow by wheelbarrow we had to repour, this time reinforcing.

We forgot to put vents in the upper and lower crawl spaces so had to drill out holes in the cement to make room for them.

Chipmunks chewed through the plastic covering over bags of cement. After the last storm we were left with hard, solid blocks.

Because of the long drought our spring has dried up. We are faced with the prospect of digging a well unless we're blessed with a long, snowy winter.

A huge forest fire threatened our house a few weeks ago. The local people made fire lines with tractors and shovels and saved it until the firefighters could take over.

Some mornings I wake up scared, wondering what I'm doing away from the city and K-Mart. But soon, Jim, with his indomitable optimism, makes me laugh. We remind each other of our dreams -- a root cellar, a greenhouse, fruit trees, a bird sanctuary.

We're learning to garden in a new climate. Someday, instead of just batteries and a generator, we'll have solar power.

This adventure has rejuvenated our relationship and given us a spiritual freedom. With perseverance and the encouragement of our Countryside magazine we'll finish our house and truly call ourselves homesteaders. -- Teresa Andrews, Mountain Home, Idaho
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:homesteading
Author:Andrews, Teresa
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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