Welcome to homesteading, west county Sonoma style. In 1997, when my wife and I bought 40 acres in the coastal hills of Sonoma county, the hinterlands to us at the time, we had nothing close to a master plan, to be honest, we had no plan at all. What we did have was a lot of energy, enthusiasm and a passion for conservation. In our first years we learned what we could from good old fashioned books, trial and error and lots of “mistakes”!(see crisis is opportunity) . We shot from the hip and lived on a shoestring. Our funky first cabin (measuring a colossal 10 X12 feet, just under code (link to Sonoma county code) was built from recycled lumber we gathered from demolition sites in SF, long before it was trendy. Nowadays, the clear heart redwood that we got for the price of a sixpack goes for $10 a foot! And in all likelihood the redwood could have been timbered in our west co. neighborhood after the 1906 earthquake, everything comes full circle. We were honored to rescue this beautiful wood from the landfill!
With a book on “how to build” (link to book) in one hand and a hammer in the other we used this wood to build a leak proof cozy cabin; no small feat in Cazadero”, where of 10 feet of rain annually is the “norm”. For the first three years we made this tiny cabin our weekend “retreat”, keeping our flat and our jobs in S.F. until we found a way to “jump off”. We met very few neighbors in those early days and spent our time working our humble homestead or hiking the rugged hills. While are proud to have learned so many things the “hard way” but eventually we discovered that we had landed in a community full of self reliant, creative and friendly folk and our homesteading life got a lot easier. These back-to landers had faced many of the same challenges and then some! Everyone had a story about overcoming obstacles and most were happy to share their hard earned wisdom. And, bonus, we started making solid friendships and knew that we had truly found our home with a place in this community.
And that my friend, is why this blog exists. We want to help fellow clueless homesteading hopefuls by sharing our journey and lessons and maybe a few laughs.