Who We Are:
We are Mark and Bailey, the couple that was given a cabin.
We were married on February 8th, 2015 and never could have imagined what the Lord had in store for us! In July 2016, we purchased our cabin and 11.5 acres of land. Then our house in town, which had been on the market since early fall, unexpectedly sold in January. This forced us to move into our cabin in the middle of a Minnesota winter unprepared, but we were willing to take a step of faith and have an adventure. We never planned to go through winter (and spring and summer) without electricity, a well, plumbing, or a bathroom; but, here we are, doing just that and hoping to complete the installation of these utilities in the short window of decent weather that Minnesota supplies! Woohoo!
How We Got Here:
You could say it all started because of the neighbors; the neighbors and their house and their sit-down dinners that I could see from where I stood in my kitchen just a few feet away. Or it could have started with the mailman who would scare me to death because every time he put mail in the box affixed to our house it sounded like someone was breaking in. I could also place the blame on all the dog-walkers. It was an asset that our house stood so close to a beautiful park but not if you jump at every head you see bob past your living room window or find someone standing in front of your house apparently waiting for their dog to either pee or move on…. And then there were the voices. Not in my head–the ones that belonged to some neighbor somewhere that was having a conversation I could always hear but never see.
Alright, I’ll admit it: it really all started with me and my desire for more privacy. My city-born husband didn’t always notice when it was time to close the curtains so that every passerby couldn’t see into our house at night, nor did it cross his mind that maybe we should be fully clothed when walking from one end of the house to the other.
We started poking around online looking at houses and land in our area, nothing intense, no plan in mind, just looking. But the idea of land and doing whatever we wanted with it had taken root in my husband and he couldn’t stop looking. So, since we couldn’t stop, we decided to go for it and began to seriously look at properties. The simple idea of wanting a home with more privacy—fed by our dreams, creativity, and ambition—quickly grew into a desire for a different kind of life.
People assume that we set out to homestead.
People assume we did it because we love nature.
People assume we wanted to get into natural living.
Nope! We moved to the country because we want a life of creating. While living in town we began noticing just how much we consumed and how little we created. We consumed grocery store food without thought, outrageous amounts of entertainment by way of movies, TV shows, and music; we consumed pleasure after pleasure each seemingly more meaningless and fleeting than the last and padded our lives with comfort after comfort. We were rich in abundance, poor in gratitude; masters of passivity and amateurs of active living. We wanted a change and to us this meant purchasing a piece of land and thereby laying the foundation for long-term goals. Our land is to us as a blank page is to a painter: full of possibilities. It is here where we feel like we can build, create, and grow—a garden as well as ourselves.
When I think of what we have done, this verse comes to mind:
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
We didn’t know what would happen when we started shopping for property. We didn’t know what would happen when we put our home in town up for sale. We didn’t know how we were going to manage living in a property without electricity or running water and with a compost toilet and a woodstove. We didn’t know how any of these things would go, but we took our step and planted it firmly on the promise that God would show us the path of life. At the end of the day, no matter what we do, our satisfaction and our joy only comes from God because of Jesus Christ. Whether our venture here is an epic failure or a smashing success, the bottom line is that we walked with the Lord through it all. That alone makes a worthwhile life.
What This Blog is About:
This blog is about us making a home for ourselves in the woods of Northern Minnesota starting with a rustic cabin and a dream. Our dream is to transform out property into our dream home with the best of both rural life and modern conveniences. We plan to bring our cabin up to modern standards and then build a house on our property and turn the cabin into a guest house. On this blog you will find stories of our misadventures, tutorials, and topics such as:
- country living
- caring for animals (currently we have cats but are talking about goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, a cow, a donkey, dogs, and bees)
- planting an orchard
- building a bathroom, a garage, a house
- organizing in a small space
- living without utilities
- creative projects (watercolor, woodburning, around the house DIY’s)
- bullet journaling
- the Christian life
- learning to make homemade food and products
- books we are reading
- basically, all the aspects that make up our life!
If you love any of these things then you’ll feel right at home here! We started this blog to record our adventures, share our life with friends and family, and to try our hand at blogging (because we don’t have enough new things going on!). This is our life. Real. Messy. Honest. Uncertain. Dare I say: vulnerable. We’re glad you’re here and we hope you enjoy this piece of our life.
Mark: he’s the one who does most—I mean ALL—of the building around here. As he should, he is the engineer after all. Mark currently works full time as a mechanical engineer about 20 miles from home and studies biblical theology through the Grace Institute of Biblical Studies. He enjoys building things, designing things, planting things, growing things, and nurturing life (I’m sure blessed to be his wife!). He is currently interested in learning more about home construction, permaculture, masonry heaters, straw bale homes, planting orchards and building chicken coops.
Bailey: I take care of the house, the animals, dabble in watercolor and woodburning, manage my book blog called A Beautiful Bookshelf, and work part time as a cake decorator. I love to read fiction, attend book clubs, practice yoga, love up my cats, write, keep my husband fed, organize, create art, and watch movies. I am currently interested in learning more about canning, homemade beauty products, wielding power tools for around-the-house projects, and dog training.