It is nothing less than a miracle... one of many, actually. Two aging, homeless, penniless people, brought together in the desert to build themselves a cozy little home out of the dirt from the ground. Everyone deserves affordable housing, and we found ours in rammed earth construction.
We met as we both obtained minimal wage jobs for the same employer, in our remote area of Arizona. Very much appreciated, our local jobs provided cash flow to fund the project without the hour or more drive that would have been necessary for higher wages. Even though income was low, we had no debt and lived frugally, so we could pay as we went and avoid incurring debt. (Debt is a huge stressor, and stress kills! My Dad always said, "If I can't pay for it I don't need it!" Haven't lived that ideal perfectly, but it has provided a star to navigate by.)
A year of weekends we spent hand digging the footing in solid to decaying granite and preparing the massively reinforced forms for the cement foundation to support the earthen walls. Two more years we spent ramming the walls. One bag of Portland cement purchased at a time, mixed with the mountain of earth excavated from the building site and pounded into 20 inch thick walls to insulate from the high desert heat of summer and cold winds of winter. Another 10 months of building rafters, putting roof up, hand mixing and pouring the floors inside, installing plumbing and electrical, framing and finishing walls, putting in doors and windows, stuccoing, plastering and painting the rammed earth walls inside, roughing in some shelving and counters for kitchen & bath, and finally, moving in! It is small, (less than 600 sq ft) but compared to the 21 ft. travel trailer we shared for 4 years it feels palatial!
The mixing of the earth with cement and ramming it into walls was so physically demanding that we could only do it for 3-4 hours at a time. So, while building the house, we also built a barn, chicken coop, processing room, workshop, fencing and cross fencing, purchased goats and began the milking/cheese & soap making, and established the basic garden. Like I said, it was a miracle! God guided us here to prepare ourselves for whatever is coming down the pike, and gave us the strength, energy and income to do it.
For a few years we even had the energy to go singing and dancing on Friday nights. We don't watch TV; we don't play video games; we read for a few minutes before zonking out at night. We're up early to milk goats and do our morning chores before sunrise. We eat good, mostly home grown and take our vitamins and a little home made wine (for endurance. :-) We have fun working together building our little piece of paradise here in the desert....a work in progress. Our hope is that others will find in our experiences, inspiration and encouragement to persevere and achieve their own dreams, whatever they may be. To those who say, "You can't do that!", I echo my Mom's favorite statement,
"There is no such thing as 'can't!'"
Following closely after water and food, shelter is a most basic of human needs. We both wanted a home; a place that would shelter us into our old age. As we looked around and found our only resource to be dirt, we decided to fashion ourselves a home out of it. People have been providing shelter for themselves out of local materials since the beginning of time. Modern humanity has lost much of its survival ability due to a lack of confidence in their own intelligence, abilities and Faith in a Power bigger than they for guidance. I'll say, our success has been primarily due to the Faith factor, as our combined intelligence and abilities are nothing exceptional! Every crisis and roadblock along the way was met with heartfelt prayer for guidance. Answers generally came in the wee hours of the morning as an "AHA" moment, or an idea, or a thought of someone we knew who might be able to direct us. There have been unexpected angels dressed in human form who showed up to lend a hand at critical moments, too. Friends and neighbors we have been abundantly blessed with here in our piece of heaven on earth. There is just no way to describe the incredible feeling we shared as we watched the walls of our home-to-be, grow up out of the ground around us. It was like Mother Earth was embracing us in her womb with warm, loving and nurturing energies. There is no way to describe the feeling of "walking with God" as we persevered beyond anything we personally were capable of. It was truly a magical, miraculous life experience, highly recommended to everyone! (What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!) :-)
Freedom-Farm is our little piece of paradise in the desert. It is a self-sufficiency farmstead and is the inspiration for the information that will be found throughout the website and its affiliated members. If we can do it anyone can! We felt strongly the need at this time and place in history, to share the miracles we have experienced as we "Advance confidently in the direction of our dreams...". It encompasses goat farming, cheese making, soap making, high desert gardening, canning, drying, solar power and other experiments/experiences in self-sufficiency.