from Survival Blog:
When our family moved to our ranch/retreat, we spent the first year living in a 30-foot travel trailer in the barn. With five kids, ages fourteen down to one years old, it was a tight squeeze. That was some good rustic living experience; we used a wood stove for cooking, an outhouse as our toilet, solar showers, and solar power. We gained a lot of new skills and gained the motivation to get the old farm house fixed up and livable. Living in the barn also gave us and the kids a new appreciation for hot water, flush toilets, and gas cook stoves. Even running water at times was a luxury. Electrical power was a challenge, and getting the solar system working properly has been a learning curve that I am just getting the hang of after two years.
We spent weeks cleaning up the old farm house, beating back the weeds and blackberries, and fixing broken windows, pipes, and sagging floors. Needless to say it has been a lot of sweat equity, passion, tears, and work at side jobs to get to where we are today. There is still a lot to do, and I’m sure it will never be all done. However, that is okay, since this has always been a dream of ours to work together as a family in a situation where Dad is neither gone all day nor Mom run ragged trying to keep up with all the extra-curricular activities. A lot of sacrifices have been made along the way to get out of debt and downsize to break free from the golden handcuffs. This allowed me to retire from the corporate world and pursue our dream of homesteading. What an adventure it has been and will continue to be.
There has been no shortage of things that we have learned, surprisingly many of them the corporate world doesn’t prepare you for. In the books and articles, there seems to always be a reference to multi-family retreats, but typically it is only briefly touched on in the context that one family alone cannot keep up with all the chores and security. I would like to focus on our most recent experience with having another family live on our retreat. This article is written with the idea that things don’t always go as planned and the more you can outline and identify pitfalls ahead of time the more likely your multi-family experience will succeed.
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