We are the Andersens, a family of five living on a run-down 16-acre Homestead in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. We are fixing up the Farmhouse, planting gardens, making space for animals, and raising a family.
So glad you could join us as we create our simple life in the country.
Where we came from…
We used to live in the suburbs just outside of Chicago proper. That is where we began our homesteading journey, proving you truly can Homestead, anywhere. We started growing food in raised beds and containers. Eventually, we set up a small garden area with herbs, flowers, fruits, and veggies. Baking bread, preserving bulk buys from the Farmers Market, growing veggies, and raising kids, we were having a ball with our little patch of serenity and our growing independence. So obviously, the next step was a move to the country…right?
Ahh, the country! We headed northwards in 2014 and we started our rural leg of the journey in a town of about 5000 people. There was definitely an adjustment. Things just work differently. On my second day, I tried organizing an internet connection. The first company told me two to three months wait and the second, two weeks. Not knowing any better and refusing to wait months I opted for the two-week option…ha! There followed 3 years of spotty, slow, and constantly “offline” service. First Lesson: talk to the locals before you do ANYTHING.
Good things take time.
So, we asked a lot of questions, I did some work on a friend’s homestead and learned a TON about starting a homestead from scratch. A year after that, I spend two seasons helping on an Organic Farm in return for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share. I attended the largest Organic farming conference in the Midwest and did classes through the Driftless Folk School. We watched lots of videos and read many, many books and blogs. Those four years in town were all about learning as much as we could about how we wanted to build our homestead. Eventually, we were tired of learning and really wanted to be doing it, so we started looking for our place.
We found a 16 acre farm that had spent its recent history as an Amish Farmstead. The siding was falling off and windows were broken, removed, or just very old. there was no electricity, no heat, running water, or septic. Fences were nonexistent or falling down, the barn leaked, and the Tobacco Barn was held up by wire and a few stones. It was also, pretty cheap. And so, the final stage of our journey began. With lots of enthusiasm and expecting a new baby, we began to establish our Homestead and renovate the Old Farmhouse.
To put it simply, we were looking for a less complicated life and more connection. One where our self-reliance could give us a measure of independence from the outside world and its various whims. We didn’t know if homesteading would provide that but we did know that the way we were living left us feeling trapped and suffocated. We started gently in the suburbs but we needed to get out of where we were to make the big changes.
Making the move to the country was the right decision for us. Homesteading has its challenges but our way of living has created more freedom of choice in many ways. We can afford a far better quality of life here than we could where we were. We eat better food, have a greater sense of community and belonging, and thoroughly enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer.
Growing a lot of our own food isn’t easy but it is incredibly rewarding. A meal where you grew or raised the food on your plate tastes better than anything else you’ve eaten.
My name is Neeks Andersen, chief blogger and homesteader here at Living Driftless. My husband, Danny, is a carpenter and the master of all things construction related. We couldn’t have done most of this without him.
We have three children, the youngest is soon to start Kindergarten and the oldest is leaving for college in the fall. Our little guy was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth and we have had to make some adjustments along the way resulting in a new reworking of the homestead, which you can read about here.
If you would like an outline of where to get started, try this page, An Introduction To The Living Driftless Life.
If you ever have any suggestions or ideas you think we should try or you would like to see covered, I love to hear from our readers, so please drop us a line at [email protected].
Linked below are some of our latest posts. Take a look around and thank you so much for joining us!
Our latest blog posts.
- Spice Up Your Pickling Game: Try This Easy Homemade Pickling Spice Recipe
- Manifesting your Dream Homestead
- 5 Best Beginner Animals for New Homesteaders
- Fantastic Homesteading Tip that Quadruples your Money.
- Easiest Pancake Recipe EVER for Simple Mornings