After our first two babies, we were living in a rental home in a small town centre struggling to make our rent on one income. Every month we were going more and more into debt just to live. We loved living in our rental house because it was a big step up from the apartment life that we weren’t so fond of. There was lots of room for our washer and dryer, dishwasher, guest bedroom and we had enough room to brew our own beer, have a greenhouse, and store the hunted meat and foraged berries in a deep freeze for the winter.
Still we were getting nowhere but in the hole with all these wonderful luxuries and dreamed of one day owning our own property that we didnt have to pay someone elses mortgage and where we could be more self sufficient and most of all, we dreamed of a debt free life!
So what did we do?
So when our second baby was just newly born, my hardworking husband headed out to the pipelines of northern Alberta, while I stayed home selling most of our belongings and searching for a smaller home: A home on wheels!
The Fifth Wheel:
I found this used beauty for about $4000, which was about 4 months rent. It had disgusting carpet and things constantly were breaking but my hubby the handyman took care of that. We sold our gass-i-mizer vehicle and got a big ol deisel truck to pull our new home.
The whole family went along for the ride as we didn’t want to be apart, we didn’t want to worry about renting a home for myself and the kids because we wanted to save every penny, and after crazy 24 day in a row shifts of 12+ hours a day, it was nice for hubby to come home to a home cooked meal and clean laundry.
So we moved around tons following the work, never knowing where we could be sent to the next day. We lived in the bush for free when we could, hauling our own water, fuel for the generator and propane for appliances and heat. I may write more on the subject of living in the fifth wheel later and link it here but for now I will get on with the story.
Winters were hard in the fifth wheel. Thawing frozen pipes with a hair dryer was on the to do list regularly
The New Job:
So needless to say, we were pretty against working in an industry that is less than eco friendly. Yes we all drive cars and use gas and oil but to be working for the industry just didn’t feel right. But our eyes were on the larger picture: A property where we could grow our own fruit and veggies, make food from scratch, have chickens and goats for eggs and milk, collect rain water, have bees for honey and beeswax and overall live a self sufficient lifestyle that does a lot of good for our family, community and the world. And to be fair, we consumed VERY little for the 4 years we lived in that fifth wheel. We didn’t buy in excess because of space and what we did buy was usually used from thrift stores or free stores. We barely used any water as we were either hauling it ourselves or if we were at a campground, it was only filled once or twice a week, and it doesn’t take much to heat a little tiny fifth wheel compared to a big ol’ house!
OK…. now that I am done justifying that decision, I will continue to talk about the new job….
We caught word of a job that paid really well working for mills. This job was for building big co-gen plants that burn what usually goes to waste in mills, but instead now uses the waste to produce enough energy to run 40,000 homes per year! This we could feel a little better about, we got a pay increase and we got to stay in B.C.
Finding a Property:
All this time we were on MLS searching for properties and dreaming of one day living on our dream homestead (While I took downtown homesteading/ small space homesteading to a whole new level in the trailer by having outdoor, moveable plants (transported in the bathtub when we traveled), making food from scratch, making my own laundry soap and beauty products , lacto-fermenting up a storm etc.)
We wanted to be somewhat central, about half an hour from a town for supplies and for the kids to do activities, and it needed to be A REAL BARGAIN!
After countless properties explored, and my ever expanding belly not getting any smaller, we finally found a forclosure property that fit the bill and we jumped. I wont go into detail about this hair greying process of buying a forclosed property… But it was worth the stress to get a cheap property that we can put some equity into and make our own. Up until I gave birth (and continue to do so) we scrubbed, scraped, cleaned, hauled garbage away, painted, drywalled, floored, and slowly made ourselves a live-able home to call our own!!!