We are the Halverson family…
Tim and I had big dreams to buy a chunk of land and homestead it off the electrical grid, after a few years of planning, preparing and a whole lot of faith we and the Universe made it happen. We started in Portland Oregon, and bought 5 acres in the Missouri Ozarks off the internet, sight unseen, talk about faith huh?! We owned the property for over a year before finally being ready to move onto it. In March of 2013 we left Oregon in our Chevy Van, pulling a 25′ long travel trailer overloaded with all our belongings in the world, and drove for 10 days the 2000 miles across the country to our homestead with our 4 young children in tow. We stayed at a close by RV park for a month as we prepared our raw piece of Ozark land to park our trailer on it, drill the well, make a driveway… It was WORK turning a wild piece of land into a human habitat with nothing but some hand tools and a chainsaw. Luckily we moved to THE friendliest place on Earth. Our neighbors have been so helpful and supportive and we couldn’t have done it all with out them. We have been living off-grid since April of 2013, let me tell you it’s been an adventure of a lifetime! This blog is a record of our projects, ideas and dreams for this beautiful place we’ve been blessed with. The Ozarks are amazing, wild and full of mystery and fun, we are thankful to be here.
We have come a long way since we first arrived early Spring of 2013 onto our raw thick forested land. When we got here we created a mushroom garden, carved out a driveway, drilled a well, placed the beehive, opened up a spot for our travel trailer and then blocked it up so it was as close to level as possible, created a grey-water system, installed our composting toilet, created a cordwood enclosure on the east side of our travel trailer, built a rocket stove mass heater in our enclosure for efficient heating and this was just to get the basics handled.
We couldn’t even use our own well to get water for the first few months we lived here, as we were scraping together enough money to find a way to get water out of it using solar energy. Thankfully we had generous neighbors who let us get water from their hose bib. This is how we got water into our trailer for the first 6 months that we lived here.
We didn’t think our solar system could take a standard well pump, so we were looking for alternatives. We found that our water is thick with calcium which tends to kill most coffee makers, and water pumps and so forth. We tried a 12/24 volt water pump, but it only lasted a week and clogged up from the sediment and died. We lifted and set different pumps 7 frikken times, and let me tell you, that is no easy task! A few times the pump got stuck in the well pipe and we had to wait a few days to get it out. Getting water from our own well was a VERY frustrating experience. But finally Tim found a concept design online called an “Air-Lift Pump”, where you had a custom tip built to attach to your well hose/pipes. 2 hoses/pipes actually, one bigger pipe where the water would be lifted up, and a smaller pipe that attached to the side of the end nozzle. The other end of the smaller pipe would connect to a heavy duty air compressor that would push air down the well and out through the nozzle at the bottom of the well. and then be forced to come back up the bigger pipe bringing water with it. The big pipe would be attached to a barrel, or tank where you want the water to go.
So the following day we set this pump, and here is what came next:
So far we have married a bunch of critters, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 guinea pig, 37 chickens, 17 rabbits (plus babies & grow-outs) and a hive of honeybees. We plan to also add in dairy goats to enjoy fresh milk and be able to make cheese and butter, and possibly raise our own turkeys and guinea hens. Our gardens are expanding as we are able to create soil here in the rocky Ozark hills. Good fertile soil is not something to easily come by out on these rocky slopes, so we have been building hugelkultur beds, terraces, and swales in order to stop erosion, and build up the soil for thriving gardens. Thankfully the critters help with soil building a lot.