I now own a pair of Carhartt overalls. They are orange. I got them for Christmas from my parents. Why did I want these, you might be thinking to yourself? Good question! I wanted them to look cool. Mission accomplished.

I also wanted them because I know there is going to be a lot of work at the land and I want to look like I know what I’m doing. I am studying a look which I like to call “contractor-chic.”

When we bought this land, last August, we had no idea what it would do to us. Honestly, I voted to buy it because, when I am standing near the pond, looking out, hearing the birds caw overhead, seeing the tadpoles scurry together in the water, I felt incredibly calm. I felt connected to the land.

We live in Buffalo, NY. I like Buffalo because it is a city going through a rebirth. But, we find ourselves craving nature. 


Enter: the Finger Lakes. I went to college at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, which is on Seneca Lake. I loved going to school in the Finger Lakes. When the weather broke, my friends and I would swim in the lake. I would often go on wine tours on the weekends. I love being near water. 

We found this piece of land, which we call Story Road (because that is the name of the road it’s on), when we were vacationing at a tiny house near Ithaca. Vincent always looks at real estate wherever we go, just to get an idea of what’s around and he asked me if I wanted to check out this land. We did. We liked it. We bought it. We had no idea what we got ourselves into.


Perhaps our naivety protected us from stress because we had no idea what it would be like to put in a septic system, a well or set up electricity. I remember this summer, I was walking around my city neighborhood (Elmwood Avenue) and I stopped at Caffe Aroma and ordered a coffee. Then I called NYSEG, which is the electricity company in Sparta, NY. I realized then, despite me trying to sweet talk the NYSEG customer agent who I think was named, “Carol,” that we couldn’t have electricity until we had a well, septic and a foundation put down. Actually, that’s not true. We could have electricity installed, they would just charge us. However, if we had all the utilities in, they wouldn’t. Carol wouldn’t budge. Oh, Carol. 

Anyway, last week, we found ourselves at Story Road, winter camping, again. I wore my overalls and I had this pretty wool headband that my illustrator friend made for me. I looked so cool. Honestly, people were stopping their cars at the side of the road just because I looked that cool. (actually, someone stopped because it looked like I needed help. Ha! Maybe I looked a little too cool. My overalls were really clean. A true sign of an imposter!)

But, I was looking at Instagram and I realized that I looked just like this cute homesteading woman. I was like, “OMG! Am I a hipster homesteader?”


Now, I am super interested in the homesteader movement that is sweeping our nation. Chickens running wild in the backyard? Homesteaders! Canned fruit in the basement? Homesteaders! Sewing your clothes because you are self-reliant? Homesteaders! You no longer trust the government? Homesteaders! (but, you can count me out of that aspect of it).

I suddenly realized that my dream for Story Road might be to make it a homestead. I found myself ironing my scarf today and thinking how relaxing it was to be in the quiet and iron. Homesteader? Perhaps, yes, my dear.


Anyway, we went up to Story Road last week and we met with one of our awesome contractors: Chris.  He was like, Oh if you guys get too cold sleeping in your RV, you can come to my house. I was like, Wow, that’s really generous. My conclusion: people who live in the country=tough exterior but secretly really nice.  

Vincent made a fire outside and I heated up the quiche I had made. We ate it out in the cold, looking up at the stars. I was wearing a wool sweater from the thrift shop and my Carhartt overalls, plus blue wool headband. I felt so happy, dreaming about planting mint and basil up here one day. 


The way we sleep in the RV is that we open this little tent that is on the side of the RV and we put mattresses in there with lots of blankets. We have two heaters. Vincent assembled this amazing battery pack, so we can have the heater fan on. Then our heater uses the propane we have at the front of the RV. 

I awoke at around 8am to a warm interior space. I looked out the window and saw the trees covered in snow. I went outside to meet with Vincent and Chris and I felt slightly groggy, but pretty amazing. I get really good sleep there because it’s so cold.

I walked back through the forest, to a spot where Vincent and I were going to measure our future house (24 ft. by 48ft). As I waited for Vincent to get something, I stood right in the sun, closed my eyes, breathed in and felt connected to everything everywhere.



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