#1 – How we launched our country living adventure

Published by: The Ready Life

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Welcome to the Ready Life podcast. My name is Lisa. And I’m Nick Meisner. We’re passionate about helping folks just like you make a plan to move out of the city, into the country, so you can live a simpler life that’s less dependent on the system.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Halloween evening, and my parents and I tuned into a shortwave radio broadcast a few minutes late. You gotta realize that back then, shortwave radio was the method for getting alternative news. Probably because Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet, right? Yes, exactly. So any news or information was filtered through the huge media conglomerates. And there was a great deal of suspicion around how controlled these sources were.

So it was Halloween evening and we tuned into a broadcast that we often listened to. But this night, they were very agitated and they said that riots were breaking out all over America and cities, and the banks had been shut down so you couldn’t even get money out of the ATMs. It really sounded like things were plum falling apart. And at one point we could actually hear glass breaking in the background. And the broadcaster said that they might not even be able to stay on the air much longer. It was a minute or two later that all of a sudden the broadcast went dead.

Yeah, we sat there in disbelief, looking at each other across the room. What on earth were we gonna do? Where could we go to be safe? We had that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs. It’s too late, too late. You see, we were living in a gated community that had almost 2,000 homes in it. And because we hadn’t planned ahead, we had little to no cash on hand to be able to get out. And honestly, where would we go? Even if we could get out, where would we go? We were stuck.

Strangely, Our neighborhood seemed unaffected by such a huge, disastrous situation, so my dad picked up the phone and called the phone number for the radio station, and there was a recording on there that informed us the broadcast was just a simulation of what could happen. Wow. You can only imagine the sense of relief that we felt when we realized that we still had time. It wasn’t too late. What a relief, what a relief. It gave us the opportunity to experience what it would feel like to face a major crisis unprepared. We’d already been talking about moving out of the city and getting set up independently in the country and all that, but this experience kicked us into high gear and we committed to making a plan and getting out.

And it actually reminds me of a quote from a book that was very influential in our country living journey. It’s called Country Living. And I remember this quote, it says, “Erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able.”

That was quite an experience that you and your folks went through. You mentioned that you had been thinking and planning and talking about moving into the country. So how did you finally make that move?

Well, that’s quite a story.

You know, my dad was in the construction industry. He was a custom home builder, and he got started with small homes. Then they gradually got larger and larger until they were eventually mansions. Wow. Yeah, exactly. And as it grew, so did the time commitment and the stress, and we wanted out. It was getting to be too much. We’d always been looking for property in the country or in the mountains. As long as I can remember, we were doing that.

And after that Halloween experience, we spent the next year or so preparing and searching. We took many trips to various parts of the country to check them out, and we ended up, make a long story short, we ended up in the Northwest with a very limited budget, a very exceedingly limited budget. And at that time, it kind of reminds me a little bit of the time that we’re in right now where everything was very expensive. It was not a low point; it was a high point. Things cycle up and down. And the cheapest route to go at that point in time was raw land, and then you build a house on it or something like that. Well, that’s not the case today anymore. That’s, yeah, exactly right. I think that often you can do better in this current situation with buying something that already has a home on it. But anyhow, that was the case at that time.

And so we looked and we looked and we looked at all the properties that were in our budget, and it was just junk, junk land that was not going to be what we needed. And so we kept looking, and finally, we felt led to start looking at properties that were outside of our price range, outside of our budget. And we found one place in particular where the listing, I still remember it, said reduced to, and then it gave an amount, I don’t remember what the exact amount was, but I do remember that it was roughly double what our budget was for raw land. And so we… went back and forth about that, but we said, you know what, we were really impressed that we needed to just check it out and let’s see what God works out. So we went and we looked at it.

The realtor really wanted to get rid of that place because he had to snowshoe in the previous year. Anyhow, we- Wow, did you have to snowshoe in? No, it was summertime, but the realtor had, when he had been showing it the previous winter, he had to snowshoe in to show it to people who were looking at it. Wow. And so we made an offer that was roughly half of the asking price. And make a long story short, after some back and forth, we ended up with an agreement. And the rest was history.

So Dad and I cleared a driveway, a building site, and an area for the garden. And we built the house from scratch. It was unfinished at first. It was We got it to the point where it was livable. Once again, we had a very limited budget. And so we were trying to do this without taking on additional loans and all this kind of thing. And so we took it one step at a time, and we got it where it was livable, where, you know, insulated and had some plumbing and electrical in it and all of that. But it was off the grid. There was no power system. The power lines were over a mile away. So we started out just bare basics with just a generator, which I don’t recommend, by the way. That’s not a good idea, but that’s where we were at, just telling you our story. We’ve learned a lot in the school of hard knocks.

So we started with just a generator and then later on improved it, added batteries and an inverter and then later on solar and all of that. But it was a work in progress. And we’ll share a lot more about all of that in future podcasts. And years later, we met some new friends and became involved with large out-of-the-cities rallies that were happening all over the country. And then we ended up conducting hundreds of smaller country living seminars across the nation to share what we had learned in the School of Hard Knocks with others. And we produced a bunch of DVDs, dozens of DVDs and preparedness expos and webinars, online training, all this sort of thing. And that’s actually how I met him, was at one of his seminars.

I was actually, my story is pretty short, but I was born and raised in Michigan, and we lived in the city until I was about 11 years old. My folks made the decision to move out to the country, 10 acres, and developed it from just raw land as well. And… Yeah, I was a tomboy, so I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I climbed every tree in sight on the property. But I was homeschooled, and my senior year of high school or high school, my mom had promised us that we could go to a real school. And so I researched, and I found this school that was way out in the boondocks in Northwest Montana. And decided to go visit to see if it was some place I would really like to go my senior year. And I remember that was the first time I flew on a plane by myself. Wow. Yeah. Anyway, landed in Whitefish, and the van full of the students was there to pick me up that evening. It was after dark. And I will never forget the ride up the, up that road to the school.

The girl who would eventually be my classmate was busy jabbering away the whole way, telling me all about the school. She was really excited and rather proud of it, and I remember at one point she mentioned that the school was off the grid, and I froze in my tracks like, hold on. Hold on. What did you just say? She said off the grid. I’m like, off the whites. And she said, well, yeah, we don’t have like electricity from the power company. I said, oh no. Now I had a curling iron and a blow dryer, and I’m sitting there thinking, okay, is there like outhouses? Do we have running water? You know, like how does this whole thing work without electricity? I’m thinking of all the things that we use electricity for. And she said, oh no, no, no, no, we have electricity. It’s just that we don’t get it from the power grid. And then she explained about the hydroelectric and yeah, she has a blow dryer and a curling iron as well and all of that.

Anyway, I did end up going there as a senior, and that year was the most incredible year. Just I learned everything from canning and cooking and baking on a wood-cooked stove and working in a garden and an orchard and yeah, how off-grid actually works, and it was wonderful. I fell in love with that kind of lifestyle. So I started praying that I would be able to live that way someday. And eight years later, I heard about a seminar coming to our local area that was talking about topics like heating with wood and solar power and gardening and all of those kinds of topics, the things I’d learned at my school.

Country living seminars. Country living, yeah. And so, yeah, I went. And that’s how we met. So I was working at a school in Alabama at the time. And not too long after we met, actually, I had a situation that happened where the landlord informed me I had three days to evacuate the house. Wow. I had a small car and I had lots of stuff, and it would not all fit into my car, and there was nowhere else for me to stay. So the only option that I could see was a half-empty moving truck headed for North Idaho. A doctor friend of mine was moving up here, and she wanted me to come along. She’d been begging me for a while. So when I got the evacuation notice, I needed to vacate.

The only option was to put all my stuff in the moving truck, and here I came to North Idaho. And I’ve never been sorry since. The rest is history. Yes.

Cool. Well, after we got married, we lived in a little tiny 700 square foot cottage that was way back in the middle of nowhere. It had no usable power or water system when we moved in. So we had to spend some time and money to get it livable. The advantage to it was that it was dirt cheap for rent. It had a wood-cooked stove. It did. I remember, I loved that wood-cooked stove. That is very true. So we lived in that for a year or two, couple of years, I guess, and then the landlord decided to sell. And that’s kind of a common theme in this story. I know, right? Landlord and says, get out. Anyhow, so thankfully though, she knew of another place just up the road from us in the same area that was for sale. And so we came and looked at it, but we weren’t sold on it. We weren’t sure that we really liked it at first. Yeah, at first we weren’t sure about that.

So because we were renting though, and because we were here in the area, we were able to hear about this place. This place was never listed actually. We just heard about it because we knew somebody who knew, you know, and so… So much value to having your feet on the ground somewhere and being present. There’s opportunities that pop up that could not pop up when you are at a distance a long ways away. Yes, which is very, it’s just something that we actually highly recommend if you’re moving to a whole new area. Start by renting in that area. I know it feels like you’re flushing money down the drain, but honestly, getting your feet on the ground will open up opportunities that you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t here with your feet on the ground. So that’s the value of renting. We did it. We recommend you do it.

So this house was in a depressed area. Their prices overall were lower in this area. And that’s just because the value. It was off the grid, three miles of Forest Service Road that wasn’t plowed. It gets really muddy during spring break. Yeah. So there were a lot of reasons why this was in our price range, thankfully. But we weren’t sure that we really liked it at first because there were some other cons in this particular area. So thankfully we were able to come and scope it out throughout the summer. Yeah, that’s when we decided that this was actually a good fit.

We negotiated with the owner and came to terms with the owner financing type situation, which we were really thankful for. So we worked for, boy, what was it? We worked our tails off for the next five? Five and a half years. Five and a half years. It took us to pay it off. To pay it off. And some of those years, we were making We didn’t have a good income. Our business was struggling and some of those years were the tightest years of our married life. But we worked hard and eventually we got it paid off and what a relief that was. And now we are starting to improve it and things like that, because we kind of put all that on hold. We said we got to get it paid for first before we start investing in this place. And that’s just our thing. kind of wanted to do that. So this home still needs to be rebuilt because the guts are not good of this home. We knew that going into it. It was part of the deal. We were okay with that for what we paid for the place. And so our thing was we’ll get the place paid off and then we will save to rebuild. And so that’s kind of the stage where we’re at right now. Yeah, you know, every homestead that you look at is going to have pros and cons. There’s always going to be something and you just have to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons and whether you can overcome those cons. So that was what we decided with our place. The pros outweighed the cons.

For instance, just naming off a few pros that come to mind, remote and secluded. Now remote and secluded are two different things. We’ll talk about that, I’m sure, in a future podcast. But this place had both remote and secluded, beautiful view, delicious spring water, workable land, nice insulated shop. It was off the grid, which that’s a pro to us. It might not be to everybody, but it was off the grid. It even had a basic power system, which we’ve since rebuilt, but at the time, it was basic and workable, and it served us for several years. And it was a reasonable price and just a safe place for our kids to just run and grow and experience the country and the wilderness. Which was really important to us.

But the cons also, I mentioned already that access was an issue. We are an hour away from any sizable town, which could be a pro, depending on the reasons for moving out. But it’s kind of in our con category because anytime we want to go anywhere or do anything, it’s a two-hour round trip. That is a con, but we decided that it wasn’t a con enough to not move here. The spring water also slows down in the summer, so we’re going to have to drill a well. It’s enough for our domestic needs, and that’s what we satisfied ourselves at the beginning was, is it enough at least for that? Which it is, and we’ve done some irrigation. It’s just it gets a little skimpy towards late summer. So we’ll supplement that. And just like you mentioned also, the house needs to get rebuilt just because it didn’t have a foundation really under it. So, you know, there were cons. We have to plow three miles of road and then we’ve got a fantastic mud season. Absolutely, yes.

So for the past several years, we’ve had a lot of major family health issues going on and other factors that pushed us towards putting our home business on mothballs and me getting a remote employment job, which has been a very interesting experience, good experience, I think it’s been a good experience.

But I spent a month or two researching remote companies that do right by their employees because not all of them do. And I wasn’t interested in getting into that kind of a situation, finding several that looked like they would be a good place to work. I narrowed it down to these few, found some job listings. I found one job listing in particular that I would have never imagined that would be something that I would be qualified to do. But you fit all the requirements. I did. So it was like, well, why not? And so it went very quickly. And in a matter of days, I had a job. And it’s been a great fit.

But lately, events around us have been prompting us that we really need to resume this important work that has been our passion and our mission for so many years. And for us, watching the entire earth come together to enforce the same thing through the years of 2020 through 2022 was very sobering. It reminded us of how quickly we could all get into a situation where any of us could be denied basic necessities of life if we simply refused to go along with something that the government is trying to enforce. And if that something violates my conscience, I can’t comply, I just can’t. So this is a really important reason why country living is dear to our hearts. And when you’re in a rural area with elbow room, there’s potential to live a more independent lifestyle where you aren’t so dependent upon the systems for your basic necessities of life, like water and food and heat and things like that.

You know that country living book that you mentioned earlier? Right. When I went to that school, I was actually given that very same book. Really? I was and I read it and it really impacted me as well. And so that reminds me of a quote, what you were just saying from that little book. And the quote says, “Again and again, the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities into the country where they can raise their own provisions. For in the future, the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” Wow, that’s quite something. I like that. It’s sobering. That is. Makes me think of the Book of Revelation. Yeah, it does. Rev. 13:17, “that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” We know it’s coming, we do. That’s something.

So anyhow, that’s our country living story. We’re hoping to share many more with you in the coming weeks and months from many others. but we just wanted to finish up with a quick tip of the week before we wrap up this episode. And this one is about how to troubleshoot seed starting. And it comes from a new course that we are in the process of putting together called Starting with Seeds. We’re gonna tell you all about that once it comes out, but we wanted to give you just a little snippet from that because it was really good and very appropriate for this time of year right now when everybody’s starting their seeds.

So our friend Dawn Trammell, who’s one of the contributors to this course, does amazing things here in this cold climate with gardening. She’s going to share with you this clip on some frequently asked questions that she gets about starting seeds and how to deal with them. How to get them to germinate. Right.


Now we are going to discuss some common problems that some people have come to me and asked questions about. If once you plant your seeds or you sow your seed, then they just don’t come up. People have asked me, what do you do? What’s wrong? So one possible reason it could be that your soil

 was cold, like if you just bring your bag of soil in from the garage and it’s still half frozen or whatever, it, you know, they may not come up, especially pepper plants. They like it warm. They even like warm water. And so that could be one of the problems. And what you can do then is make sure when you are getting your soil ready to start your seeds in, you can use hot water in it. So that’s one possible solution.

Another problem that people have had is that they’re not watering evenly. So it could be that they’re dry, they’re not coming up. When you’re first starting seedlings like this, you need to make sure that they stay moist, not soaking wet, but moist so that when you’re actually touching it, the soil is sticking to your fingers a little bit, just like that. So especially when they’re first starting out, make sure that you’re keeping them moist.

Another problem is that maybe you just planted your seeds too deep. Maybe you put your peas in here two inches deep instead of an inch or an inch and a half. And so what you might have to do actually, if they’re not coming up, is you might have to move some of the soil off of there and just see what’s going on in there, you know, is it germinating or what’s going on and see what’s going on under the soil.

Another problem is your seed might be just really, really old. And if that’s the case, just be prepared for a longer germination period. So for instance, I have germinated 10, 11-year-old eggplant seed before, but it took a long time. The package said that it should have come up in 10 days, but it didn’t. So it was taking 20 days, still wasn’t coming up, 30 days. So what I did was I took this whole thing and I put it on top of, if you have like a wood stove, if you have a shelf above that, put that on your wood stove and the heat will… almost every time, just adding a little bit of heat to the bottom of it will get them to pop up out of the soil. And if you don’t have a wood stove, put it on top of your refrigerator. That is just about the perfect amount of heat or over a register vent. But just remember that when you do that, your soil is going to dry out a lot faster. So make sure again, that you’re keeping it evenly moist.


That was really helpful, that clip. I learned a lot from it. Yeah, I went out to the kitchen and actually moved my tray of seeds. I have several that are not sprouting. I moved them over next to the wood stove so the soil would warm them up, or so it would warm the soil up more quickly. Anyway. We all have a lot to learn, folks. We sure do. Yes.

So anyhow, we appreciate you joining the podcast, this episode. I did want to mention that in future episodes, we’re planning on also having a section on question of the week. And so if you would be so kind as to send in any questions that you would like to see addressed here, send them to questions at thereadylife.com. That’s questions at T-H-E thereadylife.com. And that will be super helpful. We would love to hear from you and so that we can make sure that we’re covering the things that you need to hear, that you need.

Well, thank you for joining us on this podcast. We’re looking forward to meeting with you again next week. That’s right, we’ll see you next time.

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