A-frame in a flood plain: homesteading in unusual circumstances

We have a weird house. It’s in an unusual place. We do odd things to it. Good thing we are a little strange, too. Lemme ‘splain.

Our house is an A-frame, which means the slanted roof is so long it makes up two of the walls of the house. This makes arranging furniture against the wall something of a challenge in some rooms. Hanging pictures also requires more advance planning than a regular house. It means we have potential storage space in the walls, but only below waist-height. It means we have to lean as we go up the stairs because you can hit your head on the wall/ceiling when you turn at the landing between the 1st/2nd floor and the 2nd/3rd floor.

Ordinarily, an A-frame roof reaches all the way to the ground, but our house sits between two creeks in a flood plain, so our basement sits up above the ground so it won’t flood as much. Can we even call it a basement? The two living floors of the house sit on top of it, so we have actually three stories, but one is a basement and we only live in two of them.

So we have a A-frame, but not a normal one; we have a basement, but it’s above ground…totally. Our front door is on the second floor, and our cars won’t fit through the door of our basement/garage. Are you mixed up yet? We were for a while, too.

Thankfully, we know what to do with our house and our land. God granted us a house full of dreams and potential, and we keep getting ideas about every week of something else we can do to make the house and land even better for God’s purposes. This blog will chronicle events, projects, ideas, and directions that God gives and we do to our lovely, strange, bizarre, perfect-for-us A-frame in a flood plain.

“The goal of homesteading is to live deep and not wide”, to quote George Nash. It means depending upon industrial processing less, and doing as much as you can for yourself. It means recycling/reducing/reusing to the max. It means you go to church more often than you go to the store. Okay, that last one is our own version of homesteading, but you get the point. We try to make what we need instead of buying it ready-made, reuse and repurpose what would ordinarily be thrown away, and learn how to do things ourselves with help from others, rather than hire it out. The goal is to be a semi-independent homestead, able to be nearly self-sufficient within a community. Of course, you have to have the right schedule, the right equipment, the right skills, and the right help to pull this off. We are trying to get there in stages, and this blog will tell our story. We hope it’s good reading.

Now, we don’t do this for the reasons many have advocated: going back-to-land, shrinking our carbon-footprint, barricading ourselves against the end of the world, and so on. We don’t have an axe to grind. We used to live in a middle-class suburban neighborhood, and no one would have thought we were planning to leave it all.

But God put a dream in our hearts to live away from the city, away from pop culture and worldliness, and close the natural world, in a home that would offer peace and refreshment to others. Plus, we just really like homegrown food, and we get a lot of satisfaction living this way. We hope you will be able to glean ways to find the same satisfaction in God and not in the world.

James and Amy Thorpe, February 2012


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4 Responses to A-frame in a flood plain: homesteading in unusual circumstances

  1. Mary says:

    A better magazine theme would make the blog nicer.:)

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