Born in the city, Ron could never have imagined the series of life-changing events which took him from an urban setting to one of complete isolation in the Canadian wilderness.
Leaving the familiar life and a steady 9 to 5 job behind in Pennsylvania to homestead in Maine, Ron, in his early twenties, embraced a more simple, self-reliant lifestyle.
He was a starry-eyed youth full of vim and vigor, but reality set in when he realized homesteading takes a lot of work and requires a wide array of skills.
Luckily, he got some help along the way. Johanna, his future wife would join him a few years later. Self-sufficiency is always an easier task with two.
The couple spent 20 years in Maine mastering the many facets of homesteading and off-grid life: gardening, food preservation, water, animal husbandry, construction and energy generation just to name a few.
Finally, after life got a bit too comfortable, they felt the call of the wild once more. Northern Saskatchewan beckoned!
After finding a suitable homestead location near a lake in the northern part of the province, Ron and his wife adopted a pioneering spirit and cleared the land. They flew in all their possessions and materials to build an entire house via bush plane.
Starting from scratch they made a new life for themselves away from civilization. But this new and exciting environment came with a whole new set of challenges. Temperatures of minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit and forest fires that had the couple running for their lives. They discovered that bears and wolves make for interesting neighbors. But through hard work and ingenious DIY solutions, they adapted to this colder climate.
One hundred air miles from medical help or supplies, they continued to live the homesteading dream of being as self-reliant as possible.
Their only connection with the world remained a small float plane which would come in twice a year. It was only during those times that they would receive mail, shop for supplies and get to interact with other humans.
The rest of the year, they were completely on their own, growing and preserving the food they ate…even strawberries in subzero temperatures, as their gardening skills grew to new heights.
A game-changer here was building a self-sufficient south-facing greenhouse using only the Sun’s free heat.
Ron and Johanna also discovered how to make powerful natural medicines for their cabinet using wild-growing plants and even a small natural backyard pharmacy to cover their needs.
“We became modern pioneers much like those that traveled by wagon trains heading to the western United States and Canada to clear and settle a new land.
I did a much better job constructing our home in the bush. I made a Self-Sustaining Year-Round Greenhouse, we had hot running water with a shower, real kitchen with wall and base cabinets and countertop, color TV with satellite, Internet, 2 chest freezers, refrigerator, lights.”
– Ron in Saskatchewan
After seventeen years all was well and they were thriving. But this was not the end of the story for Ron and Johanna.
As they reached their 60’s they felt they were ready for one last adventure, building a homestead that would make use of everything they had learned in Maine and Saskatchewan.
Onwards to Nova Scotia!
For their final retirement paradise Ron and Johanna wanted everything to be as easy and practical as possible. Although they are still both in great shape now, they know there will come a day when their energy and vigor will fade.
“THREE years ago, we started our third and final homestead before we hit the checkout counter.
Here, in Nova Scotia is where we’ll make our last stand, enjoy our golden years and produce everything we need.
Unlike our second home, here, we decided to downsize everything. We took everything we learned during the last four decades and we designed this place with one thing in mind: to make a self-sustaining, but low maintenance homestead that doesn’t need much work or expense.”
They’ve used every bit of the practical homesteading knowledge they’ve accumulated over a lifetime to make things easier, less expensive and highly profitable.
Each one of their homesteads paid for itself in the end but the one in Nova Scotia is set to turn a healthy profit month in month out.
It’s Ron and Johanna’s retirement fund. Not tied to some mutual fund but to GOD and the land. They know that no matter what happens to the stock market or if the economy takes a nose dive off a steep cliff they’ll still have everything they need to live a good life.
This is what true freedom looks like in 21st century America.
And while their story will end here in Nova Scotia, Ron and Johanna realized it would be such a shame to not teach others how to successfully obtain their own ticket to independence.
That’s why they’ve recently written about the best things they’ve learned regarding homesteading and making your house work for you in a book every freedom seeking person should put on their bookshelf:
“The Self-sufficient Backyard: For the Independent Homesteader”
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