Building a homestead is a big task no matter where you live, most people don’t walk into a ready-made farm. Even if you have basic infrastructure on your property, customizing the farm to meet your needs and vision takes time. In our case, our homestead is over 700 miles away! Building a homestead long distance on raw land is especially challenging! Slowly but surely, we are making it happen!
Philip purchased the homestead in 2016 and was working towards the goal of moving their full time. Fast forward a few years and he met me! That certainly changed the timeline, as I had no intention of ever leaving Florida. Slowly the homestead has wooed me. I grew up on a hobby farm, my parents were way ahead of the homesteading movement. I had the privledge of growing up on homegrown meats and a farming lifestyle. After meeting Philip, the life I loved was awoken in me, and while it’s very hard to leave our family, together we are pursuing the homesteading dream. Read about it here.
Workcation Philosophy was Born
One of the biggest things that we have going for us as we build the homestead long distance is we have time. Philip owns his own business, so he sets his own work hours. I have worked at my job for a long time, so I have quite a lot of vacation time every year. I carefully schedule it out and we use it all! On average we take 6 trips a year to the homestead together and Philip usually takes a few by himself.
The Workcation philosophy was born out of humor. I’d tell people about our trips to Kentucky. Since I work much harder on the homestead than I do at my desk job, I would tell people that I was taking a workcation rather than a vacation. It just kind of stuck! It best describes what we do when we travel to the homestead.
We’re met a few people over the years doing exactly what we are doing, building a homestead long distance. The folks at New Start Homestead are building a homestead in Kentucky. They have the ability to travel to the homestead for long periods of time to work on the infrastructure. Others use the divide and conquer method. Some of the family stays home, keeping life going, while the other family member moves to the homestead to prepare the property. The Sowards at Roots and Refuge just moved their farm long distance. They did some work ahead of time, but they wasted no time at all moving full time to their new homestead.
The Logistics of Building a Homestead Long Distance
Building a homestead long distance takes quite a bit of planning. We have found that a lot of the building supplies that we need are cheaper to purchase in Florida and haul to Kentucky than it is to purchase in the area. Philip is also a big fan of resale sites; he is constantly scanning for anything that we might need, and he purchases used to save money.
We rarely make a trip to the homestead without a trailer. Depending on what we are hauling, we may need the enclosed trailer or the long utility trailer. Our goal is to slowly move our belongings in storage to Kentucky. If we can do that, when we finally pull the trigger to move, our belongings will already be here.
Breaking It Down: The Big Picture
As Philip and I get closer to making the move to the homestead, our planning system is becoming more fine-tuned. In the past, most trips were leisurely, we always worked on something, but we weren’t as goal focused.
At the beginning of this year when Philip and I were selecting our travel dates we kept a simple outline that I called a brain dump of what our general goals of each trip would entail. As each trip approaches, we fine tune the plan, always adding to it. We’ve also had to adjust our goals based on more immediate needs. Philip is a prepper at heart. It’s very important to him to always be prepared. His main goal is that the homestead be ready for us to live their permanently should the need arise quickly. For this reason, we are adjusting some of our building tasks to ensure that the homestead can be stocked best to meet our needs.
Fine Tuning the Details
As the trip gets closer, we fine tune the details. A few weeks ago, Philip asked that I pull out the brain dump list we made at the first of the year. From that we have built a more defined task list for the Spring Workcation. The task list allows Philip to think through any materials we need to take with us. Possibly we still need to purchase materials we need to take.
This trip we have the enclosed trailer with us, so that can even be packed in advance to some extent. We do still have to take into consideration the effects of heat on any items we might be transporting to the homestead.
Philip prefers to do most of the packing of the trailer on the last day. He usually takes that day off to get ready to leave. Because of my work schedule, I need to plan ahead and make sure that my tasks get done ahead of time. The week we leave is usually very busy with last minute preparations.
Household Preparations: Meal Planning
I prepare any supplies we need for the household. That includes all the food goods and household supplies. It’s quite a process to do the meal planning for the homestead. I cook almost all of our meals from scratch even on the homestead. We used to eat a meal out on occasion, but since covid, we got out of the habit of doing so. If we get an opportunity to enjoy a meal out, we do, but if not, I’m fully prepared to cook for the entire trip. I’ve shared my from scratch meal planning method previously, be sure to check it out.
The Made from Scratch Menu Planner (pictured above) is included in the Kowalski Mountain Subscriber’s Library as a FREE instant download. Not a member? It’s FREE! Get access to all of our family favorite recipes, free eBooks and printables! Sign up here.
Currently the washing machine is not set up on the homestead. It’s there, but it’s part of the bathhouse construction project. That means that any linens we use on the homestead are brought home to be washed. I usually do laundry the day we return. All of the Kentucky linens are immediately repacked into the Kentucky box for the return trip.
I usually add any items that need to go to the homestead to the Kentucky box. It makes it easy for me to find them later when its time to pack up to go.
What Are We Waiting For?
Most people have trouble keeping track of where we are. For those of you local, we are still in Belleview, Florida. Philip gets calls all the time asking if we are still open. YES, Kowalski Tree Services is still open for business! Call Philip with all of your tree service needs!
So what are we waiting for? Why don’t we just move there instead of building the homestead long distance? Our goal is to move to the homestead completely debt free. Here in Florida, Philip has a well developed business with over 20 years of providing tree service in the Marion county area. I moved back to Florida about 15 years ago and started a job for a local non profit. Since we both have well established jobs here, our best option to make our debt free goal is here.
A year ago we moved back into the RV and sold our home. By living small, we are able to pour more money into our financial goals. It’s also been good for me. I’m finally ready! Leaving my family again is still the hardest part of this entire transition. However my heart is ready to make Kowalski Mountain our full time home.
Spring Workcation 2022
We’re headed to Kowalski Mountain for the Spring Workcation of 2022! Be watching for all the updates on our social media channels.
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.