“The last I heard…”

It started with Maria.

When it comes right down to it, the whole business of Ambling Full Tilt, which gave way to the blog you are reading now, came about because my friend Maria sent me a link to a Craigslist ad her husband Patrick had found for a finished tiny house.  This sweet little home on wheels had been built by some gifted and talented kids in Mountain Home, ID, with the help of their teacher Dave Holland. Maria and I had recently been discussing my love of the tiny house concept and when she passed along the listing, Lance and I both felt as though it set in motion a palpable shift in life as we knew it then.

The monumental message came through in early July of 2015. We were on the Oregon coast, a place we had increasingly been thinking about moving because we both loved it (much like I love Maria) at the cellular level. It felt like a part of our souls. It felt like home in a way that Idaho was rapidly ceasing to do, especially since I had finally decided, as Lance had about a year and a half prior, to stop pretending that the concept of a day job made sense to me on any level.

Cut to August 13, 2015: We had visited the tiny house and loved it, but ultimately decided that we need to do some more research and find out what and where home really would be for us. Our fact finding mission we dubbed the aforementioned Ambling Full Tilt was conceived and underway within three weeks of its inception and we hit the road with a fully plotted out map and a half baked plan.

Six months later we arrived back in Boise, slightly homesick and worn out after spending the last month on the road searching fruitlessly for land in Oregon where we had been flirting with yurting (another option for “tiny” living) and had begun playing a tiresome game of Realtor Roulette. It soon became apparent, though, that we had been homesick for familiarity and friends and not for the place itself. Homesick to sick of the place we once called home took almost no time, and we began to get antsy about figuring out where we belonged.

Shortly after we returned, we visited our friend Mike at his shop downtown and he made mention of the Nevada City/Grass Valley area of California as a place he had much admired long ago and one that seemed to be right up our alley. As it turned out, our friend Marcel we had met and stayed with in Oregon has a cousin in that area and so we were introduced to his cousin Andrea and her husband Frans, who are lovely and every bit as gracious and welcoming as Marcel had been. We like them, we liked the area very much. But two 500-miles-one-way trips yielded nothing but frustration in terms of our land search and once again we realized that a place that had seemed promising wasn’t a good fit for us.

Somewhere in the doldrums of Nevada on our way back from that last trip, Lance asked what I thought the land prospects in Maine, where we had spent the previous September with my parents and worked for a week on a farm as WWOOFers, might be like. The same idea had been in my mind at the time because this was a place we both loved and agreed felt like home, but we hadn’t seriously considered based on the fact that we needed to finish the adventure we were on at the time and thought the winters would be overly much to handle for our liking.

Once we got a look at the prospects for the real estate market and had offers from my family members for some fail safe places to hole up should we still come up with nothing in time to take shelter for the notorious winter, our only real question was: When do we leave? With our commitment to travel to Florida for Lance’s brother Tim’s wedding looming a mere five weeks away, we figured we’d better get to Maine sooner than later so we could at least fly there from the same side of the country and already have ourselves somewhat established by the time we got back. So, true to our MO from the previous major road trip we planned, we set a departure date three weeks out and got to work on the logistics.

With only three weeks to pare down and pack up, five days to get here, and nine days after that to take the Florida trip, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to explain all of this to everyone. And although it was about four months from getting back to Boise to making a decision and heading for our new home, we had a lot of back and forth about where to live, what to live in, and the occasional panic-induced wild hair to just sign up to go work on farms indefinitely or become expats in lieu of hanging around to witness the general state of things here in the US. I don’t think that requires further explanation.

All this is to say that in spite of the nebulous state of things and lack of time to explain the goings on as they’ve happened, the crazy dream of the microfarm and sustaining ourselves has never changed. The Where and the How, yes. But never the Why. So, in response to the oft heard phrase, “The last I heard, you were…”: You’ve heard the last. We’re here. Ever now. And closer than ever to realizing our dream.

We’ll see what happens after our first winter in Maine. 😉


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