Welcome to my Website
by Dorothy Ainsworth
I have created this website in hopes of inspiring people at subsistence-level incomes, like myself, to pursue their own dreams of building a house in the country and becoming as self-sufficient as possible. I've documented my journey of property development by writing articles and taking photos as I progressed. They have been published in Backwoods Home Magazine over the years, and I continue to contribute articles when I can. It's an excellent magazine that emphasizes a philosophy of self-reliance and individualism. (www.backwoodshome.com)
Some of the accounts are how-to articles, but for the most part I just tell how I did it, not necessarily how you should do it. Some stories overlap, some are recaps, and some are variations with a new wrinkle, but my objective is to show and tell by example what can be done---with very little money and very little previous experience. You pay as you go, and you learn as you go. The most valuable lesson I can pass along is that everything happens in tiny increments but eventually they add up into huge results.
I've been called a workaholic, but I consider it a compliment. My philosophy is that there is only so much time and energy in life, and I choose to spend it wisely on my many and varied projects. My main focus for 33 years has been to develop a bare piece of property (10 affordable acres) into a comfortable, self-sufficient, and attractive homestead on my $12,000/year waitress income.
With no previous experience and very little help, I've built a pump house, water storage tank, root cellar, two workshops, two small cabins, piano studio, barn, garden tool shed, two storage sheds, tree house, stud-frame house, and two log homes (the first one burned down, but with help, I rebuilt it).
I'm now semi-retired but still in good shape and going strong. I have so many interests I'd need several lifetimes to pursue them all. If anything, I need to speed up in the next decade, rather than slow down! I love to laugh, so I tend to find the humor in almost everything (even mistakes), so my work is also my play. I balance out construction labor with hobbies I enjoy, such as cooking, sewing, and writing. Photography has been a lifelong passion.
My plans for 2014 are to organize all my photos, do more writing, and do more computer/photoshop work with my daughter who is a Hollywood photographer (www.smalleyphoto.com). Son Eric is a piano tuner/technician, recording engineer, classical pianist, and composer, and we are collaborating on the soundtrack for my video project: "How I Built a Vertical-Log House for $15/sq.ft." But spending quality time with my thirteen year old grandson, Zane, is one of my top priorities. I've been teaching him how to use real tools since he was 3 and we have great fun building forts and other things together.
From age 30 I was a single mom and waitress who reared my kids by myself, and from age 40-on created the security and lifestyle I so passionately wanted, on a shoestring budget. I've written my various articles to share what I've learned and to help others who are in the same boat: having little cash but lots of drive. I believe that lofty goals can be achieved with hard work and tunnel vision because I was able to do it. If I could do it, anybody could!
I wouldn't trade the satisfying feelings of accomplishment for all the money that could have hired it done. It has been a long struggle evolving into a Jill-of-all-Trades while working as a waitress, but it has been so fulfilling that the journey was absolutely priceless!
"Goals are dreams with a deadline", so I encourage you to get started...now!