Homesteading isn't for everyone, but Josh and Amie Parsons are enjoying a much simpler life.
The two -- and their three daughters -- have made the leap from a 4,000-square-foot home to temporarily living in a camper. They've purchased land, are clearing it themselves and will build a modest home there in the near future. In the meantime, they've decluttered and downsized.
Some folks might spend their free time watching TV or shopping. The Parsons, however, enjoy baking their own bread and raising their own food.
They stay busy with chores, taking care of their chickens, ducks and hogs. For fun, they all gather around and listen to the St. Louis Cardinals' baseball games on the radio.
The couple, who are high school sweethearts, honor and respect each other and try to be a good example to their family.
Over the course of about five years, Josh and Amie sacrificed to bring up their children with a good work ethic, love of God and service to the family.
They want their three girls -- ages 12, 11 and 8 1/2 -- to be independent thinkers and know how to be good wives and mothers.
To that end, the couple has made big career decisions while moving from their six-bedroom, full-finished basement home, to a camper they bought specifically to live in while they build their house themselves.
Their 40 acres outside Goodman is mostly wooded, with ravines and a spring. When the thought of starting to build a home and pay for it as they go looms over their heads, Josh says he goes down to the spring and just lets nature take back over.
"I go down there and get lost," he said, smiling.
Josh and Amie and their children are fully committed to their way of life. "We love it so much," Amie said. "The animals, the chores. The outside animals are the girls' responsibility."
The different path they took started as a journey several years ago. As a nurse, Amie loved a career full of challenges, for which she had been trained. Josh was working as a mechanic at a dealership. They had stuff, and the money was stable and plentiful.
But they still felt "really empty."
In time, Amie began to feel the calling to homeschool their daughters. She tried working full-time, homeschooling and grabbing a two-hour nap. After some time, Amie began to get physically sick. She knew all that juggling was not the long-term answer.
She quit her 10-year career as a St. John's nurse and began homeschooling the children. In the meantime, Josh wanted to go out on his own and start his own automotive business.
As the couple began to re-think their future, Josh started and grew his business to the point of having to have a brick and mortar somewhere. Parsons Automotive Repair in Neosho was born.
Along this path, the two also decided to start decluttering.
"Our priorities were changing and we wanted to simplify our lives," Amie said.
During this years-long journey, the couple decided to sell their large home. It took about a year to sell the house. They rented a farmhouse for a time and later moved in with Amie's folks.
But when the Parsons found this property, they took their commitment one step further.
"We saw this property (first) on Facebook," Amie said. "My cousin tagged me in it."
The couple was looking to have a small, self-sustaining farm, and the land looked like the perfect place.
Tucked down several roads, past some houses, and down another dirt road, the land opens up to a nearby pasture, a neighbor just down the way, and lots of pretty trees.
The 40 acres are perfect for the family. Clearing the land -- mainly by chainsaw -- has been difficult.
Camper life has spanned nearly a year. The winter was particularly cold and tough. Patience had to be exercised. A generator provides electricity, and the Parsons bring in their own water in huge containers from Josh's shop.
Home Sweet Home
It's taken a little longer than the Parsons wanted to start on their home, but they've learned a lot along the way. They realize their time in the camper has given them additional opportunities to experiment, plan and learn more about some aspects they want to feature in their home.
Josh relies on his mechanic and construction skills. Amie plans and visualizes as well. Between the two, they've drawn up plans for a modest home featuring solar panels.
They hope to break ground for their home in a couple of months but are working to be completely debt-free before they do.
"If you have a goal in mind, you can find it inside yourself to obtain it," Amie said.
These days, they're clearing their land, raising chickens, taking care of hogs to show, and will bring their cattle over when it's more fitting.
They want to eventually have an orchard and a garden and become as self-sustaining as possible.
The lifestyle -- while much quieter and simpler -- is a way of thinking. The Parsons realize that getting rid of stuff and doing things the old-fashioned way doesn't appeal to all.
"This is not for everybody," Amie said, smiling. "It is harder. I have to start the generator to vacuum the floor."
Then, there's the composting outhouse for which the Parsons utilize sawdust as a neutralizer.
The girls love their way of life. They enjoy the chores, taking care of the animals, baking bread and thinking on their feet.
"We would all rather be outside," Amie said. "Hunting animals, mushrooms."
The girls' favorite outfit is overalls and muck boots, she added.
"The girls have had to adapt, but they don't complain," Amie said. "My brother-in-law said, 'The girls are so content.'"
On this particular spring-like morning, the two have risen early to take care of chores. They've had some coffee, and the camper is tidy as a pin.
Things on the homestead are organized. Everything is well thought-out, and everything has its place.
Living a simpler life has meant changing their mindset.
"We don't need everything to make our lives better," Josh said.
"Our girls will have this legacy and memories," Amie said. "That's the most important thing."
"This is home now."General News on 05/10/2018
Print Headline: Homesteaders Stake Claim To Simpler Life