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How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money: Possum Living

Apr 20, 2010

by Alison Feldmann

“Why is it that people assume one must be a hippie, or live in some dreary wilderness, or be a folksy, hard-working, back-to-nature soybean-and-yogurt freak in order to largely bypass the money economy? My father and I have a house on a half-acre lot 40 miles north of Philadelphia, PA (hardly a pioneer homestead), maintain a middle-class façade, and live well without a job or regular income — and without working hard, either.” — Dolly Freed, author of Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money

Being a worker bee is not all cushy chairs and dollars in the bank. Thoughts of winning the lottery and adjourning to a leisurely, dirt-under-my-fingernails kind of existence often cross my mind (mostly while propelling my body into a stuffed train car, washing the city off my face after a long day and paying off my endless student loan debt). Learning about scrappy teen Dolly Freed, icon of sustainable yet frugal living, makes that pipe dream seem possible.

dollyhen22222.jpgDolly wrote her testament to living the easy life in the late seventies, at the age of eighteen, and with a seventh grade education. Dolly and her father chose not to have jobs at a time when the economy was quite bleak (such as today) and were determined to live an independent, self-sufficient life on their small farm without having to break their backs in the process. Possum Living was intentioned as an instructional guide on how to “buy and maintain your own home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, and keep up a middle-class façade — whether you live in the city, in the suburbs, or in a small town.” Dolly goes on to explain: “To me, the luxury of being my own boss and doing what I want, when I want, more than pays up for the luxuries of having a nice car and nice furniture… I’m just living independent on my little half acre. If you like your work and you really enjoy what you’re doing, good — then go out and work. I’m against people thinking that they have to work because they think they’re going to starve to death.”

Dolly and her father had the advantage of owning their home and small plot of land. This allowed them to get by on little to no money by raising chickens, fishing, slaughtering rabbits for meat, gardening, canning their own food and occasionally taking odd jobs to make money for the few things they could not provide for themselves. However, Dolly is quick to discount the idea that this is some exercise in restraint or strictly philosophical: she and her father simply didn’t want to work for the man, or very hard, for that matter. She states, “If you’re thinking spiritual or sociological thoughts, don’t waste your time with me, but if you just want to easy-up your life somewhat, why, then, you’re talking my language! We’ll get that Protestant Work Ethic monkey off your back!”

The Freeds lived a bountiful, easy life on their improvised suburban farm for five years before Dolly left for college. If you weren’t already impressed, prepare for your chin to drop a few more inches: Dolly went on to become an aerospace engineer after an education garnered on the farm and at the public library. Paige Williams caught up with Dolly thirty years after the documentary and cult popularity of the book. The profile is a fascinating read and shows that Dolly is still as curious and plucky as ever:

“By noon, Dolly Freed has composted peppers, studied a tadpole under an old Russian field microscope, sniffed and tasted a new supply of homegrown garlic, discussed Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, demonstrated how to turn an ordinary pressure cooker into a moonshine still, looked up ‘rose-breasted grosbeak’ in Peterson Field Guides, and harvested cherry tomatoes from her garden.”possum-living-book.gif

Dolly’s vigor and lust for a thoroughly questioned life makes me wonder how to make my dirty fingered dreams a reality. Read Dolly’s inspiring blog at Possum Living and watch the entirety of the Possum Living documentary for free online. (Part 2 and Part 3 are available on YouTube.) You can purchase Dolly’s book on Amazon or from an independent bookseller.

Part 2 of Possum Living:

Part 3 of Possum Living:

How are you living a self-sufficient, sustainable life? Let us know in the comments.

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  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 9 years ago

    i love this article!!! thank you!!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 9 years ago

    LOVE IT! GReat post.

  • laurelinsailor

    laurelinsailor said 9 years ago

    Amazing and inspiring!

  • tree2

    tree2 said 9 years ago

    Sounds great to me!

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 9 years ago

    Great article.

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop said 9 years ago

    My husband would love this. It's what he wants to do. And what she said in the intro hits home. I'm home all day and he works, and he wants to do nothing when he's done, and I'm bored and wanting to talk because I've been by myself all day. I'm not certain I could kill rabbits and turtles (vegetarian) but it's something to think about, and could still be applied.

  • Radness

    Radness said 9 years ago

    inspiring! thank you :)

  • crimsonplum

    crimsonplum said 9 years ago

    It's a bit misleading to say she had "a seventh grade education" - if she made it to college she clearly had more than that. Just because it wasn't in a traditional school doesn't mean it's not an education!

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 9 years ago

    Growing organic veggies, buying local for most items, recycling waste, composting, recycling clothes and other items to family and friends... just to name a few actions! great article!

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 9 years ago

    Wow! Just watched part 1 and can't wait to watch parts 2 & 3. A very refreshing story.

  • Fullearths

    Fullearths said 9 years ago


  • mtraub

    mtraub said 9 years ago

    I've always felt restrained in attempting self-sufficiency due to living in a city, but I love that Dolly made it happen in the suburbs. So inspiring!

  • beCoy

    beCoy said 9 years ago

    Such a great article! I've always wanted a beehive.

  • tanisalexis

    tanisalexis said 9 years ago

    dunno if I'm too keen on keeping up a "middle class facade" . ;) isn't that the point of this kind of life? not gettting hung up on labels? I'm dreaming daily of the big garden & bit o' land my hubs, daughter and I will procure some day the meantime, consider me the "low class" self sufficient queen! LOL! being raised by a single mum in an urban setting with a whole lotta creativity makes for some REALLY ecclectic stories. I'm saving them all up for my old age when I can write a book. hahaha! Glad you posted this. thanks so much!

  • CarlaLovato

    CarlaLovato said 9 years ago

    Great article; It was hard for me to watch the turtle part of the story--I would have to be vegetarian. It was so interesting. thanks!

  • LoveandLust

    LoveandLust said 9 years ago

    Beautiful article - very inspiring!

  • greeniebeanrecycle

    greeniebeanrecycle said 9 years ago

    This sounds like a fabulous read. I recently quit my day job to take a nanny gig much closer to home, much more laid back, and that allows me to flexibility to focus on my home and business. My husband and I just bought a home and are in the works of preparing it for more sustainability. We've built a garden and are considering a chicken coop (yes, in the middle of Chicago). We only use reclaimed materials, focus on reduction, and recycle everything we can't use! Our goal is to be as self-relient as we can! Thanks for the article!

  • SquidInkKollective

    SquidInkKollective said 9 years ago

    Wow, thanks for sharing!

  • seragun

    seragun said 9 years ago

    Great article.

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen said 9 years ago

    SO Great!!

  • benddownboutique

    benddownboutique said 9 years ago

    inspirational! its a shame my volume doesnt work, otherwise i would have watched the video :(

  • Lilley

    Lilley said 9 years ago

    wow this is such an inspiring story-definitely something I dream about often!

  • quiteclever

    quiteclever said 9 years ago

    So interesting. Love the dancing bit. I feel like I'm 50/50 between possum living and regular working.

  • AnniesWearableArt

    AnniesWearableArt said 9 years ago

    where did the money come from to buy the home & land? how did Dolly pay for an aerospace engineering degree if living the possum life? this is a wonderful lesson in idealism. i'm not wired to give up my day job just yet...i still have a bit too much of the wanderlust....

  • MadeByLaura

    MadeByLaura said 9 years ago


  • riricreations

    riricreations said 9 years ago

    Inspirational and thought provoking!

  • Emmamaha

    Emmamaha said 9 years ago

    I would love to figure out how to live a more sustainable life. Sometimes the trappings of modern life are too much. It would be nice to go back to basics. Will definitely read up on this, so thank you!

  • byhandathome

    byhandathome said 9 years ago

    fantastic! this is really exciting! we're working on eradicating processed food from our life - growing more of our own, buying locally. i use thrifted fabric and clothes for most of my crafting! and we've been participating in an online 'one small change' to make more eco-friendly/conscious choices, here: (mine here: also, check out this article in our local paper for on radical homemakers, along the same sort of lines: sorry i couldn't resist the uber-comment. this is right up my alley!

  • EmAitch

    EmAitch said 9 years ago

    Oh how I've been aching to step over the edge and give it a go...

  • shecological

    shecological said 9 years ago

    I live in Arizona now where it is very difficult (not impossible) to be self-sustaining but I still do what I can. When I lived in Oregon, I made my own jam, bread, grew a ton of food in my backyard, rode my bike everywhere, made my own clothes or bought second-hand, used cloth diapers, made my kid's toys, spun my own wool and knitted it into sweaters. I also had a 25 hour/week job as a medical social worker. We lived on very little money and never wondered what we should be doing with our time because we were happy just living.

  • modernbird

    modernbird said 9 years ago

    Dolly is amazing! Thank you for sharing her (and her Dad's) story. I am going to wait to watch the other videos until my husband gets home.

  • kissadesign

    kissadesign said 9 years ago

    Interesting topic for conversation and further exploration.

  • QuiltFinger

    QuiltFinger said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring, sort of what we're doing now naturally following our noses in a poor economy without jobs. Sounds like a wonderful read.

  • dizzydaydreamer

    dizzydaydreamer said 9 years ago

    this article is excellent, i love Dolly's story -- self-sustaining and happy, all my dreams!

  • ClementinesJewelry

    ClementinesJewelry said 9 years ago

    Great article!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 9 years ago

    When the father shot the turtle in the head...I clicked to comments.


    ARTIBILITY said 9 years ago

    this is our dream-even found our farm in MO to move to - just have to sell our home in Chicago ughhhh Thanks Great article

  • squeakydingo

    squeakydingo said 9 years ago

    fascinating article...thanks for opening my mind!!!

  • sigridida

    sigridida said 9 years ago

    this is how i've lived for the past ten years... w/o chickens or rabbits. it has a great upside, as noted... but also a sometimes steep downside. you really do need really good self-esteem/no doubts going into this... cos people will treat you differently & often (most often) not include you (to keep any assumed pressure off of you...argh! so if you need certain people, be prepared... not just me, but others i know who have done this also lost many of their most important people cos THEY could not deal w/our change... guilt or ego or whatever... ) ... no sour grapes... just hard reality.

  • shopKCQ

    shopKCQ said 9 years ago

    oh boy.... that little goat is love >.<

  • katiesstudio

    katiesstudio said 9 years ago


  • ERGANIweaving

    ERGANIweaving said 9 years ago

    Nice article. Thank you for sharing this story with us

  • indiepixie

    indiepixie said 9 years ago

    This is my dream... Dolly and her father are the 'Freeds'...however they really do live a free and independent life. Kudos to them and to Etsy for making me feel it is possible.

  • calloohcallay

    calloohcallay said 9 years ago

    How wonderful! Avoiding going into an office is worth about anything--I'll have to get the book! (And thanks for featuring my rolling pin!)

  • tastesorangey

    tastesorangey said 9 years ago

    My boyfriend and I have a garden, which was able to get us about three months without buying veggies, (we're waiting on our new crop to mature). Right now our artichokes are going crazy. They're pretty tasty too. I would love to live like Dolly and her father, this is one of the most inspiring documentaries I've seen, and really shows that being self sufficient is a viable option! Thanks so much.

  • FabricSprayPaint

    FabricSprayPaint said 9 years ago

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • AOneDameProduction

    AOneDameProduction said 9 years ago

    Hate to be a naysayer, but this smacks of certain aspects of tea party-ism. If something bad happens to someone living like this, are they going to make their own law? They certainly don't have a right to call the police (since they are presumably not paying taxes). Ditto with calling the fire department. Do they enjoy using the roads, parks, libraries that other people pay taxes for? Do they make in kind contributions to make up for their lack of paying taxes? I'm all for living frugal, which I do, and I'm also a fan of sustainable living, but Also, "possum" is really spelled "opossum."

  • NewDuds

    NewDuds said 9 years ago

    O'my gosh. I loved the videos! My husband and I are always trying to tell people that doing what you love is possible and doesn't feel like work. thanks for sharing this awesome inspiring video!

  • MonkeysOnTheRoof

    MonkeysOnTheRoof said 9 years ago

    We are making strides in this direction. I'm very happy on how far we have come! Having teenagers who are used to the "old way" is a hurdle not so easy to jump for us, but we keep our eyes on the race. Can't wait to read the book and watch the documentary!!!

  • DoBatsEatCats

    DoBatsEatCats said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing this -- very interesting and inspiring article! I'm definitely going to check out her book and blog, and I'm interested to see what I can apply to my life in the big city.

  • PinkConch

    PinkConch said 9 years ago

    Great article....I ordered it from the library after I read it! This really is a doable way of life if you're in a prime position to do so, like have a 1/2 acre of land and a mortgage free house. But for those of us who still have rent to pay, it's only a dream...but it's something to aspire to! C:

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen said 9 years ago

    Dolly said: "they apparently don’t consider food to be food unless it’s bought and paid for in a licensed grocery store." true!! Dolly mentions Burpees Seeds... Check out this old Burpee's ad in my shop:

  • ZhongFuJewelryDesign

    ZhongFuJewelryDesign said 9 years ago

    It was so fun watching this. I have a very productive garden with friends, have planted lots of fruit trees and bushes, and canned my first batch of pickles this year. I'm in a rural spot, so haven't tried to go with out the car yet, but we have it down to a monthly grocery trip. For now we get eggs and beef from my friend who raises chickens and grass fed beef, 1/4 of a mile away from us. There is so much you don't really "need".

  • moosegirlmaria

    moosegirlmaria said 9 years ago

    This was great. How wonderful to be able to lead such a clean life!

  • crochetgirl

    crochetgirl said 9 years ago

    when I lived in the city I grew lettuce and cherry tomatoes in my balcony window boxes. Now that I have a little piece of land in the burbs I have a little plot for veggies and herbs. Plus, Chicago is great for neighborhood markets where you can get everything local including veggies, eggs, meat, herbs, homemade vinegar, bread....

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 9 years ago


  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 9 years ago

    This is a great article!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 9 years ago

    This hard working hippie organically grows and puts up all of our veggies, herbs and some fruits.

  • ADKaromatherapy

    ADKaromatherapy said 9 years ago

    Wonderful. Thank you, Alison.

  • crimsonplum

    crimsonplum said 9 years ago

    @AOneDameProduction - They own the land they are living on, so presumably they do pay property taxes.

  • EverMindVintage

    EverMindVintage said 9 years ago

    This is the way I have been living for years - with only the clothing I sew to bring in a little extra money for special things.

  • shannondzikas

    shannondzikas said 9 years ago

    As a single mom there are never enough ways to make and save money. I always wanted to learn how to can day.

  • SupplyLoft

    SupplyLoft said 9 years ago

    So cool! I want to live like this!! Someday! This summer I plain to grow vegitables in pots on my appartment patio and cook more meals from scratch. Not much, but it is certainly a start to a more self-sufficient and sustainable life.

  • pinkytoeclothing

    pinkytoeclothing said 9 years ago

    Awesome, I love all the wonderful ideas. Wish I could incorporate more in my life...

  • lovelybud

    lovelybud said 9 years ago

    we are on our way:)

  • LuRuUniques

    LuRuUniques said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing

  • thefortunatehome

    thefortunatehome said 9 years ago

    Very interesting article. I am not sure I could live that simply and I am certain that I could not be killing animals to eat. But, it is impressive that they were able to do so!

  • ScrapHappyLyrebird

    ScrapHappyLyrebird said 9 years ago

    Thank you for this! So inspiring, I'm trying to get out of the corporate world and this is just what I needed to read!

  • StarRedesigns

    StarRedesigns said 9 years ago

    This is exactly what I've had on my mind to do ever since I was a small child! I am going to buy that book. My Dad would love to read it as well! Great article. :)

  • greenandpretty

    greenandpretty said 9 years ago

    This is fascinating. I think that my boyfriend and I are on the verge of living a more self-sufficient life. We've been kind of growing into our ideas and world views these last few years and stories like this make me want to really make it our reality.

  • slyraccoon

    slyraccoon said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! This is just the lifestyle my husband and I aspire to share. Very inspiring!

  • JoshUrsoDesign

    JoshUrsoDesign said 9 years ago

    Great article! We are taking baby steps towards self sufficiency ourselves. After a while, stuff just becomes habit and part of your daily life. So far we grow our own veggies in season, shop our local farmers' markets, compost our food scraps, brew our own beer, and make our own bread. Food seems to be the central focus of our changes. We'd love to raise chickens if we didn't live in an apartment!

  • bootmeister

    bootmeister said 9 years ago

    This is a great article, fascinating!

  • Mattamorphis

    Mattamorphis said 9 years ago

    Um, did he just shoot a turtle?

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 9 years ago

    Love this article. Very interesting!

  • irishandmore

    irishandmore said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring. We can't do the chickens or rabbits inside the city limits, but we do garden (organically)for sure! They got by on $1500/yr in the 70's - I expect that included taxes, electric, other utilities, and phone. They didn't say they weren't spending ANYTHING! I imagine that would be like $10,000/yr today, or maybe more. The only thing about the 9-5 that is still attractive to me is the corporate insurance! Wish there was a away around that one. Thanks for posting this. I think I will share it with my teenage daughter!

  • alifecrocheted

    alifecrocheted said 9 years ago

    i had a friend in high school whose mother did everything under the sun and was a goddess in her realm. it inspired me to become completely self-sufficient in my own realm and since i've learned how to garden, knit, crochet, sew a little, create homemade decorations, and use my experience to teach others to do the same. my dream is to live in small cottage, raise my own chickens, harvest my own fruit/veggies, and use local markets to supply anything else. i am by no means a hippy (i'm a computer programmer) but i fully believe in keeping your community sustained by using community-made items and living off of the earth around you. however, arizona kind of sucks for that.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Really inspirational, I've recently been wanting to make the leap to self sufficiency very interesting piece!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 9 years ago

    Awesome story.

  • lilfishstudios

    lilfishstudios said 9 years ago

    Use it up, Wear it out. Make it do, Or do without. Our family of 6 lives on a (very) modest income. We grow as much of our food as our climate allows and compost to nurish our garden. We raise chickens, catch fish, gather wild edibles, make bread from scratch (and now cheese thanks to urbancheesecraft up there!)and eat at home instead of going out. We mend clothes, line-dry, and purchase thoughtfully rather on a whim. We heat our home with downed trees from our woods in the winter, and use our geo-thermal system to cool us only when it's unbearably hot in the summer. If you come to dinner, you'll likely drink your tea from a jelly jar, and use a handmade cloth napkin to dab your chin. We're not doing anything earth-shatteringly huge...just small, simple steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • OffTheHooks

    OffTheHooks said 9 years ago

    our society creates a lot of excess. go alley shopping. go dumpster diving. go garage sailing or craiglisting. plant a garden. creativity is a survival mechanism!

  • firewoodfurniture

    firewoodfurniture said 9 years ago

    How exciting to see Possum Living on Etsy! Two of my favorite things! This book completely blew me away. What an inspiring duo Dolly and her dad were! I'm down with most of the Possum Living ways, except for eating road kill. That's where I have to draw the line. A homemade kitchen still, now that's another story :) Love this article! Thanks for sharing it!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    I love this article!!! Thank you!!

  • gloilocksandbody

    gloilocksandbody said 9 years ago

    Interesting. I understand it was filmed in the 70's but the animal death I would live without. Poor turtle.

  • TheSame

    TheSame said 9 years ago

    Great article, great film. Very interesting concept. I might have to look for Polly's book, sounds like a good read.

  • RhondasTreasures

    RhondasTreasures said 9 years ago

    I'm going to have to get that book. ;-)

  • Soniaymonica

    Soniaymonica said 9 years ago

    Oh the dream - sounds like it's a dream for many. Thank you for reminding us of it!

  • RomanticPlanet

    RomanticPlanet said 9 years ago

    I think this article is absolutely wonderful...coming to me at the exact time I need it...Thank you for the inspiration!

  • HollyhockAlpacas

    HollyhockAlpacas said 9 years ago

    I grew up rather poor - by most people's standards. But I didn't know it. We raised beef, had a garden, preserved food to last the winter. Mom sewed most of our clothes. My Dad worked too, but never at a high paying job. By my teens, I was seeing how the 'town kids' lived and I really thought I had made it when I could buy my food in grocery store! I seriously thought I had made progress beyond my parents! Well, that was a *few* decades ago. Life has come full circle. I buy meat from farmers I know, have a garden and freeze enough veggies to last the winter. I can even spin and knit a scarf and mittens from my alpaca fiber! When did my folks get to be so smart?

  • TchotchkesByHolly

    TchotchkesByHolly said 9 years ago

    My dad has a garden out in the back yard. I keep trying to get him to make it bigger every year so we have less lawn to mow! haha! We get our carrots, beats, peas, potatoes, turnip, beans and alot of our veggies out of it for the whole year! And instead of planting flowers in the flower garden this year I'm planting scarlet runners(beans), and chives. Also this house we moved into a few years ago came with a bonus we weren't expecting, 4 large high bush blueberry bushes. There is enough on them for a few pies and icecream topping till about next year when they come ripe again. Mom and dad usually get a deer in the fall so that's most of our meat for the year too. It helps out a lot.

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere said 9 years ago

    Struggle for life! Thank you for sharing

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 9 years ago

    i garden, have placed in the "commuter of the year" award at my workplace for 4 years because i ride my bike, luv "free" piles in my neighborhood, etc....i strive to do more...dream of the farm life!

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 9 years ago

    It felt a little condescending. Everybody does what they can and some can do more than others. Thanks for the encouragement to do it on your own.

  • BrazanDesign

    BrazanDesign said 9 years ago

    thank you so much for this! very inspiring! self-sufficient, sustainable life? veggie garden, homeschooling, library, loving hand me down clothes

  • LuluRoseDesign

    LuluRoseDesign said 9 years ago

    lol,,,poor turtle:D I love the video:P thank you

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 9 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • TangBaby

    TangBaby said 9 years ago

    great article, i really need to read that book....

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 9 years ago

    So different from how so many of us think and live. Great story.

  • topsyturvydesign

    topsyturvydesign said 9 years ago

    Alan & I want to do this when we reach retirement age. This type of life has always appealed to us. One day...

  • andreamcquade

    andreamcquade said 9 years ago

    I love this book! My brother and sister and I were all given a copy when we went to university. It was such an inspiring read, with such good, simple advice.

  • KatsKube

    KatsKube said 9 years ago

    i dream of a day when i can work the land by having chickens, pigs, and goats. i am not much of a gardener, but want a green house all the same. but i don't know about not working all together. i believe my husband should still work. now ladies don't laugh, or snarl. i just happen to believe we should be self sufficient but plan for the future by saving money and building for retirement. i don't want either myself or my husband to work when we get old. i aspire to travel to beautiful weather year round and see all those things we only dream of. i do like the ideas that this video has, just not all of them.

  • poppyswickedgarden

    poppyswickedgarden said 9 years ago

    Great article. I would love to live off the land and try to as much as I can:)

  • YouAreYou

    YouAreYou said 9 years ago

    WOW! Pretty crazy...and amazing! I like her thinking:)

  • OneCraftyFamily

    OneCraftyFamily said 9 years ago

    We've always dreamed of homesteading...the thought of doing it on our own little 1/4 acre is intriguing!

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 9 years ago

    What an inspiring video. I watched the first one, now I want to see the other two. Now the question is, what can I do to make my life more self sufficient.

  • llamasridebikes

    llamasridebikes said 9 years ago

    This is a very sweet and inspiring article. However, pulling little creatures up out of a pond and shooting them for lunch is where I draw the line.

  • AddieDesigns

    AddieDesigns said 9 years ago

    This was very interesting, thank you for posting it. {i would have liked a little warning about the turtle, though. i'd have to be vegetarian for sure.} Thanks for giving us something important to think about.

  • wristcandycreations

    wristcandycreations said 9 years ago

    Fascinating post. Part of me wishes I could do something like that... the other part of me knows I cannot live without HBO and sparkly beads.

  • lalucita

    lalucita said 9 years ago

    Very cool! Thanks!

  • sugaryberry

    sugaryberry said 9 years ago

    Now I want to read the book :)

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 9 years ago

    Incredible! Simply fascinating... thank you for sharing.

  • greatestfriend

    greatestfriend said 9 years ago

    definitely buying the book, love this!

  • WingsDove

    WingsDove said 9 years ago

    Self-sufficient and frugal living is a good alternative to the consumerist society that is so prevalent now. In the 1960's and 1970's we called it "dropping out." Whatever we call it, there will always be people who choose not to participate in the mainstream lifestyle, which is very stressful and expensive. In some ways, I admire people who choose this, but I could never go that far, even though I have chosen to live as frugally and "green" as possible.

  • mamakoala666

    mamakoala666 said 9 years ago

    Me and my boyfriend were just talking about this today...raising chickens and goats (not to kill-we are vegans) and a garden. We're both living on his part-time salary in Portland, OR because I'm unemployed right now. Sometimes it makes you nervous when the bills show up... but we get by, because we don't feel the need to buy the latest cell phone or other useless material goods. I think it's a start toward living smaller.

  • MARK169

    MARK169 said 9 years ago

    Dear Sir / Madam, I have received much of this shopping alerts and was impressed wih the display. However, I am a bit perturbed on why my hand-made samurai stuffs doesn't appears in the shopping arcade of yours like others do. I am unsure if I might have missed out an applications you can tell me. Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you on both points. Warm Wishes, MARK169

  • KathyPanton

    KathyPanton said 9 years ago

    im pretty sure killing turtles is illegal here

  • Cutiecles

    Cutiecles said 9 years ago

    Love her personality!

  • trishafern

    trishafern said 9 years ago

    awesome! thanks for the article...

  • prettypennydesigns

    prettypennydesigns said 9 years ago

    So interesting and inspiring! Thanks for sharing this.

  • ladylotus

    ladylotus said 9 years ago

    music to my ears :)

  • omgbaaz

    omgbaaz said 9 years ago

    Great post, thanks! It really makes you think about how you want to live your day to day. 9-5 is definitely not what it's cracked up to be.

  • bedbuggs

    bedbuggs said 9 years ago

    This article is so fasinating, I love it!

  • mietteLove

    mietteLove said 9 years ago

    This is the kind of thing I think about and work towards daily. So, thank you! As far as the land/house/garden is concerned, we've got it, but unfortunately, we will be giving it up soon, to move right into the heart of Austin, TX. And, it is all for a job, but a dream job. The good thing is, Austin is a very Green town, and it will be nice to be around like-minded folks again!

  • ShimmeringSky

    ShimmeringSky said 9 years ago

    Slowly (read s-l-o-w-l-y) I'm moving toward that minimal baggage lifestyle, and Dolly Freed has been a sort of mentor since I read her book years ago. All I own fits in my RV & cargo trailer. My job was outsourced last August (no strings, yay!), & Etsy has given me the venue (& my fellow Etsians have given me the courage) to push hard to make my business successful (and me independent). I just bought (well, the bank & I bought) raw land in my home province of Saskatchewan, and eventually, I'll plunk myself down there & build an off-the-grid home out of transport containers (seriously!). Someone above mentioned going full circle. As a former farm kid, I've never missed a place I've lived more than our little farm. Sigh. Life is good. Great article!

  • vintagemaison

    vintagemaison said 9 years ago

    When we lived in England my OH was a computer consultant - saw the kids 3 minutes a day and slept most of the weekends, huge mortgage, all the trappings of an exec life. We moved to France 8 years ago and now live off 2 acres of wood and 1 acre of land. We keep a couple of sheep, pigs, turkeys and chickens. The kids are going through the French education system - they're bilingual - but it hasn't been easy to live in France. Red tape is the worst. However, life is now better - I sell vintage stuff and books (yay, thanks Etsy) and OH gets a little computing work and cares for the animals. The kids see their Dad, we see each other and the only regret is that we're getting on and wish we were 20 years younger.

  • lainedesign

    lainedesign said 9 years ago

    Just finished the article and about to watch the video. Just wanted to say THANK YOU Alison for an amazing article. I believe this is how we were meant to live. And I can't wait to get there someday myself!

  • artfoodlodging

    artfoodlodging said 9 years ago

    it would be interesting to see a follow up .... and i wonder how they managed to pay a dentist, doctor or any kind of insurance...?

  • MagicLace

    MagicLace said 9 years ago

    Amazing article - I love it!

  • diannek

    diannek said 9 years ago

    Always interesting to see how people manage to do this sort of thing I agree, who pays the dentist etc. Good read tho.

  • ShebboDesign

    ShebboDesign said 9 years ago

    Superr article Alison, thank you! It's facinating!

  • SasquatchSaysHello

    SasquatchSaysHello said 9 years ago

    This is exactly the kind of life I want to live. I don't want to be shut off from society, but I thrive in solitude. A small garden, no major financial struggles to worry about, lots of time for creating while being almost seems like this was how we were all meant to live. Contribute to society in our own way, but not be so money-hungry. As far as insurance goes, theres something to be said for having an EXCELLENT diet of fresh veggies and lean meats---that and avoiding the germs from the workplace. I bet a lot of diseases are prevented from this kind of living. In any case, wonderful stuff, and I'm deeply inspired.

  • Chicksandbunnies

    Chicksandbunnies said 9 years ago

    A thought provoking, inspiring and interesting article - thanks!

  • pasin

    pasin said 9 years ago

    Great article

  • kinchi

    kinchi said 9 years ago

    Now I really can't wait to sell our house and move to a place with a sunny garden to grow our own veggies!! Dolly is amazing. What an inspiring and moving story this is.

  • jennapritchard

    jennapritchard said 9 years ago

    Such a great article, very nice to wake up too. I live in a flat with no garden but grow lots of salad and herbs on the windowsill. As well as the usual recycling and re-using materials in my home. Would love to get there one day!

  • ukpinsandneedles

    ukpinsandneedles said 9 years ago

    a very interesting post! inspiring and gives us all something to think about. i think in todays world everyone feels like they HAVE to work and this is because everyone is obsessed with money and luxuries. if only we all agreed to live this way then the world would be a better place. but isn't this how it all started?!

  • thebannerloft

    thebannerloft said 9 years ago

    So refreshing to read this. We can do anything if we want to!

  • KatyScudieri

    KatyScudieri said 9 years ago

    Thumbs up!!

  • littleclouds

    littleclouds said 9 years ago

    I liked the article, interesting to see how others live but personally I couldn't do it. Not that I'm really money driven or anything but the idea of being totally self sufficient with no income would make me feel trapped and isolated from the rest of the world. And what happens if they get ill? And no traveling outside of their country I guess? That I could not do ! I do think its admirable for them to kill and eat their own meat though, too many people seem to forget the steak they chomp into comes from a cow which has to die to land on their plate!

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 9 years ago

    Composting and organic gardening are central to our lifestyle, as are eating and entertaining at home. I use energy efficiency in my pottery and trade for many of the things we need.We also bank and invest locally in the real economy, and drive energy efficient cars. I passionately believe that spending and investing in the real economy rather than with corporate banks and Wall Street investment firms is of primary importance in sustainability.

  • OhMafelt

    OhMafelt said 9 years ago

    Inspiring, thanks for the story. Loads of ideas to incorporate into our suburban lifestyles. By the way, urban cheese craft kits are fabulous and make excellent gifts.

  • HISHandMaidenUSA

    HISHandMaidenUSA said 9 years ago

    I love it!! Thanks for sharing!!! I just had to order the book. I can't wait to read it from front to back.

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 9 years ago

    Not sure I could slaughter the rabbits...but it sounds wonderful to be debt free and completely relying on self sustainability. and to think it was done in the philly area! WOW

  • artistsnature

    artistsnature said 9 years ago

    Great post, really thanks for sharing Dolly's story! I'm thinking a lot about these same issues, feeling trapped in my working life. I try to live a sustainable life, but I'm just at the beginning! Food for thought, really.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 9 years ago

    Certainly admirable & inspirational but things like zoning laws have changed profoundly in many areas since the 70s and property taxes have soared. This was very do-able in 30-40 yrs ago but not so much now unless in far more rural area where private transportion is a necessity. Nearly always, the #1 factor is already owning one's home free & clear of a mortage and preferably in a area without zoning restrictions. Even in unincorporated areas, keeping chickens & other livestock is either prohibited or the neighbors won't tolerate it. And don't forget, if property taxes aren't paid within a year in most places, which requires a cold cash, the property will go to Sheriff's Sale for unpaid taxes. You can be arrested for trepassing for unauthorized hunting/trapping on private/public lands or out of season. The overall cost of living the most modest lifestyle has soared disproportionately since the 1970s while real wages are flat/have fallen. One could live very simply but quite ok off minimum wage ($2.00/hr) in the early 70s. Today, not. To pull this off today is a far more challenging endeavor that would require a pretty good nest egg before trying. Easy life? Not hardly. It's work ethic from front to back to make it work, just different and without the commute, and admirable just the same. Thoreau would have approved; it allows for the time and space needed to think one's own thoughts. Thanks for this feature, Alison.

  • SilverWishes

    SilverWishes said 9 years ago

    VERY INTERESTING... particularly the comments from others who are admirable of the fact that Dolly and her father are raising and butchering their own meat. My husband is an avid hunter and we enjoy lean venison that grew up in the wild - NOT in a feedlot. Some activists think this is horrifying and cruel to Bambi. Hopefully this article/video series will make a few people stop and think... Thank you Etsy for the great, thought-provoking story!

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 9 years ago

    Love those French Heirloom Carrots look at that shape!!! (heirloomdandelion, I think) WOW! organic foods, dried teas, natural fibers--ETSIES you ROCK sustainable living. I'm not the best re: organics but I do turn inorganic electronic waste and other "useless, ugly garbage" into repurposed functional beauty--even if the function is to calm and beautify your world!!!

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 9 years ago

    HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE: working their butts off, making decent money and living poorly??????? makes the Freed idea very interesting.......

  • nomadcraftsetc

    nomadcraftsetc said 9 years ago

    What a cool Read and Watch! Thanks!

  • kristimcmurry

    kristimcmurry said 9 years ago

    Great story! I am going to pass this along to my mom and stepdad. They are becoming more self-sufficient, though I can't see them quitting their jobs as teachers (math and science...I don't think the schools could afford to lose them!) I'm not sure how many acres they have, but they are living in my step-dad's grandmother's old place (he helped build the house when he was a teen). They grow a lot of their own veggies in the spring and summer, and preserve what they can for the winter. They get their meat from local farmers and they are planning on having chickens in the next year. They have a woodstove and often sleep in the livingroom in the winter to avoid using the heat. They have a clothesline (as do I...couldn't live without it!), and they recycle as much as possible. They also compost what they can. I love them so much :) They are so great, and the funny thing is, they don't feel strongly about "saving the Earth" or "living a self-sufficient lifestyle." They just do what makes sense!

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 9 years ago

    I found the comments about hippies, dismal wilderness and such problematic. Also, I appreciate their commitment to humane slaughter, but keeping rabbits locked up in a dark basement made me very uncomfortable. I don't know. This whole video left me feeling kind of icky.

  • LaughingFrogDesign

    LaughingFrogDesign said 9 years ago

    My husband and I ended up living very close to this by accident. I was laid off and his business has been cut becuase of the economy. What seemed to be the bottom actually is a blessing. We have a HUGE garden, and I can everything, including chicken and venison. Our small orchard was planted by my grandfather, and we even use his old handtools. We are now being purposeful in this life and planning to take it even further. Dolly and Carla Emery are our inspirations!

  • Morado

    Morado said 9 years ago

    Interesting read but I can't imagine living like that.

  • Iovelycrochet

    Iovelycrochet said 9 years ago

    Great article - I love it!

  • ThreadRare

    ThreadRare said 9 years ago

    Interesting, but the irony of the comments here is pretty rich. We are selling (for the most part, unnecessary) goods on Etsy, right? That cost money? So let's not disparage the "consumerist lifestyle" too much, as it is those consumerists who buy what you are selling.

  • PierogiPicnic

    PierogiPicnic said 9 years ago

    Hats off! Great article.

  • PierogiPicnic

    PierogiPicnic said 9 years ago

    ThreadRare - good point. It's such a delicate balance between living simply and still supporting indie artisans.

  • juliegarland

    juliegarland said 9 years ago

    ThreadRare: Interesting, but the irony of the comments here is pretty rich. We are selling (for the most part, unnecessary) goods on Etsy, right? That cost money? So let's not disparage the "consumerist lifestyle" too much, as it is those consumerists who buy what you are selling. ******************************** Excellent point! I'm glad someone else sees the irony!

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 9 years ago

    Juliegarland and ThreadRare, I definitely don't want to dis the consumer! But I think this story is appealing for a key reasons Etsy appeals to many people--it expresses the dream of self-sufficiency and being independent. My guess is that if everyone were to live this way, it would be bad for Etsy's business :-)

  • worksandfinds

    worksandfinds said 9 years ago


  • loruma

    loruma said 9 years ago

    I love the underlying theme here. The "smaller" I live my life, the fuller it becomes: the food tastes better, friendships grow deeper. In regards to ThreadRare's comments, I agree, as well. I have supported myself my whole life with what I am able to make with my own two hands, relying on the disposable income of others. As my viewpoints, life, and business evolve, I'm finding that an emphasis on things that are "real" are what really counts and where the balance is found. Like more and more people, I want to know who the people are that make my furniture, decorate my home, and adorn my jewelry box. Ultimately, that is why we are all here at Etsy, whether as buyers or sellers.

  • OliveandFern

    OliveandFern said 9 years ago

    wow this article sure sparked some interest and of course a nerve with few. i try to do my best cooking and living whole, for my lil family, yet its so darn hard! hats off to those who do it daily!

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 9 years ago

    I must say that I did appreciate her critique of her neighbor's lawn. Grass lawns are big useless monocrops and a pain to keep up. I've never understood the appeal. I replaced my front yard with a deck and a flower garden. The back yard belongs to the dogs.

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 9 years ago

    She said they live on $1,500 a year... that was SO much more money in the 1970s! I will be spending my summer paying rent in exchange for manual labor and landscaping on the 40-acre property. We have a giant garden, the moment we settle down I'm sure my husband will buy chickens, goats, ducks, dogs, and maybe some bison. I'm all for this kind of life, but it takes some money to start and lots of time to maintain!

  • kimberlyklinedesign

    kimberlyklinedesign said 9 years ago

    Ok .... Call me the black sheep here. First I ask why is this on etsy? Creativity has nothing to do with shooting innocent turtles in the head. Sorry, I was not prepared for the sight of that. That's horrible and there was NO need to show that scene on this site. Ofcourse I would like to live off the land and not have the full time job I have . I thought quit your day job was about people who found a way to sustain themselves with their creative art and maybe if I choose to go on and watch the other episodes I might find this out but for now I'm still getting over the turtle scene. Shocking for etsy.

  • madamemimshouse

    madamemimshouse said 9 years ago

    I loved it! I might not be eating much meat, unless I had someone else to do the gruesome parts. I don't think I'd do bunnies, maybe a pig or something...bunnies are too cute. I'd fish, though. I'd love to quit, but like Bob said...I have a mortgage and it's just not feasible right now. Maybe one day.

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 9 years ago

    EW! Are they eating a snapping turtle for lunch? That they caught in the river by the highway overpas???? no way!

  • WoodPigeon

    WoodPigeon said 9 years ago


  • monkeyminddesign09

    monkeyminddesign09 said 9 years ago

    Wow that's great.. I do my best to not spend money... but boy she sure makes you rethink what you do and what you spend money on. So interesting. Makes me want to try harder to keep my dream alive! Thanks

  • JanuaryJaniesJewelry

    JanuaryJaniesJewelry said 9 years ago

    The way I grew up, poor and hungry, it's a little hard to to believe so many people so horrified at killing something for food. If we killed a chicken, went hunting, caught a fish we had a good meal with enough to go around for all and if not we did without or made do with very little. We didn't hunt or kill anything we didn't need for food. If that turtle made a meal for Dolly and her Dad I say way to go turtle, what higher good could a turtle ever serve.

  • funkomavintage

    funkomavintage said 9 years ago

    ah Yes, I remember it well. The optimism of youth, and the optimism of the 70s! Life is about a mix of work, effort and play....and Wall Street being muzzled again, so we don't have to live in despair...and our Possum Living dreams (if that is our choice) ...can really come true.

  • SandraJacqueline

    SandraJacqueline said 9 years ago

    It would be interesting to have an update about the people in the film. How are they doing today?

  • creationsbycurry

    creationsbycurry said 9 years ago

    This was strangely interesting to me. I am from Pennsylvania and it is surely an area full of farming. Growing up my Pap would make turtle soup. It was beyond traumatizing, and the smell was really gross. He however worked his whole life, and made it just because he like it.

  • NorthcottWilson

    NorthcottWilson said 9 years ago

    A lot of people have wondered about medical expenses for those who choose this lifestyle... I grew up in the '70s in exactly this manner (of course no job = no health insurance) and my experience was that for serious injuries involving visible distress, such as when my brother cut his leg with a scythe, a trip to the emergency room at taxpayer expense was in order. The solution for less dramatic injuries, such as my chronic back and knee problems, was "Hey kid, nobody likes a complainer." Turns out a little physical therapy was all I needed, too bad I had to wait almost 20 years (when I could pay for it myself). Undoubtedly there will be those who say "That wouldn't have happened if we'd had health insurance reform earlier," which is a whole other debate. And yes, we ate road kill. There weren't many turtles where we lived, but if we didn't have venison or moose or bear then a recently-shot squirrel might be dinner. Today I'm a vegetarian.

  • martice

    martice said 9 years ago

    I agree with "strangely interesting" :))

  • minerallove

    minerallove said 9 years ago

    What an enchanting documentary! I think what we, as etsians, can take from this article is that it is possible to persue the way of life that you choose. It doesn't necessarily have to be taken so literally; it simply raises awareness :) My boyfriend and I have been taking steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We are fortunate enough to have a backyard, which is where we grow fruits and vegetables. While our diet isn't based on everything we grow, we still are able to benefit from something that we put a little "work" into and enjoy doing. As Dolly said, "What is work? What is leisure?"

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 9 years ago

    @SandraJacqueline here she is

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 9 years ago

    What funny timing - I recently bought this book and just started reading it! I'm dying to watch the videos (but I'm going to try really hard to wait until after I've finished the book).

  • trudiedavies

    trudiedavies said 9 years ago

    Luv me vege garden. My mum says "live simple to simply live"!

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts said 9 years ago

    dolly, you rock! something i would like to do to the nearest degree without giving up painting! great job and article.

  • RAKJpatterns

    RAKJpatterns said 9 years ago

    great article! now i want the book!

  • KeptWench

    KeptWench said 9 years ago

    This is not new, folks. Go read. You're gonna be there a long time. Lotsa good stuff there. :) MEN has Been talking about this for something like 40 years or close to it.

  • streetnoodles

    streetnoodles said 9 years ago

    worked all my life to wind up with a job related illness which will keep me in need of life-long medical concerns BUT even just living more simply, i can see the benefits, even for me...thank you for showing this.

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    Amazing and inspiring!

  • ADKInspirations

    ADKInspirations said 9 years ago

    @AOneDameProduction. WOW. How in the world does this *smack* of tea-bagging? Homesteading. Self sustaining lifestyle. What is wrong with that? Kudos to them. I thought I heard her mention selling the rabbit meat, so they must have some income.

  • cram

    cram said 9 years ago

    I want to play possum! :-)

  • jargonhead

    jargonhead said 9 years ago

    Great article! I will be checking this book out from the library!

  • TheLittleRagamuffin

    TheLittleRagamuffin said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for this wonderful introduction to Dolly Freed, and thanks for including my organic basil seeds. I hope to dive into Ms. Freed's book soon -but first I must get the rest of this year's spring crops into the ground!

  • JulieKim

    JulieKim said 9 years ago

    Hmm... well, more power to them, I guess, but I could never do it. Hard to grow vegetables when there's 3 feet of snow on the ground. I'll stick with my Community Supported Agriculture membership during the summer and leave it at that for now.

  • scoutandcatalogue

    scoutandcatalogue said 9 years ago

    About a year ago my boyfriend and I quit fast paced jobs in Vancouver and moved to Mexico. While we don't grow our own food (does mint count?) or own our own home we've managed to create an awesome life at a fraction of our previous cost of living. Obviously living in Mexico helps the with the budget but what really changed for me was no longer working 14 hour days and buying things to unwind. Its super cliche but I can see now how choosing my life over possessions means balance and happy living. We are returning to Canada in a few months but the lessons of living simple are coming with us...

  • blackbird72

    blackbird72 said 9 years ago

    my husband, daughter and I moved back home with my parents to live in my childhood home. It has 4 bedrooms and plenty of room. It's not entirely easy, however I believe the move was good. Rent free, we help with utilities when we can and other house hood expenses. I'm working full time with my photography business, taking it off the ground and selling on Etsy and Artfire. My husband is looking for work. Meanwhile, we don't need to worry about buying a house, and we can afford to put our daughter into a very good private Preschool and Pre-K right here in my town. Having built in baby sitting has be great too!

  • iktomi

    iktomi said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring, but please, save some of your hard earned money to spend here on Etsy. Then you can go back out and weed the garden :)

  • littletimewasters

    littletimewasters said 8 years ago

    I can't take financial and lifestyle advice seriously from someone who doesn't need to think about things like rent/mortgages. Outrightly owning a home is a luxury I (and many others) cannot imagine! Good for you, won't work for me. I grow my own leeks, does that count?

  • 1920

    1920 said 8 years ago

    nice story! there are many ways that people can live simple, happy and healthy, even if in New York City. we don't have a yard to grow vegetables, but we have farmers markets which sell fresh and good price foods. i make my own clothes. there is an old saying,"if you are happy with your work, that's not work." isn't it true, our Etsy family?

  • honeywind

    honeywind said 8 years ago

    It is not hard to add bits and pieces of sustainability into our lives. i lived for 14 years with a simple solar power system..hauling and catching rainwater..raising kids and gardens.My thoughts are to be thrifty in a fun way..forgo the new and constant upgrades..flatscreens, blackberries..ipod touches ( there are lots of these things on used marketplaces, because of the fad of upgrade!) ..and purchase those things that propel life..seeds to plant, organic food, support small and local businesses..recycle and buy second hand, share tools with neighbors, inspire each other and educate yourself and those around you in a positive way. Conserve energy..think outside the box! Buy less recycle many great things to do...i am posting other thoughts and ideas on my blog at . Peace.

  • Floralina

    Floralina said 8 years ago

    How inspiring! The more we make the more we want.The truth is we don't need much to be happy. Happiness is freedom, well at least to me!

  • ImageNationphoto

    ImageNationphoto said 8 years ago

    I always appreciate reading about the choices people make in living their lives and how they get by. I'll be checking out this documentary and book!

  • studiotodorovic

    studiotodorovic said 8 years ago

    Something to think about. Switching to this sort of a lifestyle would be pretty hard with all the existing debt in my family though.

  • TheWoodGarden

    TheWoodGarden said 8 years ago

    It kind of bugs me to hear people say it's possible to live on practically nothing; and then find out that they own their own house, and even land. Of course it's possible to live for little if you don't have to pay rent or mortage every month like the rest of us! And it's pretty darn hard to GET to that place when you're paying rent and have a load of debt to begin with. It's very frustrating.

  • knitknitknit

    knitknitknit said 8 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. I'm so glad I came across it, because I had read the whole online archive several years ago but lost track of it after a hard-drive crash ate my bookmarks, and have been dying to read it again! You made my day!

  • AngelBlackDesigns

    AngelBlackDesigns said 8 years ago

    I appreciate different lifestyles and such. Not to be a downer but there should be a disclaimer about that turtle they shot. I'm eating dinner and catching up on reading. It didn't make my stomach feel too good.

  • PennyFabricArt

    PennyFabricArt said 8 years ago

    Well, I'm going to go ahead and be the party pooper here: I hope this isn't what the majority of Etsy members aspire to, because I'm here to sell my work, and I can't imagine that people like the Freeds are buying art and artisan goods. It would be more encouraging if this article prompted more comments like "I wouldn't want to live like that because I like to buy art and artisan crafts, which requires money."

  • Naturallogic

    Naturallogic said 8 years ago

    I absolutely loved this. My boyfriend and I are doing this very thing. I actually don't have a job other than my etsy shop, and we do just great. I wish I could post pics of our garden here ;p It may not be for everyone, agreed, but for me, it allows me to do what I love and enjoy my time rather than being obligated to enriching my employer's life more than my own. I don't think money will be around forever, but I'll still want to practice my craft, so it has little to do with money for me. I enjoy doing what I do and I enjoy sharing it. If money disappeared, I would still have something of value to offer society, in either gift or trade. Great piece! Thanks :) Toni

  • oneheartdesign

    oneheartdesign said 8 years ago


  • PhineasandLou

    PhineasandLou said 8 years ago

    I'm in love with this! Thanks for sharing this information. Weekly trips to the library, walking around a local attraction with a camera, and cooking at home are ways that we've lived off of not much, but I see we've only scratched the surface. I think I want this book!

  • CeriseG

    CeriseG said 8 years ago

    That's really awesome and inspiring, thanks.

  • babyphunk

    babyphunk said 8 years ago

    Inspriring but did not need to see him kill the turtle!!!! The poor turtle...

  • babyphunk

    babyphunk said 8 years ago

    also disgusted with the turtle seen... should be a warning~!!!!!!

  • PropShop

    PropShop said 8 years ago

    What an amazing and eye-opening article. I am going to try to buy a copy of the book. My dream is to move to VT some day and live off the land. If Dolly can do it, then I can do it!!!

  • JewelrybyMignon

    JewelrybyMignon said 8 years ago

    By lack of choice, this is what is continuing to happen at our home, in a variation, as the hubs does have a job, although I've not been able to find one in this economy. We have our first garden this year. We will be freezing veggies for the winter and drying out seed for next year's garden. We fish and I will be hunting come the fall season for the first time. Kind hunters shared their extra venison with us last year. I only buy storebrand for 99% of what we do buy and then we buy as much as possible when items are on sale ~ such as chicken leg quarters tend to be the cheapest cut of meat and they were 42 cents a pound last week, so we spent half our grocery funds to buy 48 pounds of chicken last week - all went in the freezer. I do not enjoy the $1 or less loaves of bread, so when the good bread goes on sale for $1 or less, then we buy multiples and freeze. I simply do not pay full price for meat, period. Most meat gets bought from the quick sale bin and taken home and frozen. Food doesn't get thrown out even if it's only enough for one - it may get frozen for a variety dinner for another night. The storebrand version of Scott tissue is what we buy as there is simply no sense in wasting money on namebrand high dollar tissue paper. It's 80 degrees in our home, but it's 97 plus outside each day, so 80 is quite tolerable with a mental adjustment. I'm college educated and jobs are simply not out there; so, I'm obtaining more of an education through this experience than I ever obtained in college. Although, I do continue to look for work. However, we won't go back to the way we wasted before, once I secure a job again. I come from the mentality of a vacation equaling a stay at a resort. Now, my mentality is to pack our food and go camping for a week and have a quite happy pleasant time. Changes in attitude, changes in latitude.

  • diytherapy

    diytherapy said 8 years ago

    unfortunately this book is a turn off for vegetarians and vegans... (I'm a vegan, greetings to all vegans.)

  • EnterpriseRanch

    EnterpriseRanch said 8 years ago

    I too am trying to be self sufficient. I just (finally) started my vegetable garden and have been canning and drying food for years. I buy fuits from local farms and preserve them to use throughout the year. I just started doing vegetables since i have my garden going and want to expand my garden a lot but can only do a little at a time. It is hard to be without money coming in to pay the mortgage and other bills, that's why I started my esty store; to be more self sufficient and have more time to work on my ranch and not have the hour long commute each way to work for 5 days a week. I also recently read john seymore's the self-suffcient life and how to live it and you can just start slowly and do as much or as little as you wish, even in a city apartment. Might check out this possum book too.

  • feralchildren

    feralchildren said 8 years ago

    Nice thought but I'm going to echo the complaints that this lifestyle is great if you don't have rent or mortgage, which is a luxury, a commodity, something that costs money. These people have something that is worth more than money already, a home owned free and clear. Good for them.

  • TreeLillyDesigns

    TreeLillyDesigns said 8 years ago

    This is a great story, society needs to stop searching for instant gratification. Yes most of us have rent and mortgages, but most people have the choice on what they spend ther money on.You can at least keep your bills to the minimun and try to think, do I realy need this?

  • vongraff

    vongraff said 8 years ago

    He shot a Turtle in the head with a hand canon... =(

  • nabihahayat

    nabihahayat said 8 years ago

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  • nabihahayat

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  • margierobatto

    Margie said 6 years ago

    This is not such a great story. I don't like the idea of killing a turtle and then when he turned it over and it was moving and the idiot says it's just reflexes. I'm with others about paying taxes. Living of the land sounds like he can't hack working. The mother looks like she's a drag queen. I don't think life is the same as it was back then. You can't go around shooting wildlife in a city. This is not inspirational. Perhaps it's entertaining to people who kill animals.

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