About

Hello dear reader, and welcome to our blog, our journey, our life. These pages are designed to document explain and share our voyage into the realm of self-sufficient homesteading on the side of an Appalachian mountain.

Its rather difficult to surmise ones entire adult dream into a few lines, but try I shall… Mr. Chickadee is really a symbol, a seed planted somewhere deep in my past with tiny gold trimmed Beatrix Potter books read to me by my mother. Stories where the rabbits wore elegant clothing and avoided Mr. McGregor’s wrath while raping his carrot patch. A hunger for a simpler, more pastoral, natural lifestyle has matured into an idea, a plan for a life made with ones own hands. So now, after years of scraping, saving, researching and dreaming, we are ready to set sail!

Through my researching I have found much great information on the Web, but often wished to have some topics covered more thoroughly or at all. In these times I decided others might benefit (and even enjoy) from our documentation, and so we invite you to follow along, to learn, or just watch and homestead with us from your couches or desks.

 

 

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165 Responses to About

  1. Ruud says:

    I thoroughly enjoy watching your videos. Thank you for sharing and all the best to you!

    Ruud

    Like

  2. Roman says:

    It’s very peaceful and informative to watch closely what you are doing. I bought my piece of land in canada and i am dreaming a dream that doesn’t seem to be much different to your’s. Thank you so much.
    Sincerly
    One manfrom switzerland

    Like

    • Paddy1706 says:

      Hi, I really enjoy your work, and I am on a similar journey on the west coast of Canada. I am very much wondering were you source your tools… Especially the ring augers and your hand powered mortising machine.

      Like

      • mrchickadee says:

        Hi and welcome to the journey! Most of my tools came from flea markets or Ebay, the ring augers were at a local yard sale, the boring machine was an antique store find.

        Like

  3. Keivn F. says:

    Hello Mr.C,

    Love watching your videos, lots of inspiration. I am also a friend of Jay C. and he told me to get in contact with you. Do you have a personal e mail address? Wanted to chat about Video production for youtube.

    Like

  4. Curtis J. Smith MSLT says:

    Your work has been a welcome respite in an ever clamorous world. I admire your quite resolve.

    Clearly, you are an inspired craftsman. Perhaps some scaffolding will facilitate your high work and get you off that precarious ladder work….just as easy to throw up a quick scaffold and plank as a ladder; speaking as a welder packing a bucket of tools, grinders and arduous welding leads…. We need you around with all your inspired talents with all your limbs intact.

    Like

  5. Terri says:

    Had lunch today with your neighbor Jim and Rita. Jim and I are friends for as long as we can remember, our mothers were best friends. He shared your story, I couldn’t wait to watch the videos. What an amazing man you are accomplishing your dream at such a young age! Good luck!

    Like

  6. Mark Altman says:

    Do you mind texting or emailing me when you get a chance? 512-995-1201
    I love your channel and work and would be very appreciative to ask a few questions.

    Mark (Altman Acres)

    Like

  7. Dorian says:

    Been watching your work for some time now and continue to be impressed and inspired. Absolutely smitten with your fillming style and just letting the tools and the birds do the talking; the videos are a little piece of nature when I can’t leave the house. I’ve been getting into a lot of these old techniques and tools myself, but still waiting for prices in our real estate market to make land purchase affordable. Thanks so much for doing all of this and keep up the good work!
    Warm regards from Canada.

    Also thought you might like this if you’ve never seen it. Might inspire a new project.
    http://www.folkstreams.net/film,312

    Like

  8. Hi Josh and Mrs. Chickadee :–)

    I wanted to hop on and say that you are an inspiration to me on a very real level. I have watched every single video you’ve put out (some multiple times). I retire from a full career in the military next year and will be setting out on a very similar journey. Each day when I find myself hating what I do and where I am, I close my eyes and watch one of your videos with my imagination. I especially enjoy the capstan vids as I will need to employ ingenuity of that caliber and then some to achieve my goals. I will be setting out on the most epic journey of my life, purchasing some land in the remote wilderness of NW Montana and building my homestead from scratch using nothing but the old ways just as you do. To top it off I will be building everything not only with just hand tools and the technics of old, I will be building everything by myself, solo, alone. Dick Proenneke is the only true reference I have for what I am setting out to do… I am still working out and deciding the construction details but it will be similar to the construction Jacob uses in his video “Birth of a wooden house”. I do know quite a bit but no doubt I still have twice as much left to learn before the journey begins. The fact that you don’t narrate your videos is awesome, leaves a lot to the imagination. Some of the things I find interesting about you outside of the obvious talent you have, the way you even dress simple, your eclectic variety of old tools that even I haven’t seen before like the little oiler and the snap line to name a few. I think the intense look about you is engrained in my memory and even though you look totally un-interested in everything, we all know you’re as giddy as a school boy inside. I’m the same way, people tell me I always look angry when I’m perfectly happy and enjoying what I’m doing. Well, thank you very much for being an inspiration to me and as always, very much looking forward to your next video.

    ~Darrell

    Like

    • mrchickadee says:

      Darrell,

      Thank you very much for the kind words! Sounds like you have a real adventure ahead of you, I wish you all the best for sure! Ive made lots of mistakes and learned many lessons in our first two timber frames (the workshop and cabin) so Id e more than happy to share what Ive learned and any pointer or “what Id do differently” kinda stuff Id have loved to had someone share with me.

      I didnt retire but I was in the military, USMC 5812 from ’05-’10 who are you with and what is your job?

      Josh

      Like

      • Josh,

        First, let me thank you for your service! My Brother is a Marine (Master Gunny of 26 years), You guys have it way rougher than we do… I am in the Navy, currently stationed in Bremerton, WA onboard USS John C. Stennis as the Weapons Engineer. Long story short, I was Enlisted for the first 18 years of my career working as a machinist/carpenter/welder/fabricator/firefighter, then I decided to accept a commission as an Officer and now absolutely hate what I do, not because of the Navy, the Navy has always done right by me (although it has changed for the worse in my opinion) but more because I feel trapped and unable to follow my dreams basically doing what you’re doing (only solo). Thankfully, I will be release from pris… err… retire (hehe) next year and plan to move in with my best bud in Madison Indiana (not too terribly far from your guys), to finish all the preparation, finish designs, purchase the land, let finances settled out, etc… While I’m in Indiana I plan on building a few large timber frame structures using lumber harvested from the property there basically to practice for the homestead build in Montana. I haven’t 100% settled on Montana but I love the weather and that part of the country in general, it kinda speaks to me. I’ll have to pay you guys a visit while I’m in Indiana, if you’d let people visit that is maybe chisel out a few masterpieces together, that would be awesome. I do have one question on a confusing topic that maybe you can shed some experience on… When selecting & felling the trees you will turn into timbers, I have heard varying opinions; some say to fell in the winter, some say Summer… what’s your take on that? I would imagine summer would be good for pealing ease but most people I’ve seen, do their felling in the dead of winter. Perhaps fell in the winter and peel in the summer??? How did you do it and why? Did it work out as you hoped it would? Also, did you just start building right away why the timbers were green or did you wait the recommended two years after felling to start building? I realize the wood will be more stable once seasoned but the joinery would be much easier while green that’s for sure. I have many many questions and would love to pick your brain from time to time. Thanks for the reply and hope this finds you both doing very well. Oh, by the way, if you want to put a face to the name, you can visit my crude shop via my even cruder YouTube channel (The Cordless Carpenter). My email is cordlesscarpeter@gmail.com

        Best wishes and regards,

        ~ Darrell

        Like

      • mrchickadee says:

        Darrell,

        Please send me an email to ishi_198925@yahoo.com so I can better keep up with and catagorize this topic. Also please organize and number your questions in the email so I can be sure to hit them all in good order, dont want to lose any in the mix of paragraphs.

        Thanks
        Josh

        Like

      • Jared says:

        Semper Fi brother 0311 3rd Lar 29 Palms

        Like

  9. mrchickadee says:

    Darrell,

    Please send me an email to ishi_198925@yahoo.com so I can better keep up with and catagorize this topic. Also please organize and number your questions in the email so I can be sure to hit them all in good order, dont want to lose any in the mix of paragraphs.

    Thanks
    Josh

    Like

  10. MATT says:

    If only I’d have watched you log hewing video before I massacred a pristene maple log from a tree from my front yard. Your videos are serene and full quiet strength from you both. Thank you.

    Like

  11. Izik Burtchell says:

    Hey Mr. Chickadee not to be rude in any manner my dad and I was wondering how old are you by the way we love watching your videos it actually is going to change our lives we want to live in Alaska off grid your techniques will help us on the way Thank you for your insperation And I’ve watch every video over and over

    Like

  12. Andy Gane says:

    Simply wow. Thank you for putting this out there to view.

    Like

  13. shawn says:

    I really enjoy your videos and the work you are doing. A few questions if I may:
    1. How much experience in carpentry and such did you have before beginning these projects?
    2. Is there any issues with building code compliance in the area you live?
    3. Is this your full time effort or do you work on this around a normal job schedule?
    4. How much time in total has it taken you to build your cabin?
    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    Like

  14. jarrod says:

    Mr. Chickadee, I greatly appreciate your videos. You have a great sense of “How to captivate an audience of one to one…”(Kruschev’s Shoe – Roy Underhill). You get right to work, and your excellent craftsmanship speaks for itself. I also enjoy your fashion sense. Could you please tell me where you get your trousers and suspenders? Thank You!

    Like

    • mrchickadee says:

      Thank you. I find these type clothes to be the most practical and comfortable for my kind of work. You can get the trousers from a company called Frontier Classics. suspenders and shirts I get at thrift stores normally.

      Like

  15. Dan says:

    I always look forward to your videos. thank you for the great work

    Like

  16. Jim Jacobson says:

    I really enjoy the videos and have learned quite a bit. I have a few questions, about the Shou Sugi Ban siding and the masonry heater. For the siding, did you put oil on the siding at all before installing it? I know some people that put tung oil on before hanging. I’d love to build one of Alex’s masonry cookstoves too. How many square feet is your cabin? Was the heater/cookstove sized well for your cabin? How well does the baking oven work? Thanks again for the inspiring videos.

    Like

    • mrchickadee says:

      Thanks! We just burned the wood then put it up, oiling is done later by mixing our raw linseed oil, pine tar together and thinning it down with citrus solvent, then it can be sprayed on with a hand pump sprayer. and again every few years.

      Alex took everything into account for our stove design, he is a true professional at his craft, he wanted to know the exact insulation, size of house number of doors and windows and everything to do a detailed thermal assessment. This would be standard for any client he gets I’m sure. Our cabin is about 17×21 inside, but has more area than most with the cathedral ceiling. The stove is amazing, it heats everything well without drink out the air like a metal wood stove. The bake oven takes getting used to as most have been spoiled by modern stoves with timers and temp gauges and such. This stove takes practice, we added a thermometer, and you need to turn the food or bread as it cooks since the back is much hotter than the front. In all we are happy with the stove.

      Like

  17. J Martin says:

    I have been following your post/videos . Great work. I just watched your video about the shaker bed frame. Its beautiful. But it looks like its a small bed frame. Since it looks small (maybe a twin or toddler first bed size) is this a hint to their being a young new little chickadee in nest?

    If so congrats to you and Mrs Chickadee.

    Like

  18. Jared says:

    Love your working style be safe and semper fi

    Like

  19. Joshua Hill says:

    For a little while now I have been watching your videos and I have to say thank you! Thank you for the inspiration, and thank you for the way you make your videos. They are extremely relaxing while being equally informative. In the least weird way, I pretty much meditate on them! Anyway, i was curious where you learned all of the stuff you know? Reading? Family? Let me know! I’m very interested and would love to do something similar in the future, but first I need to learn. Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you again! Keep up the awesome work!

    Like

  20. Adrian says:

    Great Youtube channel and blog. Greetings from Poland

    Like

  21. bil says:

    how far from Pikeville or Prestonsburg. USMC 72 -74

    Like

  22. Darrell Thompson says:

    Mr. Chickadee, just started watching you on YouTube and have notice what looks like Marine Corps boots. where you in the Corps?

    Love watching keep up the awesome work

    Like

  23. You guys are just amazing. I have watched lots of video of you building your shop and home. I am in awe a bit. I’m 48 and just now have screwed my courage to the sticking place, and am heading from a life of cossetted urban existence, in which everything is comfortable and yet nothing really comforts me, into a new life, not so much seeking a complete homesteading experience, as an experience of returning into relationship with land, and farm, earth, and seed. From city mouse to country mouse. A country mouse with a large stout workbench and an aim to live simpler, and more patiently, and in harmony with creation and creator.

    Blessings to you in your adventures.

    Warren Postma
    British Columbia Canada

    Like

  24. Alexandre says:

    Hello Mr. My name is Alexandre I live in Brazil I am a piloto and also like to do mane homemade projects, I like so much to make little projects using timber such as looms and furnitures. Congratulations for your videos, I always watch carefully to learn more but I usually also to watch to reduce stress, because your calm method to work is a good example to solve problems without hurry. Tank you.

    Like

  25. Samantha says:

    My husband and I just discovered your videos and have been on a watching binge for three days now. My husband is a woodworker and appreciates your use of hand tools. I am a historical clothing maker and am curious about where you got your pants?

    Like

  26. Jason Jablonski says:

    Thank you for taking the time to capture your lives and work as you build out your dreams, it is fascinating, captivating and peaceful.
    I am curious how you have gained so much knowledge of period carpentry, your work is that of a master. Have you learned from videos, books…? What did you find to be the most helpful and propel you in being able to do such great work? I have been a fan of Roy Underhill and trying to read and learn about our ancestor’s techniques. I watch your videos and continually wonder how you learned all this. You are doing a fantastic job to preserve the art and inspire others to learn as well.
    I wish I could make it to your upcoming timberframe class, I hope this may be the start of you starting to teach?

    Like

    • mrchickadee says:

      Thank you for the kind words Jason. The truth is I just read some good books by Roy Underhill and Jack Sabon and practiced until I wasnt terrible anymore. Later on I met and learned much more framing and building theory from Jay C Whitecloud.

      I love passing on what I have learned, and I see more classes in the future, perhaps over more topics as well.

      Thanks
      Josh

      Like

  27. Trever Jones says:

    Just wanted to thank you for your willingness to share the wealth of information and knowledge you have. I am a novice woodworker and enjoy learning from you and others on the web. Hope you and your family have a very blessed day. Sorry.. but I am Army 🙂
    Trever

    Like

  28. waltamb says:

    Josh,
    My compliments on all of your skils you have learned and used in all of your videos I have watched and read about.
    It is not often someone in today’s world can master these skill by reading and watching a few others.
    The skills are mastered by doing and you are doing allot.
    Stick with it, I have been working wood for 46 years but mostly with machines.
    In the last 5-10 years I have sold allot of them and migrated back to many of my hand tools.
    There are so many little intricacies that I began sharing my knowledge on the Dusty Splinters You Tube page where we concentrate on PLANE TALK.
    Peace, Walter

    Like

    • mrchickadee says:

      Walter,

      You honor me with your kind words sir. Im overjoyed to hear you are migrating back to hand tools. I find their use cathartic and am passionate about them as may be evident in my works. I will check out your youtube page, hope to learn some tricks!

      Josh

      Like

  29. DDD says:

    J
    Beyond your craftworks; your videos are works of art unto themselves; wonderfully filmed and edited.
    You and your wife are true masters of the “less is more” edict.
    Thank you for the purity and simplicity of all that you create.
    D

    Like

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