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Recorded on January 6th, 2022
[The following transcript was auto-generated using Otter.ai. If there’s a discrepancy between the audio and text, please reach out to me and I will correct it. Thank you.]
Matt Derosier 0:11
Welcome to the FarmHop Life podcast. My guest today is Ariel McLaughlin from a tiny house called Fy Nyth and Ariel Celeste Photography. Ariel, how you doing today?
Ariel McGlothlin 0:20
Good. It’s great to be here.
Matt Derosier 0:23
Yes, thank you. Thank you for being here. So I reached out to a group on MeWe the survival podcast group and asked if anybody wanted to come on and talk about farming, homesteading, anything like that. And you were pretty quick to quick response. And I appreciate that. So we’re that’s what we’re talking about today.
Ariel McGlothlin 0:45
Your your invitation just happened to show I don’t see by any means everything posted on there. But your invitation happened to show up in the feed right when I was scrolling through. So it worked out.
Matt Derosier 0:55
Perfect. Yes. So I haven’t. I’m a new fan of yours. I hadn’t heard of you before. So when you like, when you message me, I was like, oh, okay, cool. And then you tell like I started, I watched your little trailer on YouTube, like, Whoa, seriously, this is what she does. This is amazing. And so you got like 600 plus videos on your YouTube channel. And I mean, just Well, as of as of late, you had been pumping them out. But obviously, with the new YouTube issue, being locked out and whatnot. Getting that channel back has been a struggle. But
Ariel McGlothlin 1:37
yeah, fingers crossed on that I have a subscriber who has a relative who is head of security in Google, who thinks they’re able to resolve it. I’m not able to post videos yet, but I think shortly I may be able to, which is super encouraging. But in the meantime, all my videos are also on Odyssey if anyone wants to see the most recent stuff that’s not on YouTube in the last month while Google’s had me locked out.
Matt Derosier 2:02
Fingers crossed. Will that that that gets figured out. So what was your life like? Growing up before Fy Nyth? Where did you grow up? Were you born in a tiny house? I mean…
Ariel McGlothlin 2:17
No. So I grew up in Pennsylvania, I live in Wyoming now we’re sitting I’m sitting in my tiny house here in Wyoming speaking to you. I grew up in Pennsylvania in kind of Amish farm country. My family was not actually Amish they were brethren, which isn’t our mission isn’t Mennonite, but is another plain group. And so my family was fairly conservative, I was really fortunate to learn a lot of useful skills from my parents, because growing up we always had a big garden always had some amount of livestock, you know, prepared a lot of our own food from scratch, did a lot of canning, learn to sew my own clothes, which actually hate sewing, but it’s something I could do if I had to, you know, just learned a lot of useful skills. And I was homeschooled the whole way through school. My parents homeschooled all of us. I have six younger siblings as well. And so I got lots of practice doing all the housework stuff. And I heard you just mentioned your wife wasn’t feeling well. My mother got very, very ill with morning sickness 24 hours a day for pretty much all nine months of every pregnancy. And so I being the oldest got to pick up a lot of the slack there when she wasn’t feeling good. So that wasn’t always appreciated at the time, but it did result in me learning a lot of very practical and useful skills for for which I’m really thankful. So that’s where I grew up. I done this could get to be a long story, but I’ve done it I’ve short wrote well, was most one month road trip around the mountain. Well, the whole west with a friend when we were in our late teens. Neither of us had ever been anywhere west we grew up on on neighboring. Well, she grew up on a big farm. My parents just had a little farm at that. Anyway, I kind of fell in love with the West, I think I’d probably already done so before I even came out here. And year or so later, I moved here. And so I’ve lived my whole adult life in the wild, a little bit in Idaho, but mostly in the state of Wyoming. And that is how I got out here.
Matt Derosier 4:25
That’s awesome. So you’re you said you lived in an Amish community but you were more Mennonite? Is that what you said? Did I catch that?
Ariel McGlothlin 4:35
My family was actually brethren. So it’s another very conservative group. And if you don’t grow up in one of them, they all look the same. But okay. My family did have vehicles. They weren’t horse and buggy like a lot of Amish are. But otherwise you grew up very conservative. And I don’t know if you want to share some photos. I do have some photos of my childhood but
Matt Derosier 4:57
Oh yeah, sure. I caught your Video will to one when you had when you had your family like your your brothers come out?
Ariel McGlothlin 5:12
Yeah. I have a lot of siblings, like I said, and most of them are now married. And I’ve got a bunch of nieces and nephews as well with another one on the way. So yeah, that I’ve got a fairly large family. Let’s see if I can make this work. I haven’t done a whole lot of screen shares. So there we go. Okay, so that was my parents. That’s a baby me screaming my head off. I have no rational recollection of this. Most photos are my own. Obviously, that is not one I took I don’t know who to do have a few other childhood photos. My parents did keep bees for a while. So I get to learn a little bit about that. Me and the suit, they’re helping my dad. That was me standing there at the time, the oldest so I’m generally the tallest one and all these pictures. That’s me and one of my sisters with our goats. We had milk goats. For most of my childhood. That was a tepee lodge that we built. It was a big fan. And I’m feeding my stick horse there it was big fan of horses and always wanted to be an Indian, my hair was just very stubbornly blond to feel like a real Indian. That was some of the turkeys we raised and a few more of my younger siblings, smart goats and bottle feeding a couple steers the one year to me and brother and a cousin weeding in the garden. One here, this is really cool. If you have children of an age that can enjoy this, we grew the sunflower houses and planted the sunflowers in like a circle or square and grew pole beans up them. And so they made kind of this wall. And that was just what we did with an empty extra corner of the garden one year, I thought it was super cool when I was a child. It is cool. So that’s some of my childhood pictures. I don’t know if that fully answered your questions about how I grew up or not. But
Matt Derosier 7:22
yeah, because so I watched you, like I saw, like I was saying, your, you know, couple of your brothers came out to visit I watched that video. And then I saw it was like related like my, my parents garden and like their greenhouse. And so I like I watched that when I was like, Whoa, this is this is interesting, like your background, and then I was reading comments, you know, or people are like, no wonder you’re so good at explaining things. You know, your dad’s very thorough and precise. And there’s reason for everything that you know. You know, yeah, there’s just a reason for everything, you got to do it like this, not this because this way, you know, this will fail you or you know, I had a problem here. So I had to add this. And, you know, it was it was cool to see. And so like, it makes a lot of sense. How you grew up and like where you are now. So that was it was a cool back. It’s cool to see those pictures. So thank you for sharing.
Ariel McGlothlin 8:26
Yeah, that’s something probably not even most of my longtime subscribers have ever seen as many pictures of when I was a little kid.
Matt Derosier 8:32
Sure, yeah, it’ll be a good treat for them. How often you get back home to visit your parents do they do they come visit you.
Ariel McGlothlin 8:40
Um, they have been to Wyoming once in the 15 years I’ve lived here now. Like I said, I’m the oldest. So my baby brother is still at home. They were, you know, I’m the one that left they were they were still actively doing things there. And now there’s quite a few nieces and nephews like I said, so. I don’t expect that visiting me as a real high priority when they’ve got lots of grand babies to hang out with instead. But most of my siblings have gotten out here every year every two they like to you know, especially as some of those nieces and nephews get older bring them to visit Wyoming. Some of my siblings now live actually in Seattle, so they went even further away. But the majority of my family is still in Pennsylvania. And I used to seem to get back there about every other year usually kind of scheduled around somebody was getting married or something like that. Now it’s been about four years since I’ve been there. Since we now have a homestead that has livestock here it is a little bit harder to leave. And the East Coast has gotten a lot crazier and I just can’t say I really want to go there that much. So we do a lot of phone calls and stay in touch and email pictures back and forth and don’t see each other that often in person.
Matt Derosier 9:54
That That part’s kind of a bummer that it’s kind of like tapered off but you know, life gets It’s in the way of things sometimes like and other commitments. So I’m totally with you, it’s a find it hard to get back. I’m from Minnesota, and I live here in Montana. So I have a lot shorter drive than you do, if I choose to drive that is, but yeah, it
Ariel McGlothlin 10:18
really works out. I mean, my siblings, and I do like to stay in touch. And actually, in some ways, I probably have a better relationship with my parents from 2000 miles away than we had when we were all in the same house together. And so I’m thankful for that. And I appreciate being able to maintain that. So I’m fine with not living next door.
Matt Derosier 10:36
I’ve kind of found something similar. Yeah, you’re little, because you got to keep the routine of talking to your parents, like, hey, what’s been going on, you know, instead of just like, just come over for dinner and just Same old, same old, you know, it’s, something’s different because you’re in a different spot. So, um, what are your What are your parents and your family, think about like your, your lifestyle, the tiny home thing, composting toilets, and like, as a content creator.
Ariel McGlothlin 11:04
Um, I think that, I think that for the most part, they think most of the stuff about, you know, my general lifestyle, as far as that is kind of neat. You know, we just grew up doing what a lot of people would have probably considered like prepping, but it wasn’t really because of that, it was just because, you know, if you raise your own food, if you want to regrow corn and freeze it, you have to freeze a year’s worth, because you’re not going to have any more to like, rose the next season. So we’ve had a large, you know, stockpile of things, and we’re just well prepared for things generally to go wrong. So I think they think most of you know, the stuff I’m doing is cool. My parents would disapprove of some of my other lifestyle choices like clothing and having, you know, my hair cut and down and not covered, obviously, I’m not as conservative dressing as they are. So there’s definitely some things they would disapprove of with that. But I don’t think any of it has to do with pooping in a bucket or living in a tiny house or living in the mountains.
Matt Derosier 12:02
have you convinced them that pooping in a bucket is the better way to go?
Ariel McGlothlin 12:06
Um, I don’t know, I haven’t asked them if they would consider that they live in a, you know, more normal house that has flush toilets. So I don’t know.
Matt Derosier 12:15
You have to ask them and then record the phone call or video chat and it’d be good content.
Ariel McGlothlin 12:22
They’re fairly practical people. So I wouldn’t hesitate to say that. Yeah. If if something, you know, froze up or backed up, or well, my baby brothers now owns a septic company. So they probably wouldn’t be stuck for very long. But like I said, they’re pretty practical. So if there if there wasn’t other options, I’m sure they would they would do that just fine.
Matt Derosier 12:45
I noticed that you don’t do any ads and videos, do you any of your videos directly or indirectly? Provide you income?
Ariel McGlothlin 12:53
Um, somewhat. Yeah. Google has done our you know, through YouTube has done advertising on some of them, and they pay me a commission percentage of that, that is not something I control, and what ads they put on a video entirely depends on what you know, they it’s not based on what they think about me. It’s whatever Google knows about you, the viewer and what you may be interested in and what might be worthwhile advertising to you. So that’s, that’s not something I really have any, you know, control over. But they do put, you know, ads on there. I’ve never decided to work with anybody, like a specific sponsorship or affiliate or thing. Well, I guess I am an Amazon affiliate, because it mostly just because it saves me time, because so many people would ask me repeatedly the same questions, where do you get that there’s that thing you’re using. And so being able to just set up an organized, here’s all those things, you can find them easily instead of having to refund the link every time somebody asked me this handy. So Amazon pays me a little commission, you know, somebody buys something through that. So that’s, that’s nice. But yeah, I’ve never worked to set up anything that’s, you know, it’s probably a good way to go to you know, you know, contact companies and say, Hey, I like your product, I would like to recommend your product. I mean, I still recommend products to people if they’re ones I like I’ve just never bothered setting up a relationship with their manufacturers that pays me to do so.
Matt Derosier 14:21
When did off grid living become something that you were interested in?
Ariel McGlothlin 14:27
Um, there’s probably two answers for that. I ended up off grid in this tiny house. Because when I moved in here, I had the opportunity to park in a pretty spectacular location that was a little clearing tucked in the trees where I live for the first seven and a half years that I lived in this house. I’ve since gotten married and moved and we’re on our own property and we’re in a different place tucked into the mountains. But that spectacular parking spot because if somebody’s not familiar I do live in a tiny house. It’s on wheels. You can hitch it up to any big one ton pickup until it down the roads. So this house is movable, which is, I guess, not a normal way people talk about their dwellings. Yeah, I lived here and then I just moved my house. But it was a really cool spot and they’re just being on grid, there was no option at all the closest grid power and stuff was half mile away, it would have been a multimillion dollar power run, you know, to get anything there. So I went off grid specifically because of that situation. As far as being attracted to it, I’ve probably always liked being more independent and self sufficient. And so all of those things have probably been somewhat attractive to me for most of my life. But before I moved into the tiny house, I was living in a very normal to most people townhouse that I, you know, a roommate and I shared and we had, you know, grid power, and city, water and sewer and all of that stuff.
Matt Derosier 15:52
I, so what I’m gathering is that you weren’t necessarily seeking out the off grid living it just kind of like, oh, I have an opportunity to move, like one live in a tiny house to move it over here where there is no power. So I have to make this work if this is what I want. Is that right?
Ariel McGlothlin 16:12
Yeah, but I also do, I do value the independence and freedom and there’s, you know, it’s nice when it’s like, oh, there’s a storm and everyone else has power outs like well, I have the same limited power at my house that I always have from my little tiny solar setup. And so that’s kind of nice. And I do really value that independence, the new property my husband I bought together actually had power run, you know, just a pole right inside the lane. So we may in the future end up with power the house on wheels here is still view only using the same little solar setup and generator that it’s been using for my whole life in here, currently. But what I do know for sure is I don’t ever want to be in a position where I can’t do the things important to life. if the grid goes down, I guess I’ve lived this way too long, I’m probably never going to be okay again with knowing that I couldn’t heat my house, or cook my food or take care of things like sanitation or water or things like that without power. So we might eventually have some more which is handy when you haven’t. But for sure all those you know essential to life things we’re always going to have one or two or four options of how to do them without as well.
Matt Derosier 17:29
Definitely it almost seems to me like so normal people. It’s okay that you’re not normal. People are normal people are too comfortable being reliant on the grid where it almost seems to me like you’re uncomfortable being reliant on the grid is that like so? Yeah.
Ariel McGlothlin 17:53
Yeah, for luxury and extra comforts, but when they go away, I still want to be warm. I mean, you live in a cold snowy place to live. I mean, it’s been snowing all day. It’s normally winter here for like eight months a year. I don’t want to ever be in a position where I could freeze to death because the power’s out my only source of heat is electric or where I can’t make hot food because my only way to cook is electric or I can’t go breaking water because the only way to get it to me is involved something electrical and so on.
Matt Derosier 18:21
I’m kind of stuck where I’m at because like electric like electricity here is so stinking cheap that it’s like everything in my house is electric. Yeah, I live in a basic house I’m not cool like you but
Ariel McGlothlin 18:34
no, electricity is actually really cheap here too. And people are like oh, you know you’re Off Grid Setup. Well, that’s you know, makes financial sense. It’s like no, no financially for what I spent on having a little solar setup I could have bought power for the next 50 years here in Wyoming and still not broke even and all of those people will be gone you know worn out long before that but it does give you a certain amount of independence and and you know location choices that are not otherwise options and so that does have some value.
Matt Derosier 19:06
I was watching your your video on like the was $90,000 too much for a tiny house video like the finances Yeah, broken down and everything. And you mentioned that the area that you live near like houses we’re just going for like, or millions or something like that. Can I ask Where abouts you were that that at the time because you know this is seven and a half eight years ago now that that you had moved from there? Where was that?
Ariel McGlothlin 19:46
I was very close to at that time. Jackson Wyoming which people may know a lot of SAS now resort there’s two giant national parks. And as long as I lived there, I may not have said that publicly because my living situation would have probably fallen into a gray area. As far as the legalities in that location were concerned. I never had an issue all the years I lived there, but that’s where it’s not a joke that people laugh that the billionaires are squeezing out the millionaires there is there is no way that anything I ever want to do in my life that I was ever going to buy a place there.
Matt Derosier 20:24
Does. I know we’re gonna get into the weeds a little bit here. But like, does Jackson have like, kind of like a homeless problem now, doesn’t it? Because it’s gotten so expensive? Or have they pretty much everyone out?
Ariel McGlothlin 20:38
Well, a lot of that a lot of people commute from you know, close to 100 miles away if they’re actually working people there. And that can be sketchy because like today every due to the weather every single road in and out is currently closed unless they got some reopen because avalanches voc them and so on. Yeah. That’s scary. Yeah, I mean, I know people who are you know, if you think if you’re, I don’t know, stereotypical like dirtbag who’s a homeless person who doesn’t want to work or is just a lazy bum who lives in a van down by the river where we have a lot of people. Or I should say there was a lot of people in that area, who held down three full time jobs where maybe a professional chef and a five star restaurant, and were living in their van down by the river because there was nothing they could afford to live in, which is how I ended up in a tiny house in the first place. Because there was nothing I could afford to live it.
Matt Derosier 21:33
That makes a lot of sense now so. So what was the biggest challenge to make tiny house off grid living possible?
Ariel McGlothlin 21:42
Um, the tiny house part was not hard for me. Personally, I lived in a lot of small plate spaces. I’ve lived out of my car, I like to backpack when I live out of a little, you know, a couple square meter tent for weeks that you can’t even stand up in. So I know some people, you know, if you watch these tiny house shows, now they have this big deal. But how do I get rid of all these things? And what do I keep? I don’t really have any help for people who are in that position, I didn’t have that many things I wanted to keep and I kept all of them. So that for me, just with my interests and stuff wasn’t a big deal. And I also do like being very active in outside. So a lot of my activities involve gardening or going hiking or wildlife photography, none of those things happen inside the building that I live in anyhow. So that partially is what helps it work out well for me, just with my particular set of interests. The off grid stuff, some of that was a little bit challenging. I moved into the tiny house right at the beginning of winter, the end of November, which if you’re gonna go off grade in a cold mountain snowy place, I would recommend not doing it right at the start of winter, just so you have a little bit of a, a buffer space there before things all become emergencies to kind of just figure out your systems. But even then, none of it was anything real, but it was more just getting down my system. Okay, how do I do this? When do I need to do that next until it just became a routine that wasn’t like, Oh, this is an emergency and oh, no, this is empty, and oh, no, I have to do that, you know, when it was all, you know, kind of new,
Matt Derosier 23:13
you just wanted to do tiny house living on hardmode it’s not a big deal. It’s
Unknown Speaker 23:17
just I guess that’s that’s how it ended up anyway.
Matt Derosier 23:20
So it sounds like you never really felt cramped and like an extra 30 square feet wouldn’t make a big difference to you because you just didn’t have the need for the space
Ariel McGlothlin 23:32
that would mostly have made a difference like when I have friends or family visiting you know, I don’t have a whole lot of space. You know, somebody can sleep on the couch it does turn into a bed and right up the stairs behind me as the last where my bed is. So you know the furthest apart you can get when the whole house is only 24 feet long. As you know you’re not going to have a whole lot of space and distance but other than that, as long as I was single for just me this space worked really well for me. Now it’s a little snugger with two people my husband doesn’t have a ton of stuff in the house either because he’s a builder and more of his stuff goes in a shop rather than a house and he’s still actually temporarily has a cabin that’s provided as part of his job. So he’s here part of the time and he’s there part of the time so for now that’s worked out well. We haven’t had to put all of his stuff and my stuff in here together. Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff there. But yeah, it’s a little more snug with two people I have friends who you know are not only married but have two or three children and live in the same size of house. And I have to say if I was in that position, I would want a little more space. But definitely for just me and the things I do like I said you know it’s been really great. You know for a lot of years. This is the eighth year now I slipped in here for you know, my my lifestyle.
Matt Derosier 24:54
Do you ever give fine with like celebrate her. Is it a her Is it a he Is it? Do you ever celebrate her birthday? Um, yeah,
Ariel McGlothlin 25:07
I mean, I certainly don’t bake the house a cake or anything, but I have most years done. Just kind of an anniversary retrospective, you know, a video or a blog post, just kind of looking back at, you know, what I think about this whole setup now now that it’s two years, three years, four years, you know, etc. So it’s probably I don’t know if you call that a celebration, but that’s a tradition. I started a few years. And I’ve kind of done it every anniversary of moving in ever since.
Matt Derosier 25:36
I mean, that kind of makes sense. Because you’ve been in one spot longer than most people have been in like, a house. Yeah. Right. I mean, so. And do you have any idea what building your tiny home would cost today?
Ariel McGlothlin 26:02
I would guess I don’t know how much labor has gone up and I didn’t build it myself builders. You know, I hire builders to build it for me. So we don’t know how much of that has gone up? I do know for sure. Because we’re building some things right now ourselves that materials have gone up to three 400% of what they were Yeah, so I don’t know for sure. But it would certainly cost more than what I paid eight years ago. And this is if anyone’s wondering this is built like a customs stick built home this is not because people are like well why don’t you just buy an RV I am opening closing the window because the woodstoves on this side that gets really warm in here. You know, an RV is nice if you’re going to move every day you probably don’t want something as heavy as this tiny house even though you could do that that doesn’t necessarily work out to be real practical if you’re moving all the time but if you’re gonna move occasionally, I didn’t know how often I was going to move now it’s only move twice in eight years. But you know especially in a cold climate like this having any actual you know stick belt house it’s insulated with spray foam it’s super warm that’s why I have to open windows means below freezing and snowing outside it’s January and I’m in short sleeves and I’m too hot indoors. So the building itself obviously over time tires would deteriorate and if you want to move again you may have to get new tires, but the structure itself should be just fine and another 100 years I mean it’s it’s better construction than most custom homes being built today.
Matt Derosier 27:38
Yeah, I’m in the trades and I’ve seen some new houses and by I don’t see this lasted more than 45 years but whatever what changing gears here a little bit what motivates you to grow your own food we kind of touched on it a little bit already but if you want to go into a little bit more detail
Ariel McGlothlin 28:01
well probably the you know self sufficiency you know independence aspect that’s part of it I’d say for me the bigger motivation is to have control and knowledge over what actually goes in my body I’ve had some some health issues from childhood on that were probably caused by the Western medical system and so at a very young age I got to learn about that there can be issues with just trusting suppose it experts to tell you what to do. And so that is probably made me even more than some people want to know and understand and I just I like gardening and I like plants even if I ever grew was pretty flowers. That’s part of it as well but I also do like knowing what’s gone into my food, how it was grown. Are there actually any nutrients in that lettuce leaf you know, or even with animals How were they handled How were they treated? How how did they die? You know all of that. Yeah. And you know, butchering is far from my favorite thing to do but that is something we do here and my husband also hunts and we you know, butcher elk together and things like that, that are somewhat large butchering projects. But yeah, I think a lot of work is produces a lot of meat too. But yeah, that’s probably the biggest single thing for me is wanting to know what is in my food is it actually nourishing my body when I eat it and and being able to trust what actually went on because I’m the one that did it, install it and so on. I don’t have to just believe what someone else tells
Matt Derosier 29:33
me. Right? There’s a That’s great to know for sure. Then you just feel more like empowered like I made this thing. So what if it’s just a dumb tomato like I made this thing?
Ariel McGlothlin 29:46
Well if I made it tomato grow here in Wyoming I would be very happy with if it was outdoors.
Matt Derosier 29:52
We’ll just have your husband build the little like attached Greenhouse on to onto your tiny home.
Ariel McGlothlin 29:59
Well on the touchscreen onto the little house we’re planning to build is definitely part of the plans.
Matt Derosier 30:06
I’m gonna get there. We’re, we’re working down the line we’re gonna get there. What what are some foods that you can every year?
Ariel McGlothlin 30:14
Um, well, since we’re just speaking of tomatoes for sure I can tomatoes every year and no, they’re not once I grow here because this climate does not permit growing tomatoes outdoors without a heated greenhouse. But there are some local people who drive to Utah and bring up produce from you know, semi local farms. And I do count a lot of tomato products every year that we use throughout the whole year I do I always call it spaghetti sauce, but we use it as spaghetti sauce and tomato soup and pizza sauce and you know anything else you want a tomato based sauce for. I also can I like to forage and walk around the woods. So if I can get enough wild berries, I’ll either juice them and can that or make you know different, you know, jam or something out of them.
Matt Derosier 31:05
Any specific kind of buried you have huckleberries done
Ariel McGlothlin 31:08
there. We do i We never get enough of those that I want to can we eat them all there, they take a lot of paper we do pick up yours. There’s also the main ones are choke cherries, and serviceberries. Those are both a little less tasty than huckleberries fresh, but when juiced they they make a really excellent juice. So that’s probably the ones I can the most. I usually do pickles every year, we both like pickles and other pickled things. It’s not really canning, but I do make sauerkraut every year, cabbage grows. And we like that. And then my husband’s family history is actually Danish. And there’s a kind of a sweet and sour pickled cabbage usually done with purple cabbage called Danish Christmas cabbage. And I usually count a bunch of that every year because we both like it and we don’t just eat it at Christmas. So that sounds pretty good. And that’ll make applesauce or, you know, again, if I get them from someone else in a slightly warmer areas, sometimes I’ll can my own peaches. Like what else I’ve canned a lot of that’s probably the main things because some of the other veggies I prefer, you know, either dehydrated or frozen a little more than canned,
Matt Derosier 32:22
right? Are you in zone three or something for
Ariel McGlothlin 32:27
um, you look at a map and it says four. But things grow like a three. And one of the things I find that people in warmer ish areas often don’t think about with growing zones is that says you know, this is the coldest temperature you’re going to go down to it’s not going to get colder on the coldest day than minus 30 or whatever. But I’ll have people comment on things I share and they’ll be like, but I live in a zone three and I grow tomatoes just fine. It’s like so zone is only part of it. That’s saying what the coldest day is, that doesn’t tell you if you area spent one day at minus 30 or four months at minus 30 You know, and so, combined with the coldest temperatures also have a very long winter a very short growing season. And the other thing a growing zone doesn’t tell you at all is how warm is your summer I get frost and freezes all through the summer here. So I have an entire frost cover set up where I can roll frost cloth on and off of every single garden bed. It still takes a little time but I’ve got it set up where it’s fairly efficient because if I could not cover even the what I grow in the summer here is what most people would consider a winter garden in most climates. Even the cold party stuff that can take freezes is not going to make it to being very productive if I cannot cover it on the coldest summer nights. So that’s a lengthy answer to what growing is on my end. I really go
Matt Derosier 33:50
that’s that’s good. That’s good to know. Yeah, it’s not so it’s really not that simple. It’s just like oh yeah, like what you were saying I’m in zone three and I can whatever. do backflips over my peaches or whatever.
Ariel McGlothlin 34:06
Yeah, but you may have more useful for me actually is the first and last frost dates the growing days you have in between they’re like where my parents live in kind of south central Pennsylvania. I think they’ve like 160 Something days on an average year between the first and last frost. When you enter my location into a calculator it says you don’t have first and last frost dates you don’t have growing days, which is pretty much true.
Matt Derosier 34:31
That’s funny I guess I didn’t think about like I’ve I mean it can get dang hot down in down in Wyoming especially like you know, Teton ish area that’s really more where I spent my time but I didn’t think that you have the risk of frost throughout the summer like that’s I just haven’t been extended that’s
Ariel McGlothlin 34:51
more rare but there was one year where a foot of snow canceled the Fourth of July fireworks. I mean we can get together at anytime at A year so there’s, there’s no like, oh now the frost risk is all passed and so I can count on this thing growing for however many weeks or months with without freezing.
Matt Derosier 35:10
That’s crazy. So with your climate that is kind of maybe a zone three How did you pick your chicken and duck breeds?
Ariel McGlothlin 35:22
So I went looking for obviously breeds that are known to be somewhat cold hardy and and somewhat independent and I just, you know start out with just searching for you know, cold hardiest, you know, chicken breed and stuff and reading different people’s lists of these are the five top cold hardy ones, or this is the one we have and why we like them. What I ended up settling on was our chickens are all Icelandic chickens. Iceland, as you can probably guess from the name alone is pretty cold place. And apparently their history is they were brought there by Vikings like 1000 years ago, and they are more of a land race breed. Nobody was trying to breed an Icelandic chicken, they just had no genetic influence with any other chickens anywhere else on the planet for about 1000 years. And now they’ve started to die out as some of the more modern breeds have become popular. So they’re, I always forget what the word is threatened or something. They’re not called endangered species when they’re domestic. That equivalent of domestic livestock, there’s not a lot of them left in the world. There are some in Iceland, like a few 1000 and a few 1000 in the States, mostly with people who are actively working to preserve the breed, which is another aspect about them that I think is is neat. I like heritage breeds and you know, keeping them alive in modern times. But the main reason that I chose them as they are, are very cold hardy, they tend to lay very well through cold dark winters. That’s what I had read. And that has so far been our experience our hands have all been like pretty well. And obviously we just went through the shortest period of the year. And they don’t have any artificial light, I was pretty sure nobody in Iceland was turning on led, you know, lamps in their chicken coops for the last 1000 years. So I figured that was not any, you know, at this point, what they’re used to. They’re excellent foragers are a little smaller chicken than a lot of, you know, more popular egg or meat breeds. But they in the summer, even though I offered them, you know, supplemental feed, they really didn’t eat it, they just ate bugs and everything else they could find. And even in the winter, they don’t eat that much. And we did butcher some extra roosters, they make a small carcass like a you know, three pound carcass and not going to be like if you raise Cornish crosses or something, but they’re tasty little birds and, you know, so I’ve been so far happy with that choice. But that’s basically the I was looking for something cold hardy. I like the idea of helping preserve, you know, endangered heritage breeds. And I like you know, critters that are mostly self sufficient and you know, and still have the more natural traits of wanting to find their own food wanting to Mother their own chicks and some of those things that have been kind of lost with some of the, the, you know, strains that have been selected for heavy meat production or heavy egg production without paying any attention to any of those other like normal chicken life things. And then ducks we’ve got blue Swedish ducks, obviously Sweden is also a cold place in the world. And they’re also somewhat you know, threatened fried and there’s not tons of them around. They were also known to be very cold hardy, very tough, very independent. And they look pretty and so that’s the ducks we’ve got
Matt Derosier 38:50
nice. It probably makes a big difference, especially where you are I mean, I’m in like, zone five here and oh, that’s like the tropics. I wish last last weekend there was we had been in about the 20s or so and then we had a couple overnight temps of like negative nine I mean just just dropped and I’m I’m out in the chicken coop with my son and I’m like why did the chickens be look weird? Like I’ve never seen them look like that had a look it up. They got mild frostbite because it just dropped they just they don’t know if it’s like probably is the breed but also the temperature just there was no grad like gradual drop it’s just straight up dropped and negative nine. And so I was like hope they make it and then in the same the same articles or whatever, you know, they’re like oh, you know to treat frostbite on chicken, bring it in Rabbit’s feet, put up some salt on it like if you need it was like I’m know if they if they started getting frostbite there they’re gonna go
Ariel McGlothlin 39:59
Yeah, So I have not seen yet to have frostbite, the one rooster might have prospered a little bit of the tip of his comb. Icelandic is have a huge variety of colors and shapes and comb styles and such over time if are successfully, you know, don’t count of chickens before they’re hatched. But if are successfully reproduced, the ones that will choose to keep well for sure be the ones that have like the smaller rose combs that don’t have the big, tall, you know, fleshy parts to frostbite, just because of of where we live. But they have a nice little barn, they can go into the it’s not heated or anything, but it is very much dry. They can be drying out of the wind. And so far, they’ve seemed to be fine with that. Yeah, I
Matt Derosier 40:43
saw that looks really nice. Yeah, Clay did
Ariel McGlothlin 40:46
an awesome job of building us more like a chicken palace. It’s not really a chicken coop.
Matt Derosier 40:51
That’s true. That’s very true. Let’s be nice to have a builder that you’re married to like, Honey, can you do this? Yeah, I
Ariel McGlothlin 40:59
didn’t even want I think this will be fine. He’s like, No, I can make it way nicer than that. I’m like, Okay.
Matt Derosier 41:07
I was gonna settle but you bought yourself more work? That’s fine. Do you have any plans for other livestock?
Ariel McGlothlin 41:14
We probably don’t we I mean, we may at some point decide to play around with something like turkeys just because we both enjoy eating turkey. But as far as bigger livestock, we only have three acres here. And that goes into another thing that I see, depending on where you live three acres could support a whole lot of things. With the you know, semi arid, desert, high mountain cold climate here. If we got any bigger herbivore from a goat, to a sheep to a cow to anything that we would have to buy hay for it for most of the year, because there’s simply not enough, you know, forage on this property. And I’m not really interested at this point into getting into anything that we have to pretty much most of the year supply food for it from somewhere else that, you know, I’d rather buy half a cow from a neighbor, if we’re going to do that from somebody who has placed to pasture them, and trying to crowd them in here. So, you know, we might always change our minds about something, but at the moment, we’re probably gonna stick with the little things that work well on the space we’ve got. I thought that might
Matt Derosier 42:19
be the case seeing Kai was like cows, you know, 25 yards behind you in some of you. Yeah, we
Ariel McGlothlin 42:25
are surrounded by cattle pasture. So there are lots of beef cows here, but they’re not ours.
Matt Derosier 42:30
Yeah, I’m, I’m only on like two acres. So I know what you mean. Like I’m overlooking a generational, you know, grass pasture, like, Black Angus ranch or whatever. So yeah, I can literally see what I’m going to eat, you know, next year grow up and like, look good. Yeah, so I, I assume that you’re in the same boat, whether it be cattle or goats, or sheep, or whatever it is that tickles your fancy, I guess what, whatever is on the menu for next year, right. For now,
Ariel McGlothlin 43:07
it’s mostly been elk. And they take care of themselves out in the mountains all year. And so that’s worked out. Just gotta go get them, which can be a lot of work
Matt Derosier 43:15
to. Definitely. So you talked about the shop a little bit earlier, is the shop just for clay or are you going to multipurpose it like maybe do some seed starting in there anything.
Ariel McGlothlin 43:28
Probably not seed starting. It was not constructed with a lot of windows, it is primarily for him and all of his tools and such for his business and so on. Now, if he was sitting beside me, and so you have a lot of stuff in there, too. That’s true. It’s currently also doubling as our extra pantry storage. And in some of that stuff, but as I mentioned, we hope to eventually at some point, build a small house attached to the ground, we’re thinking of going really huge, like this place is about 160 square feet, like a five or 600 square foot house. And and hopefully, with that will come a a attached greenhouse that would be where I’d hope to grow some you know fresh greens through the winter and do seed starting for the the outdoor garden in the summer. And hopefully a root cellar to make it a little easier to store some of those root crops a little longer before they start going bad and such. But right now, some of that stuff is just stacked in the corner of the shop. But the primary intention of the shop is to you know, keep some tools and I keep gardening tools and stuff in there as well but, you know, keep tools and mostly to have a workspace for him.
Matt Derosier 44:43
So I did hear correctly that you might actually build a house that’s not on wheels.
Ariel McGlothlin 44:49
That’s the idea if somebody comes back next week and that’s why didn’t happen yet. I’m not sure when this is going to start he’s still working on finishing out kind of inside of the shop to have workbenches and all the stuff to make that easy to work from, the general thought is that maybe that will be all done by spring and that maybe when the ground falls again, we could start on our little house Foundation, that’s going to be dependent on work schedules and budgets and materials, price increases and all of that. But the hope would be that at some point with two of us, it would be nice to have a little more space than than this place. And so to build a, you know, a small house here on our property,
Matt Derosier 45:29
so then what’s going to happen to death,
Ariel McGlothlin 45:33
she’s probably going to stay right here. And she’s either going to turn into the guest house so that I can actually have a you know, guest spot for friends and family when they come over. Or we’ve also talked about, you know, down the road, maybe even doing a little Airbnb for some some extra income. But that was my first thought. That’s all somewhere in the future theoretical plans for right now.
Matt Derosier 45:55
Yeah. Yeah, that’d be cool. So we talked a little bit about your, your YouTube. situation, what’s with the flip phone?
Ariel McGlothlin 46:09
Um, yeah, I have. Somewhere, it’s funny, I’ve had this now long enough that like, my nieces and nephews come over, and they think my phone is the coolest thing because they’ve never seen one in their life. Which is funny to me. I use a phone for talking before smartphones were invented, I already had dedicated big cameras, because photography is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. So I have several big, you know, DSLRs. And I already had a laptop. And with most of the photo and video editing stuff, doing that through a phone, size, screen and power just never made sense to since I already had all those things before smartphones became a thing. And I’m not a big fan of carrying around tracking spy devices with me all the time, I use my phone for talking. And so a flip phone does that very inexpensively and works out good for me. Because I use a computer, you know, laptop when I want to do other things that I realized a lot of people do from smartphone. And you know, that can certainly be practical if you don’t already have that I just already had so much other big dedicated equipment to other things that trying to run it through a phone just didn’t really make sense to me.
Matt Derosier 47:24
That’s a That’s a good answer. Believe me, I’m definitely conflicted having a smartphone. Like it’s so convenient, but I hate the privacy issues.
Ariel McGlothlin 47:33
It’s funny over the years, like when they first became a thing, people would be like, Why do you still have a dumb old phone? And now when people see it, I get more of that? Oh, well, I don’t think I could do it. But that’d be so cool. If I could go back to a flip phone. So it’s just been amusing to me to watch that change through time. Yeah.
Matt Derosier 47:51
Yeah. I mean, like, I’m even looking at having like a, like a custom Android ROM. So I don’t have like, I’m trying to like de google my phone. I’m still like, on the fence, like, you know, the convenience over privacy debate in my head. And I don’t know what’s gonna win yet.
Ariel McGlothlin 48:11
Yeah, there’s pros and cons. But, you know, for me that that’s how it ended up this way. I already had, you know, bigger, better equipment that did a lot of the things that people now use smartphones for. So all I really want my phone to do is let me talk to people. And it does that.
Matt Derosier 48:27
Nice. So what is the long term goal for your new property.
Ariel McGlothlin 48:32
The long term goal is for us to live here happily ever after and produce the not all because as long as we have access to buying things from other places, I’m going to want chocolate and clay is going to want coffee, but produce the majority of our, our sustenance here, we did plant a small orchard last fall in this spring, it’s small and it’ll be a while before we are eating any fruit off of that and planted a bunch of berry bushes but are wanting to work toward having you know kind of fruit that reproduces itself plants that reproduce themselves chickens and ducks that reproduce themselves, which is another reason I wanted some of the more old fashioned breeds that are still known to generally go broody and actually raise their own babies. And, and so, you know, that’s a long term goal. You know, I already grow a lot of veggies and stuff in the summer, we eat a lot of it fresh and preserve some of it. But I want to just kind of keep building on that to get to the point where other than a few luxury things that you know, just are never going to be produced in this part of the world that we can eventually hopefully be mostly self sufficient as far as the the foods we consume here on our property.
Matt Derosier 49:47
That’d be that’d be great to be able to do all that. I mean, that’s a lot. That’s a lot of work
Ariel McGlothlin 49:55
to. We’re not going to be there next year. I mean, like I said, fruit trees. It’s going to be here. Just before they produce, it’s gonna be years before some of those berry bushes or big things grow slowly here, you know, with the weather and all that. But you know, the gardens are really productive. We’re getting tons of chicken eggs right now we have a freezer full of chicken that, you know, grow up here and run around the yard. So yeah, we’re working toward that hopefully every year will be a little more, I wanted to get B’s that was on the to do list for this year, but with moving and everything else, somehow I ran out of summer and hours in a day. So that didn’t happen yet. But, you know, our own honey production is also on the eventual to do list and, and just all that kind of stuff.
Matt Derosier 50:38
That’d be really cool.
Ariel McGlothlin 50:39
I guess maybe that will be a livestock thing we’re considering they’re smaller than chickens. Now that’s
Matt Derosier 50:43
true. That’s true. That’s kind of like a cheap, like, easy thing to they’re not easy to keep or whatever. But that is that does relate to livestock question I suppose. Yeah. But hey, is there anything else that you wanted to talk about? or wrap up on? Or? Oh,
Ariel McGlothlin 51:06
I don’t know, I’d I just encourage anybody watching this, if you have similar interests, not that anybody else is going to like all exactly the things I like doing in life. But over the years of sharing my ups and downs and experiences and stuff with people, I have got a lot of people that make me a little bit sad, because they’ll eventually comment something like, you know, I’m at now and I wish I had done what you’re doing. And and I didn’t know it was an option, or I didn’t know I could. Or I just you know, I did all the things I was supposed to do. And now I’m old and I can’t do the things I want to do. And so what I would encourage people to do is whatever the things are, if you know, if you picture yourself on your deathbed, what are you going to wish you had done in your life, and then figure out what it’s going to take to get that you’re not necessarily going to be there tomorrow. I mean, I, I could go through a whole lot history here, I worked a lot of jobs I didn’t like for a while to pay for this house, and so on. But figure out what your goal is. Because if you don’t know what you want to do in life, and aren’t taking steps to work toward whatever that is, which very well may not be a tiny house, and you may hate chickens, and maybe you never want to walk around on a mountainside backpacking or anything like that. But figure out what what those things are for you and what you want to do, and then figure out what steps you’re gonna have to take, you know, to make that happen, because it’s, it’s sad to me when people get toward the end of their life and then say, I wish I had spent my my time differently. And, you know, time is all something that we never get back. And we never know how much we’re gonna have. But that’s something I wish for, for people to be able to work toward spending more of their time doing more of what they want, which sometimes requires intentionally thinking about what do you want? How are you going to make that happen?
Matt Derosier 52:55
That was really well said. That brings up a really, like, I’m kind of watching your videos like out of order. So what is it that you do for work these days?
Ariel McGlothlin 53:10
Um, a variety of things, I clean houses for a couple of people, that’s kind of the most consistent year round thing
Matt Derosier 53:18
that paid pretty well. What’s that? Does that pay pretty? Well.
Ariel McGlothlin 53:22
Um, it can actually I happen to clean for some fairly wealthy people who are willing to pay pretty well to have the the same person always in their house, the kind of families that don’t actually want a cleaning service who’s gonna send a stranger, you know, that they don’t know, they, they do place a value on their privacy and such. So I have a better paid cleaning job than then some for sure which is
Matt Derosier 53:47
has been for you, that’s awesome.
Ariel McGlothlin 53:51
And then odds and ends of stuff. I mean, in the summer, sometimes I’ll help somebody with their ranch work or painting a building or a lawn maintenance or you know, mowing and weed whacking. In the winter, I’ll end up doing a lot of snow shoveling for people. And so everything else is just kind of odds and ends and a variety of things which I actually enjoy, because I would not be a good person to sit in an office building doing the same thing day after day, I would just get incredibly bored with that. So I like the variety. And you know, over the years once I paid off my house that kind of gave me the financial freedom to spend less time doing jobs I didn’t like because I have a lifestyle that you know, still requires an income but but less than some because I choose to enjoy things that are not generally expensive. You know, once you have a pair of decent shoes, you can walk around the mountains for a lot of miles without costing anything extra. Or you know, you buy a few seeds and you can spend a lot of hours in a garden without it costing more money and so on. So, that’s worked out, you know, okay, and it also means that bigger projects like wanting to build a house Go slowly. But there’s trade offs to whatever you choose in life.
Matt Derosier 55:04
That’s very true. Well, it’s cool that you know, you can make that make that all work out for you. So, I was gonna ask him a follow up question, but I couldn’t make it sound right. But so we’re gonna, we’re gonna skip that. So hey, is there anything that you want to you want to plug before we sign off here?
Ariel McGlothlin 55:23
Oh, well, if anybody’s interested in checking out what I’m doing, my tiny house is called fine knit that’s Welsh for my nest. FYI myth. If you search for that, you can find me everywhere I am. I do have a blog with lots and lots of posts. From the past eight years of ups and downs and things I’ve learned and things that worked out well and things that I wouldn’t do again, which I tried to share because I hope somebody else can learn from my experiences and save themselves a little time in trouble. There’s a video channel on both YouTube and Odyssey where Yeah, I think there’s 650 Something videos with lots of ups and downs. And then some, some of that is also just photography. I enjoy the wildlife. I’m surrounded by living here in the mountains we have, you know, mountain lions, bears, moose, elk, you know, bison, wolves, all kinds of cool creatures. And so some of them are simply wildlife videos, which are not my most popular but they weren’t my favorites. But you can find me there on me we float on not really on any of the big legacy social media sites left you know, Facebook and such quite a while ago, but if you just search for finest, you’ll you’ll find me everywhere that I am pretty much.
Matt Derosier 56:35
Very cool. Well, this has been this has been a great interview and I appreciate you taking the time to be with me today. So thank you.
Ariel McGlothlin 56:45
Well, thanks for setting this up. And since you’re you know, kind of a neighbor close with a lot of people if you ever get to Wyoming, give me a shout. Come over for a visit.
Matt Derosier 56:53
I’d love to. I’ll bring the whole family so we’ll get some work done. Get get some done there. So help you out.