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Fellow Homesteaders Land on National TV by Building Off The Grid

Fellow Homesteaders Land on National TV by Building Off The Grid

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Formerly just small-town urban homesteaders, Timmy and Amber Bradshaw of Pawleys Island, South Carolina moved with their three children less than a year ago to the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Just three months on their new land, they received an opportunity to film the construction of their new homestead for Building Off The Grid.

My Homestead Life

Former tugboat captain and general contractor for twenty years, Tim was born and raised by the beach in South Carolina. With saltwater in his blood and a surfboard under his arm, he never envisioned he would ever move. Amber ran a non-profit online farmers market and was involved with the herb society, as well as a 4-H leader. Their two oldest children, Gavin and Morgan, were both employed with Lowes grocery store. While the littlest member, Linden, attended a local Christian Academy.

Then They Got A Calling

Amber states ‘out of the clear blue, Timmy told me he felt led by the Lord to move to the mountains’. It didn’t take much convincing because she dreamt of a larger homestead and farm where she could raise her chickens, goats, bees, and gardens.

After a year of working towards their goal, the Bradshaw’s were ready to put their house on the market. In an unprecedented turn of events, their house sold for full price within twenty-four hours of being on the market, placing the Bradshaw’s in a peculiar situation. They didn’t know where they wanted to move to, all they knew was it had to be in the mountains.

Finding Heaven On Earth

Not being bound by jobs or family, the world was literally their oyster. However, the one thing they did require was to be within driving distance from the South Carolina Beaches. The Bradshaw’s landed at a hotel close to Pigeon Forge while they searched for land to start their homesteading dream.

Three weeks after searching, they found the perfect place for building off the grid. Forty-Six + acres in the mountains with panoramic views of the Smoky Mountain National Park, and not a neighbor in sight. Spring-fed creeks, fruit, and nut trees, in addition to abundant wildlife, the Bradshaw’s found their heaven on earth.

Turning Back The Clock

Not only did the Bradshaw’s want to expand their homestead, but they also wanted to take it back to an earlier time period. They wanted to build off-the-grid and practice forgotten ways of old. From washing clothes by hand to cooking on an old wood stove, and growing their own food, the Bradshaw’s found their simple life. Additionally, they raise milking goats, chickens, guineas, turkeys, and pigs for sale and food.

When Opportunity Knocks

Only three months after being on their new land, the Bradshaw’s were contacted by a Tv production company who was looking for families to film that were planning to build off the grid. Timing was everything. Luck would have it, they just got their building permit and had plans to break ground within the week. However, this amazing opportunity came with an insane deadline of just three months.

Building Off The Grid

Not only were they building their dream home at the top of the mountain, but they had to do everything by hand, including hauling in the supplies. They milled lumber from their land and used recycled building materials. Their build site was almost impossible to reach. Not to mention, they’d had record-breaking rainfall throughout their entire build.

The Bradshaw’s accomplished the impossible, in just three short months their dream home was complete.

Watch Their Journey On The Discovery Channel and The DIY Network/HGTV

From cutting their first tree to move-in day, you’ll have the chance to watch the Bradshaw’s accomplish what no man said could be done. Airing on two networks,  Building Off The Grid: The Smoky Mountain Homestead can be seen on February 7, 2019, on The Discovery Channel and February 12, 2019, with the DIY Network/HGTV. Check your local listings for time.

What The Future Holds

The Bradshaw’s dream of building rental cabins on their land where guests can come and stay. Guests can learn about homesteading, farming and living off the grid. They hope to open it to mission groups as well as church retreats.

Where Are They Now? 

After almost two years after filming their off-grid build and living in their off grid home, the Bradshaws filmed an update. Find out how life off grid and in the mountains have been for their family on the DIY Network. The episode is Building Off The Grid- Where Are they now? 

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They write about their journey on Amber’s website www.myhomesteadlife.com

You can read more about the Bradshaw’s on their About page here.

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Jonas

Sunday 29th of September 2019

Thanks for the follow up, that makes complete sense. Good work on the project!

Jonas

Saturday 28th of September 2019

Curious how you are insulating the home? I see no insulation in either the bath house or the main cabin.

Amber Bradshaw

Sunday 29th of September 2019

HI Jonas and thanks for your comment. When we were building our home for the show, we only had two months to build it and we were using green wood. When you use green wood from fresh-milled lumber, you need to let it dry and reduce the moisture to below 15% before you can close it in or it will mold and cause serious issues. We moved into our home as-is and although not as comfy as an insulated house would be, we have been perfectly content. We are planning on insulating it, now that all the wood has dried, within the next two months. We will share pictures of this process in our newsletter, on our Facebook page and Instagram if you care to follow. We appreciate you watching the show!

Amber Bradshaw

Sunday 29th of September 2019

HI Jonas and thanks for your comment. When we were building our home for the show, we only had two months to build it and we were using green wood. When you use green wood from fresh-milled lumber, you need to let it dry and reduce the moisture to below 15% before you can close it in or it will mold and cause serious issues. We moved into our home as-is and although not as comfy as an insulated house would be, we have been perfectly content. We are planning on insulating it, now that all the wood has dried, within the next two months. We will share pictures of this process in our newsletter, on our Facebook page and Instagram if you care to follow. We appreciate you watching the show!

James Caldwell

Wednesday 13th of February 2019

Wouldn't there have been a problem using green lumber, and not dried before construction? Also, did you dig the earth tube deeper than the original 5ft? Did you insulate and it just wasn't shown on the program. We live rural, 30 minutes East of Knoxville. Thanks J.C.

Amber Bradshaw

Wednesday 13th of February 2019

Hi JC and thanks for messaging us, neighbor. Yes, we went deeper than the show showed, we went just over five feet until the soil was 55 degrees. We insulated with rock and then covered it back up. We have a charcoal filter inline and the tube is placed at an angle with a drain catchment for condensation. We only had three months, well they wanted it done in two but it took us three, to build our home so it was impossible to mill the lumber and let it dry in that time. This is why we didn't insulate it or close the interior walls at the time of the final shoot. There are opposing opinions on this method, however, we did our research and made the decision that was best for us. As the house dries and shrinks, it is pulling together. We are performing a moisture test weekly in preparation for closing in the interior.

I hope to write articles about our progress and our results about the earth tube and solar chimney after a full summer in operation. Please let me know if you have any more questions and thanks again for watching!

Vern Micke

Friday 8th of February 2019

Congratulations on your build. It is lovely. I would like to ask what chimney you utilized and where you found it. I have been a proponent for cooltubes, but, until watching your build, thought I would have to utilize a solar attic fan in the main living area ceiling, on an auto thermostat and switch. Thank you in advance and may you and yours enjoy a lifetime in your new abode. Wishing you all much happiness and many blessings.

Amber Bradshaw

Saturday 9th of February 2019

Thanks for watching the show! We actually designed and built it ourselves. We couldn't find anything pre-made so we had to do it ourselves. We are thinking of installing a solar fan in the earth tubes to draw the air in but haven't had the time for that yet. The solar chimney doesn't need it as the way we designed it, it has a very good draw pretty much all day as long as there is the sun. I hope we can write about it soon with better pictures and a how-to. If you sign up for the newsletter, it will show when we have a new article. I would be happy to answer any further questions as time allows, thanks again for contacting us.

Susann yemm

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Hi Amber, can't wait to see the show and I am telling all my friends about it and my family as well. Yes I remember the house and the chickens and the goats. What a hoot and what a great Garden. By the way when you get one of those cabinet cabins built I would love to come up so please keep in touch with all of us. Lots of love

Amber Bradshaw

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

Susann, my herb of the month partner in crime. We miss you so. Thank you for all your love and support. I hope to see y'all again soon.