Congressman Tom Massie is not just one of the smartest people in Congress he’s also a pioneering smallholder. His place in the Appalachian mountains is off the grid, powered by a battery recovered from a crashed Tesla and solar panels. Peach and apple trees grow next to a fully automated chicken tractor, complete with its own rain catchment system. Massie and his wife are graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They live and farm about 1,000 acres of multigenerational family land in the northeast corner of Kentucky.
I have a duck who decided to nest in my garden. The only problem is, she keeps trying to hatch tomatoes. I took the tomatoes out of her nest and chucked them, then she went and found more tomatoes. She prefers the sauce tomatoes and even keeps adding the label to the nest. pic.twitter.com/BrJRbaqAF1— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 6, 2022
This from hobbyfarms.com, where there’s more about the farm:
They purchased a heavy-duty bulldozer and began to drag log after log out of their own woods. The family salvaged trees downed during a terrible ice storm that ripped through Kentucky in 2004.
They provided more than 95 percent of wood and stone used in their home. The only concessions were slate for the roof from Vermont—the scrap pieces they used for flooring in their bathroom and mudroom—the cabinets and some wood casings for the windows.
With chainsaws, chisels and incredible tenaciousness, they crafted each timber and beam. Thomas even created his own 3-by-3s to replace 2-by-4s, giving him more flexibility as he framed out the structure.
The off-grid house contains just four metal fasteners. Worried that the two sections of the house might come apart as the timbers dried and the foundation settled, the Massies compromised with four massive assemblies that tie the two halves together.
Supplying your own wood is one relatively easy thing, but a house is far more than that. The Massies quarried stone from various parts of their property, creating floors, roofs, window and door headers, and the centerpiece of the great room—a gigantic fireplace/hearth, complete with a wood-fueled pizza oven.
The Massies don’t just buy and grow local. They build local.
One would think the couple with two degrees from MIT were instead lifelong construction workers, given the care and craftsmanship found throughout the home. You realize when viewing the Massies’ homestead that off-grid building and living is far more about a can-do attitude than almost anything else.