Im at 20 year old girl, and my parents built our house in 1992 without the use of power tools. Our land is about 150 acres, and 30 minutes up a dirt road to the closest town of about 400 people. We had no toilet, fridge, and until I was about 7, no phone.

Proof: More proof: the kitchen..

Comments: 534 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

Sir_Buttwhoop153 karma

Wow, for someone who grew up in such a remote area, your kitchen sure is on a lot of websites.

sporkyforky38 karma

Her personal blog of the same username here has a ton of photos of the same house. edit: ninja'd

siennabea12 karma

sneaky sneaky!

siennabea22 karma

I know, i put that on tumblr, and it somehow got super popular! i swear its me!!

bettyepallmall7 karma

This doesn't really prove that OP is lying, just that a picture has been used on multiple websites... none of which give a story behind the picture that contradicts OP's. Granted, I only visited about 4 or 5 of the sites...but I didn't see any damning evidence.

siennabea14 karma

Yeah I really don't see why anyone would be lying about this. Alright here's more proof!

Me in my house:

me here and now:,dQisNdT#1 the note is backwards, but you get it.

DatuSumakwel761 karma

  • Would you raise your kids the way you grew up?
  • How did you get water during the summer?
  • What do you miss about your home, now that you live away?
  • Did you guys rely on radio or newspaper to stay up to date?

siennabea64 karma

Yes i would raise my kids that way. I loved growing up how I did, and I think more people should. My parents built a spring box in the spring above our house on the mountain my house is on. The spring box has pipes that lead to a water tank that fills and then runs to the sink. I miss the fresh air so much, the trees, and the open space. Yes, we had radio, but no newspaper.

DatuSumakwel725 karma

Was it a two-way radio? How would you have called for help in an emergency?

siennabea31 karma

No we just had a radio to listen to stations. When I got a bit older we did get a phone, so we could call then.

noahkeller13 karma

Hi. I was raised on a boat, first home out of the hospital. Were you isolated? Did you have regular friends? I've been asked this question (Would I raise my kids this way?) and my answer is no. Mainly because I was very isolated and I think it's what causes my standoffishness as an adult. I've always felt awkward and out of place. We moved around a lot, so my brother and I never had regular friends.

siennabea11 karma

Even though I lived in the woods, I still interacted with extended family and friends. Because there were less kids to hang out with, think having to interact with adults a lot as a kid has made it easier for me to talk to adults now.

kevie3drinks9 karma

Why did they go through the trouble of making a spring box, but not build a cesspool or leech field for indoor toilets? I mean, it's pretty simple to make compared to building an entire house by hand.

siennabea11 karma

That may be true. I think that even though making an indoor toilet would have been possible, it was not a priority for them.

CassandraVindicated7 karma

They probably didn't have enough flat land. A lot of mountain sites barely have enough of a clearing to build the house and a leech field works best with a lower gradient than they were working with. They also may have been too close to a stream to legally build one.

siennabea3 karma

Yeah our land isnt very flat.

AzbyKat60 karma

That would be an amazing experience.

siennabea70 karma

It was! When I was a kid, I never really thought about it because it was so normal to me, but now that I am in college and see how different from me everyone else grew up, I realize how lucky I was!

bloodbarn42 karma

I grew up in the country myself I had about 200 acres of fields and forests to play with. I miss those days....

siennabea32 karma

YES! I love meeting/hearing about other people who grew up similar to me.

PoopNoodle39 karma

How far North in CA? How many miles N or S is it from Mt Shasta?

Where did the money come from to buy the land?

How did they make money at the cabin?

Did they hunt / trap / fish for subsistence?

Were you home schooled?

Are your parents hard core religious?

Did you have any pets?

How old are you now?

Do you live in a city now?

How often did you bathe?

siennabea56 karma

-About 4 hours from Shasta, on the coast. -My dad had been saving for a while, and he and his brother went in on the land together. -My dad is a carpenter, so he worked for various people building houses and barns etc.. My mom was a massage therapist and worked for a local coffee roasting company semi-close to our land. -No they don't hunt. -I went to public school in the town 30 in away from my house. -No we arent religious -Yes, we had two dogs, and many cats over the years. We also had ducks and chickens. -I'm 20 -Yes, in live in a city where I go to college. -I bathed probably every other day.

[deleted]19 karma


siennabea13 karma


[deleted]7 karma


siennabea8 karma

Hmm really? I actually have not heard of anyone being stabbed there. Weird. Yeah it is scary to not have hospitals out there, My brother and I have both needed to drive into town to get stitches before, and my brother to get a cast on a broken arm, which sucked.

[deleted]3 karma


siennabea7 karma

OHH yeah a guy did get shot. He didn't die, but that was some personal feud that had been going on with some guy out there. Crazy shit!

I_drive_a_taco5 karma

God petrolia is beautiful! I traveled there with my girlfriend last fall, the beach was crazy windy, but I loved the scenery. I was staggered I had never been there before, I always traveled that way to Eureka to visit my aunt. The road really did tear up my car though!

siennabea3 karma

Cool! You have been to Petrolia. WOOHOO

Tolger9 karma

You were honest about how much you bathed, this guy is legit.

siennabea26 karma

Yep, not every day, but if you think about it, country dirt is a lot worse than city dirt. I always feel like showering when I have been in a city all day than being home. Also im a girl. haha

immorteb37 karma

You were very fortunate, you sure no power tools? Some of those banisters look very very well done and that house is so well put together. Your parents = awesome

siennabea40 karma

I'm assuming they cut down the trees they used for it with a chainsaw, but besides that they didn't use drills, nail guns, or skill saws. I cant believe they did it too! They were crazy!

tailsknux28 karma

biggest problem? best experience?

siennabea43 karma

I think biggest problem is not having hospitals near just in case. I think best experience was just being able to explore nature as much as I wanted.

bloodbarn18 karma

What were your hobbies as a child ?

siennabea73 karma

Now that I look back at it, most if my hobbies involved running around in the woods, making up games, and going on adventures. My dad is also an artist, so I always enjoyed doing art. I also took music lessons from a family friend. I played a lot with my brother, who is two years younger, and my cousin, who's 1 year older. We relied a lot on our imaginations for entertainment.

nosillaprincesa18 karma

your house.. is beautiful :o the kitchen looks perfect for a giant pancake breakfast.... does your house smell like maple syrup? were you homeschooled? how did you keep things cold, especially in summer?

siennabea15 karma

AHH pancake breakfasts are so good. I think it only smells like syrup when we're eating syrup haha. No I went to the school in the town half an hour from my house. We had a cold storage, which is pretty much a cabinet in the wall that has a vent to a shady part outside of the house, and the cold air flows through and keeps things cold!

filmdude317 karma


siennabea31 karma

Yeah, I live in an apartment with two roommates now, with internet and everything. I do go back home for school breaks and summers, and I don't mind it. I still love it!

Thisismeeee15 karma

After growing up like that, I'm sure it has fostered some unique passions. What are you going to school for now and is it related to how you grew up at all? Also where did you choose to go and why?

siennabea9 karma

I'm actually studying occupational therapy, which is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or developmental condition. (thats the wikipedia explanation, its kinda hard to explain. Its kind of like physical therapy) It does not relate that much to how I grew up, but it involves helping people complete their personal goals. I am also really into other stuff that does relate to how I grew up. I love gardening. I assume that I'm young, and will have lots of time to do all the things I care about. I go to a school in the bay area where I study OT (occupational therapy)

shoe92014 karma

So how did you get electricity? I assume you guys had built something.

siennabea18 karma

solar panels my parents put together. We could pretty much only use limited electricity. If it hadn't been sunny, or if we left a light on too long, we would have to turn it off, or it would run out. Lots of candles were used!

kosmonaut513 karma how did you..wash after going to the bathroom?

siennabea16 karma

Well, we just peed outside, but we had an outhouse too! And we just washed our hands in the kitchen sink after. We also had a bath house, which was a separate little building with a shower and tub.

DangerousLogic13 karma

If you could remove one piece of technology permanently from the earth (so everybody in one small way would live like you), what would it be and why?

*I am not secretly a genie so don't worry about this actually coming true

siennabea31 karma

I would probably take away social media. There is really no need for it, even though that includes reddit! haha

Siegecow15 karma

No need for it? Is there another way you can instantly have a discussion with hundreds of people about your childhood?

siennabea3 karma

Ahhh i know! reddit is actually super cool.

xtreme412 karma


siennabea18 karma

We ate a lot of things I would assume regular people eat, excluding fast food and stuff like that. My parents were always big on organic food and whatnot. We grew a lot of our own food in our garden, and had chickens for eggs.

Gamerchick1711 karma

What is the best adventure you have experienced in the woods?

siennabea36 karma

Hmm. Well once, I must have been 8 or so, my cousin, brother and I were exploring the woods around our land. We got super deep into the forest and found ourselves in like, a perfect little mossy clearing with a beautiful little creek running through it. It looked like something out of a fairy tale or on the outskirts of rivendale or something. The moss/grass was perfect. We were in awe of how nice it was. We just hung out for a while and enjoyed it. When we tried to find it again, we never could. I still go look for it sometimes, but I have never been able to find it again. *This is probably not the BEST adventure, but it was the first that came to my mind

Gamerchick175 karma

To me it still sounds like a pretty great experience (considering i didn't have many adventures when i was a kid) and the way you described it made it seen really beautiful. Hopefully you find that place once again.

siennabea4 karma

I will! Thanks!

manioc11 karma

That is such a beautiful home! I would go nuts if I saw that place in real life.

But to post a question to you, what did your parents do for work to allow them to live in the forest in a hand-made house like that? I ask because that's kinda one of my biggest dreams in life.

siennabea9 karma

My dad is a carpenter, so he worked for various people building houses and barns etc.. My mom was a massage therapist and worked for a local coffee roasting company semi-close to our land.

zcektor0111 karma

can i live with you people?

siennabea11 karma

haha do it yourself! It's possible

LifeCerialReddit11 karma

Is Bigfoot real?

siennabea4 karma

Dont think so

sbahar099 karma

Did you ever feel resentment towards your parents because of these living conditions? If so, at what point did you grow to appreciate it, or look back on those times with fondness?

siennabea8 karma

No I never did. I always appreciated where I lived! The whole community I lived in was so wonderful.

CanabalCMonkE12 karma

Community? Of squirrels?

Jk, I've often fantasized about living similarly.

siennabea7 karma

haha no, i mean the 400 person town near where I lived, it's a very tight knit community of families.

TheGabbLolz8 karma

What were some of the daily struggles living like you did?

siennabea9 karma

Well, as a kid, there were certain chores I had to do that city kids would not have had to do, like taking out the compost, or feeding the chickens. We also had to do a lot of work for things that other people don't. Like my parents had to build everything from scratch, not only the house, but the water system and electricity system. It's more work definitely.

butt_nugget85548 karma

That's so amazing. This is very inspirational because I've had an idea of building my own home as well. Why did your parents decide to make their home out there? Why did they decide to build it themselves?

siennabea8 karma

They fell in love with the place, and wanted to build a home together. My dad was a carpenter and had built houses before. They also wanted to make the house just how they wanted, so I guess there was nobody better for the job than them!

[deleted]8 karma

Where exactly in Northern California? Looks like the forest around you is pretty thick, makes me think you are probably farther in the west near the coast.

I grew up in north eastern California.

siennabea9 karma

Its on the Lost Coast. Yes its on the west coast!

chalkchick07 karma

Are your parents interested in adopting a fifty two year old daughter?

siennabea5 karma

Haha they are 50 themselves!

GiantMonster7 karma

I have a friend who grew up in Mendocino, I had the chance to visit her home town (I grew up in LA). I feel that northern Ca is a magical place. I want to get a cabin by the coast. Its amazingly beautiful there. Funny story I met this friend in college and she was like "woah UCSC is a big city"… and all I could think was "this bitch has never been anywhere"… were best friends now ;)

siennabea1 karma

haha nice! yeah it is a magical place

nignigproductions7 karma

What was it like finding out about technology? Also, what do you want people to ask you?

siennabea22 karma

It's not like I did not know about technology, I just didn't have it as a kid. My parents got an early mac computer, one of those blue clamshell ones, and my brother and I liked playing computer games on it. Our fav was oregon trails. People can ask me anything they want!

smellyluser18 karma

Read through this entire thread and this comment was so cute. "early mac computer, one of those blue clamshell ones" Those came out in about 1998. Early macs in my world came out in 1984.

siennabea3 karma

Haha yeah not a like an EARLY mac, but like when people around us first started getting them in their own houses.

ShamelessDistraction5 karma

Did you guys sell what you grew or was it just for yourselves? Why no power tools?

siennabea12 karma

No we did not sell what we grew. I'm sure my parents shared it with friends and stuff, but we didn't run a farm or anything. I actually don't know why they did not use power tools. They were young hippies trying to keep it old fashioned i suppose.

[deleted]5 karma

Did you ever have a stranger happen upon your house and knock on the door?

Any encounters with mountain lions or rattlesnakes?

siennabea24 karma

not my house, but actually one time, my cousin had been in Nicaragua traveling, and met a girl there who was also traveling, he told her where he lived, and how to get there. Now, he must have given her DETAILED directions because we live in the middle of nowhere. There was a small dinner party going on at my aunt and uncles house (they live close to us) and this like, 20 year old girl knocks on the door. She had driven as far as she could, but her car couldnt make it all the way down the dirt road. She had walked about a mile, in the dark, no flashlight down a road. She wasnt even sure if she was in the right place. That must have taken guts! But yeah, my cousin was already back at college at that point, but they let her stay there for a while. So funny!

[deleted]14 karma

That's kind of amazing.

I'm impressed by her powers of navigation.

siennabea13 karma

I know! I can't believe she found the way!

Made_In_Detroit5 karma

Did i miss someone asking how you preserve food with no refrigerator? I can't be the first?

siennabea9 karma

Yeah I think someone did ask. Well we had a cold storage, which is like a cupboard that has vents that go outside, so cold air gets in. We just did not eat a lot of stuff that had to be refrigerated I guess. We ate a lot of out veggies fresh, and we had chickens so we had fresh eggs too. We also never drank milk really, so we didn't have to worry about that.

Jerbsybear5 karma

First of all, great-looking house. Secondly, what were the bills like for y'all? What were y'all taxed compared to the neighbors?

siennabea13 karma

Well, we did not have water bills because we got our water from the spring, and we had solar panels, so we did not pay an electricity bill either. Our only close neighbors were my aunt and uncle and their two kids, and we lived on the same land, because my dad and his brother bought the land together.

ktisis4 karma

This all sounds amazing. From the picture, I imagine it was heated by a wood fireplace? I'm not super familiar with N California, but I imagine the winters weren't cold enough to worry about? Did anyone in your family hunt/trap for food? Did you learn enough from your parents that you would be comfortable building your own house?

siennabea4 karma

Yeah we had a wood burning stove. Winters didn't get that cold, just rainy. No we never hunted. I don't think I could actually build a whole house, but I have helped build stuff with my dad before.

kungfusansu4 karma

So many northern Californians in this thread I couldn't resist popping in to say hey. I grew up in Burney, it's about an hour from Shasta if you've never heard of... most people say where's that. You've got a nice place there, btw

siennabea1 karma

Nice, i have actually never heard of Burney. But hell yeah!

trollforthelols4 karma

How did you guys heat the house during the winter?

What about heating the water to take a shower and all of that?

Was living space small in the house? How big was your family/how many rooms did you guys have to each other or did you all have to share rooms together?

Did you have reliable/fast/any internet at your house? If not, how did that affect your learning? Aka Do you not seem to have problems focusing because you were not exposed to things like watching tv a lot, or playing a ton of video games?

Do you find yourself being able to study better in college with just books and paper?

Sorry if the questions overlap, I got super tired at 3am. Thanks for this AMA

siennabea1 karma

We had a wood burning stove and a small water heater for the shower Living space was not very small (im not sure of the square footage) I have 1 brother and we each had our own room. We had no internet at my house. I think it effected my learning in a good way! I think that kids that grow up today with their faces in front of ipads and computers lack creativity. I am soooo glad I did not have tv looking back. Figuring out how to entertain ourselves was much more rewarding than just sitting in front of the tv. actually, I dont think I study better in college than other people, but that might be just me.?

iCupFarts3 karma

How would you kill time there, on weekends?

siennabea4 karma

Most of the time going on adventures, and working on projects (since my dads a carpenter, we would always build stuff together) hanging out with friends or family.

iCupFarts1 karma

Ever shit in the woods?

siennabea15 karma

Lets just say I know the best kind of leaves to use if you don't have toilet paper.

SpaceQuack3 karma

Would you consider yourself a redneck?

siennabea6 karma


Unshadow2 karma

So, is that "30 minutes" by walking with bare feet or what? Giving distance in time is confusing when it's not clear if you have a car or what the road conditions are like.

siennabea6 karma

It was 30 minutes by car. It was actually probably not that many miles (maybe 10?), but because it was a dirt road, it took longer to drive it.

scrimsims2 karma

Did they build the house on top of an old house that was there, because the floor in the kitchen looks really old, way older than 22 years old. My floor in my house looks newer than that and my house was built in the 50s. My house was originally just a one story house and a second floor was added in the late nineties (which is why I thought of it).

siennabea2 karma

No, they built it from the ground up. Yeah the floor in the kitcken got jank really fast. I dont know how. Probably just from so many people walking on in at that place, or as my dad says "traffic" They did it pretty rustic, so maybe the wood they used doesnt have a finish on it that will keep for as long as normal floors.

All-happy-N-stuff2 karma

As someone who was raised in the country myself.

Did you ever have any scary run ins with dangerous wildlife (poisonous snakes, bears, mountain lions)?

Did you ever get in a scary/dangerous situation when alone out in the woods?

If so how did you handle the situation/s?

siennabea2 karma

Hmm I have actually never had a really dangerous situation. No I was never lost in the woods. Lucky.

hayley_heartbreak2 karma

No question other than to say that I am in such awe of your parents. This is totally be a dream of my boyfriend and I - we currently live in an inner city apartment (New Zealand) and living a life like this would be a complete thrill. What an awesome childhood you must have had!

siennabea3 karma

Are you kidding me?! New Zealand is MY dream!

jeremy13132 karma


siennabea9 karma

I was unaware that toilets are necessary for masturbation. Maybe for guys..? Im a girl so I wouldnt know. Also was unaware that everyone needs something to "masturbate to" hahah

ShinyTinker2 karma

Oh my gosh. Dat pantry. Give your parents a big ol' hug from me. That's amazing. I plan on purchasing land in North Carolina and building a house the same way! Well, a bit later in life. Gonna finish college first (yay Ethnobotany!) then kick it!! If you're comfortable PMing me I'd love to see about sending them a shiny for their lovely home!!

siennabea7 karma

Ugh I know I gotta finish college too. Good luck with the house! umm, don't know, my parents are kind of scared of the internet, well they are just uneasy about telling people where we live, and stuff like that. I'll for sure tell them someone is appreciating their work!

SamfuckingA2 karma

That place sounds amazing. Can I come live with you?

siennabea3 karma

If you want to live like this, all it takes is making it happen! DO IT.