Welcome to the Hermitage!
We are Craig and Blue, off-grid homesteaders, organic farmers, artists, musicians, and hunters. Our 34 acre homestead, the Hermitage, rests in the ancient forested hills of Southeast Missouri. The nearest paved road is five miles away. We are truly in the wilderness and we love it here.
When we purchased our original 13 acre property in November 2017, it was a plot of raw woods with a little unfinished shack connected to a shipping container. The field behind the shipping container was used as a landing area where loggers piled unwanted wood when the area was irresponsibly clearcut 15 years ago. The land was rugged and unusable, much of it inaccessible beneath a decade and a half of rotting mounds of wood.
Three years later we have cleared several acres of land for our homestead and built a cozy little cabin and screened in porch (with the help of our builder neighbor), a barn, a large fenced in garden, and cut a network of hiking trails through our woods. Over the past three years as we have cared for and nurtured our land, we’ve watched wildlife return and flourish. We’ve slowly chipped away at the landing area using controlled burns, shovels and sweat. It is now a beautiful field enjoyed by deer, turkey, raccoons, possums, foxes, bobcats, rabbits, birds, pollinators and even a wild hog.
Our cabin is completely off-grid, miles away from the closest utilities. And that is exactly how we want it. We have set up a solar power system which powers a small refrigerator, lights, a satellite dish, cell phones and laptop. We collect and purify rain water and use a dry compost toilet. We’ve enjoyed the challenge of learning how to set up all of these systems and make it work for us. How many people can say they made their own toilet?!
Our future plans include raising chickens, rabbits, ducks and maybe a goat for milk. We grow and preserve our own vegetables and herbs. Our garden thrives every year in the rich compost soil left from the tree landing. We forage blackberries, huckleberries, persimmons, mushrooms, sumac and fiddleheads that grow wild on our property. We also hunt deer, rabbit, squirrel and turkey on our land. We are slowly increasing our sustainability every year as we work toward our “two bag” goal of eventually only requiring two bags of groceries once a month.
In 2019, we purchased an adjoining 20 acres which included a small off-grid hunting cabin that we have finished and furnished. It is available as a guest cabin for friends and can be rented by those seeking a few days of peace and solitude in the wilderness. (Contact us for details)
Homesteading is a wonderful lifestyle. Living closely with nature as we do draws us closer to the Creator. We’ve named our place the Hermitage because it is our haven where we escape from the chaotic world to immerse ourselves within God’s beautiful creation.
Craig is a photographer, hunter, 1700s historical reenactor, and former military. He retires from Boeing in April 2021 after 36 years in the military aviation industry.
Craig enjoys combining his loves of history and hunting. He owns and hunts with several historically accurate flintlock muzzleloaders. He recently has been training to hunt with a compound bow and long bow.
He has utilized his former military experience as an electrician to design, set up, and maintain our solar power system at the Hermitage.
Blue is a writer, artist, photographer, musician, and gardener. She has run her own website development company, Blue’s ArtHouse Graphics & Web Design, since 1997. She continues to run her website business from the Hermitage via satellite.
Blue writes inspirational nonfiction about seeking God in the wilderness through meditative prayer. She has just completed her first full length book, Be Still: Defeating Depression through Meditative Prayer, a memoir about her death experience, healing and spiritual awakening. You can read her writings at bluetapp.com.
(Yes, Craig and Blue are married… It’s one of those “modern” marriages where they both kept their last names…)