We have always been very traditional people. Often times put in our own category. :) We are the kind of people that see the shiny side of the penny and felt God’s grace to grab our boot straps and trudge on. We have an amazing story of lives filled with heartache, despair & challenge, but once we all collided on the 150 acre farm in PA we were then destined to live God’s will together and so our story began.

We have always loved the outdoors – feeling free and finding ourselves when getting caught up in God’s beauties around us. We have always felt that we were in the wrong era in thoroughly liking the traditional lifestyle, away from the hustle bustle and away from today’s society of the gotahave mind sets.

Both my Mountain Man and myself grew up on farms with good christian parents and family. We both knew what it was like to work hard and we appreciate our lives so much more due to our up bringing. We are very thankful for the gift our parents gave to both of us – Thanks Mom’s and Dad’s! We are thankful for knowing how to work and knowing how to enjoy it. We are thankful for the space we were both given while growing up, allowing us the freedoms to be kids, exploring, learning how to make our own fun (never being bored) and to be creative. We are blessed now to offer this to the Mountain Boy because of our location. The Mountain Boy is high functioning autistic so our location has offered him a place to find himself and to be himself which in turn has allowed him to grow mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Be sure to check him out at http://MountainBoyJournals.com. Also for more on our homeschooling adventures check out http://SpectrumKidsInTheOutdoors.com.

I love that picture of us… It radiates happiness, a good fit, something I never expected to have and only to continue to dream about… And so WE began…

A year and 8 months later we married on his birthday, which happened to also be Easter Sunday. It was the most amazing day and we can now live our lives in comfort knowing that we each have someone that is in it for the duration and the boy now has an amazing male figure in his life! 42 days later we loaded up a 26′ U-Haul and GMC loaded down pulling a 24′ gooseneck trailer also extremely loaded down. The man and his cousin along with the two dogs in the GMC and the boy and I in the U-Haul along with Mr. Bear the hamster (may he rest in peace – he lived 8 months in a wall tent and died two months after making it into the house).

After 6 days on the road, a flat tire, 8 injectors on the GMC blown and a new Ford F250 purchased we arrived at our destination of home. A 5 acre parcel of untouched land in Northern Idaho that we purchased site unseen from PA. It was AMAZING with a 2.5 mile lane of rough road and wilderness to our 5 acre parcel in the middle of nowhere!! Our dream has come true!!

And now our story begins with the writings from this website. We encourage you to read the previous posts and view all our photos if you are new to our page. We slept a night in the gooseneck trailer until we had the 8′ x 14′ canvas wall tent constructed with the wood stove. Now remember there were two adults, a teenager, two dogs and a hamster as well as our cots, a clothing tote each and a table in our living space.  The 1st whole month was nothing, but pouring rain.  We didn’t batch an eyelash.  We were so excited and a little rain wasn’t going to deter us.   For 8 1/2 months we lived in the wall tent and built our home. It was an experience and an adventure like no other for us all and not one of us would have traded the experience for ANYTHING!

Given A Gift ~ Our wilderness homeGiven A Gift ~ Mess tent and Kitchen with AwningGiven A Gift ~ Our Wilderness Winter home

We moved into our home December 11th of 2010. Our home is a glorified pole barn with a 2nd level with a loft to be. The night we moved in our home on the 2nd level it was nothing more than 30′ x 36′ of open space with a plywood floor, no windows and a woodstove in one corner. The night before we moved into the house we were forced out of the tent due to extremely high winds. That was one of 3 nights we spent cooped up in the pick up – two dogs, two adults and a teenager (Just imagine that). There was a foot of snow on the ground and we were grateful to be out of the elements with a secure roof over our heads. The solar was hooked up and our well was providing water, now we just needed to run both into our living quarters and our rooms would need to be built and the interior of our home quickly came to life. The 1st addition to our living quarters was a window to add some light and allow us to get some of the heat out. I was making all our meals on the woodstove and keeping it at a constant heat so it was typically 80 to 85 degrees in the house.

GivenAGift.com ~ Mountain Man designs piveting solar mount

The Man continued our interior progress by adding the bathroom, kitchen, several more windows and studding out the bedrooms. Keep in mind that we have Tyvec walls to this day – our cosmetic work will come later with stone from the floor to the chair rail and 1 x boards of varying sizes on the walls with chinking in between to give the look of cabin walls. Our Christmas present the 1st year was power run into our living quarters and running water.

The boy was so excited on Christmas Eve to get the comforts of his bed. His bed was placed in the midst of mounds of Rubbermaid totes with just enough room to construct his bed and he simply voiced that although he loved tent living he is very thankful for his bed and that it was the BEST Christmas present ever. Simple pleasure by far….

Winter of 2010 and 2011 was spend chopping firewood as needed because with all the demands of building we were unable to find the time prior. We spent 8 1/2 weeks in our cozy, snowy wilderness setting while unable to drive out due to our road conditions. It was the BEST 8 1/2 weeks ever and the Man was able to get in some trapping (For those of you into trapping and hunting check out: http://mountainmanjournals.com). It is truly a winder wonderland with untouched white puffy snow everywhere. During that winter we received one snow fall of 36″ which did not stop us from exploring by any means. We quickly put on the snowshoes and off we went. We did a lot of exploring that winter too.

2011 was spent getting everything in order in our interior and relaxing a bit from a grueling 8 1/2 months of pushing to get out of the elements. We also groomed our exterior, built our large woodshed, smoke house, a temporary smithy and canned whatever vegetables we could get our hands on. Our loft was built in September preparing for our families to arrive and adding extra space to our living quarters. Our open bedrooms turned quickly into what felt like unique cabin rooms and made our home even cozier.

Mountain Man with his woodshed and workbench he built Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man curing our large kettle

Our family is always busy doing something… Glen is always busy in the smithy fabricating something new for our house. I will never have to worry every about having to call a Mr. Fixit because whatever we need he can do it. Here are a few of the things he has tinkered on:

Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man made pot rack with decorative heart top Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man handcrafted wooden spoon

We are all always tinkering and if there is a traditional skill that we do not know we will learn. We greatly enjoy our traditional setting and our traditional lifestyle.

Every ounce of extra time we had we tried to get out in the wilderness exploring. We live in a very large and vast playground. When we had the time and could take a whole day we would hike 20 plus miles in lands that had not seen people in years. As we tell people, “We are allergic to trails so as soon as our feet connect with a trail we quickly step off and into the unseen wilderness”. 🙂 There is so much to see and do.

Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man with his cousins at his primitive shelter Given A Gift ~ The Woodcutting Crew Given A Gift ~ 1st hike for spring

Given A Gift ~ Taking a break for our hard work for a day at the top of the mountain

2012 we plunged deeper into self-sufficiency and self-reliance when Glen fabricated a sawmill. We quickly jumped from the sawmill to the Boy’s tree house on stilts and used this project to help us get the bugs worked out of the sawmill. From there we headed to the chicken coop which is now house 30 laying hens, Ray the Rooster and Gus the Ginny Rooster. We went directly from the chicken coop to the rabbit hutch where we currently have 4 does and will be getting another doe and a buck for winter sets in. The whole year was spent running from one project to the next so onward we headed to the log guest cabin that we had a mere 4 1/2 weeks to build before the 1st guest would arrive to stay in it…. It was a crazy year, but we enjoy being productive and the rewards of our hard work we are able to see daily. We ran out of time for one thing on our todo list this year and that was the greenhouse which is 1st in line next Spring. My mother-in-law and I were at the airport picking up our cabin guests while the Man and his father were placing the door that he had just built and removing the scrap wood and sawdust from the cabin. We got home with our guests and they headed off in the other truck to sight in their rifles while us ladies headed to the cabin to clean it, do the windows and add the furniture for their nights stay. How is that for down to the wire?

Given A Gift ~  The Mountain Boy Tree House on Stilts

Given A Gift - Chicken Coop GivenAGift.com ~ Chicken Coop and yard

Given A Gift - Ray the Rooster Given A Gift ~ Henrietta Fluffy Butt Given A Gift ~ Henrietta Fluffy Butt

Given A Gift ~ The beginnings of the rabbit hutch Given A Gift ~ Rabbit Hutch Given A Gift ~ Our meat rabbits  Given A Gift ~ Mountain Boy feeding the chickens and rabbits

We focused our extra time on firewood this year to be sure that we had our woodshed full.

Given A Gift ~ Taking a break from choppin firewood

Given A Gift ~ Mountain Woman and Boy preparing the woodshed for all the chopped firewood Given A Gift ~ Our mound of chopped firewood Given A Gift ~ Mountain Boy almost has the firewood stacked

Given A Gift ~ Mountain Boy proud of an all day job well done and COMPLETED

In addition to all our family projects we also run our business Rocking GT Designs out of our home. Glen manufactures traditional style Mortise and Tenon furniture and Hand Forges all his hardware along with a Hand Forged metal line and a Hand Forged horseshoe art line. I assist in the web designs and marketing and also provide handcrafted goat milk soaps, 100% soy candles, gift baskets as well as other various handcrafted gift items and the Boy handcrafts leather moccasins and various other leather items. For more on our business go to http://RockingGTDesigns.com

Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs napkin or letter holder Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Single Horseshoe Candle Holder Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Lantern Hook

Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Indoor Wood Tongs and Poker Set Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Goat Milk Soaps and Candles

Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Goat Milk Soap and Soy Candles Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Moccasin care of Austin

In the midst of building I was canning again everything that I could get my hands on doing 75 lbs of carrots to gain 74 quarts for our winter forage, 3 batches of our chilli sauce/salsa, 3 batches of Trayer Wilderness Hot Mustard, 2 batches of our friend Joel’s Famous Hot Sauce (darn near killed the family with that one) and continued to do my web designs, my freelance writing and keeping everyone well fed. We make EVERYTHING from scratch back here in our wilderness environment. The Boy is on a gluten free (wheat) and casein fee (dairy) diet and we are trying to eliminate all the additives, preservatives and chemicals in our foods and products. I make our own laundry, dish and bar soap and I make our own deodorant as well. In the kitchen I make everything from our own seasonings and condiments to all our breads, baked goods and wholesome meals. It is something I very much enjoy. In addition I enjoy refurbishing old furniture and needed to take care of two pieces this summer as well to prepare for the multitude of guests we were expecting. For more on the recipes and how-to’s check out http://MountainWomanJournals.com.

Given A Gift ~ Now that is how you feed an army

Given A Gift ~ Refinishing an old jelly cupboard Given A Gift ~ Refinishing an old jelly cupboard Given A Gift ~ Completed refinished jelly cupboard

Given A Gift ~ Refinished picnic table benches Given A Gift ~ Refinished picnic table benches and table with 8 leafs Given A Gift ~ Completely refinished table, leafs and picnic benches

We also added a furry daughter to our home.  More to come on her, but for now we will share some pictures.  She is now bigger than our healer and only a 1/3 of the way grown.

Given A Gift ~ Our new furry daughter Given A Gift ~ Our amazing friend George holding our girl - Wow how little she once was Given A Gift ~ Our furry son and daughter laying by the fire

We are happy that you have stopped by and we hope that you will continue to follow our adventures here in the northern Idaho wilderness. We are constantly exploring, building, repurposing, growing, raising, etc.. This coming year of 2013 we will be attaining two horses to start to fill our coral, will build our greenhouse, hope to do a lot of exploring and who knows what all! The Mountain Man, Woman and Boy sites focus greatly on self-reliance skills and training and you will find many new educational videos popping up on our websites to come. We hope that you will continue to join us….

Blessings from the northern Idaho wilderness! <3

Given A Gift ~ Concrete Pillar for the Cabin Given A Gift ~ Cabin Floor is complete and ready for the walls Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man and Mountain Boy unloading cut dead timber Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man and Mountain Boy unloading cut dead timber Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man and the BoysGiven A Gift ~ Mountain Man and Mountain Boy are chiseling awayGiven A Gift ~ The cabin building has begun Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man and cousin Jonathan giving their backs a restGiven A Gift ~ Walls are going into place nicely Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man making precise cuts Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man making precise cuts Given A Gift ~ Chiseling the piece that need to be removed Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man doing more chiseling for the perfect fit Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man using the draw knife

Given A Gift ~ Walls are going into place nicely Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man finessing the log with a chisel Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man and his crew

Given A Gift ~ Center beam in place Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man placing the gable ends Given A Gift ~ Mountain Woman helping to place the ridge pole Given A Gift ~ The roof starting to take shape  Given A Gift ~ Tar paper is on Given A Gift ~ Steel roof is just about completed Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man sawing the ends off the cabin Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man sawing the ends off the cabin Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man, Mountain Boy and Cousin Jonathan using the crosscut saw to trim the ends Given A Gift ~ The porch and steps were added Given A Gift ~ Mountain Man, his Father and our healer after handcrafting the door and hinges Given A Gift ~ The handcrafted traditional cabin is completed

Given A Gift ~ Momma Trayer lending a hand to get the cabin windows clean  Given A Gift ~ Rocking GT Designs Lantern Hook  Given A Gift ~ The inside view of the door handcrafted by the Mountain Man

Given A Gift ~ With the added Mountain Woman touch Given A Gift ~ The Mountain Woman's touch Given A Gift ~ Mountain Woman finds hearts EVERYWHERE why would the cabin be any different

Given A Gift ~ The completed traditional handcrafted log cabin

20120726-063701.jpg Simple Lives at gnowfglins.com
I was featured at HHM a-wise-woman-builds-her-home
Mexican Wildflower Health Blogs Growing Home Holistic Dad
Country Woman Magazine