Tag Archive: homesteading

so here it is, 3am and i’m already reneging on turning this 6am bedtime around to 10pm. I feel like life should NOT be a guessing game. I’ve seen many people just allow life to unfold in a mess, they don’t understand what the next step is and just wade through ‘an unknown’ in their life, waiting for the answers of unformed questions to be revealed to them (as the train wreak gets worse). the sense I make of dealing with chaotic times appears to be rooted in not being ready to understand something. do you know what i’m talking about? where you can’t even form the questions but there’s a strong feeling of wanting some guidance….

what i’m trying to say is, “i’m above confusion, I know the name of the game and the ball is in my court.” and now that I’ve got the smoke screen up i’ll take you around back and fill you in on what’s really going on.

WHATS GOING ON: Sorrentino Woodcraft   &   Sorrentino Photos   &   Tiny House And Land

these are 3 main sources in our life that we spend all day and night thinking about.

well, Tiny House And Land is more on the back burner. it’s a pdf documenting how we saved money & bought a tiny house and land. it’s pretty straight forward but when I started it in January it wasn’t. the challenge was, “how do I know what’s a fair value for it?” i asked folks for their input on what they felt the value was. everyone had a different price limit, the numbers were all over the place. in the end i settled for $30 for a 33 page pdf file with 3 short videos, instant download, no shipping. I’ve paid more money for less quality so $30 seemed fair for what i had to offer. after many rounds of my website getting traffic from other websites promoting us i felt moved to lower the price to $5. i sold about as many ebooks at $30 as i did at $5 but ended on settling with $9.99 (actually it’s now for free, donations optional) where it is today. i don’t loose sleep over. did i learn any lessons from tinkering around with the price, no. it reconfirmed my point of view which is, “people buy what they want within reason”. i wish that people who want to read my ebook but can’t afford parting with $10 would ask me for a free copy. i think the pdf is legit and anyone who wants to read it should, regardless of the money situation. zero sleep lost in this department.

Sorrentino Photos is my love. i love, love, love, capturing little sublet things. i will take pictures of everyone and everything. i started this business because how else am i going to capture the sublets of strangers AND get paid for it. again, like my ebook, it’s a service i would give for free. when we decided to start a photography business mark wrote a friend from high school who is a very successful (natural geographic’s!) photographer asking for some advice. mark was a little disheartened to hear what he had to say. the friend mentioned the lackluster of turning a passion into a job and that starting out we’d be competing with $60 headshots (where as his prices starts at $200, digital files not included). i internalized the advice and said, “fuck it, i’m in”, so the ‘war of worth’ is out the window. i will take the lowest pay, i just want to take pictures. now that we’ve been taking pictures professionally for these last few weeks I see all of the work that goes into it after the shoot is done. on average i take 300 pictures to get 20-60 good ones with 3-10 gems. now that Team Sorrentino is taking pictures together we have 600-800 pictures (per shoot) to go through, one by one, then we resize them and present the best ones. it takes hours to go through 800 pictures, “which one is better? is that one blurry even when you zoom in beyond humanly necessary?” each picture gets a handful of questions. I LOVE IT. i can’t sleep til 6am because i’m too pumped on happy chemicals to put the pictures away. no problems here, just need more clients.

Sorrentino Woodcraft is marks love… and worry. mark is very talented. ask him, “how do you know how to build a guitar” and he will laugh and say, “it’s easy”. <—- see!! natural talent. marks not a salesman, he’s a very shy woodworker. we had a booth at the farmers market in Arkansas and the sales were up and down one week to the next (in a town of 2,000 people). now that were in dallas/fort worth we’re moments away from setting up our farmers market stand again. because this is our sole focus we took the time to actually make our booth reflect the beauty of the crafts we’re selling, no more slobs here. we went to world market to get some display items to hold our woodcraft. originally we were going to handcraft the displays our self (& already bought the wood for it) but i could tell that we’re already spreading our self too thin with all the woodcraft on our to-do list. we came across olive wood spoons for $5! we’ve been selling our spoons for $18. i picked up the spoon and turned to mark, “hey, why don’t we sell these for $18, they’re already made”. that left a bad taste in my mouth. usually i think don’t say shit like that because i find it in bad taste but i was feeling a bit defensive when i saw the price tag. the joke was really bad. it’s like asking Nick Baxter to not bother expressing himself through painting his incredibly moving pieces of art and instead resell something cheaper, all ready done junk. fuck it, it’s just retail, no self expression here. FYI: mark selling his spoons is not a retail job. the craft imparts something of him that can not come out any other way. yet at $18 how does he compete with the $5 mass produced stuff? at $18 a spoon, with his current tools and skill level i bet he’s NOT even making $5/hour after cost. seeing that $5 spoon makes me want to lower our price, i haven’t talked to him about it yet but it’s all i’m thinking about at 4am.

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pricing, that’s really the struggle of where we’re at right now. mark had been making wooden guitar pics for a few years when i first helped him hand sand one smooth. within 15 minutes of sanding i got a new perspective on what it means to handcraft something. for some reason i’m willing to lay down and take minimum wage but mark struggles with maintaining a value. maybe because he’s the one putting in all the work.DSC_0004

with all that said, i hope that everyone understands that i’m talking honestly about our joys and passions. we love what we do. any insight or perspective is much appreciated. DSC_0003

TO SEE SOME RECENT PICTURES I TOOK  CHECK OUT: https://www.facebook.com/SorrentinoPhotos/


i’d mentioned on my interview with the survival podcast that our future plan is to get land with some friends. shortly after that interview we put our land on the market. within 2 months our land was sold. we sold our land for almost double the price we paid but in the end came slightly short of breaking even once you include all the work we did to the land. maybe we lost $500-$1,000 but we got a taste of living our dream for a year. plus all of the accomplishments that were achieved along the way, starting our own business & raising chickens. another way of looking at it is that we’d spent $500-$1000 on a years worth of rent to be fully engaged in a lifestyle that was so different from anything that knew.

the couple that bought our tiny house & land were a perfect fit for it. they were artists and woodworkers. when they stepped into our tiny house the first thing they said was, “wow, this is a mansion!” they called our tiny house a mansion, that meant they were going to buy it. “…compared to what we live in now.” when they looked at the work shed the wife started naming off wood working tools that they’d put in there. hearing all that was a good feeling. they have plans to hand build a house on the land. they really did get a sweet deal. the land was cheap and the location is perfect. they’re 10 minutes from a tiny artsy town in the mountains while living in the woods. i loved that land & our tiny house, leaving it all felt surreal.

we left our land because it was all rocks and trees. in order to do the things we want (raise animals, plant food forest, woody beds and permaculture) we’d have to cut down a portion of trees and bring in all of the soil. bringing in soil isn’t the worst thing ever but there can be some problems with bring in soil. plus the amount of money it would cost to turn rocks and trees into a functioning homestead would doesn’t makes sense. why not buy a piece of land that’s already suited for our needs. our rocks and trees will never be lush pasture for ideal animal husbandry unless we invest a lot of time and money.

a year and a half ago when we signed the deed and gave our hard earned money to buy the land we had made a mistake. we looked at the land and saw beautiful woods. we saw the land for what it was and not what it would be. we were so pumped to get out of the city the thought processes was like this, “tree/nature = good. city/concrete = bad”. we really weren’t thinking of the bigger picture. we figured we cut down some trees and the process would unfold and that was a mistake. now we have a better eye for what we need from our final piece of land. how can we create a thriving ecosystem, put more things into the system without having to take what’s there out? that is question. animals are an important part of my future vision. different animals need different things. some need pasture while others need forest. so to belabor my point, i can’t have ALL rocks and trees… i need more.

i haven’t talked much about our friends but we’re getting land with a small group of homies. as that unfolds i will go into that a bit more.

we’ve moved into a house my parents just bought to help them with their mortgage while we’re in transition. the town we live in has a population of 8,000 but feels much smaller than the town of 2,000 that we just left. smaller in the sense that community spaces and community feel is next to nothing here. part of that is because there’s no economy here, people just sleep in the country and drive to the city to work. eureka springs was very alive. here we’re an 20 minutes away from anything alive. but i’m glad to be here. i’m glad to see my parents and help them out. i’m super glad not to be living in dallas though we drive out there regularly.

our backyard is now a cornfield.

we’ve started a photography business *SORRENTINO PHOTOS*  and have been very busy with that.  (recent pictures we’ve taken below)DSC_0125resize copy

we have a thousand new wood working ideas. we’re doing our best to be 100% independently employed.6 copy

not having a standard job right now has really been healing. i’ve had bulk herbs for YEARS that i’d barely touched. now i’m brewing up almost a gallon of tea that i drink chilled daily. i’ve been working out at home (yoga, jump rope, jumping jacks, modified push ups) and tracking my calories to make sure i’m getting enough.6DSC_0233resize

i’m completely pumped about photography right now. all i want to do it take pictures of everything i see. we need more paying clients. we need to take pictures of  beautiful food. we can’t drain our land money to pay for the gas to capture the pictures i long to take.cDSC_0427resize

i miss peeing outside. i miss squatting to take a shit. i miss the stars and the trees. i like the ease of washing dishes with plumbing. i don’t like the toilet but i do like the bathroom.4 copy

we’re still Tiny House And Land just in transition. our next tiny house will be hand sculpted i imagine.z copy