Living the Simple Life in Vermont’s Green Mountains

Greg Joly and Mary Diaz try their hand at a Thoreau inspired homestead.


| March/April 2004



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In 1994, Greg Joly and Mary Diaz bought twenty acres of heavily wooded land in Vermont’s Green Mountains and began to fulfill their dream of homesteading.

Photo By Sandy MacKinnon

Guiding Ideals: “Thoreau and the early homesteaders felt that simple living was a way to get to the higher principles they believed in.”  —Greg Joly

A twenty-first century couple follows in Thoreau’s footsteps.

Staking the claim

In 1994, Greg Joly and Mary Diaz bought twenty acres of heavily wooded land in Vermont’s Green Mountains and began to fulfill their dream of homesteading.

Built by hand

The family’s 1,200-square-foot, two-story log home is a manual labor of love. Using fieldstone from their property, Joly laid the foundation in 1995. The next summer, he framed the house with logs he harvested on his land and hand-milled onsite. Friends and neighbors helped raise the frame.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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