When This Back-to-Earth Couple Fell on Hard Times, They Were Saved by Their Enormous Personal Fortune

Rockport — Janet and Robert Williams knew the risks when they left it all behind in Connecticut and decided to live off the grid. So when things got tough, they were prepared.

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“Cows are extremely needy animals and require constant attention,” Janet explained. “We knew that going in, but what we didn’t know was how unappealing farming actually was once we started doing it.”

The Williams lived off-the-grid in a 120-square foot tiny house Robert bought from LL Bean.

“We brought it to our land, put our tiny house into place, and started Stone Throw Farm with just a few heritage chickens,” Robert said.

But it didn’t take long for the daily grind to take its toll.

“It was fun at first, splitting wood by hand, but then it got extremely cold and I hadn’t split enough of it,” Janet told us.

“Tending the cows and chickens became a full time job. I didn’t have any time to blog about farming. It was a really scary time for us.”

Fortunately both Janet and Robert had amassed tremendous fortunes before moving to Maine; Janet as a corporate lawyer and Robert as a banker.

“We realized Stone Throw Farm could be saved by just buying the farmhouse next door, paying a lot of money to have it upgraded, and then hiring some people to do all the farming for us,” Robert said.

“It was an incredible relief. Janet has plenty of time to write and I’ve taken up building ship models in the barn we converted to a wood working shop.”

While they were unable to make things work living off the land, both Janet and Robert agree the experience was invaluable.

“I’ll remember that week for the rest of my life,” Robert said.

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22 thoughts on “When This Back-to-Earth Couple Fell on Hard Times, They Were Saved by Their Enormous Personal Fortune”

    1. Not when they realized It needed new windshield wipers. Robert said: “Does anyone anywhere know how to change those blades? I think not. I tried for hours before I realized that it was time to get a new Range Rover.”

  1. I think Janet and Robert should capitalize on their experience by writing a book about it – thus adding to their fortune. “Living off the grid” is a wonderful idea. But it’s only that, an idea. Actually doing it is really sucky. For those wanting to give it the ol’ college try, I recommend sipping some Jim Beam on the rocks whilst sitting back & watching something like ‘Alaskan Frontiersman”, etc. on your big ol’ flat-screen 52″ TV. A couple of shows ought to do the trick – and then you can put on your LL Bean boots (goes well with your paisley tie and vest), and tell your friends about the time you spent out on the back 40.

  2. What is the lesson here? If you have “amassed tremendous fortunes” you can buy your way out of, or into, anything? I really am stymied by this piece. All I can think of are the hard working people who can’t just cash it all in …..

  3. This reminds me of them “trust fund hippies” we had in Maine back in the Seventies. Robert is the first “hedge fund hippy”!

  4. In all seriousness, The Nearings of “Living the Good Life” fame plead a life of poverty and self sufficiency when in reality, Helen got regular payments from rich relatives in NYC.
    Locals could never figure out why they always had a new car.

  5. It’s easy to make fun of people like Janet and Robert, but the truth is that there is a real hunger in our culture for a connection to the natural world. People who try to fulfill that desire , Whether they are poor as dirt, or Rich, learn lessons that help them grow as human beings. I myself am one of those folks who had no real experience as a farmer, but made a goal of it for 20 years in Franklin County Maine. It changed my life for the better. It also supplied many friends with fresh eggs, fresh vegetables, goat meat and chicken meat . Before you make a joke out of such a lifestyle, I recommend trying it. Or better yet, supporting someone who is trying it. May we all be healthy, happy, safe and live with ease.

  6. Bwahaha this is great! Seriously though hobby farms are much better than no farms. I am really fortunate to be surrounded by fresh farm goods that people are not really making a living off of. I encourage everyone to be a Janet and Robert! Hire me I’ll be your farmhand!

  7. This is such a beautiful story! Much better than ‘Carrying Water as a Way of Life’ by Linda Tatelbaum an Appleton homesteader’s history, I couldn’t finish the book, it was so depressingly hard a lifestyle. Maybe by the end one of their Rockport neighbors buys their farm and hires them, happy ending!

    1. What they should do is get “interns” (Hipsters from away who want to learn about “farming” while smoking copious amounts of green bud every day). Hell they will get mum and dad to PAY Janet and Robert just to get to hang around and put an honest 3 or 4 hours in a day. Now THAT is sustainable farming.

  8. I like it. The press is full of these stories mentioning all the bijou little places being opened or renovated by people from away and always, tucked away somewhere, is something that mentions “so-and-so was a hedge fund advisor,” etc.

    I guess they didn’t mind living the horrible lifestyle while it made lots of money for them – now they can afford to move north and then have fun complaining about the rough and ready locals, the lack of sushi bars and the lack of street lighting in the area they settle in.

  9. Gee, I can’t even keep up with the 6-9 eggs a day my chickens produce. I hope I am not one of those trust fund hippies 🙂

    1. You pining for some avocado toast there, CJ? Ever had the impulse to wear a sweater with the arms knotted ’round yer neck?

      Be wary, could be…

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