87-Year-Old Widower Has Lived 50 Years Off-Grid on 400 Acres of Redwood Forest!

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When looking for the ultimate ‘forever’ home, many of us desire modern facilities right on our doorstep. Giant food stores, trendy restaurants, and leisure amenities are usually top-of-the-list, together with medical care, and hopefully a friendly community with pleasant neighbors. It appears we love having our residing wants met within a normality of convenience and comfort. In full contrast, can you imagine, living for 50 years off-grid, non-reliant on any external sources? Halfway between Willits and Fort Bragg, deep in the Redwoods, one man, Charles Bello has done precisely this. He has lived the eco-friendly dream for over half his life and is now inviting two solar-ambitious, self-generating couples to join him within the woods. (3)


Nesting Success In The Forest

Charles Bello is a widower, father of two boys, and considerably a homesteading hero; recently hand selecting 1000 trees never to be cut for 2000 years, within his very own enchanted woodland.

In 1968, he and his wife, Vanna Rae, purchased 240 acres of Redwood forest, costing $45,000- their total life savings, along with financial help from family. They built a panelized A-frame in just 5 days (the structure costing an extra $2800), and moved straight into a new life of self-reliance.

Being half an hour down a dirt road they had to build their own infrastructure; a road and a bridge to reach their modest home, where they survived for decades without a fridge or a telephone. They canned and preserved their own food, home schooled their two boys Mark and Mike, and made ends meet by selling Christmas trees.

Bello had been an intern for Richard Neutra in the 1950s and also worked for the architect Henry Hill and the landscape architect Robert Royston. He was perfectly qualified to use what he found in nature to go on and build bigger dreams, still far from civilization. (4)

In 1982 he built a larger 3 bedroom house but wasn’t completely happy with it. He has admitted to The NY Times, ‘I never did like that structure much. It is too heavy for my taste and I prefer the curvilinear, softer, lighter forms better.’ (1)

After building five concrete arched bridges, all with his own lumber and connecting his land, his final property project was a gorgeous window-laden Parabolic Glass House. He had always wanted a home totally enveloped in trees.

The glass house features a curvilinear wood roof (à la Nervi), the structure being made of two curved walls of windows achieving Bello’s desired effect, to see the woodlands all around. The total cost of his sustainable dream home – a mere $8500.

50 Years Off-Grid, Stewards Of The Land

In 1997 Bello and Rae founded The Redwood Forest Institution. Rae passed away in 2010, and Bello told Outside Online Media, ‘When the kids left here, they went at 15 years old. They left home, and they went into mainstream and got jobs, so they were really not interested in this lifestyle’. (2)

Delighted for his sons, whom he says got into their own thing and happy where they are, Bello, now 87, is seeking two middle-aged couples to act as land stewards of his property (which is now worth between $4-6 million!)

The successful candidates will not own the land or the equipment but will be provided with housing. After a trial period, they will be candidates to become Board of Director members for the Redwood Forest Institute.

Interested? Be quick! Bello has already had 900 emails! To learn more about Charles Bello and his organization, or the Redwood Forest Institute, go to savetrees.org. (3)

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About Sara Ding

Sara Ding is the founder of Juicing-for-Health.com. She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.


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