Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 8, 2013

Locals shed possessions or go natural

Second in a two-part series on simplifying your lifestyles

TAHLEQUAH — When Cherae Stone locks the door on the Starr House on West Shawnee for the last time, she’ll trade 3,000 square feet of living space for a little over 240 square feet in what appears to be a tin shack on the Illinois River.

But appearances are often deceiving, particularly in this case.

Stone’s “shack” is made of corrugated tin and hand-milled pine, and has a handsomely appointed interior, complete with a four-burner gas range, refrigerator, washer and dryer, hand-milled cedar paneling, stone tiling, and LED flush-mount can lighting in the ceiling.

Stone is part of a movement to simplify life by scaling back – which includes living in smaller spaces, consuming less and reducing stress.

“I found this home, which was previously occupied by a family of four, and had it renovated to suit my needs,” said Stone. “I looked at having one built new, but this was a better deal. I bought my land, and asked the builder, ‘How much house can I get with this much money, because this is all the money I have?’”

Stone’s new home is one of about three dozen such sites cropping up at the Illinois River Village, off Scenic State Highway 10 on Chewey Road.

A person accumulates a lot of stuff over the years, and Stone is also ridding herself of everything except the items most precious to her.

“Some of my stuff has been sold, some more will be sold, and tons will be donated,” said Stone. “I’m having the hardest time getting rid of my books.”

Stone has scaled back a couple of times in her life, once when she was a teenager when her family’s home burned, and again when she lost her entire retirement savings in a corporate snafu.

“Remembering that time when the house burned – sure, we didn’t have all those things, but we were fine,” said Stone. “Even though we didn’t have that ‘stuff,’ we had our connections. I think it will be a lot more fun to be in my world out here. I mean, who, if they grew up here, doesn’t entertain the idea of living on the river?”

Some people might find the prospect of leaving city living behind in the winter for a small space off the beaten path daunting, but Stone is comfortable with the idea. “I require a lot of alone time, so maybe it will help me settle in,” said Stone. “I kind of like burrowing in for the winter.”

The home, which is mobile, runs on a standard recreational vehicle 110-volt electrical system, along with propane for cooking.

“And if I lose power, I’ll be just fine,” said Stone. “While I won’t be living off the grid, this home can be fitted to run that way. All you need is a composting toilet, a wood stove and some solar panels.”

Tinsleys getting their goats at Canyon Ridge

Chrys and Marty Tinsley, owners of Canyon Ridge Farms, lived in town for the first 19 years of their married lives. Both were raised on family farms, and it was always their desire to get back to that lifestyle.

“We wanted the peace and tranquility that is found in the country, and we wanted to grow and raise the majority of our own food,” said Marty.

In 2002, the Tinsleys bought a farm at Welling, but continued to make the daily trek to town to work.

“With each passing year of working at ‘farming’ on evenings and weekends and making the commute into town for work, our desire to be on the farm full-time kept growing and we explored several  options to make our farm self-sufficient,” said Marty. “Since we already had dairy goats, we checked into milking and selling our milk to a co-op on several different occasions, only to find out that was not an option for us.”

In 2010, the couple made the decision to put in a Grade A dairy, along with their own Grade A processing facility. Today, Canyon Ridge Farms produces enough goat milk and cheese to participate in several farmers’ markets, as well as supplying cheese to a number of Reasor’s grocery stores.

Chrys continues to work his full-time job in town, while Marty spends her time working the farm.

“There are many sacrifices to living in the country, and especially on a farm,” said Marty. “Convenience, mostly, but also that it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing, there is an animal that needs to be cared for. Internet access is not all that accessible, we have more power outages, phone service is not that great.”

Marty said the benefit far outweigh the sacrifices.

“It is peaceful and quiet; you can actually see the stars; there is always an animal that needs caring for; there is always something to do,” said Marty. “You can save money because you don’t want to run to town, so you just make do with what you have on hand. You can provide most of your own food, the air is fresher, and there is plenty of room for kids to run and play.”


Look for an online exclusive detailing how to simplify your life at www.tahlequahTDP.com



Text Only
Local News
  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • leatherman-chad.jpg Man gets 20 years for robbing local Walgreens store

    A Tahlequah man accused of robbing a local Walgreens this year has received a 20-year sentence.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-orphan-train.jpg ‘Orphan Train’ authors visit Tahlequah

    Imagine, for a moment, being a child whose parents could not care for him, and the only alternative was to ride the rails across the country, hoping to find a new family and home.
    For local resident Peggy Kaney’s grandfather, this scenario was a reality.
    Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster shared the stories of over 200,000 children taken from New York City and then given away to families in western states from 1854 to 1929, at the Tahlequah Public Library on July 17.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City council gives family deadline to rehab property

    Tahlequah’s city council is giving a family with local ties a little more than a month to develop and submit rehabilitation plans for two pieces of property containing six dilapidated structures in the 400 block of Lee Street.
    Members of the city’s abatement board recommended the homes be demolished, according to Tahlequah Building Inspector Mark Secratt. City officials then sent a certified notice as required by law, but the letter was returned.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man ‘howling like dog,’ arrested for APC

    When a Kentucky man pulled into an area convenience store over the weekend and began “barking and howling like a dog,” sheriff’s deputies checked on him and eventually hauled him to jail on alcohol-related charges, an arrest report shows.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man stable after crash

    A 57-year-old Tahlequah man was listed in stable condition Sunday evening after a crash on Old Toll Gate Road in northern Cherokee County.

    July 22, 2014

  • svw-Marijuana-guy.jpg Grassroots efforts

    Group seeks area support to put medical marijuana on November ballot

    Legalized medical marijuana will be on the ballots in November if Oklahomans for Health, the organization putting forward the proposed amendment, can get 155,216 signatures by Aug. 16.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • washington-marshal.jpg Man charged following June pursuit

    Prosecutors have filed formal charges against a Hulbert man accused of leading authorities on a pursuit and running a roadblock last month.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-3rd-Thurs-group.jpg Third Thursday downtown event gaining momentum

    Most new events take time to build a following and Third Thursday Art Walk is still gaining momentum.
    The cloudy weather may have kept some shoppers home, but those out were enjoying the evening and buying gifts.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Council to mull TMSA contract

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday are set to discuss and possibly act on a request to renew a contract with the local main street program worth $25,000 per year.
    If the contract is approved for the Tahlequah Main Street Association, it would automatically renew each year unless otherwise terminated or canceled.

    July 21, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch