Dorothy Ainsworth, longtime Ashland Oregon waitress, single mom, and self-taught builder, writer, and photographer, recently self-published her book titled: The House That Dorothy Built—a captivating true story of triumph over tragedy.
Fresh, humorous, and poignantly philosophical, her book is an inspirational narrative of one determined woman’s journey of transforming a barren piece of property into a beautiful oasis.
She had almost no money and no building experience, but learned as she went along and paid as she went along—for 35 years now.
You’ll be shocked to read that the log home she had worked on for six years burned down the day after it was finished.
Her incredible rebuilding story is a tale of inspiration, hope, and love.
The House That Dorothy Built is available on Amazon.com. Check it out and read the rave reviews!
Paleo Treats got lucky enough to snag an interview with Dorothy and dove straight into what it's like getting older, her advice for women just starting out, and how to build your self confidence. Enjoy!
PT: Most people are afraid of getting older, but you seemed to have charged right into it and ignored any issues; was that a conscious decision?
DA: I can't afford to grow old; who would take care of my property? Knowing this and accepting the full responsibility of it all, I seldom get sick. I think attitude is everything. I accept the fact I'm slowing down and my joints hurt a little, but the show must go on. However, I don't plan an encore!
PT: What advice would you give a young woman entering the work force today?
DA: Always trade value for value…know your own worth and give warmly and generously, but don't be a doormat and don't cast your pearls to swine. If you are a giver, learning how to set healthy boundaries is a life-long pursuit.
PT: Do you have any standby phrases you repeat to yourself when the going gets tough?
DA: "And this too shall pass"…..I go into robot mode and do what has to be done no matter how tough it is. If I have to dig a hole 3-feet deep in frozen mud to fix a broken waterline, I just put myself on auto pilot and bring up one shovel full at a time, even if it takes hours. I mean, what's the alternative? I'm a realist.
PT: What prompted you to write your book?
DA: I wanted to share my experiences of property development and building a house to be an example that if I could do it, anybody could!
PT: What did you learn the MOST about building a house?
DA: That it IS doable..and solo at that! If you have the drive and the energy you can do whatever you set your mind to——one tiny step at a time.
PT: Why aren’t more people self confident? How can they get there?
DA: You have to EARN your self-confidence by DOING. There's no shortcut, but as you learn you have to allow yourself some mistakes along the way. Nobody's perfect, we're all just human. The article on my website titled "Self-Reliance" says it all.
PT: Thanks so much for your answers Dorothy, we are always stoked and blessed to spend time with you. Now, get back to building! :)
Dorothy grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, lived 22 years in Reno, NV, married at 19, and had two kids by age 21. Divorced early on, she reared Eric and Cynthia by herself, made a living waitressing, but never lost sight of getting back to the land and creating a secure homestead for her family.
She moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1981, bought 10 acres with a farm loan, and began her life’s quest by developing her property from scratch and building her own log house and other structures—mostly solo and on a shoestring—over the next 35 years. She’s semi-retired now but still going strong.
She has achieved most of her goals, as well as publishing a book this year on how she did it, to share with others how they can do it too. The book: The House That Dorothy Built tells ALL, and can be ordered on Amazon.com.
You can read much more about Dorothy on her website, www.dorothyainsworth.com
Too much reading...
How about dessert?