Karrie and Gordon Nesbit “accidently bought 97 acres” about two years ago outside of the college town where they met Bloomington, Indiana – where they hadn’t lived in about 25 years. They were only seeking about one acre to “put up a shop for woodworking projects and have a garden,” but ended up with nearly 100 acres! They bought the space in January 2020, just before the pandemic went full throttle.
Karrie and Gordon are married army vets who met in college at Indiana University and spent several decades traveling the world, before ultimately returning to Gordon’s Indiana roots. (Karrie grew up moving around the country a lot; her dad was also in the army.)
They’d been perusing the area for property to buy and passed a For Sale sign on their way into town – and just “fell in love with it.” Karrie says they “spent five minutes in the house and about two hours tromping around the property,” when they first checked it out. So they sold their small house and moved into a rental, while building a new house on their new land (their new house is set to be done this spring).
“One of the first things we did was start a garden,” Karrie tells us.
The garden – their first ever! – includes multi-colored corn (the decorative variety), lots of tomatoes, an “out of control” rosemary bush, lots of flowers, cucumbers (for making pickles), strawberries, beets and all colored pumpkins. While the Nesbits are just growing for themselves right now, they’re going to experiment with some canned and freezing in order to store for the year. Their long term goals might eventually include growing in excess.
Gordon primarily wants to hunt on the property. He’s been an avid hunter since highschool, and knew he’d want to process his own deer onsite. Gordon took a class to get better at processing, which pretty quickly led to the question: “Where do we store the deer?”
“Which evolved into the need for a walkin cooler, of course!” explains Karrie.
The Nesbit’s CoolBot walk-in cooler arrived in September. “The set up was all very easy,” Karrie tells us. “We’ve got some renovation skills, but it honestly didn’t require much [skill] to get it together. It cools very quickly, getting down to temp much faster than we thought it would. It’s been really good.”
They built out the inside a bit in order to hang deer and “big chunks of meat,” consulting in someone else’s build who did similar customizations. They used 2x4s and metal poles to build a gambrel system that runs along the perimeter of the CoolBot, adding hooks to hang the meat in order to drain and age it before moving on to processing.
“The CoolBot allows us to get a deer in the evening and then take our time processing it. With CoolBot, we can keep it in a secure environment and process at our leisure,” Gordon explains. “I love the app that monitors the temperature, and the temperature regulator through the wifi is fantastic. It gives us a sense of comfort to see the temperature remaining consistently at 32 degrees for 12 hours.”
The Nesbits even have a few friends they’ve loaned out their cooler space to on occasion, in order to store their deer and come back a few days later to process the meat onsite in their (temporary) barn processing station setup.
The long term plan for the property – once the house is completed – is to have this entire hunting bunker, where they’ll move the CoolBot walk-in cooler and have a full game processing station set up outside with stainless steel drawers, freezers, tables, etc. They also want to put up a greenhouse on the property. “That’ll be a lot of fun,” the Nesbits agree.
They eventually plan to use the cooler for everything they can. When crops need to be harvested and stored before going into storage or canning, the CoolBot will certainly “be handy for that, also.”
Since acquiring the property, Karrie and Gordon have done a colossal amount of work. As we mentioned, they planted their garden and also added a pumpkin patch this year. They’ve put in countless trails, including one that stretches around the perimeter of their property. They set up deer stands, installed trail cameras to monitor deer and other wildlife, began removing invasive plants – replacing them with native ones – and made paths for their ATVs (so they don’t “mush any animals”).
“We want to get it to where it’s supposed to be,” tells Karrie. “We want to provide a good environment for the animals,” explains Karrie.
Furthermore, they’ve made access to Bean Blossom Creek, which runs through their property. There are also two small ponds onsite, where beavers, ducks, bass, bluegill and catfish can be found.
We highly recommend checking out the Nesbit’s Instagram, where you can find photos and videos of their property, including a great time lapse video of the couple exhibiting some exemplary teamwork while processing an entire deer from the woods to the cooler. There are also some funny highlights, such as a year in review from when they purchased the property, filling multiple dumpsters with found miscellaneous items, from soiled undies to rogue dentures. You’ll also find cute animal photos, including a family of possums.
They initially started the Insta account for their friends and family, who “enjoy comparing their lives to ours.”
“It feels so outside of the norm of what our lives used to be,” explains Karrie. “And it gives people a glimpse into what we’re up to.” They’ve since garnered several thousand followers, who love to monitor the Nesbit’s homesteading endeavors and progress restoring their property remotely.
When we inquired about said possums, Karrie told us about how they had offered up the property to be a release site for injured and rehabbed wild animals, including – but not limited to – possums, bunnies and skunks! “We really want to make it ideal for the animals,” she tells us, of their 97 acres.
“This is what I do full time,” says Karrie. “Run our property.”
With help from local nonprofits in the area, such as Sycamore Land Trust, Karrie has taken classes to learn about invasive plants, etc. “I’ve learned so much about all of this and how to control the invasives without killing off everything else. I don’t know if I’d trust too many other people to do it.” The Nesbits have also signed up for some grant programs to potentially help fund various property renovations. Most of their acreage has been classified as forest and wildland, so they can’t sell or develop without contacting the various institutes associated with those designations. “We’ve brought in a few foresters as consultants, who gave us lots of ideas on what to do. It’ll be a process over the next five years.”
During the off seasons, the Nesbits put out some feeders for the deer – which the squirrels, racoons and wild turkeys also seem to appreciate. “They love the free food!” Karrie says.
“It’s crazy to see how the climate changes the property from year to year,” Karrie concludes. “It’s been really interesting so far.”