The story of a modern pioneer kid

The 1880’s and the 1980’s collide in a series of reluctant adventures.

A riveting tale of introversion, retroversion, and excursion.

You’ll enjoy this story of a childhood far from civilization, where running water and electricity have been replaced with hard work and fire; and the simple act of bathing is a dreaded chore.

Read about Grey – a boy growing up in the remote mountains of Washington State, along the Canadian border. His family abandoned the land of southern California to get back to nature; and their life on the mountain is a throwback to a long-lost era.

Grey’s itch for stability is continually interrupted by the uncommon experiences of their pioneer-style existence. Clean mountain air, fresh water from underground springs, and wild animals are the hallmarks of a rare childhood in the early 1980’s.

The story doesn’t end there. The rambling continues for Grey and his family as they gear up to embark on a big new adventure, which will be continued in book two.

Based on a true story. Suitable for all ages.

Why the title “Growing Up Itchy?”

One could not possibly imagine a family with more obstacles between them and cleanliness. If a family had to rely on a young boy as their only source of water, one could imagine that baths might be a bit difficult and full of effort – and they’d be right.

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~ About the Author ~

Ian Smith was raised by Southern Californian hippies who abandoned city life to live a pioneer-style existence in the wilderness. Home was a tent, a trailer, a tiny wood shack, a commune, an Indian reservation. Then they became missionaries and moved into a school bus. Things got even stranger. You’ll have to read book two for the rest of that story. (In progress)

Ian was homeschooled until college, where he got a B.A. in Art & Design at Anderson University. He’s been working as a graphic designer and website developer since 1998.

As an adult, Ian very much enjoys a peaceful, stationary existence in Brown County, Indiana with his family and two cats. Every day reinforces the idea that living in an unmovable house is wonderful. Bilbo Baggins would agree.

~ Book status ~

Growing Up Itchy is complete. The second book , The Struggle Bus, is underway! Read more here.

Prepare yourself for:

A solitary rosebush shook, its leaves and wild rose petals rustling slightly. A skinny arm rose up from behind it. The .177 caliber air rifle was held firmly; stark against the expansive sky. The message was clear – “leave or meet your doom.”


If everyone were to stop and listen at the same time, mice could be heard – they played soccer with cherry pits up in the ceiling. This never bothered anyone in the daytime, because the regular din of children tends to drown out tiny sounds. No one could ever get the kids all to be quiet at the same time.

In a never-ending effort to live the dream of all serious hippies from California, Mom and Dad built an enormous garden. It rested in a low place between the mountain slope and a hill that overlooked the tiny Canadian town far below.

And don’t forget that one time…

Seat belt laws might have been invented at that time; but not a single soul within 100 miles gave a hoot of such things. So Ash slept on the floor; he was the only one who could fit down there.