Since our loan was approved, we have been on a real roller coaster.
After going out with the contractor last Friday, we realized that wouldn't work. The houses he showed us belonged to doctors and others with "summer guest houses" (note they are not summer houses, but the guest houses that go with the summer house). He didn't show us houses belonging to people without much money who he somehow helped to build a modest shelter.
Following that excursion, we really hit bottom. We decided that we couldn't afford any of this and briefly looked at just buying a cheap house in town. But, that thought pretty much broke our hearts so we then looked at buying a "---- box" in the country. After we considered the few of those that are available we felt just a little bit worse. In the end we took a drive out to the homestead and decided that we really did love that property.
So, the current plan is to buy the land, keep renting in town, and build slowly at the homestead. Start with a shed, then maybe a tiny cabin way in the back, then bring in power to the front and build a garage.
In the meantime, I am looking for a "real" job to help move the whole thing along. I'm still adjusting to the fact that it will be years before I can hang up my pot rack, but at least we can go out there on the weekends. And I know we will have a really nice shed.