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HERstory - What's Your Story?

01/22/2018 3:23 PM | Willa Beth Smith

HerStory – What’s Your Story?

Everyone has a story, a history or in the case of the National Ladies Homestead Gathering, a HERstory.  Stories are used to teach and pass on traditions.  Storytelling elicits many emotions which bind all of us together.  We have already heard from a lot of our members telling their homesteading story, their struggles and their triumphs.  This is why we have Atta Girls at every gathering, to hear a success story or failure so we can encourage and learn together!

LHG Voices

On our blog you can read a few HERstories.  For some, their homesteading journey was spurred from health issues with their child. For another, it came from a love of bugs.  And yet, for some, they immigrated here and wanted to enjoy a way of life more similar to their childhood in a different part of the world.  Whatever your story, it may touch someone else and help them in their journey. 

Knowledge and Community

One of the foundations of the National Ladies Homestead Gathering is knowledge.  From reading about someone else’s struggle, we learn through their experiences.  You may have found a better, easier way of keeping water available for your chickens in summer.  This may not be amazing to you but to someone else it could be a breakthrough. 

We also find commonalities in each other’s homesteading stories which fulfills one of NLHG’s other foundations - Community.  For example, you may feel weird about your love of chickens, worms, fermented foods … fill in the blank, but then find several other people who share the same affinity.  By telling your story, you are reaching towards other people and opening up a community for yourself and others. 

At NLHG, we love to hear your homesteading story, your path and where it is leading you.

It doesn’t have to be a novel!  And it is not being graded or judged.  We are all here to provide support!  You can write it any way you want, in your own voice. 

Help us learn and grow together by sharing your story.  What’s your Herstory?

Cultivating Dreams  ::  Growing Communities


  • 01/30/2018 3:43 PM | Anonymous
    My HERSTORY may be a bit too long and winding to tell here, but I will try to summarize.

    A girl born and raised near Detroit Michigan, I married after graduate school and pursued a career in counseling. I followed my first husband back and forth to Hong Kong, having two biological children & adopting a third, before we parted ways in divorce.

    A single mother in Hong Kong, I cherished my time with my children and a live-in helper, and never minded the hustle and bustle of the city, but always felt drawn to live closer to nature.

    Eventually my path took me on to Chapel Hill North Carolina, a new marriage to my wonderful husband Hans, and the addition of his two children, and our number 6, a child we had together. I was very blessed.

    Following Hans to Atlanta for his work, I longed for land and horses, but decided on a neighborhood to benefit the children.

    We found after a time though that the children didn't need the neighborhood to see the friends they wanted to spend time with, so off we moved to our small farm.

    My counseling practice evolved into life coaching years ago, and this can be done in person or by phone with anyone, anywhere in the world. I have also written and published five children's books over the years, the fifth of which is going to print this month. And with four children at home all of the time, six some of the time, you would think I would be busy enough! But my heart has longed for more and more animals in the last year and a half since we purchased our farm.

    And so now we are happily surrounded by horses and sheep and alpacas, chickens and turkeys and ducks. Dogs and cats and even a bunny. So very blessed!

    My husband has farm experience from his youth in the Netherlands, and he laughs to see how I struggle with but also cherish this world. Finally really home.

    What we have is a small hobby farm, and if I'm honest what we have is really a large number of pets! And I have discovered my one and only addiction in life is sheep. But the remedy for that is the terrific amount of work it takes keeping them alive. So I bury myself in books and find myself peering into a microscope to try to learn and learn and learn.

    I have learned to spin wool & fiber and try to make time to enjoy that most every day. One day I hope to sell our wool and hand spun yarn as well.

    I also hope to share our blessings by offering a little camp for girls a few times a year. I hope to offer time for them to come explore this world of beautiful, special animals and fiber, and to learn a little about creating things through spinning and crocheting and felting.

    I could not be more thankful for this life I get to lead; my sweet family, my wonderful animals, and my fulfilling work.

    My wish is that The Reader of this feels the same, or is on the path to reaching her goals!

    Warmest wishes,
    Link  •  Reply
    • 02/28/2018 1:46 PM | Willa Beth Smith
      Katherine, your story is amazing! Going from Hong Kong to Atlanta is a huge change for you. Feel free to reach out to me directly and we can highlight this story for you! Thank you so much for sharing.
      Willa Beth
      Link  •  Reply
    • 05/27/2018 8:24 PM | Anonymous
      Hi Katherine,
      I was also born and raised in Michigan , just south of Detrioit, “down river” as we say :0) I’m a suburban homesteader with a little over 1/2 acre. I have an organic garden and will have a green house this fall (yeah) I have 4 hens, 1 rabbit, 2 cats, and 3 dogs :0). I make medicines, lotions and potions. I also spin fiber (I had angora rabbits at one time) , knit, crochet, and do a little weaving. So glad to hear you are living your dream!
      Link  •  Reply
  • 01/26/2019 2:21 PM | Rena Johnson
    I live in Plains, Montana. And no, it is not in the plains (eastern) part of Montana, but in the western, mountainous part. I have 11 acres, 2 ponds, 2 streams, and I think I live in Paradise! I have 3 horses that I pack with each summer, and use to get into backcountry areas, because I don't walk so well. I also have a precious dog, 7 cats (mousers), 2 geese, 4 ducks, 13 chickens and 5 guineas. I usually have heritage turkeys, but just butchered in the fall. I eat what I grow in my organic garden and what I butcher and hunt. I did buy a lamb from a friend this year, to butcher. And of course, lots of eggs. What a blessing to grow/harvest 90% of what I eat! I am always appalled by grocery store prices, especially for anything organic. I have been growing organic plant starts for sale and for myself. I also have fruit trees, including heritage trees and one developed by my family in 1776.
    So, I am saying that God has really blessed me! Although I am past SS age, and a little stove up, I can still have a life in the country and freedom from frankenfoods. And save money growing my own. I am looking at one more type of animal to raise, possibly hair sheep. Yes, we can do this, even if we are older and our joints are cranky! Hint: One thing that I do which saves me money, time, energy and effort is to study and plan everything. Not to do so is wasteful... another hint is that black plastic tarps and 3 to 4 foot 2X4's are usually available free at lumber yards, if you ask. God bless and keep on growing!
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  • 02/26/2019 9:41 AM | Peach Pietsch
    Cyndi; You so often come up with exactly what I need to hear. I have been contemplating a gigantic life change for a year and scary is putting it mildly !! I am traveling from Washington State to Elkins West Virginia to see if I can make a few friends there (flying on March 4 and very very scared) if WV looks like a fit I will sell my house (been here since 1985) and move. Sure wish there could be a LHG group in WV.
    Link  •  Reply
    • 02/04/2020 8:39 AM | Jodi Gatts
      I'm confident you will love WV. I am 2 hours directly north of Elkins, in PA. If you like to drive you are welcome to join our group!
      Link  •  Reply
  • 10/30/2019 3:20 PM | Theresa Everest
    My HerStory.
    I was a late bloomer. At everything. Late puberty, late to go to college, late to figure out relationships. At 28, divorced, with four little boys, I started back to college to get a nursing degree so that I could financially care for my little family, alone. Previously, as a married woman, I had a beautiful little farm with horses, Hereford Cattle, ducks and a huge garden. As a divorced mother, I had nothing except my children, my car and the clothes on our backs.

    With lots hard work and late nights studying, I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelors in Nursing. At that time, my focus wasn’t on getting back to farming. It was all about getting financially stable for my children. Two years after graduation and working as a RN in Tacoma, Washington, I was offered a Commission as an Officer in the Navy. I took on the challenge with zeal! I was already 35 years old and I was struggling to find a place that was a good environment for my kids in Tacoma. With the commission came change of scenery and an opportunity for my little family to see other areas and cities.

    That’s where my dreams of having my own cattle ranch started to take place. I was transferred from base to base every 3 years, I was sent overseas into combat and back again, always moving to new bases. I met my spouse during one of my tours of duty and brought him into my plans and dreams. My dream of a Cattle Ranch became my lifeline to keep me going in the military for 20 years.

    I retired from the Navy as a Nurse Practitioner who didn’t want to see patients anymore. I was burnt out. Disillusioned, I wanted my peace. I wanted my dream. I wanted to put my fingers into the dirt and watch things grow.

    My husband and I moved to Washington to be closer to our children. Six months after retirement, we were in Eastern Washington and surveyed the property that would become our homestead. A month later, it was ours and Everest Ranch was born.

    This old homestead had sat empty for many years and the fences were torn, posts rotting, barbed wire entangled in thick underbrush so thick that removing it took weeks and months to do. The old log house needed wiring and plumbing and was infested with mice. The well pump didn’t work, the springs needed cleaned out. The barn was falling apart.

    I think now about all the changes that we have done to our place and I can’t believe we have come so far. We added fences and an orchard behind our house. We created pastures for animals and currently raise Scottish Highland Cattle and Icelandic Sheep. We have been successful with selling grass fed beef and lamb for the past two years. I am now learning how to spin wool into yarn with fleece from our sheep and have sold fleece to other spinners nationwide. We built a huge chicken coop and have 50+ laying hens, ducks and geese. Our gardens provide enough produce for me to fill our pantry for a year and to provide our local food bank fresh produce for our community.

    I’m living my 20 year dream. I’m lucky that I have my spouse to share this with and to also have my children and grandchildren travel from their homes to come stay with us and learn about caring for this land and the animals on this ranch. I have calloused hands and live in a drafty old log house and have the most amazing view of the mountains and river that I live on. My dream is my reality. I’m so glad I was a late bloomer.
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