LHG Voices

Welcome to LHG Voices! Here you will find great content about all things homesteading.
From helpful tips to best practices to personal stories of the amazing women who make up this organization, this is the place to find out what is happening with Ladies Homestead Gathering.
We're glad you are here!

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  • 08/22/2017 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How to Get Your Chapter Involved in Your Community

    Homesteading speaks to our basic human needs like food, clothing and shelter. We learn all about canning, sewing and building things through attending workshops and demonstrations at our local Chapters.  But what about your local community?  What does your group offer to your neighbors outside of your LHG group?  As your Chapter grows and becomes a cohesive group of ladies, it is time to get involved and extend your hand out to the community at large.    

    Why reach out to our community?  Our goal is simply to help others through our knowledge and know-how as a homesteading group.  There are situations in which our expertise can help others.  We can also help by giving our time, talent and treasures to the community.  Plus, giving back gets the word out to a greater audience about LHG and who we are.  When people know who we are, they will think of us when they are planning a community event or have a need in the community which fits our group’s expertise. In turn, it will help grow your Chapter. 

    Here are some examples of how to give back to your community as a Chapter:

    Look for Isolated Neighbors

    Taking care of our older generation or people with disabilities by reaching out is a great way to reduce their isolation.  Organize a garden clean-up day or planting day at their home.  If they don’t have a garden, do their lawn maintenance for a day.  Fall is a great time to help when there is so much to do.  Homemade meals, fresh eggs or just taking the time to visit and listen is another way to give back.

    Contact Local School Groups or Clubs

    For instance, the Girl Scouts are always working towards a new badge or pin.  Your Chapter could help them learn a skill to level up.  Or start a mentoring program with the local 4-H Club by contacting the principal or PTA leaders.  And, don’t forget homeschool kids!  Maybe hold a farm day, show them how to knit or teach them about raising mealworms.  There are multiple skills which can be taught to kids of all ages with a desire to learn more about homesteading. 

    Beautify Vacant/Neglected Land

    Usually, there is a neglected lot or space, covered in litter or overgrown with weeds, which could use some tender loving care.  Coordinate with community leaders to organize a beautification project for your Chapter.  Depending on the size and scope of the project, possibly call on local landscaping companies or plant nurseries to donate their time and plants for the project.  Announce this on your website, Facebook or call a local journalist to get the word out so others can join in.  The more the merrier!

    Volunteer at a Local Park

    Community parks are dependent on government taxes for maintenance.  To supplement a lack of tax funds, many nature parks have a volunteer day each month to work on the landscaping or trail renovation.  You can either work with the other volunteers or provide the snacks for the group.  Be sure and wear your LHG t-shirts!

    Give to Women’s Shelters

    Speak with the director of the shelter to find out how your Chapter can help.  You can have a quilting project to give to the shelter.  Take food like fresh bread, garden produce, homemade soup or any type of comfort food to help the shelter.  Clothing and toys are always needed at women’s shelters, too.

    Look for Local Events

    Watch the local paper or websites to see what is going on in your area.  Sign up for email notices from local Farmer’s Markets, clubs and fairs to stay up to date with local events.  Your Chapter could even help organize an event as trade for allowing a free or discounted booth at the event. 

    Support Your Local Agriculture

    By all means, support your local farmers!  Invite someone who successfully runs a CSA to speak to your Chapter’s next Gathering.  By doing this, you are providing an outlet for the farmer to reach more people.  It’s a win/win situation.  It’s the same with inviting a master gardener or a “farm to fork” caterer.  All these people will benefit from speaking to your group and thus, you are supporting a local agri-business.  It could even be one of your own members businesses.  That’s a win/win/win situation!

    There are many other ways to reach out to your community.  We have only scratched the surface of a deeper community itch.  Things like historical societies are great for community involvement or garden clubs or Bingo. Okay, just kidding about Bingo.  Find your Chapter’s niche’ and work with it.  Make friends and broaden your sites.  It means growth for everyone involved.  And that’s what we are all about at LHG, growing together.

    In case you aren’t sure what to do or what is available in your area, try visiting http://www.VolunteerMatch.org which will match your skills to nearby opportunities. 

    Hot Off the Presses

    To get the word out, National Ladies Homestead Gathering has designated someone to help write articles and send press releases about what local Chapters are doing to help their community.  Contact us directly at info@ladieshomesteadgathering.org with a story or information on your Chapter's activities in the community. 

    Let’s hear from you about your Chapters involvement in your community.  We love cheering out ‘atta girls, so, give us some good news about your Chapter in the comments below. 

    CULTIVATING DREAMS  ::  GROWING COMMUNITY
    “Do something every day that scares you.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


  • 08/17/2017 9:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Beating the Digitally Induced Disconnectedness

    of the New Millennium 

    Do you ever feel lost? Like you are drowning in a digital ocean of social media forcing huge tidal waves of information crashing down around you?  As if at any given moment, the sky will fall and the world as we know it will end?  If you fall victim to 24-hour news feeds or the incessant notifications on social media, you might feel this way.

    Even Henry David Thoreau, famous writer of Walden Pond, felt as if the magnetic telegraph would disrupt the otherwise tranquil rhythm of his day.  And it was only connecting Maine to Texas through Morse code at the time. His reaction was to build a cabin and for a year, live alone, away from the hustle and bustle of the late 1850’s.  Imagine what Thoreau would think of us today. 

    As a society who rarely looks up from their phones, he would marvel at our digitally induced disconnectedness.  Let’s face it (no pun intended), we like meeting with other people face-to-face, hearing their voices and tone and shaking hands. Having someone be genuinely happy to see you and greet you warmly is way more satisfying than a smiley-faced emoji any day.

    Ladies Homestead Gathering is unique because it is based on direct, face-to-face, hands-on interaction.  Building a community of like-minded women is the foundation of our local Chapters and why we gather as a group every month.  We are the only all-woman homesteading organization which offers knowledge, education and friendship, all in one awesome package through each local Chapter. Our greatest successes come from working together, hand-in-hand as a community. 

    So, how does LHG make a stand against disconnectedness and help build community? 

    Through Face-to-Face Gatherings

    You have the opportunity to meet every month with people in your town who are learning or practicing homesteading.  Neighbors you didn’t even know you had who have been living the homestead lifestyle their entire lives or are just getting started.  Fellowship is what it is all about (not the hokee-pokee).

    By Making it Open to All Women Interested in Homesteading Practices

    Gatherings are FREE to attend.  All are welcome who have a desire to pursue their homesteading interests.  There are benefits to being a member as mentioned in a previous post, but, you don’t have to be a member to attend gatherings or workshops.  Once a newbie feels comfortable and has made a few friends, they will join!  It’s inevitable.

    By Telling Stories

    Yes, we love to hear your stories.  We all want to be heard and recognized individually.  Allowing everyone to feel comfortable enough to tell their homesteading story bonds us together.

    By Holding Yearly National Retreats

    Once a year, usually in October, we gather from all across the USA for a group retreat.  Whilst connecting with other women, we learn homesteading techniques and make useful things.  And you get to take all your goodies home with you to share with your home chapters.

    By Providing Hands on Training

    Each Chapter offers demonstrations, as well as hand-on learning of different practices like canning, soap making or anything related to a homestead.  These are free, but, there are often optional paid workshops offered by more seasoned practitioners in various areas of homesteading.

    Through ‘Atta Girls

    Homesteading can present some rather unique challenges.  To recognize a fellow female homesteader’s accomplishment or success, we say emphatically, “Atta girl”!  At each Gathering, there is a time set aside specifically for ‘atta girl’s.  We can all use a little more support and encouragement!

    By Connecting People, Goods and Services

    You are a gardener with a fabulous green thumb to grow herbs.  An herbalist in your Chapter needs fresh herbs from a known source.  Put these two together and it’s a match.  On a homestead, it is the rare individual who can do everything.  We all rely on each other to fill the gaps in our capabilities and time.  At Chapter gatherings, there is time prior to the demonstration to share, sell or swap goods.  A perk of membership is the ability to post on the Swap & Shop Facebook page for your chapter. 

    Want to end the disconnectedness and meet new people interested in the same things? Come to a Gathering and see if it is a good fit for you.  To find a Chapter near you, check the banner above called Local Chapters and you will find dates and topics for a Gathering near you.  Not a Chapter near you?  Start your own by visiting our Home Page. 

    Cultivating Dreams  ::  Growing Communities
    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


  • 08/07/2017 11:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Top Ten Topic Ideas

    for Your Next Chapter Gathering

    Each year, your Chapter will face the challenge of deciding what homesteading topics to present at each monthly Gathering.  The challenge isn’t coming up with topics.  The challenge is narrowing down the vast list of topics your members want to learn and share.  We are here to help.

    Below is a list of some of our favorite Gathering topics to help you along.  As your Chapter grows, your members will evolve and want to delve deeper into each topic.  The door keeps opening wider and wider to allow for more growth and greater knowledge within your members.

    1.      Herbs and herbal remedies – A demonstration by an herbalist in your Chapter or a Show and Tell of your favorite herb, its uses and value is a fabulous way to get everyone involved. 

    2.      Gardening – This topic is great as a Demonstration or a Homestead Visit and can include a vast array of sub-topics like straw-bale gardening or composting. 

    3.      Canning, Preserving Food – This makes a spectacular demonstration if you have access to a kitchen or hot plates. Consider asking everyone ahead of time to bring along a pickle recipe to share!

    4.      Instant Pot, Pressure Cooking – This is an easy demonstration because you simply plug it in and it does all the work.  Everyone can bring their favorite recipe to discuss and then enjoy a sample meal at the end of the demonstration.

    5.      Fermentation – It works well as either a Demonstration on one aspect of fermentation or as a Show and Tell. Learning to make and getting to sample fermented foods like sauerkraut, fire cider, kombucha, and sourdough bread can keep your members engaged and interested.

    6.      Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose – With some creativity, this can be one of the most fun Gatherings you will have!  Demonstrate how to make something with reused items or do a Show and Tell with each member bringing their best ideas. 

    7.      Sewing – Great for a hands-on project the whole group participates in, or a simple “how-to” on knitting, crochet, or quilting. At the NLHG retreat in 2016, members made slippers from old, felted wool sweaters and then went back to their Chapters and shared their new skill. 

    8.      Cheese and Butter Making – This is a fun demonstration where everyone gets to taste the finished product.  Ask members to bring sourdough bread or homemade muffins along with their recipe to add to the tasting.

    9.      Hand Tool and/or Power Tools – It can be a demonstration of one big tool or a multiple use tool or a Show and Tell where everyone brings their favorite tool and discusses how to use it.

    10.  Farm Animals – Care and keeping of all kinds of farm animals is an important topic for those in the midst of raising animals or those who are considering it.  This is perfect for a Site Visit or a Demonstration. 

    There are literally dozens of topics listed on our leadership page on Facebook at National Ladies Homestead Gathering Leadership Page.   If your chapter is new, start with the basics of each topic.  Then as the chapter grows and as your member’s expertise and experience levels grow, go deeper into each topic. 

    What topics are a favorite of your Chapter?  What gathering topic was your most successful?  Which one bombed and why?  We value your ideas and experiences and love to learn from you!

    Cultivating Friendships  ::  Growing Communities

    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

  • 08/01/2017 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introducing Karen Smith of the South Hall GA Chapter of LHG

    When you think of homesteading, most people think of vast farms with huge tracts of land and oceans of grain or corn growing in the fields.  But a homestead isn’t defined by how much land you have or by the how much produce you grow.  Homesteading is truly a mindset, a lifestyle, with a foundation in loving and preserving the earth and all its abundant resources.  It is a way of living sustainably by using what is right there around you.  One such person who epitomizes the homesteading lifestyle and mindset is Karen Smith.  She is an active member of the South Hall, GA Chapter of LHG.

    Almost everything Karen does has an air of conservation and an organic flair.  She has learned a lot through trial and error.  As an involved member of our LHG community, Karen openly shares her experience and knowledge, as well as her plants, seeds, and homesteading techniques with the South Hall Chapter.

    Karen was an Agriculture Major focusing on Plant Sciences from the University of Connecticut.  Karen grew up in Connecticut.   Her interest in plant sciences stemmed from dabbling in gardening tomatoes, squash and raspberry bushes. 

    After college she met her husband, Steven, and they moved to Buford, GA.  They were able to buy enough acres to have a few cows, plant fruit bushes and trees, raise chickens and a garden.   She began composting and experimenting with soil and earthworms.  As she learned more about organic gardening, she decided to stop tilling the soil, a practice which kills many of the micro-organisms that provide key plant nutrients. 

    "After giving homemade jelly to one of my boys' teachers, she asked me if I was from the county.  I said, no, I am just an old hippie."  ~  Karen Smith

    Karen possesses a unique talent for reusing and repurposing old items on her homestead and has taught our Chapter many useful things about conservation.  Last year, there was a serious drought in the southeast with 30 consecutive days without rain, a record in Georgia.  This caused the loss of plants, as well as low food production, and severely impacted the native bee population.

    To be more drought ready, Karen decided to make a rain gauge to determine if her plants were receiving enough rain. By using an old plastic peanut butter jar with the top removed, she attached a long metal gutter spike with a washer adhered with epoxy.  The gutter spike was then stuck into the ground and leveled to hold the rain.  From these homemade rain gauges, Karen could determine how much additional water the plants might need by keeping a record of the rainfall. 

    Then, with the help of her husband, she created a watering system for her blueberry bushes and tomatoes from five gallon buckets and a stiff old watering hose.   By positioning the buckets atop poles, this created enough gravity to pull the water down through the hoses which had been punctured with nails to allow the water to slowly seep into the ground around her plants.  As needed, they could simply fill the buckets and let gravity do the work. 

    Some of her water comes from the reuse of an assortment of food-grade plastic barrels she uses to catch rain water off of her shed.  She attached an old washing machine hose to the lower part of the barrel and a valve to allow the release of the water.  It’s an ingenious way to save water whether you have a well or are connected to the county water supply.  (Check with your county or city to be sure it is acceptable to collect rainwater in your area.)

    To help the bees, Karen attended a workshop on how to make nests for Orchard Mason bees and other solitary bees by using an open faced wren’s box or by reusing large baked beans cans.  Either can be mounted, south-facing, on trees or other structures, out of the drip line. Then she inserted small rolls of newspaper, about the size of your finger bunched together, as the nesting for the bees.  By creating a habitat for bees, Karen is helping the species flourish while also attracting pollinators for her plants. 

    Her efforts to deal with drought creatively by reusing and repurposing old items is an excellent example of homesteading know-how and perseverance.  These qualities have enabled her to be successful and to endure life’s little curve balls. We are thankful for Karen and her willingness to share her homesteading journey, its challenges and solutions, with us.  We continue to learn from her as well as from each other.  That is, after all, what Ladies Homestead Gathering is all about, sharing and growing together.

    If you have a special member, like Karen, tell us about her in the comments section.  How does she demonstrate the qualities of community?  What is her extraordinary talent? We love hearing from you.

    Cultivating Friendships :: Growing Communities

    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


  • 07/24/2017 11:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When your chapter is new, it can be challenging to determine what homesteading topics to delve into to support the interests of your members.  NLHG suggests spending at least one Gathering getting to know all guests and members. Tap into the knowledge and experience of your group. It’s also important to discover their challenges and interests.  Where are they in their homesteading journey?  Is this an urban group or mostly rural or a mix of both? 

    Voting

    Let Chapter members vote on topics for the upcoming year. Be aware of the seasons when planning next year’s topic calendar and be flexible, too.  Life happens and circumstances change.  Be adaptable and open to modifying the schedule if needed.  Also, have a back-up topic available in case something changes at the last minute.  

    Types of Presentations

    There are four different types of presentations to consider when planning your Gathering calendar; Demonstrations, Show and Tell, Personal Stories, and Homestead Site Visits.  Any topic can be a “demonstration”, while for other topics may work better as a show and tell.  Within each presentation style, be sure to cover these three basic questions;

    -          What is it?

    -          Why is it important? and

    -          How is it done?

    Demonstrations – Typically a demonstration is presented by one member with a questions and discussion at the end.  A presenter will discuss a particular topic, show how it is done and perhaps provide a few samples for the group to experience. 

    Show and Tell – Remember this from kindergarten?  Each member brings something pertaining to the topic and shares their experiences.  

    Personal Story – We love personal stories at LHG.  One member tells how they got started in homesteading, their experiences and future goals.  By sharing adventures, failures and successes, we encourage one another and build community.

    Homestead Site Visit – Everybody loves to see what other members are doing on their own homestead!  Be it a large farm with animals or a small backyard composting project, it helps to see it in practice and learn from another person’s experience.

    In each different presentation style, encourage presenters to include something hands-on for members to experience.  For example, if you are demonstrating a knitting technique, bring knitting needles and yarn (or ask your members to bring theirs) for everyone who wants to try it.  Or, if demonstrating how to making fire cider, bring the finished product to taste.  Learning requires all aspects of our senses and when we learn together, we build friendships and community.

    We value your input and love to hear from our Chapter members.  Are you more urban, rural or a mixed bag of members?  Do any of your members have a special talent or art?  Comment below!

    Look out for our next article next week on Top Ten Topics for Your Next Gathering. 

    cultivating friendships :: growing communities
    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


  • 07/18/2017 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hot Tips for Running a Successful Gathering

    “Wow! We finally have our own chapter in our own hometown with a group of excited, homesteading ladies.  Now what do we do?”

    Have no fear; National Ladies Homestead Gathering is here!

    Just follow a few of our hot tips, add your own local flare and your gatherings will flow like butter on a hot biscuit.

    Getting to Know You

    In the beginning, allow a lot of time for everyone to become more acquainted with each other. Perhaps start by asking several people to offer their homesteading story or what NLHG calls it, HerStory.  Are they veteran homesteaders? Are they just getting started? What homesteading activities do they enjoy? Are they seasoned or experienced in a particular aspect of sustainable living?  These questions and answers also allow the board to learn what knowledge each member can share with the group.  Creating these connections and community is extremely vital to the success of your Chapter.

    Setting Gathering Topics

    After learning more about your members, you will have some idea of the topics which most interest the group. At one of your early gatherings, allow members to suggest topics and make a list.  Allow discussion about the various topics suggested and see what sparks the most interest.  Then offer up at least 12 months’ worth of topics for members to vote on for future Gatherings.  Once members have voted and topics are approved, post each monthly topic on your Chapter’s website.  Look inside your group first for potential presenters/teachers. 

    Hospitality Table

    We want to set the tone for a welcoming environment by having a sign-in table with creative decorations.  An inviting table with a member to greet people with a smile sets a positive tone for all who are attending.

    We suggest having these five items on your hospitality table;

    1.       Attendance Sheet (This is mandatory. Keep a copy for your records and year-end Annual Report)

    2.       Name Tags – for members and guests

    3.       Merchandise – for Swap and Shops or Give-Away

    4.       Chapter Communication – Any literature about NLHG or upcoming events and sign-up sheets or fundraiser information

    5.       Pencils, Pens and Extra Notepad - For those who forgot theirs

    Gathering Format

    Here is an outline of a typical Gathering which lasts approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours:

    Ø  Meet and Greet – Allow about 30 minutes for social time prior to presenting the formal meeting.  Members and guest mingle and greet one another.  Some Chapters use this time to barter and trade their homesteading items with each other.

    Ø  Announcements – Share local events or LHG news or updates on your fundraiser.

    Ø  Welcome – President welcomes members and guests.  This is a good time read the mission statement and hand out new member cards.

    Ø  Tip of the Month – Such as a “gardening minute” to discuss a particular gardening pest or “herb of the month” and it’s medicinal value or show a new garden tool and how to use it.  This is very short and intended to run only for a few minutes.

    Ø  Atta Girls – This allows everyone to offer up a success story in the homesteading journey.

    Ø  Main Speaker/Discussion – This is when the topic decided on by the Chapter is presented and discussed in full.  It usually lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

    Ø  Wrap Up – Finish with questions for the speaker and thank you’s.

    Ø  Give Away – Totally optional (see description below)

    Give Away

    As an on-going fundraiser, some chapters opt for a Give-Away at each Gathering.  They hand out a ticket to each person as they arrive and sign-in.  If someone wants to donate towards the Chapter, they can do so when they receive their ticket.  The drawing is held at the end of the meeting. 

    Give-away items are typically homemade and related to homesteading such as jelly, a kombucha SCOBY or fresh eggs.  This can create excitement about coming and leaves the meeting on a good note.  The Give-Away is just that, a give-away. 

    Now you are on your way to forming a thriving Chapter and creating a community of your own.  This information is also available online in the Chapter Handbook at https://ladieshomesteadgathering.org.

    For our existing Chapters, leave a comment letting us know what works for your Chapter.  We love to hear from our members and rely on your suggestions to help us grow together.  What is your most successful format for Gatherings?  What do you do differently?

    CULTIVATING FRIENDSHIPS ::  GROWING COMMUNITIES

    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt 


  • 07/10/2017 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ...As If you needed a reason...

    You know that feeling you get when you complete a task?  The juicy, deliciousness of your first tomato grown in your own backyard. The thrill of bottling your own batch of Kombucha.  The elation of finding your first egg in the hen house.  Even if it was hard work, you feel something good, a sense of accomplishment.  Maybe even peace of mind in knowing you can do it. A sense of self-reliance.

    This is the essence of homesteading; creating rather than just consuming.  Whether revamping an old peanut butter jar into a rain gauge or starting your own bee colony, you are doing something which will enhance your life and possibly the lives of others.  How does homesteading do this, exactly?  We aim to tell ‘ya . . .

    1)   To Be Healthy

    In this modern world, we are far removed from our food sources.  We don’t really know where it came from or how it was grown.  Even with labeling, we don’t really know what’s in it and the long term health implications of additives. Is it organic, non-GMO, natural or no pesticides or treated with antibiotics? 

    Grow your own: by growing or raising your own vegetables, fruits or livestock, you know the answers to all these questions. 

    OR

    Join a CSA: as a member of a Community Supported Agriculture, you can actually visit the farms and speak with the farmers about how they grow their food.  This way, you know the source personally. 

    If you grow your own or reap the benefits of a CSA, you can obtain enough produce to can and dehydrate your own food for storage.  Again, the guess work is eliminated and you know exactly what you are feeding yourself and your family.

    2)   To Become More Self-Reliant

    During WWII, people were encouraged to grow their own produce and raise their own chickens.  It was a time of rationing and if you didn’t grow your own, sometimes you did without.  Prior to WWII was the Great Depression.  Not surprisingly, people in rural areas who grew their own food and used techniques of dehydration, canning and fermenting, fared better than those in more urban areas without the same resources or knowledge.  Homesteading offers the opportunity to learn how to become more self-reliant.

    3)   To Save Money

    Tired of paying big bucks for produce, organic eggs, raw honey or Kombucha? 

    Make your own!  It’s easier than you think and the return is much greater than the initial set up cost.  Once you are set up, you will produce more than you ever imagined.  In fact, some homesteaders start just to keep their families fed only to discover they have more than they can consume.  So, they start their own Cottage Farm Foods and sell to others.  It’s a win/win situation! 

    What do all of these 3 things add up to…? 
    Peace of mind!

    So, what are you waiting for?  If these reasons aren’t enough, then check out some of our blogs called HerStory about other members of LHG like Esther Arkfeld, Missy Crane or Jill Puckett.  See why they do it, what lessons they have learned and how their lives have been enriched.  We encourage you to ask questions, research on your own and find other women who value these timeless reasons to homestead. 

    Let us know why you make your own (fill in the blank) and how you do it by leaving a comment.  We would love to hear from you!

    CULTIVATING DREAMS ::  GROWING COMMUNITIES
    “Do something every day that scares you.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

    Check out the laws in your area, first, before selling produce or animal products to others at http://forrager.com/laws/.


  • 07/05/2017 8:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introducing Jill Puckett

    Jill Puckett is a member of the South Hall Georgia Chapter of Ladies Homestead Gathering where she serves as the Community Director.  She has been a member for three years and also serves on the planning committee for LHG retreats.  Jill served her country for seven years in the Army. She was a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and was stationed state side in Colorado Springs and Texas as well as abroad in Korea, Germany and Iraq.  She brings a wonderfully unique perspective to our organization. 

    Here is her story:

    As part of a military family, we loved to garden and to explore nature all around us.  After graduating from high school, I joined the Army and followed in my Dad’s footsteps in Aviation.  I loved being a mechanic on UH60 Helicopters and flying all over the world.  The one thing I knew deep down is that I wanted to be a mom and set my roots down and create a sanctuary for my family.

    Fast forward 13 years since leaving the Army and I have a husband, three kids that I homeschool, a dog, two cats and six bunnies.  We have created something for sure!

    My involvement with LHG started through my friendship with Esther Arkfeld.  We had fascinating conversations about her dream to transform their property, her desire to become an herbalist, raise chickens and create a homestead.  The word homestead reminded me of the book series Little House on the Prairie (which I love as much as Anne of Green Gables).  Hearing her family’s ambitious dreams and her encouragement to do stuff in a yard in a subdivision planted a desire and dream in me to achieve a homestead in a manner that worked for my location and my family.

    “It’s amazing how a group of women can come together and share ideas, share products and sources, and encourage one another in whatever capacity needed.”

    Esther had been attending LHG Gatherings in different locations and had participated in several workshops.  She was creating this community that I slowly joined in on with her.  When she asked if I would be a part of her Chapter for the South Hall area, I was thrilled to finally see what it was all about.  I was instantly in love with the group, the organization and the community that has been built through the founder, Cyndi Ball’s, vision.  It is amazing how a group of women can come together and share ideas, share products and sources, and encourage one another in whatever capacity needed. 

    My families’ homestead consists of discovery.  Being a homeschool Mom, our yard and home is a living classroom.  We planted sunflowers last year and spent a morning watching the bees feed on them. We read about and observed a huge Praying Mantis which led to discussions about camouflage in nature.  My absolute favorite has been picking up a jar full of Black Swallowtail caterpillars and watching their cycle of life, transforming into butterflies.  It was incredible to sit with my coffee and devotion watching these guys eat, turn into chrysalises, then morph into butterflies.  The kids would name them before their release into the world.  It was something my kids will not forget.  It was intense and beautiful.

    “Each of my children (and myself) have their own bunny to feed, check on and love.”

    Our next big project has been adopting bunnies into our pet population and experiencing what they can offer our family outside of being pets.  Each of my children (and myself) have their own bunny to feed, check on and love.  They are learning a huge lesson in responsibility to care for all living things through experiencing the bunnies.

    My goal in homesteading is to teach my kids to appreciate the life God has given us, share it with others and protect it.  We are working on Bat conservation, growing a pollinator’s garden native to Georgia, and being as organic and pesticide-free as we can.  Through these efforts, we have seven baby toads jumping around our garden and insects that are new for us to study.

    “We sliced our grocery store tomatoes and planted them along with Lima beans, Great Northern Beans and Blackeye Peas from a bag of soup beans.”

    We like to grow vegetables but with a new puppy, we didn’t trust major results.  The kids and I started a potted garden from grocery store produce.  We sliced our grocery store tomatoes and planted them along with Lima beans, Great Northern beans and Blackeye Peas from a bag of soup beans. We grew corn from popcorn as well as celery and romaine lettuce from the bottom two inch scraps.  It has been amazing to watch these grow and produce food as well as seeing how we can use stuff at the grocery store to grow our own food.  Anyone can garden. This is definitely the conclusion we have come to learn as a family.

    “I finally feel my roots are down and they are drinking water.”

    We have loved this experience and are excited for the future ahead of us. We would like to move and have land we can build on.  We don’t know when that will happen but when it does, I am more than confident I will have the support of the LHG community here in South Hall, across Georgia and across the U.S.  Through LHG, I have grown as a woman, a wife and a mother in many ways and developed relationships that I have always wanted but could never find.  There’s a reason it’s called Mother Earth!

    Thank you, ladies! I finally feel my roots are down and they are drinking water.  I am home!

    Jill Puckett

    So, what’s your story, your goals, your ambitions in homesteading?  Tell us more about your journey.

    Cultivating Dreams :: Growing Communities

    "Do something everyday that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


  • 06/28/2017 8:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Long Anticipated Retreat

    Each year, National ladies Homestead Gathering gives its members and guests the opportunity to connect during a weekend retreat.  As our logo says, “Knowledge, Community and Friendship” is what we strive towards and the annual retreat allows us to accomplish all three.  There is plenty of social time to reconnect with distant friends and to make new ones.  We also learn new homesteading skills to take home and share with our community.

    The Long Winter in the Camper

    Our Education and Events Director, Trina Reynolds, said she came up with the knowledge portion for this retreat after living in her camper all winter.  During Trina’s long winter in the camper, the water would freeze for days at a time which meant hauling water in from somewhere else (in this case, her mother-in-law’s house), much like a pioneer had to haul water from a stream or well.  Then, the water had to be boiled before it could be used to do things like wash the dishes.  The bitter cold winter reminded her of the struggles she read about in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book series, Little House on the Prairie.  Thus, came the idea for this year’s retreat, Survive: A Day in the Life of Ma Ingalls.

    Ma Ingalls may not have viewed hauling water and boiling it for sterilization as a struggle.  It probably seemed like a normal day’s work.  These were simple daily tasks used to stay healthy and, in tough situations, even alive.  For one weekend, we will learn hands-on how it was done by our Great-Great Grandmothers and do it like the pioneers.

    Farmer Girl

    During the Retreat, we start a project to work on during our down times. The Lucet, an ancient cord making tool used to make everything from fine thread lace to horse halters, was the tool of choice to make items necessary to live on the frontier.  We will learn to use the Lucet to make something to take home and share with our home Chapters.  Then, on Saturday, we typically have Workshops where you can focus on what interests you the most or you can switch from station to station.

    Lucet
    Some of the Workshop options will be:
    • How to Yield an Axe (without cutting off your foot)
    • How to Build a Fire
    • Cast Iron Cooking
    • Frontier Medicine (poultices, chest plaster, etc…)
    • Quilting and Blocking
    • Drop Spindling
    • Archery

    We will also make tin can lanterns and dip candles to take home.

    Big Lodge in the Mountains

    We will learn how the pioneers, like Ma Ingalls, lived, but, we won’t actually be living like a pioneer.  No dirt floors, no outhouses and no wild animals! Trina found an awesome lodge in the mountains of Gatlinburg, TN.  This area was chosen specifically to help the Gatlinburg economy following the forest fires which ravaged the mountains last fall.  Each double queen room has its own bathroom and balcony and will be shared by two women.  This is a big step up from life on the prairie and sod houses.

    Additionally, there is a full kitchen and dining room for our use.  We will have rabbit and vegetable stew with sourdough bread on Saturday night, much like the pioneer meal, only with more spices.  There is an enormous Gathering Room on the second floor, with an incredible view of the mountains and a huge stone fireplace.  This is where we do most of our socializing and meeting together.

    The balconies are plentiful with rocking chairs and views of the mountain wilderness. Dinner will be provided both Friday and Saturday night and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

    Little Town in the Mountains

    As always, we plan for leisure time and eating out.  Gatlinburg is full of places to eat and things to do.  Typically, you have time for lunch in town.  Pick someone new to tag along and get to know them.  This is your chance to learn more from members in other Chapters and to help grow your own Chapter.  Find out how it is done in Colorado or Virginia.

    Ladies Homestead Gathering is growing like wild fire (no pun intended). Originally, we started with 64 spaces available for this retreat.  Discounted registration opened to LHG members in March, and registration is now open for everyone until August 31st. Registration for the weekend is $224 until June 30th and then it goes up to $249 from July 1 through August 31st. There are still a few spaces open at the posting of this article.

    When: October 6 through 8th, 2017
    Where: The Lodge at Wafloy Mountain in Gatlinburg, TN – www.wa-floyretreat.com 

    Open to everyone starting May 1, 2017, Early Registration Discount before June 30, 2017.

    For more details, go to https://ladieshomesteadgathering.wildapricot.org/event-246857

    THANK YOU

    Members who helped organize this retreat; Trina Reynolds, Jill Puckett, Beth Spinella, Amanda Bayles and Debi Chandler. Thank you so much for your hard work!

    Have you attended one of our Fall Retreats? If so, tell us about your experience.

    CULTIVATING DREAMS ::  GROWING COMMUNITIES


  • 06/20/2017 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    this crazy homesteading habit

    Of course, everyone who knows you probably knows about your crazy homesteading adventures.  Start here, with friends and family who already know you and are probably like-minded, at least in some aspect of your homesteading endeavors. But, there is a limit here.

    Once you have exhausted your friends and families lists, it's time to reach out to the greater community around you. Are you a member of a church or a mothering group? Do you have a favorite hang-out where you are known? The homesteading lifestyle is spreading and it is likely there are other people like you waiting for an organization like ours!


    six Tips to grow your lhg chapter

    1) MEMBERSHIP DRIVES

    Every year, in February, National Ladies Homestead Gathering has a membership drive with a give away drawing from registered members.  The prize is usually something amazing like the Instant Pot or a dehydrator like the Excaliber 3900 or LHG Bucks to use for any LHG merchandise like t-shirts or mugs!  Yearly dues are $35.00 for all new and renewing members.  Any woman over the age of 16 is qualified to join and if two, mother and daughter, live in the same household, it is a yearly family dues of $50.00. 

    2) Booths at Local Events

    Most local events will charge a small fee to have a booth.  When signing up, remind the event organizers you are part of a non-profit and see if they offer a discount to rent table space.  Then, put your most enthusiastic members at the booth.  Here are some typical local events:

    • Fairs and Festivals
    • Farmer's Markets
    • Plant Sales
    • Fun Run's

    Maybe have someone bring a chicken or other small animal to draw attention to your table.  Display items made by members, literature about the chapter and National LHG.  Have a sign-up sheet available for those who are interested in receiving your Chapter's newsletter and information about your Gathering. 

    3) Get Involved

    By getting involved in other related groups, like bee-keeping, gardening, or knitting groups, you will naturally tell others about your Chapter.  Strong relationships with other groups in your area will benefit both groups by increasing awareness and possibly membership.

    4) Contact Community Leaders

    Get to know the movers and shakers in your town and community.  Call or email your Chamber of Commerce, County Extension Office, Community Council on Aging, local universities or community colleges.  All are great resources for community involvement as well as attracting new members through community awareness.

    5) Hang Flyers and Literature

    Post flyers and rack cards around town in your favorite hang-outs or in businesses which are related to homesteading.  Such as....

    • Coffee Shops

    • Libraries

    • Bookstores

    • Feed and Hardware Supply Stores

    • Health Food Stores

    • Gardening Centers

    ... to name a few.

    6) Don't forget FACEBOOK

    Ah, yes, the ever-present, all-knowing Facebook is your friend for recruiting new members.  Use Your Chapter's Facebook group to let others know what your group does and what it is all about.  Post Gathering topics as an event, too.  Talk about "'atta girls", workshops and other events your Chapter is offering. Let your followers know where you will have a booth at a fair or farmer's market.  You do not have to be a member of a local Chapter to be a part of the Facebook group.  So often, there are way more women interested than are able to attend the Gathering.  Be sure to stay involved in the conversations on Facebook, too.  

    We Love LHG!!!

    We love our members and thank you for all you to do help us spread the fellowship of the community of homesteading.  This information is available to all Chapters as part of your Chapter Handbook and also found on our website, www.ladieshomesteadgathering.org

    What successes have you had in gaining membership? How did you do it? We love to hear from you, so please share with us what works and what doesn't work for your Chapter.  

    Cultivating Friendships ::  Growing Community

    "Do something every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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