About Us

My husband and I are an empty nest couple who homestead five acres in the foothills of the Southern Appalachians.  Living on the outskirts of a small town, I'd have to say that even with five acres, we it almost seems we are more of an urban homestead than a rural one. From our front porch we can see neighbor's homes and local traffic.  From our back porch we view fields and woods.

Our vision is to be as self-sustaining as we are able, by stewarding our land, our animals, and our resources.   Between that, and renovating our old 1920s farmhouse, our life is busy but fulfilling.  This blog journals our daily workings toward our dream. 

60 comments:

gisela nagy said...

Dear Lee! Just found your mail at Gmail.com
I am not using this mail. My regular E-mail is:
giselanagy26@optonline.net
Sorry about the delay to answer you, but I do not look the gmail very often.!
Love your blog!!! My real name is Julia.Blue bird :)

Leigh said...

Julia thanks for the correct e-addy! And thank you for the kind compliment about my blog. The blogosphere is a great way to meet new folks and make new friends.

Josiah Fordahl said...

Hi,

My name is Josiah Fordahl. I am starting a survival/self sufficiency/ sustainable homesteading blog called Self-Sufficient-Blog.com which launches June 1st.

The site will offer in-depth information on self sufficiency to prepare our readers for the societal collapse that many believe may happen in our generation.
(The national debt crisis, global natural resources war, hyper inflation, the end of oil, industrial civilization collapse, global climate change etc)

I also wish to just spread the gospel of simplicity. Self-Sufficient living, growing what you eat, environmental connectedness, conservation, and the ability to survive without help from the government or any top down economic system. I am passionate about this and look forward to read your blog regularly and hope you do the same to mine as well.

I noticed that your site had a similar topic and I have added your site to my blog-roll, I humbly ask that you would reciprocate and add me to your blog-roll. I am passionate about this and look forward to read your blog regularly and hope you do the same to mine as well.

http://www.self-sufficient-blog.com

Also, If you have any advice for a newbie blogger, I would love to gain any wisdom you might offer.

Thank you kindly for your generosity,

-Josiah Samuel Fordahl

Leigh said...

Josiah, thank you for your comment and congratulations on your new blog. I'm on my way over for a visit right now......

mybigredbarn said...

We are on a similar mission in Southeast Minnesota. Thank you for the blog containing many motivational posts. I'm hoping in a couple years we can be doing some of the things you've got going on.

Leigh said...

Thank you for your kind words. They are very encouraging. From visiting your blog, I'd say you're already doing a whole lot of the same things!

Ellen said...

I too bought 5 acres in southern CA and hope to get to a self-sustaining life there soon. Please visit me at http://haveabigheart.wordpress.com/
Ellen

Leigh said...

Ellen, congratulations on your land. I'll be right over for a visit to your blog.

s.moore said...

Hi! I came across your blog while looking for homesteading blogs in Wisconsin. I'm looking for a homestead to visit that would help us see "the big picture" - hopefully making it easier to incorporate more farming into our farm-ette. We currently have llamas (I'm a fiber addict) and would like to add chickens, a dairy cow, fruits, veggies and worms to our plot. Would you, by chance, know of homesteaders in Wisconsin that might welcome curious visitors? We live near Madison but welcome a lovely drive.
Thanks for any help you or your readers might have. Great blog, by the way! I'm enjoying all the info you have available!
Sara

Leigh said...

Sara, most bloggers seem to want to keep some sort of privacy as to where they live. I honestly don't know if there any Wisconsin homestead bloggers. I'd be surprised if no one in Wisconsin homesteaded, but it isn't customary for folks to advertise their location. Sorry I can't be of more help!

Elaine said...

Hi Leigh! Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I too am striving for as much self-sufficiency as I can. I find your adventures informative, entertaining, and sometimes down right heartbreaking. You make me think and imagine so please... keep it up! :)
Elaine

Paul T said...

Please write more about farm subsidies, price supports for crops, and other interference by government in agriculture, esp. if the interference favors big ag, the ethanol producers, investment bankers, and so on.

Also, beware of using that sassafras in your root beer. Supposedly it's a carcinogen.

Leigh said...

Elaine, thank you so much! Comments like yours are my greatest source of encouragment and much appreciated. :)

Paul, thank you for the comment. I'm afraid most of those topics are a bit beyond the scope of this blog. I admit I occasionally hit on things like that, but mostly this is just a journal of what we're doing and how we're doing it.

Willow said...

Hi Leigh, I saw your comment at Julene's blog The New Season and popped over to read yours. I'm Julene's sil. I'll be back to read more and more of your blog!

Willow

Lisa said...

Just found you today--you offer great resource links on your blog! We're also empty nesters on five acres. We farm/work Fern Creek, a small scale CSA farm that keeps us in food year around. Keep up the good work!

Leigh said...

Hi Willow, I apologize for not responding to your comment sooner. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

Lisa, so nice to "meet" you. I love that you're working on a CSA. That is modern farming at its best.

Sarah said...

Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog in my research about goats. My husband and I (and our 2.5 year old son) are looking to buy land, build a small house and start our own little homestead. It's scary and exciting and it's always nice to see what others are doing!

Leigh said...

Hello Sarah, welcome and thank you for the comment. I've learned a lot from other homesteading bloggers, so I always hope to give back with my blog too. :) It is exciting to look for land, more exciting to find it, and the adventure of a lifetime to create your own homestead. So nice to hear you've begun the journey.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

LoL. Thanks Leigh. I'm not unemployed yet. My hospital is getting a little suspicious though. I'm trying to be proactive and look for a better job before they force themselves out of business with poor management.

Now, if I could only get off YOUR blog! I've been on it for two hours now. You are doing exactly what Wifey and I have been talking about. How many times have you heard that?!?

Anywho, thanks for keeping your thoughts going since 2009. I hope to blog as well as you.

Cheers!

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

No, SurvivalBlog was attacked at the time of that post. I had posted that article to help get the word out. My blog is gifted with uber fast Google archiving so the Googlers of the world see my posts very quickly. Rawles and his wife had communicated with me on two seperate occasions detailing what had happened to their site (hackers) so I tried to help by posting the story.


If you need help with a website or forums, email me. The internet is my "hobby farm" ;-)

Ron
aka The Orange Jeep Dad
OrangeJeepDad@gmail.com

Leigh said...

Well you know, we all start at the same place, the beginning. ;)

Glad to hear you're not dire for a job, but I see the wisdom in looking. The very best of luck to you in that, as in all your endeavors, both lifestyle and blogging.

And thanks for the update on the SurvivalBlog. I confess I only visit forums when I'm researching a particular topic and they come up in my search. I do believe they are a necessary tool however.

Chris Parsonson said...

Hi Leigh, Just found your site. We live in South Africa and are in the process of retiring with very little money. We will be living on 3/4 on an acre intensively farmed. We hope to build a solar house, both passive and using PV for our electricity. You are the first site we've found which claims to be close to other people as we will be. We're going to be going through your pages in detail. I think much of what you do in North America applies pretty well to South Africa

Leigh said...

Chris, hello, and thank you so much for the comment. I love your plans and wish you the very best with them. Do you have a blog? It is a wonderful way to keep a journal of the journey, as well as meet like minded folk from around the world.

Chris Parsonson said...

Hi Leigh,
Thanks for your response. I do have a blog. It's http://therainbowexperiment.blogspot.com/
I am a beginner blogger and this was very much a trial to see how it would go. If you look at it you'll see that at the moment I'm more concerned about health and my rainbow family. Once the purchase of our Free State property is complete then I'll start talking about house design and building.

Frank and Fern said...

Hi Leigh,

I ran across your blog recently and realized we have a lot in common. My husband and I just recently began a blog as a way of sharing our life style - goats, milking, cheese, meat; chickens, eggs, meat; gardening; radio communications; a simple, country life - just to name a few things. We feel it is important to share what we know and do with others so that they, too, might be more prepared for the changes the world is bringing to all of us.

We have listed your site on our blog, so I hope to send a few readers your way. It would be great if you would do the same for us.
http://thoughtsfromfrankandfern.blogspot.com/

Best of luck with reaching your goals to be self-sustaining. I look forward to reading more.

Fern

Leigh said...

Fern, thank you so much! I'm delighted to meet you. It's always a joy to meet folks with similar goals. I'm looking forward to reading your blog too.

ravenous-reader-book-reviews said...

I've had your blog bookmarked for ages and simply love it - for you honesty, for your thoroughness, and for the vast amount of information you provide.
My husband and I are on the precipice of buying a chunk of land here in central Florida. Self- sustaining, getting back to the land, and healthy living are our first and foremost goals - hopefully the rest of the ideas swirling like mini tornadoes in our minds will follow.
Thank you again!!!

Leigh said...

You're welcome! That's what I love about the internet and especially the blogosphere, we can learn a lot from one another. I hope your land purchase goes well!

Our journey said...

I just found your blog and love it! There are so many things I want to do with my family like this! We are currently looking for our homestead, but for now I will read your blog and learn lots more! Thank you for writing so those of us right now that don't have the land to do something can learn from someone like you! Thank you again and I can't wait to explore more things on your blog! I blog at tomandkatiew.blogspot.com
Hope you can come for a visit! :)

~ Katie

Lori Cagle said...

Hi Leigh, I just found your blog and love it! Also received your book for Christmas!! Awesome! Your blog is very inspiring since I am a Grandmother and starting my own little self sustainable farm in the mountains of NC. Better late than never, right!!?LOL!I have chickens, turkeys, sheep and a new Jersey calf on my 2 1/2 acre farm. Lovin every minute of it. Thanks for all the wonderful info. I will definatly keep up with your blog!
Lori

Judy said...

Hi Leigh. We enjoyed listening to you on Scott's show last night. We especially enjoyed your sweetly worded yet honest appraisals of what's wrong with today's world. We share the same opinions. Your blog is lovely and we look forward to following your journey. Good luck and God speed.

Judy On Big Turtle Creek

Leigh said...

Katie, thank you and welcome! Looking for land is fun and exciting. I wish you the very best of luck in finding the perfect place for you!

Lori, thank you! "Better late than never" is my story as well. :) Congratulations on your new farm! I'll be by to visit your blog. :)

Judy, thank you so much. I am truly an awkward speaker and am glad to hear you thought it went well. I love meeting folks with the same viewpoint. We form a community of strength no matter where we live.

Amanda Caldwell said...

Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog when researching making butter from goats milk. I am so happy I found your blog! My husband and I (along with our 2 1/2 year old daughter) would love to do what your doing once he gets out of the military and we buy some property. I will definitely be looking through your blog for ideas and advice. Your explanation of how to make butter from goats milk was by far the best I have found and so much easier to follow. Thank you again and I look forward to reading your posts!

Leigh said...

Hi Amanda, welcome and thank you! My blogging goal is to encourage others with useful information, so your comment was encouraging to me. I wish you the very best in your future search for property and pursuit of your own homestead dream. :)

Mz Garden said...

Just found this based on a recommendation from MichiganSnowPony (Renee). Wonderful! DH and I are in a similar place. Over 50, empty nesters, city born and raised. Realized our dream of moving to the rural 5+ acres on the edge of the city 2 years ago with a 5 year plan to 'reno' the 120 year home and land for sustainability. This may be the best hedge against lethargy - so much to learn and do. We are happy and glad to find others of the 'well-seasoned' age group in the same boat. Thanks for sharing!

jamie said...

Just found your blog via Michigansnowpony Youtube channel and am very thankful for all of the images and outlines that you post. As a native Tennessean ( now a Michigan transplant ) I long to see images of an agrarian life in the bucolic hills of Tennessee. :) Thank you!
I just ordered your book because my husband and I are embarking on the very same journey.
Again, many thanks for all that you are doing to increase the importance and awareness of a truly rewarding life of self sufficiency.

Leigh said...

Mz Garden, I didn't realize your comment was here, sorry! Congratulations on your 5 acres! It's amazing how many of us empty nesters are turning to the agrarian life. One thing, there's never a reason to be bored and always something interesting going on. :)

Jaime, thank you! So glad to hear you are beginning to work toward the same goal. There is truly nothing more rewarding.

ann welsh said...

I just stumbled across this... I have wanted to do this for a long time... When you say Empty Nest.. do you mean you are middle aged and children grown? Or are you younger w/ no children?
We are the middle avers..and I want to do this... thank you!

Leigh said...

Hi Ann, my apologies for taking so long to welcome you and reply. By empty nest I mean that my children have grown up and flown the nest. They're out on their own, with nests of their own. Actually, there are a lot of folks about the same age who are just getting their start in homesteading. So welcome aboard!

Sue said...

Will be following this website, sounds like we have a lot in common you are just ahead of the game. We are looking for land. Have a small garden now.(in my eyes). My Husband would beg to differ. hahahaha. Looking forward to your garden posts.

Leigh said...

Hi Sue, hello and welcome! So glad to have you join the homesteading community. The internet is a wonderful resource isn't it? A great place to share too.

The Last Yankee said...

A fun site, and great lifestyle.

My wife and I ponder a place in North Georgia, but when I see all the work you do I am not sure I am capable.

But I admire what you are doing.

Amanda said...

I'm late to the party - I've only just discovered this blog! - but I bought your book and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Your values and goals are completely aligned with our own, and it's a joy to read about your experience as we get started on our own homesteading journey. Thank you for all the tips and stories; I suspect they'll make our establishment phase much easier. Good luck, and I look forward to following along!

Leigh said...

The Last Yankee, thank you! Really, with this lifestyle it's pick and choose. For some folks homesteading is simply a chance to be more involved in growing their own food and learning new skills. For others, it's a serious attempt at being as self-reliant as possible. It's work, but we like it. Beats a 9 - 5 anyway. :)

Amanda, thank you! I sincerely hope Dan's and my experiences, both mistakes and successes, help you and others as well. Even so we all start at the beginning and it's a unique journey for each of us.

Mom 'N Poppy ...The Empty Nester's said...

What a wonderful life and lifestyle. I'm certain there are many challenges along the way. Kudos for choosing a sustainable lifestyle. We would all be better stewards if we could all live this way.

Leigh said...

Thank you and welcome! I so agree that the sustainable life is key to being better stewards. I think it would go a long way toward solving world hunger as well.

SaltyCat said...

Hi Leigh, I've been reading your blog for a while now. My husband and I are empty nesters as well. We live in town but are lucky to have a small farm in an adjacent county (SE Ky). While he doesn't embrace farm life as much as me, we can usually compromise. I'm lucky to have a lovely daughter in law, that loves the farm. She and I have dairy goats and that's our big animal project. My veggie garden is almost always too large but I can't imagine not having those canned goodies in the winter. I'm also an avid seed saver and swapper. Your blog is great and I'm really enjoying going back. Learning a lot. Thanks for all the great into. S

Leigh said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment! Sounds like you have a lot going for you and your place. Have you considered blogging about it?

Carrie Haddican said...

Hi, I just found your blog and based on all of the links, comments, etc. I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot from it. I'm moving to San Luis Valley in Colorado to open a foster home in a county where there are none (God thing, we had thought we were living in Georgia through retirement to the grave). Once we are able to build on our property located on the Rio Grande River we will be totally off the grid, until then we have renovated a home that we'll live in, only partially off the grid but definitely still a "homestead". I have a LOT to learn about homesteading and I think your blog is where I can start.

Leigh said...

Hi Carrie, welcome! Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself, and congratulations on your move and project! A foster home in the country sounds like a wonderful ministry. And how exciting that you have the ability to be off-grid.

I hope you find good information and encouragement here. I'm always happy to answer questions if I can. So much of learning about homesteading is in the doing of it though. Very rewarding, however.

sissy said...

I am relatively new to your site but have lived your lifestyle at one point in my life. I have noticed you mentioning your fig tree several times, I think. I am wondering if you know what kind it is? Is it in the ground? If not does it die down in your winters? Do you sell cuttings? I am always looking for a good fig? Can we talk?

Leigh said...

Hi Sissy. I honestly don't know what kind of fig our tree is. It was here when we bought the place, so engulfed in weeds that I didn't even realize we had it. I have to say that the flavor is pretty bland, which was disappointing, and I can't help but wonder if other varieties are more flavorful.

I'm in the southeast where figs grow well and overwinter well too. Other than that, I know little about establishing and caring fig trees.

kitschiekoo said...

Holy smokes, your blog is AMAZING - I'm sure I'll find answers to all my questions right here! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge! In a little over a year I hope to purchase some land in southeastern AZ, build a straw bale home and get going with a lavender "hobby farm" to supplement retirement income - I look forward to the years of completeness. Thank you again!

Leigh said...

Thank you! If you have a question, just ask. I may or may not be able to answer it, but I'm always happy to help and encourage. Love your ideas of straw bale home and lavender.

Jennifer@LittleGreenFarmhouse said...

Hi there! I noticed the promotion codes for your books, but am wondering where I need to purchase in order for the discount to apply. I tried to use the code for the 5 Acres book on Amazon.com and there was a message saying it was not a valid code. Thanks for your help!

Leigh said...

Hi Jennifer,

I tried to reply directly to your email, but it came back as undeliverable. Hopefully you'll get my answer here.

You're correct, the codes are only good in certain places. Amazon won't let me make codes for it's website. In the blog post, the titles with the codes are linked to where the codes are applicable. For 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, the title is linked to https://www.createspace.com/4408952.
The code will plug in properly at check out.

Unknown said...

Hello Leigh,

A couple of notes for you. You kindly linked to our site (PerfectBee.com) back in 2015, which was appreciated. I thought I would drop you a line to let you know that we are offering a free, online beekeeping course at the moment which might be of interest to your readers:

https://www.perfectbee.com/beekeeping-course/

However, the reason I am writing to you is to let you know that the "non-www" version of your page (5acresandadream.com) appears to be broken. I clicked a link on another site and that's how I found out. I added the www and it worked but most folks won't know to do that, of course. Just thought you like to know that.

Thank you.

Leigh said...

Your course definitely sounds of interest, thanks for the heads up!

And thank you for letting me know about the non-www URL. I've adjusted my blogger settings, but Google says it may take up to 24 hours to work, so I'll test tomorrow and see what happens. Hopefully success.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

I stumbled upon this while researching growing ginger. Impressive! The blogosphere is such a great way to meet likeminded folks. Bookmarking the site for a more leisurely visit in the winter. Right now the gardens are calling and the cabin my husband built in the nineteen seventies is being called back from the dead. So much to do, so little time to do it in, and I am not sixty anymore. Carry on eh!

Leigh said...

Ien, hello and welcome! Thank you for your comment; it's nice to "meet" like minded folks from all over the world. I'm off to visit your blog now. :)