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About Michele       |      Our Manifesto         The Tribe _________________________________________________________________________________________________

What is Homesteading?

Mother EarthNews defines 21st century homesteading as "Self sufficiency — wherever you live. It’s about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you."

For me homesteading is about embracing a lifestyle of simple self-sufficiency and being a good steward of the world that God has given. It’s about leaving the distractions behind and embracing what truly matters most.

For years I dreamed of building a quaint cottage and studio off-grid on a 5-10 acre piece of land...a magical oasis filled with fruit and nut trees, vegetable and herbs gardens, bees, chickens, rabbits and goats.  A place where we would make most of the things we used while enjoying the peacefulness of reconnecting with nature. Ah, simplicity at its best. Turns out we were already practicing a good portion of those ideals while living in a small city apartment!

What is The Homesteading Cottage About?

The Homesteading Cottage started out as The Homesteading Apartment.  Even though we were living in a small city apartment at the time, the goal was to make simple daily choices toward the homesteading lifestyle until our dream of buying a spot of land became reality. 

I wanted to show that the homesteading way of living could be embraced no matter where we lived.  It’s been a journey of getting back to basics, organizing, eliminating toxins in our environment, becoming more self sufficient, making cleaner food choices and celebrating along the way.

A Simple Quiet Life...

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind
your own business and to work with your hands."
                                                                                  ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11

A simple, quiet life has become the touchstone of how we choose to order our days at The Homesteading Cottage.

A simple, quiet life blocks out the complications.  Less is actually more, there's no drama, chaos is minimized and life has a natural ebb and flow.

Embracing the quiet means you're listening more.  In the silent zone you begin to really "hear" the heart of a friend, the beauty of nature and the call of your spirit.

How does Natural esSCENTials™ Fit into the Mix?

Natural esSCENTials developed as a result of our homesteading journey.  The new choices we were making required new solutions…solutions that I just couldn’t find in our local community.  So, as any self-respecting homesteader would do, I decided to make whatever we needed myself (;

From healing recipes to natural cleaning supplies, bath and body items to home DIY projects, even printable organizing tools…nothing was off the table. 

The items developed for our personal use quickly became everyday essentials for this new way of living. As a result, others took notice and wanted the same solutions. By incorporating the natural elements of simplifying, organizing, entertaining and celebrating, we created a line of products for those who were also seeking the graceful living that simplicity brings.

Whether it's for the home, work or special occasions, we are proud to offer tools that help take the stress out of the everyday so you can embrace what truly matters.  Stop by our store for more details!

What to Expect…

Each week I write on at least one of four topics…simplifying, organizing, entertaining and celebrating life.  You can follow along by RSS, email updates or just by visiting the site.

More specifically…

  • I write about simplifying and unconventional ways of getting back to basics by incorporating mindful intentions on a small scale to fit your style of living.

  • I write about organizing, with the idea that it isn’t an all or nothing approach…little steps each day, week or month can add up to big changes.

  • I write about how entertaining and serving others opens our hearts to see life in a whole new way.

  • I write about celebrating life in the big and small ways…having a party, taking an impromptu picnic or turning chores into acts of meditation. It’s about approaching the common, everyday occurrences of life as sacred moments.

The key theme that links each one of these topics together is simple or natural living which means homesteading to us (;

If you’re looking for specific examples of this philosophy in practice, take a look through some of our popular posts on the sidebar.

The Reason Why…

Serving 14+ years as a caregiver left me feeling lost, broken and discouraged.  Life had taken so many unexpected turns...turns which mostly involved loss. I found myself missing the simple way of living I once knew...

I missed the quietness of low technology.  I missed that relaxed flow of life due to over-packed schedules.  I missed reading instead of the mindless option of TV watching.  I missed from-scratch cooking and growing our own food.  Most of all I missed the centeredness that simple living brings. 

I desperately needed to reconnect with my roots and my spirit again, so I was on a quest to embrace everything I could to get closer to the lifestyle I loved...that homesteading dream of self-sufficiency and grace. 

By intentionally bringing nature’s rhythms back into play, I soon began to heal with the "real me" stepping forward into life again. 

How Did You Begin Your Homesteading Journey?

Even though we were still in the city, I knew there were changes we could make right away. My first step was to follow the common sense traditions passed down by previous generations...I started by making instead of buying. 

I began making our cleaning supplies, bath & body products, toothpaste and mouthwash by using natural ingredients. 

To increase our energy conservation, light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs, the temperature in the house was kept at a consistent level and air filters were replaced more frequently.

We didn’t have a yard to grow all of our food, but we started with a patio garden, made more trips to the farmers market, focused on buying local as much as possible and kept bags in the car for shopping trips.

We purchased raw milk from a local dairy farm and started making our own butter, ice cream and cheeses. Homemade salad dressings were the norm and we ditched the drive-thru temptation by keeping a healthy stocked pantry.  Meals were made from-scratch and ahead of time so they could be frozen for quick and easy dining the rest of the week.

We began using glass over plastic, installed water filters in the kitchen and bathrooms and no longer wasted money on bottled water. We already recycled, but took it a bit further.

We pared down and decluttered by selling or donating possessions we hadn’t used within the year.  Then we went through all the items we were keeping, asked the 3 Question Rule for everything and then purged again.

We turned our home into a haven with hand sewn items, repurposed furniture and DIY projects that represented our true style, all the while keeping true to the 1-in-1-out rule so things remained clutter free.

Buying used and saving difference became a favorite challenge and we implemented NoSpend weeks (the last week of each month) and a No Spend Month to further increase our budget savings.

Each one of these steps felt natural and freeing.  That doesn’t mean there haven’t been setbacks, learning curves, ups and downs...these things have just made the adventure all that more exciting.

Realistic Inspiration...

Perfection is never the goal and I by no means have it all together on this homesteading journey.  Some days are more frustrating than others.  There are times when I see others who already have the farm, organic gardens, goats and chickens...and I just sigh.  

Yes, barnheart is fully in gear. We may still be waiting for our home outside of the city and have no idea when that move will finally take place, but we're doing what we can where we are and that is enough.  

I wanted to inspire others who might also long for that simple homestead way of being.  You might not have land or a homestead of your own, but you can take small steps wherever you are.  It’s not about a complete overhaul all at once, but simple intentions that feel right for you. 

So until the dream of becoming a full time homesteader occurs, our little Homesteading Cottage in the city will have to do. As we travel this journey of simplicity-in-the-city, we hope you join us for the ride (:

In Gratitude,

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