In the Barnyard: Who are Bohemian Farmgirls?

Bohemian Farmgirl is something that has evolved over years of trying to figure out how to weave all of the meaningful parts of my life together. This is what it means to me, and if it touches part of your soul then my guess is that you are a Bohemian Farmgirl too.

1. Growing a Family--First and foremost, comes family. This may be your biological or chosen family, but whomever your family includes, it's roots dig deep and provide grounding for growth above the surface of the soil.

2. Planting a Farm--Modern homesteading is a way of life for a Bohemian Farmgirl. This may include anything from a windowsill garden to acres of land, buying local and supporting small farms to growing and raising all of your food yourself, and cultivating dreams of homesteading no matter if you live in the city or country.

3. Nurturing a Creative Life--This is the heart of a Bohemian Farmgirl and what brings us all together creating a community of ideas and inspiration. Living a creative life is the wellspring of joy that provides energy to make our dreams reality, no matter what the circumstances. And we all help each other along the way.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Handbuilt Home by Ana White

Okay, so we all know by now that I dream of having our own little minifarm/homestead in upstate New York.  And that once my husband and I have our Masters degrees in our hands, we plan on moving back there (May 2014).  But the more I study up on homesteading how-to's, the more this dream becomes an actual plan.  And, the more I fall in love with different aspects of homesteading (like caring for sheep to have my own wool to knit with, bio-intensive minifarming, preserving the harvest, making bread, making green housekeeping products, sewing bohemian farmgirl accessories to adorn ourselves and our home, etc).  My latest obsession is building my own furniture.

Mind you, I do not own any power tools, nor have a garage or workshop in which to build my own furniture (living in a high rise in Manhattan and all).  But in a recent issue of Country Living magazine, I tore out a picture of a beautiful farmhouse dining table that the owner built himself with scrap lumber and free building plans from .  So I checked out the website to get the plans myself, and I was instantly addicted.  Ana White is this awesome woman in Alaska that built her own home with her husband while she was pregnant with her daughter.  This is how she learned to build, and now can draw up plans for any piece of furniture she desires.  And she shares all these plans on her website and in her book The Handbuilt Home.  After printing out a few plans for pieces I absolutely must build someday, I bought the book.  Ana is so inspiring and she makes me believe that I really can build all these beautiful pieces.  And I plan to!!  The book is beautifully printed with inspiring instructions and photos of people who built the pieces themselves using her building plans.  I seriously want to build everything in this book.  And in a couple of years when we have our little homestead, I WILL! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Homemade Bread

Living in New York City and dreaming of starting a homestead seem like quite opposite living circumstances.  But as the months pass into semesters of educational goals achieved, I am counting down the time until we move back to the Hudson Valley and begin realizing that minifarm dream.

One of the country skills I have always wanted to learn is the art of making bread.  This seemed easy enough to do and something I could accomplish in our galley kitchen until the time comes when I have my country kitchen.  Yet for years, I put off this task as something that was just too hard to learn.  Yeast seems so unpredictable!  But then I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and discovered that even seasoned homesteaders love to use bread machines.  I always thought this was cheating so it never occurred to me that I could use one to learn to really bake bread.  But when a friend of mine started visiting a local thrift store to fill up her new home, I mentioned to her my interest in a bread machine.  She found one for $6 and mailed it to me for Christmas!

My first batch was a complete failure.  (Who knew there were different kinds of yeast?!)  But once I got the correct ingredients, bread making has been a quick and easy success.  There's nothing like fresh homemade bread and a pot of soup on the stove on a cold winter's day.  And the feeling I get when I smell the bread baking and the soup bubbling is one that reminds me that my homesteading dream is not that far off.