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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Green Housekeeping: Spring Cleaning

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

This winter has left me feeling a bit beat up by the "arctic vortex" and all the illness my family has experienced over the past few months.  Spring cleaning and disinfecting is on the agenda for this weekend.  I'm going to keep it simple:  wipe down everything with water and lavender essential oil.   Lavender oil has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, making it perfect for so many household uses.  Plus it smells beautiful!  I will add one tablespoon of lavender essential oil to one gallon of water in a bucket to make a batch of green housekeeping disinfectant.  I'll use a washcloth to clean everything room by room, remixing the batch as often as needed.  By the time I'm done, germs and my winter blues will be washed away.

To nourish wood after I wash it down (furniture and floors alike), I like to moisturize it with this recipe:
2/3 cup apricot kernel oil
1/3 cup water
10 drops lemon or orange essential oil
Just add to a spray bottle, shake, spritz, and wipe with a dry cloth.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Custom Homestead: Steps 8 & 9

Even though I don't have my rural homestead yet, it's time to incubate my golden nest egg in preparation for hatching.  Jill Winger, author of the eBook, Your Custom Homestead: Awakening a Fresh Vision of Homesteading, recommends some fiscal evaluation in steps 8 ("Start Organizing Your Finances") and 9 ("Live Frugally Now").  I found a great link on Pinterest for just this sort of financial inventory: .  There are plenty of others too if you enter "save money" into the search bar.  But I like this one because it offers a four page checklist of things you can do to cut your spending by $400 a month starting right now.  Doing these simple things will help me get on track to purchase a homestead and require as little money as possible to maintain a simple life.
Even this photo was free! 
I have some tricks up my own sleeve that will help me prepare financially in ways that are creative and fun.  In past and future posts under Green Housekeeping, I offer some DIY recipes for nontoxic cleaning products that will save you a bundle.  I have also challenged myself to think about how to repurpose something old or make something myself before I run out and buy it.  I'm pretty savvy when it comes to finding things for free or deeply discounted if there is something I need.  Some of my favorite online places to shop are Ebay, Craigslist, and ThredUp.  If you must buy something new, try joining Ebates where you can earn cash back for shopping online.  Of course, shopping at flea markets and vintage shops is a lot of fun, and I love to make clothes for myself and my daughter.  And if I am tempted to make an impulse purchase, I ask myself, "Do I want this ____ more than I want a farm?"  If the answer is no, I keep walking.  If the answer is yes (because I believe it will add some value to the lifestyle I desire), I wait at least a week before making the purchase or wait until it goes on sale.  If I still want it after a week and I can pay in cash (not credit!), then I may just buy it.  Often times, I find that something I thought was absolutely gorgeous a week ago I now judge to be ugly and I am glad I didn't get it!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Custom Homestead: Steps 6 & 7

If you have been following along as I work through Jill Winger's 21 steps to a custom homestead (, you can see that I have been working at a slow-as-molasses pace.  This is tough for someone who thoroughly enjoys instant gratification!  I encourage you to go at your own pace as well.  Each step you take is one closer to your dream.

Jill's advice (Step 6) is to prioritize your homestead To Do List.  "Focus your energies on the tasks that need immediate attention, and try not to spend valuable energy worrying about the rest," Jill says.  Easier said than done, I know.  But I figured I'd try this one on for size and see how it goes.   Since my homestead is located in an urban apartment 8 stories above a very busy street, I don't have to worry about mending pasture fences or building new ones just yet.  (But I must admit, I really wish I did!)  So my priorities are the things I listed in my previous post that are part of my one year plan.  I've been gathering materials to redecorate my nest as well, so that I can try to feel like I'm in my future farmhouse for the remainder of my time in the city.  As each of these items on my list are begun and completed, I know in my heart that pastures and fences are in our future.  Until then, I can make them out of popsicle sticks and construction paper with my daughter ;)

Step 7:  "Don't Be In a Hurry".  Okay Jill, you are talking to people that are just itching with desire to dive into knee deep grass and compost piles here.  We ARE in a hurry!  But her wisdom from experience prevails.  "As you attempt to return to your roots and pursue simple living, you will discover a concept that our ancestors were very familiar with--most things take time."  When I create, I also remind myself that the depth of the experience lies in the process.  This means being patient with myself and the world.  Staring at a seed in the dirt and willing it to grow won't make it grow any faster.

Grow already!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Custom Homestead: Steps 4 & 5

Step 4 of Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger ( assigns the work of setting goals for the next one, five, and ten years.  My own five year goal is simple:  transfer my urban homestead to a rural location by buying a farm.  Beyond that, I have learned that I can get ahead of myself and stay stuck in the "future-izing" rather than being in the present moment where I belong.  But I do think that it is helpful to have a long term goal.
My short term goals for a NYC apartment-sized homestead seem very much attainable.

  • Establish an indoor herb garden. 
  • Buy as much seasonal produce as I can afford from the local farmer's market and preserve it for the winter. 
  • Contribute to our co-op's composting program. 
  • Make beeswax candles. 
  • Make fresh juice from seasonal produce.  
  • Get involved in a community garden in our neighborhood.  
From the foundation of these goals, Step 5 is to start mapping out your homestead plans.  Personally, I do this by adding images from magazines and books to my image file as well as getting plentiful inspiration from Pinterest (see my boards at These are my visual lists of things I want to add to my rural homestead, one step at a time.  
My only advice about these two steps is to mind the language you use.  I have learned that if you use words like "I want....." or "I wish....."  then you keep yourself in a perpetual state of wanting and wishing.  But if you adjust those words to "I intend to....." or "I will....."  then you align yourself with the forces of the universe which will lead you down the path to your desired outcome.  You will be more apt to find a way rather than staying stuck in constant longing and desire.  What are your goals??