I’d never put out an invitation via Facebook. Facebook was still fairly new and I wasn’t sure if
“my” people would be on there. But I threw the invite into the wide world of the internet and
waited to see.
January 29, 2011. I’d vacuumed, dusted, straightened, cleaned, corralled the kids and put out
A knock at the front door….and another! And another and another…
Twenty- two women entered the door to my home and climbed the stairs to my
homeschool/family/ bonus room. We sat in chairs, encircled so we could see one another’s
faces. Nervous laughter as we each introduced ourselves, sharing the reason why we had
shown up this night, why some had driven almost two hours to get to the farm.
“Ladies – I had no idea how many would show up tonight but I am overwhelmed with how
many are here in this room. As promised, I will share all I have learned about homesteading. I
will mostly share my mistakes, (because I have made so many!), and share what not to do as a
homesteader. I am passionate about this lifestyle and wanting to provide for my family. It’s
hard work and there is death. There is also life, new beginnings and purpose for the hard
work. I don’t by any means know everything but what I do know, I will gladly pass along to you.
And if you have anything to share in the way of homesteading, I would love to learn from you.
So what topic would you like to learn about tonight?”
And so began the first “unofficial” beginning of what would become the National Ladies
Homestead Gathering. I began as “teacher” and before the year was over, was encircled in the
support, encouragement and joy of friendship and acceptance found in the wonder of like-
I had followed my heart in order to answer the many questions I had received during my
homestead tours on the farm. “ Is it hard to keep chickens?” “Aren’t you afraid of getting
stung?” “How do you get your kids to help with the chores?” “Where did you buy your baby
calves?” “How did you learn how to garden and can food?”
I’d had the privilege to listen to the desires of so many women who wanted to provide quality
and purpose to the lives of their families. It wasn’t long before I realized, each women, no
matter her background, had something to share and gain by coming together in community –
homesteading being the thread that held us all together.
And we grew. The seed was planted at my farm, the Lazy B, and with the tears of struggle and
frustration, the boisterous laughter from successes and friendship, and the prayers for a good
crop and the sweet new life of baby animals, those roots deepened and spread from town to
town, state to state.
Ladies, these were the early days of NLHG. Women who were passionate about homesteading;
women who grabbed hold of this dream to reach women all over the country; women who
shared their amazing talents and resources to make that dream a reality.
And this “beginning” begins again every time we open a new Chapter in a new town with new
women who come together, passionate about homesteading, eager to share their resources.
I am so humbled by the success we see today – a beautiful quilt with different colors and
shapes, stitched together by many hands, all in the heartfelt desire to create a welcoming,
encouraging, supportive Community.
And YOU, you are a unique, authentic piece of this quilt, a contributor to the Community of the
National Ladies Homestead Gathering.
As we begin to look forward to October and our focus of sharing this amazing Community with
others, I encourage you, maybe even challenge you, to reach out to others in your
neighborhoods, school groups and social groups and look for those women who need the
embrace of the NLHG Community. Invite them to your next Gathering, or to join us virtually at
our next National Virtual Gathering. To someone who is lonely or someone who is beginning
their homesteading journey, or someone who just wants to belong, you are offering them the
precious gift of Community.
My heart is full as I reflect on where we are today, and the many women who are passionate,
have shared their resources, and imagined what a homesteading Community could look like in
their local community and in this country.
Founder and Executive Director
The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, imagination, and resources of its people. ~Ernesto Sirolli