By Cynthia Brownell
Cynthia Brownell and her husband are like-minded souls who enjoy the quiet comforts of living in the woods. They’ve both always lived in small towns and rural villages, from Alaska to the Adirondack Mountains. Cynthia says, “I was raised on a small farm in which we raised chickens, geese, pigs, a large garden, and one old billy goat. My husband is the technical one. He can repair machinery, trouble shoot our electrical system, and help design our water source. Together with our youngest son, we built our tiny cabin and managed to do the work ourselves.”
While Cynthia main focus is living off-grid in the eastern forests of upstate New York and starting a small farm, “Woodhenge,” she also likes to write about sustainable living and the economics of such a lifestyle, homeschooling, and cooking (particularly in an outdoor kitchen!)
When the snow finally melts at Woodhenge, Cynthia and her family are going to complete their cord wood and mortar shed. “The shed will store our outside equipment and will eventually grow to include the greenhouse and outdoor kitchen enclosure. This is our first adventure building with cord wood, and I am looking forward to the process.”
But they have plenty up their sleeves while that gets worked on! They also want to clear their land (currently full of downed trees from a microburst), build shelters for chickens and pigs so they can begin to raise animals, expand their food storage into a root cellar for a place to save home-canned goods, and planting an orchard. Not to mention that they already have a growing garden to tend — full of swiss chard, lettuce, beets, radishes, carrots, turnips, zucchini, summer and acorn squash, potatoes, onions, peas, garlic, bush beans, cucumbers, and pumpkins — and an abundant herb garden of chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, and lemon balm. More is always coming!
And when it comes to defining a homesteading, Cynthia has this to say: “A person who is a homesteader is confident in their skills to provide food, water, shelter, electricity, and other needs without having to rely on other outside services. A person who is a good steward of their land and animals and provides a calming natural lifestyle for their family. Oh, and they are not afraid to make mistakes!”