Dawn Alsept lives in southwest Ohio on Stormy Hill, a 6-acre farm she and her husband bought after struggling to sell their house in the suburbs. She is interested in natural living, organic gardening and homesteading, and looks forward to sharing her journey learning old-fashioned ways of doing things through recipes, stories and first-hand account from her grandparents and great-grandparents.
Dawn’s current project is building new housing for her hens, rabbits and homing pigeons. She’s also raising pigs for the first time this year, once the piglets are born on her neighbor’s farm.
She has been gardening since she was newly an adult. “I have won the battle, lost the battle and learned so much along the way about organic gardening methods to produce a bounty for my hungry crew,” she says. She grows Amish paste tomatoes for canning, heirloom tomatoes galore, bush beans, cabbage, rainbow carrots, potatoes and all manner of herbs for medicinal and cooking purposes. Squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cantelope, watermelon, kale, lettuce, spinach, raspberries, blackberries, peas, pintos, and anything else she takes a fancy to fill out the garden. “I prefer all open pollinated heirloom varieties as I save my seeds from year to year and cut my costs down by starting my garden from seed every year. I also tend to lean towards unique colors and varieties that make beautiful bounty baskets of produce to sell or share with others.”
Black Australorp laying hens, fancy 4H chicken breeds like silkies, polish crested, duckwing phoenix and a variety of bantams and runner ducks share the poultry yard. Dawn also keeps hunting dogs for her husband’s business training and breeding gundogs, including German Shorthairs, wirehairs, pointers, Brittanys and whatever else he is working for their hunting friends. Dwarf Hotot rabbits for breeding and show are also their loveable pets. Oh, and of course the obligatory mousers named Odie, Lil’ Lady and Lil’ Miss.
Dawn defines a homesteader as “someone who is interested in becoming more self sufficient, who wants to know where their consumables originate, and who wants to live a more natural life.” She counts canning, gardening, sewing, cooking, homeschooling her five kids, and using medicinal herbs and essential oils among her country skills. She also sells her bounty when she can and loves to learn new skills and teach others the ones she knows.
Of country life, Dawn says, “I love this life, I think living off of God’s land allows a person to connect to his creations in a way that is not even possible when surrounded by the noise of the city. I want to raise children who know where their food comes from and how to cultivate it to sustain themselves. I love the mentality of country folk where bartering is key, knowledge is shared, and doors are open to help others.”