By Loretta Liefveld
Loretta and her husband Rob recently moved to Kamiah, Idaho, from their off-grid log home in central California.
Their home, which was built in 1965, sits on 55 acres, complete with two hay fields, an old logging shack, and a unheated metal building without electricity, previously used for housing a bulldozer and tractor that came with the property.
Loretta and Rob share their homestead with their dogs Daisy and Sadie, and plan to soon add chickens to the mix as well.
The vegetation on their new property is primarily Ponderosa pine, but it also includes wild cherry trees, serviceberry trees, cherry plum trees, apple trees, chicory, chamomile, hawthorn trees, rose, blackberry, and a few fruits she hasn't yet been able to identify. Wild fauna abounds: pheasant, turkey, whitetail deer, and the occasional elk. The Clearwater River runs at the bottom of their property and boasts steelhead, salmon, trout, and bass. Loretta plans on using as much of the local flora and fauna as possible to supplement their grocery bill. She's re-learning how to can in order to take advantage of all of the glorious wild fruit.
Loretta has always had a garden, and defines a homesteader as a person who embraces living in a rural environment, making their home in a way that preserves the nature of this environment, and living off the land as much as they can, given their particular situation.
Loretta's current projects around the homestead include transforming the "weed lawn" into a bushy garden with a path running through it, building raised beds for a vegetable garden, and installing their solar panel system.
Future projects include refurbishing the old vegetable garden, building a chicken coop, setting up a worm farm, building a greenhouse, building up a garden shed and identifying any trees that she doesn't already know.
Loretta counts canning, dehydrating fruits, vegetables and herbs, freezing, butchering wild game (especially wild hogs), making homemade sausage, making soap, growing and using herbs in cooking, making toiletries and as medicine, gardening, vermiculture, and raising poultry among her country skills. She embraces every bit of country life with enthusiasm.