I'm so excited to welcome Karen Lynn of Lil' Suburban Homestead to Dandelion House today for a some good old fashioned homestead " girl talk". Many of you already know Karen through her well known blog, Lil' Suburban Homestead
and her weekly blog hops, but did you know she is also a member of the Homestead bloggers Network and a podcast hostess with the mostess with The Survival Mom Radio Network
? There's just so much to learn from Karen and her homesteading journey so let's just dig in. For those of you who haven't met Karen yet, I know you'll love her cuz she's just friendly and welcoming as she looks and she's got some great homesteading tips no matter what size your homestead is! Karen's motto is,
" If you've got a home, you're a homesteader "
Deb~ Hi Karen, I’m
so happy you agreed to let me have you over to Dandelion House for some good
old fashioned homestead “ girl talk “. I’ve been a fan and follower of your
very informative and inviting blog for several years. I think we started
blogging about the same time and I have to tell you, it’s been a joy to watch
your homestead and your homesteading skills blossom. We both love to re purpose,
cook, keep chickens, and garden. Tell us, what inspired you to start blogging
about your Lil Suburban Homestead?
I am so grateful
that you invited me to come by and visit Dandelion House and flattered.
Your blog is so inspiring and I have visited years and you know I
think it is so beautiful
and welcoming.The impetus for my blog was that I had battled thyroid
and won and had dealt with some other MAJOR medical issues in our family
realized that I needed to share with others that we can take matters
own hands and work on our health and one quick way we can all do that is
start growing our own food, another
issue was sharing with folks that no matter the financial adversity they
or where they are located that they can start taking baby steps right
improve their quality of life, and lastly there is nothing like facing
straight in the eyes to aid you in finding your voice and that is just
happened. I decided to open up my life
and that of my family to share this knowledge and sometimes our failure
successes with the world to encourage and to also show that at our Lil’
Suburban Homestead we say “Where Innovation & Homesteading Meet”
had to be innovative at first to thrive and now we love innovating and
we as a
result thrive……I hope that makes sense ;)
Deb~ What was your vision
in the beginning and how has it changed and surprised you over the years?
Karen~ My vision was simple…teach
others what we know and learn from others along the way…if you have ever read
my blog a constant theme is that I say “Come Join Us On The Journey”…the
homesteading journey is not for the
faint of heart. Raising chickens and
beekeeping which came a little after the
blog all of the requires boldness and courage and truthfully I was afraid of
keeping bees at first because I lacked a little thing called knowledge and that
is the beauty of homesteading blogs you don’t just visit them to read a funny
story although that is great. You visit
them to learn and to share or at least that is what I do. I always tell people if I can do it they can
do it! I didn’t just wake up one morning
and become a homesteader and I had no natural talent for it just a love for it
and that was evident when I got married and started canning right away and
wanting to grow food and at first it might have seemed out of left field but once
you research my family history I have a lot of farm girl in my DNA. I had two women in my family that were
turnkey chicken farmers….I come by it naturally and my Mom always encouraged me
to read and correspond growing up and blogging
is a lot like corresponding only I am writing to my readers!
Deb~ What has been the most rewarding and
challenging thing about keeping up your blog?
Karen~Hands Down the
people I have been able to meet and the lifelong friends I have made along the
way. The most challenging is the
administrative portion such as making sure all my links and pictures showing
up. I love writing, I love taking
pictures and I love chatting with folks…it’s a dream hobby and a reflection of
Deb~ I know you are a
beach Farmgirl just like me where you live in North Carolina. How far from the
beach are you?
Karen~ We are 2.9 miles as
the crow flies but it takes about 10 minutes to drive there traffic and all you
know…but we have lots of sandy soil which has really influenced our raised
beds and container gardening.
Deb~ I recently had
the great pleasure of being your guest on your new Podcasting radio program for
Survival Mom Radio and it was so much fun! How did you get started in podcasting and
what do you enjoy most about it?
Karen~It all really
happened so fast I applied to The Survival Mom Radio Network and the rest is
history. I love it, I love being on such
a wonderful team of all female radio hosts! The best in the business as far as
I’m concerned but then again I might be biased. ;). I so enjoyed our
interview after years of us being fellow bloggers and it further validated how
much we have in common and I love that we are both “Beach Farm Girls” pretty
Deb~ It’s easy to see
that your blog is a family affair. How do your husband “the Viking” and your
children contribute to your homestead and your blog?
Karen~Well our daughter is
on her own now and our son is now a senior and is working and juggling Football
and School. I think now it’s more how I
see their attitudes about healthy living manifest through their own lives. A lot of folks don’t know that I home schooled
my children for part of their childhood and we even studied the Laura Ingalls
Wilder Curriculum which advocated self reliance at one point. My children were very involved with the
garden, raising chickens, and rabbits when they were younger and they would
help us go pear picking, berry picking you name it they were involved. Now my daughter is very selective about what
she eats and avoids chemicals, my son prefers healthy snacks and home-cooked
food and I am proud they picked up so much along the way and hopefully will
carry on and advocate the homesteading lifestyle with their own families one
Deb~ What is your favorite thing about living
the homesteading lifestyle? It’s different for all of us and I love knowing which aspect people get especially passionate
Karen~ Even though I guess
No one is really ever completely self reliant…..I like the fact that my husband
and I have joined together with other like minded folks and we look for solutions
and ways to improve our quality of life!
I could never pick one thing, the bees, the herbs, the home-made
cooking, our chickens, canning, it’s all so much fun! I do love that it always challenges me and
that there is always something new to learn!
Deb~ What do you find
the easiest to grow and the most challenging?
Karen~ Jerusalem Artichokes
are definitely the easiest I think they have plans to take over my yard
LOL! Green beans are also very easy but we
have a horrible time with any squash because of the infamous squash borer
Deb~ What changes or improvements do you dream
of making on your homestead?
Karen~ We have plans to add
a sun porch and a patio and around the patio and sun porch we plan to add more
raised beds with edibles. I am excited
about the sun porch because our mosquitoes are horrible in North Carolina but
this will enable me to feel like I am in the garden and with my chickens longer
every day! We are definitely expanding our
beekeeping operation and we added 4 new “Teen” chickens this year!
Deb~ Have you ever hosted a Homestead Tour or
Workshop at your home?
We have been on the
local greenhouse tour twice…..we have been asked to be on the local chicken
coop tour and we have had either a family emergency or college visits both
times so we have decided to hold off until probably once my son goes to college. We have been asked by several people and I do
believe we are planning on possibly having a chicken and beekeeping open house
Deb~ What is your favorite re-purposed project on
Karen~ Deborah Jean, this is
such a tough question but hands down it would have to be our “Mostly Recycled
Greenhouse” which I have a podcast and a blog post about that one! My second one is a tie between our DIY
Rotating Strawberry Planter and our Upcyled Chicken Coop. I just want folks to know they don’t have to
spend a fortune and they can raise chickens, grow food, and even during the winter!
Deb~ Did I hear that
you have collaborated on a homesteading cookbook? Would love to know more about
that and where it’s available!
Karen~ Yes I was so
excited! I am also a member of the
Homestead Bloggers Network and we put together a cookbook as a group for the
holidays and I submitted my Granola recipe and I believe it’s the last recipe
in the cookbook it’s awesome! You can
get a copy of the book on Amazon.com.
Deb~ How long is your
growing season? What are some of your favorite things to can and why.
Karen~ We can grow from
about March until October. Spring and Fall the greens such as Swiss Chard, Bok
Choy, and mustard greens grow amazingly well here as does spinach! Surprising
beets and radishes do great too!
Tomatoes are my
favorite veggie to can and while I do can my own tomatoes to keep us in the
volume of tomatoes we need we buy them from a local farm too and eat tomatoes
all year long! I think tomatoes are my
favorite because I love to make bunches of salsa! Plan to make a boatload this year there is
nothing like homemade salsa. My second
favorite item to can would be applesauce and our pantry is stocked with both
all year long! I make our homemade
applesauce with just apples and honeys from our bees….Isn’t that what food
should be? Food that nourishes us and
makes us healthy.
Thank you so much
for inviting me over to Dandelion House you know I could go on and on but I
have so enjoyed the podcast interview and getting to be a guest at your place
as well! Hope we get together again
Click on the links below to visit Karen on her homestead and on The Survival Mom Radio Network! She's a busy, busy bee!
Welcome To Our Lil' Suburban Homestead