Left Bank Books in downtown Belfast invites the public to celebrate the release of writer-farmer Kirsten Lie-Nielsen’s new book, So You Want to be a Modern Homesteader: All the Dirt on Living the Good Life, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11. Lie-Nielsen and her partner live on a 93-acre farm in Liberty where they are restoring an 1860s-era farmhouse and surrounding land.
Modern Homesteading is essential reading for anyone who’s thinking about “someday” living a peaceful and pastoral life on a farm or those who are already seasoned homesteaders. It’s also an extremely interesting and enlightening book for anyone who is simply curious about a non-traditional way of life.
Lie-Nielsen defines a homesteader as “someone who chooses to live self-reliantly.”
She is a gifted and thoughtful writer who draws from her extensive experience to share her insights on topics that include “Romance versus the reality of rural living,” “Practical ‘must-have’ skills,” “Creating a community,” and “Seasonal living,” among others. Each chapter includes a list of books for further reading or resources, and a “Questions Before You Leap” section that injects a strong dose of reality to the homesteading dream.
She writes honestly about the challenges of her chosen lifestyle, from the monotony of tending animals -- “Animals do not like their routine altered, and they’ll be feisty and unruly if you’re a few minutes late.” -- to the drama when things go wrong -- “despite your best efforts, at some point you’ll lose an animal that was a great friend. Farming of any kind is never for the faint of heart. . .and there is very little time to mourn on a farm.”
When Lie-Nielsen and her partner found their farm, it had been abandoned for at least 20 years and the house had no electricity or running water. Now, almost three years later, their homestead includes extensive vegetable and herb gardens and what Lie-Nielsen calls “an ever-growing assemblage of animals. We currently have 24 geese, 9 goats, 12 chickens, 2 cats, 1 dog, and about 20 guinea fowl.”
She says that their goal is to “break the mold of traditional farming with a modern take on homesteading. Our focuses include native Maine medicinal plant crops, using a flock of geese for weeding and crop control, and caring for goats, chickens, bees, and gardens to further our self-sufficiency.”
Lie-Nielsen writes regularly about the lessons of life on the farm for publications such as Grit, Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, and Hobbyfarms.com. She blogs about her rural adventures at hostilevalleyliving.com, and her first book, The Modern Homesteader's Guide to Keeping Geese, was released in October 2017.
Call (338.9009) or email (email@example.com) Left Bank Books with questions or to pre-order either of Lie-Nielsen’s books. The shop is located at 109 Church Street in downtown Belfast, with plenty of free parking in front of the shop.