Carter-Sundqvist, Homesteading Hostel Owner
Place of Residence: Deer
Background and Personal History:
up in the north of Sweden, and studied journalism and creative writing before
starting a life as vagabond and developing an itch for movement and new horizons
that only a place like Deer Isle could cure. She worked as a freelance journalist
while roaming, among many other far flung corners of the world: Laos and
Cambodia, Mexico and Guatemala, the Middle East, former Yugoslavia and
Ethiopia, where she got her Permaculture Design Certificate and spent 6 months working
on sustainable farming and food security issues.
Anneli came to America in 2005 and made an epic road
trip across the country, which spurred her to return to the States over and over
again. She eventually met Dennis and landed in Maine.
Anneli and Dennis now live what she considers a true
homesteading life, where their basic needs are met from their own yard. Thus, their financial needs are very limited and only a small part of their lives is used to
make money. The couple lives in a simple cabin, off the grid with solar power. They have a hand pump for water and cook and heat with wood.
Anneli's focus around the homestead has been the
ever-expanding farm that she has now managed for five seasons, turning the former
woodlot into gardens that provide the family and the hostel with organic produce year-round without greenhouses, plastic material, a freezer or refrigeration. Anneli raises chickens and a couple of pigs each year that she and Dennis butcher and smoke
themselves. They grow a variety of fruit trees and in 2013 they'll graft and plant
a new apple orchard with Maine heirloom apples. She cultivates Shiitake mushrooms,
grows garlic for a local market and forages for wild fruits, edibles and
medicinal plants. In the winter she manages her woodlot and cuts trees for fuel
and for building material, that are milled on a Wood Mizer sawmill.
Anneli constantly strives for greater
independence from the fossil fuel-based economic system, and an even more
efficient use of the resources around us. She'd like to think about it as a
positive-impact kind of life rather than low-impact; she says we belong in nature, with
nature, and our action in the landscape shouldn't necessarily be minimal but
rather focused on being beneficial and harmonious.
in the middle of all this, the reason why Dennis once bought the land and why Anneli got involved in the first place, is the Deer Isle Hostel. The only hostel on
the coast of Maine, it is set on their farm, in a 17th
century timber-framed house that Dennis built himself from the stone foundation
up using local material and hand tools. From May to September, Anneli and Dennis see travelers
from all around the world coming to enjoy the scenic beauty, the water
with world-renown kayaking and canoeing opportunities and hiking trails in the
adjacent nature preserve. She wants to offer more than just a good night's sleep
and a communal dinner each evening; at the hostel, her guests get to experience a way of
life they might never have encountered before and see firsthand that an
alternative way of living is not only possible, it's simple, rewarding and
Anneli also offers a program of workshops and
lectures each year within the sustainable practices they use in their everyday
life, such as food preservation, gardening and fruit tree cultivation, wood
work and herbal medicine.
Other Fun Facts: When
Dennis first called Anneli in Sweden many years ago, she'd never heard the words "timber
frame" before and asked if that was the vertical or horizontal pieces on the
house. She's learned that by now, and also recently discovered a knack for
tracking stray pigs in the wood and that baked pumpkin makes a fine substitute
for melons, only that they'll keep all winter.
More Places to Find Nan on the Web: To learn more about Anneli's and Dennis' homesteading hostel — and to schedule a visit — go to the Deer Isle Hostel website.