Calamity Jane, Backyard Homesteader and Renegade Housewife

Homesteader Woman Holding RoosterCalamity Jane is not your typical housewife. Although she cooks most of her family’s food from scratch, bakes fresh bread once a week, puts every kind of fruit she meets into a canning jar, helps her children with craft projects regularly and even cleans the house once in a while (under duress) her home domain extends far beyond the walls and windows.

Calamity grew up in Alaska, and began her homesteading career more than 20 years ago, way out in the woods. She learned how to catch fish, build a smokehouse and skin a bear. Since then she has filled in the gaps with more typically agricultural skills, and her life looks considerably tamer.

Nowadays, Calamity makes her home in Eugene, Ore., with her husband and two kids. She tends an abundant garden full of vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, native plants and old-fashioned flowers. A small flock of hens roam behind the apple tree, and miniature Appleyard ducks have free reign of the backyard, regularly leaving their “gifts” on the porch.

Although Calamity believes there is great beauty in this handmade life, she says it sometimes takes shoving aside a tangle of weeds to find it. “Real life is messy and complicated. I try to be practical about things, while keeping my focus on those moments of grace and beauty that make it all worthwhile.”

Calamity is a natural educator who has been writing and teaching for many years, most recently at Homegrown Home, where she shares quick tips and deep thoughts on the subject of backyard homesteading. You can find her on Facebook, and check out Calamity’s online classes in everything from gardening to bread baking to chicken keeping. Although she welcomes anyone in her classes, her real passion lies in supporting busy mamas, in real life, as they move forward on their path towards an abundant home and homestead.

Read all of Calamity’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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