Nicole G. Carlin, Pennsylvania Farmstead Renovator – Biographies – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

article image

Nicole G. Carlin, Pennsylvania Farmstead Renovator

Name: Nicole G. Carlin

Occupation: homesteader, writer, mother, pastor’s wife, educator, artist

Place of Residence: Greenville, Pennsylvania

Values: service, creativity, stewardship, sustainability, kindness, hard work, Christian faith

Experience: Growing up in the suburbs, Nicole dreamed of homesteading as an avid reader of all the Little House books. Early on, she graduated to more hardcore homesteading titles by the likes of Gene Logsdon, Wendell Berry, Lynn Miller and old copies of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and Country magazine.

Nicole grudgingly worked in her family’s large vegetable garden but dreamed of sheep and cattle and most of all horses. Reading not only about homesteading but just about anything else she could get her hands on has made Nicole something of a “jack-of-all-trades” when it comes to miscellaneous knowledge especially about history, sustainable agriculture, and science. She graduated from college with a degree in elementary education primarily because she couldn’t stop trying to teach people stuff and elementary education allowed her to take courses in all subjects.

Being a generalist has served her well: After college, she married a wonderful guy who also shared in her desire to do things the hard way. They moved to Pittsburgh to work as campus ministers until Nicole shifted to being a full-time mom of four.  In 2005, their family moved to an inner-city neighborhood to participate in an intentional community and built an energy-efficient home. They gardened and raised chickens until they felt the call to work overseas. After exploring several avenues of service, in 2009 they moved to Haiti to work on reforestation for a year and after the 2010 earthquake they earned a graduate degree’s worth of experience in disaster relief.

After moving back to the United States, Nicole started an environmentally friendly cleaning business and helped support the family while her husband went to seminary. They moved to northwestern Pennsylvania in 2015 and bought a 22- acre farmstead that had been out of use for decades.  Currently, Nicole is trying her hand at writing and blogging at Singing Wren Farm, large-scale gardening (quite a shift from urban gardening), orchard renovation, heritage hens, hogs, and driving draft horses.  She has learned a lot about the value of neighboring, bartering, and navigating small town life.

Background: Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.  She has worked as a campus minister, full-time mom, homeschool educator, reforestation project coordinator, “green” house cleaner, Master Gardener, homesteader and all-around “smarty pants”.

Current Projects: Nicole is restoring an old farmstead, raising kids to be excellent people, raising heritage hogs and hens to be excellent breakfast, learning to drive a team of horses, and encouraging others to grow well.

Connect with Nicole:

Singing Wren Farm

Smoldering Wick