Meet Anne Of All Trades

anne briggsWhat do you do when you’re a low-tech person in a high-tech world? You harvest the best of both.

Anne Briggs was born of missionary parents and traveled internationally during her youth, but she envied her friends with ranches and roots. “I loved animals and always wanted animals of my own, but we could never have any because of our travels,” she remembers. “I always vowed that someday, if I lived in America, I’d live on a farm.”

But “someday” seemed a long ways away as Anne and her husband settled in Seattle. “We both worked in tech, but I quickly realized sitting in front of a computer was not for me,” she relates. “Both because of financial necessity and personal curiosity, I spent weekends learning how to build and grow things myself. I dug up our backyard in the city and turned it into a garden, got chickens and rabbits, and it was all downhill from there. Within a couple years we purchased a broken down 3.65 acre farm right outside the city. I spent five years failing my way into fixing it up, and knew by then that homesteading ran through my veins. This was my true calling.”

Anne and her husband left Seattle and planted themselves in Tennessee, where they blended the high-tech and low-tech into both a lifestyle and a living. “I run my online business from the farm and he still works in tech remotely,” says Anne.

Why does she prefer old-style ways to do things? Why not continue down the high-tech path she started on? Disappearing life skills, now often only seen in living history museums, attracted her from the beginning. “I’ve always been an old soul,” says Anne. “Everyone jokes I was born two hundred years too late.”anne with donkey

Then she discovered woodworking. “Hand planes, chisels, and augers seemed so much cooler (and quieter, and cheaper, and safer) than table saws,” she observes. “I love restoring pieces of history, antique tools, to build things that will last well beyond my years. As my garden grew, my mom and I canned and preserved the produce together just like we’d done in my grandma’s kitchen when I was a kid.”

Anne started posting about these things online and realized how much interest there was among other people her age, especially those who hadn’t experienced them firsthand before. This, she realized, was her passion: Teaching and preserving disappearing life skills – and in doing so, helping people grow deep roots of their own through the modern miracle of social media.

“I think most people love the idea of doing things the old way, but are stopped by the notion that they’re too busy, that their homes or lives don’t have room for gardens, chickens or tools. What’s perceived to be a slower, archaic way of life doesn’t have to be slow or archaic, but it does have to be intentional,” says Anne. “My target audience is city dwellers and suburbanites who want to learn how to do more things themselves, build deep relationships with their neighbors, and, in so doing, squeeze a little more juice out of life. Between everything involved in running a farm, running a business, and building a school, I don’t know many people ‘busier’ than me, so I use social media to show my life as an example that there’s a different way to think about things.”

All this is why Lehman’s is pleased to bring Anne Of All Trades into their blogging family.