So you live on a homestead. You work all day feeding chickens, caring for bees, milking cows or goats, weeding the garden, and canning vegetables. But during those lonely hours of work, you long to connect with other like-minded women who are engaged in similar activities. What’s a homesteading woman to do?
You harness the power of the internet, that’s what.
That’s what Cyndi Ball did in 2011 when she put out a call for like-minded women to gather at her Statham, Georgia homestead to bond over common interests. Twenty women responded.
Suddenly Ball was surrounded by other women who understood what it was like to do things the old-fashioned way. These women wanted a more sustainable life and were willing to experience the blood, sweat, and tears – as well as the satisfaction, the acquisition of knowledge, and the dedication – to achieve it.
Ball’s motto is “Those who do at HOME, inSTEAD of going to the store” to summarize her goals. “It seemed every time I talked about homesteading, women automatically assumed they needed to have a lot of land and animals,” she explains. “But when I asked what they enjoyed doing, many answered: Making my own bread, growing herbs, canning, sewing, etc. When I explained they were indeed homesteaders and mentioned this statement, they realized what a homesteader is all about. No one wakes up one morning with 20 acres and a bunch of farm animals! It’s a journey and each homesteader’s journey is unique.”
In fact, Ball knows an encouraging amount of homesteading can be done on small suburban lots – everything from keeping bees and backyard chickens to intensive gardening and growing fruit trees. This results in learning skills such as food preservation, small animal husbandry, and apiary science.
Ball was surprised at the enthusiastic response from other women. “I knew how lonely I had been and what it meant to finally find my people or tribe who understood me,” she relates. “As I traveled with Mother Earth News Fair and had the privilege to speak about community, I realized it’s everywhere across the nation. Women wanted to homestead, but they didn’t know another soul who was doing it. We’ve had women start to cry or giggle when we explain what we are all about. It’s really quite wonderful being able to give a solution to a heartfelt problem!”
Next thing Ball knew, her organization had gone nationwide with regional chapters – and the momentum hasn’t stopped. “My personal goal is to see a National Ladies Homestead Gathering chapter in every county in the United States,” she enthuses. “There are 3,007 counties. That’s a huge goal – but all-inclusive! It’s so important to me that we provide a welcoming community to every woman who is seeking connection with other like-minded women.”
Ball is on an active recruiting mission to increase awareness in the organization, tapping into places where women may not be aware of the existence of this unique support group. Lehman’s is proud to sponsor Cyndi Ball as she seeks to start a homesteading chapter in Ohio.