At Home With Nature

My Story

I wonder how many times a person’s overarching story changes throughout their life? Mine has already changed a few times in just the last years.

Hearthwilde was born with the intention of cultivating nature connections through gardening, cooking, and outdoor adventuring.

However, something unexpected happened which led me to alter my approach to this space.

But before I get into that, let me give you my background first.

Everyday Life

My everyday life takes place on a small farm in Northeastern Utah, located in the high desert. It’s a rural lifestyle in a fairly remote location. There’s a town nearby, but not much to do there. There are also mountains and desert nearby – and always plenty to do and see in those wild locations.

I live here with my husband, Chad, who grew up in this area, as well as a passel of pet companions, a couple of sheep, and three donkeys. Chad and I try to grow as much of our own food as we can, but also try to nurture our native flora and fauna.

We feed our local wild bird population, and are constantly looking for ways to increase the number and quantity of native plant species on our farm.

I think that everyday life should be filled with small, beautiful moments, and these choices provide many of them.

Growing, Writing, and Designing

I have a BA in Liberal Studies from UNCG, a certificate in Permaculture Design from the Permaculture Education Center, a Landscape for Life certificate offered through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden, as well as a Certificate in Native Plant Studies from the UNCC Botanical Gardens.

My dual love for writing and gardening come together in my work as a freelance writer,  focused primarily on gardening and horticulture. I love writing about plants, and using these moments to increase my knowledge and appreciation of them.

But I also just love sitting out in the garden, watching insects, observing different stages of plant growth, and taking macro photos.

Part of my enjoyment of gardening and horticulture is designing outdoors spaces. When I work on a garden design, I bring both my permaculture background and my native plant background, creating a style that doesn’t fit neatly into any pre-formed definition.

Growing food is important, but growing habitat is just as important.

A Little Bit Frenchy

I lived in Paris, France for nearly a decade and a half where I taught myself to cook with fresh ingredients from the local markets, and learned to appreciate a wide array of flavors and textures.

I grew up thinking that cooking was making a chili out of canned ingredients. Now, I make everything from scratch, both because I prefer fresh, homemade food, and because my dietary restrictions make it a necessity.

During my time in France, I found that the French have a healthier relationship with food than Americans do, enjoying sugar and fat without worry, but in smaller quantities and healthier forms.

I also found they have a much more relaxed outlook on life and a healthier work life balance, and this has greatly influenced my own approach to life.

Non-Toxic and Natural

Environmental health in an underlying foundation of all my decisions.

I learned about these issues by studying at the Building Biology Institute over a five year period. I am certified as a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, and worked for several years offering environmental home inspections and guidance.

I am not currently practicing this profession because of my remote location, but my training informs my decision making from small things, such as questions about what a garden hose is made of, to larger decisions such as the best use of solar panels.

We cultivate a non-toxic, low-EMF lifestyle.

Mystery Maladies

For over a decade and a half I have dealt with mystery maladies that I have only recently started to fully understand – emphasis on the word “started.”

My studies in Building Biology led me to understand that I have both chemical and electromagnetic sensitivities, which are easy to manage at home. Understanding these sensitivities and knowing how to accommodate them increased my quality of life dramatically.

More recently, damage to my gut microbiome caused me to develop more than one food chemical intolerance, greatly reducing the diversity of foods I can tolerate, and thus, the manner in which I garden, and even the amount of exertion I’m comfortable with on a hike.

I am currently coping with a bevy of food related health issues, including histamine intolerance, SIBO, salicylate sensitivity, candida, sulfur sensitivity, and secondary hyperoxularia, also known as”oxalate overload.”

I’m not going to lie, this is a huge struggle.

I share my experiences with these issues here in part because it’s therapeutic, but primarily to help others who may be dealing with the same issues and looking for answers.

If I provide a piece of the puzzle for one other person’s personal health journey, I’ll be happy.

Is Nature the Answer?

I continue to think that yes it is. Understanding the workings of nature, whether in one’s gut microbiome, one’s genetics, or one’s eco-system, I think can bring great healing and relief.

Through Hearthwilde, I hope to explore these many different facets of the natural world and bring them to your attention as a means of entertainment, assistance, or inspiration.

Thanks for being here with me.

Updated April 25, 2022.

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