I have spent a lot of time the past few months traveling around Maine to promote my new book, So You Want to Be a Modern Homesteader?. This has been a humbling and exciting experience on many fronts.
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at local libraries. I was homeschooled and a book-lover, and when I wasn’t voraciously consuming every animal book I could find, I was writing out my own stories about animals both fantasy and from my own home. My mom put a few of these books together with covers and official chapter lists, and some of those local libraries were kind enough to put them on their shelves. So when asked how it was that I started writing, I think it is safe to say that I got that bug early on.
One of these first books was ‘Feather’s Kingdom’, which is a story about the lives of the flock of hens my family had. There was Feather, Favorcy (my favorite), Bravery, Sir Lancealot (sic), and many more (my favorite genre besides animal books was fantasy books). I was obsessed with our flock and would spend many hours just sitting in the chicken coop, observing their behavior. And the adults around me enthusiastically encouraged my book-writing, and every librarian I met was kind and generous with their feedback on my books.
That kindness and generosity, I’m sure, helped my confidence when it came to writing as an adult. And now I am fortunate enough to be traveling around to many of those same libraries to talk about my books.
The other aspect of speaking locally is the wide variety of audiences and the excellent questions I receive. Maine is full of eager residents with an enthusiasm for homesteading. Unlike many places where living off the land might be considered “weird” or even “dirty”, Maine is used to being a destination for back-to-the-landers. The Nearings farmed here, Elliott Coleman is still an icon for us, and we are home to places like Johnny’s Seeds and Fedco Seeds, and we have organizations like the Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardiner’s Association. Suffice to say, we are homesteader friendly.
The attendees at my talks seem to fall into three broad categories. There are older folk who have lived rurally most of their lives and are excited to see a new generation making the leap. There are, of course, the people in my generation who are considering such a move. And there’s often also a kid or two with questions about chickens (the ‘gateway farm animal’), eagerly asking questions and trying to convince their parent(s) to get some chickens.
There are always questions I’ve never heard before, usually one that stumps me and I have to go do some research on after the talk, and always a particular animal that grabs the interest of the group (most frequently, it must be said, guinea fowl). Linked to the Homestead Blog Hop and Dishing It & Digging It Blog Hop.
If you’d like to see me speak about my new book, I’ll be in Rockland, Maine at the library on May 7 at 6:30pm, and in Bar Harbor, Maine at the library on May 16. I am also thrilled to say I’ll be signing books at the Maine Open Farm Day, July 28, at the Good Life Center in Harborside, Maine. The full schedule is under ‘Events + Contact’ in the menu, and I look forward to adding more events.
Linked to the Homestead Blog Hop and Dishing It & Digging It Blog Hop.