The Road to Homefire

“Knowledge is not obtained exclusively with our brains; it is gained through our hearts and by reconnecting to life, a source of wisdom. Makers of things are in a position to understand and change the world.” Wendy Jehanara Tremayne, The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living

IMG_9550It’s been four years since I started this blog to document our journey of living with less waste, and more joy. What began with a four month plastic fast became an immersion in life-learning, skill growing, community building, culture reclaiming, and creative, imaginative living.

I like to think of those years as my PhD program in homemaking, which I define as the making of a life, a family, and a community in balance with its home-place. It has also been a nifty capitalism recovery program.

IMG_9671When I set out on this road, I had instincts and good intentions and not much of a clue. I couldn’t imagine ever being able to make wool long underwear for my kids without a pattern, or growing a garden all winter long, or for that matter going a few months without plastic. Truth is, I often struggled to place my personal revolution into a broader movement for change (but mostly because I over think everything).

Fortunately, I have not walked alone. There is the internet, of course, which has been the stand-in for a capable great grandmother and conscious collective. There is my husband, with his true-north moral compass. And there are my motherkin, the friends reclaiming skills and knowledge and connection in their own beautiful ways.


Together, we have helped each other trust that the work we were doing in our homes would ripple out, would be a force of change in our community. And lately (by which I mean over the last two years), we’ve been looking up from our children and canning pots and gardens and jobs and around at each other and the world to see where we might direct our creativity and skills next.


With a half-dozen children underfoot at “meetings,” over late night phone calls and many cups of tea, a handful of us began shifting our work of reclaiming skills and lifeways into that of rebuilding a community that reflects those values.  Just as cooking leads to gardening leads to preserving, manifesting change on a (teeny tiny bit) larger scale is the logical next step for us. We created the Santa Fe Harvest Swap, which just held its second glorious exchange. Incredibly, we have a website, and on November 10th we will host a whole new venture we are calling the “Homefire Retreat,” a day of workshops meant to inspire, empower, and connect us more deeply to ourselves, our community, and our commitment to the earth.

I hope you come to the retreat if you can, or start something like it in the place you call home. Something as simple as a few friends skill-sharing while the kids play, or as complex as a week-long regional gathering (I do like to dream).


Let’s celebrate our individual journeys by stitching our work of reclaiming and rebuilding into a big crazy-quilt that encompasses our diverse lives. Let’s get together for a quilting bee, if you will, and put our bits together into something whole. And then call the beauty that comes of it our dissertations, our revolution, our world.


PS, go ahead and read Shannon Hayes article on the three R’s of Radical Homemaking: Renouncing, Reclaiming, and Rebuilding. It has been a helpful guidepost to me along the way, and I gratefully acknowledge her language and ideas borrowed here.

10 Replies to “The Road to Homefire”

  1. Homefire sounds wonderful – I wish I wasn’t halfway across the country!
    I’m curious, in your journey so far, how you’ve managed to connect with other women who are walking a similar path? I struggle with not yet finding others in my area who are going the radical homemaking route. I love the idea of your radical homemakers of NM group, and the idea of starting something along the same lines in my area, but I have no idea, really, how to go about finding like-minded women.
    Best wishes to you as you keep walking your path, and for Homefire! ~Annie

  2. Hi Annie,
    Great question! My answer is turning into a blog post that with luck I’ll publish soon. The short version is this: follow your bliss, deepen your existing friendships, and be patient as you move in the direction of your dreams. All best!

  3. I just found your blog and I’m so happy I did. The Homefire Retreat sounds absolutely fantastic. I hope you and the organizers and the participants have a wonderful day. I really look forward to the next one because I am so very much going to come.

    I’d been hoping to find likeminded people in New Mexico and it looks like I have. I’m just starting this crazy ride towards a more self-reliant/ self-sufficient life and I hope to learn a lot from you and your fellow “Radicals”.

    Looking forward to it… And the next retreat!

  4. Kyce,

    I felt the need to “drink” this blog twice – it has such powerful medicine, in that I feel so joyous reading it – recognizing the “return-to-home” feeling and the beautiful sense of kinship that is here.

    Thank you for your journey and for holding fast – sharing that which is of your heart and of us all.

  5. Lovely Kyce,
    Letting the light of our own homefire shine out beyond our own home and land has always been challenging for me. It is comforting to know that there are people like you who have that gift. Maybe someday, for me. In the meantime, I will keep on hoping that embers find their way out…through the web and people visiting.

    Lisa and I shared a phone conversation a few days ago and I told her how happy I am that our paths have crossed.


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