About Us

About the Homestead

 

Homestead Palmettos

The Mother Earth News…

Mother Earth News 1970Having a passion for growing herbs and vegetables, the inspiration to create a homestead started with reading the 1970 Special Issue of Mother Earth News! Reading through this magazine, cover to cover, I wanted to create a homestead. Also inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing’s book, the Good Life, the Firefox books, and Organic Gardening Magazine, I consequently gave up a suburban lifestyle in south Florida to pursue a homestead in the country…the journey began!


Going up the Country…

Approaching Rum Island from the Santa Fe River
Approaching Rum Island from the Santa Fe River

After reading  The Mother Earth News, I began daydreaming of a homestead in the country.  Living in suburban south Florida in early 1970 on a 75′ x 100′ lot was nice although I wanted something more.  A large mango tree, avocado tree, and grapefruit tree graced the yard and in addition to them, I planted a vegetable and herb garden.  Working as a land surveyor at the time I often traveled throughout North Florida working on different surveying projects.  During these trips, I got my first real glimpse of rural life.  I, therefore, decided to buy land just outside of High Springs,  Florida near the Santa Fe River.  Consequently, I sold the southern Florida home, loaded up my belongings, Blue Tick hounds, and headed up the country.  It was on this 5-acre tract of land at Rum Island Estates where I got my feet wet and hands dirty growing fruits, vegetables, raising worms and chickens.


The Homestead Transformation…

With a freezer, dehydrator, and canning equipment I preserved much of the food grown at the Rum Island acreage and bartered the excess for fresh milk and smoked mullet. I learned my organic gardening skills on this initial homestead. This led to teaching organic gardening through the Santa Fe College Community Education System.  During this time,  my attention focused on Herbs. After selling the first homestead I moved to the small rural town of Melrose, Fl. There, I transformed a 1.25-acre cow pasture, into a beautiful and successful herb nursery…The Herb Garden.

The Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in 2009

For 23 years, the Herb Garden was the source for fresh, quality herbs throughout North Central Florida. As a result, the popular book, Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens features The Herb Garden.

Knowing about herbs provided me an opportunity to speak to Garden Clubs, Women’s Clubs, and school kids. I taught classes on various aspects of growing herbs, cooking with herbs, and making medicinal preparations. Now retired, my partner Donna, and I presently live on a 1.4-acre homestead that we call Tranquilla Cove Homestead.  We are avid kayakers and I created a blog Florida Paddle Notes to log our many adventures. We are working toward a sustainable lifestyle growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables and raising chickens…always a work in progress!

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