There are four of us here at Whistle Pig Hollow, myself (Ashley), my husband Decker, our little boy, Bridger, who is three, and our baby girl Quill.
In late 2010 we rented a small farmhouse on nearly 13 acres in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, a little bit south of Nashville. What started as a vague declaration to live “intentionally” and an innocent purchase of heirloom seeds quickly snowballed into raising our own food and ultimately transformed us on so many levels. As time has passed we’ve become fully immersed in traditional foods, gardening, raising our own meat, eggs, and dairy, and sourcing anything we don’t grow from local producers. We’re passionate about nourishing our bodies with real food, respecting the environment, loving our animals, growing in our faith, and living with less.
To be honest, I never saw this lifestyle coming. But I should have.
I was born and raised on the Mississippi gulf coast, within a two hour radius of every member of our extended family, twice removed, on both sides. On Sundays after church, the entire town loaded into their boats and relocated several miles off shore to Horn Island, one of Mississippi’s barrier islands, to enjoy fried chicken, the beautiful water, and each other’s company. When you grow up in a place like Ocean Springs, it’s hard not to love the outdoors, the environment, and the water, and it’s even harder not to share that love. So when I was 15 I began volunteering at “Sea Camp,” a children’s educational summer camp held at the late local aquarium (it was reunited with the sea during hurricane Katrina), and proceeded to work at Sea Camp every summer throughout high school. When I headed off to college, then, it only made sense to combine my favorite subject- math- with my love of nature. So I majored in geological engineering and went on to get a master’s in hydrology (groundwater). I spent several years in grad school writing and teaching science curriculum for local elementary and middle schools as part of a National Science Foundation funded project. I loved it all- the math, the earth science, the teaching. I went on to work as an engineer in both the public and private sector before leaving my career to stay home with our first child, Bridger.
Interestingly, or maybe predictably, I slowly found myself filling my new found “free time” with the same things I’d always filled my time with- the outdoors, the environment, and teaching. Add in my love of learning and my desire to feed my baby healthy food, and I suppose it’s no wonder I’ve become ridiculously passionate about the state of our current food system- and how desperately broken it is. Serendipitously, my husband was on a different paragraph of the same page, learning about the farming style of Joel Salatin and his message of not only opting out of the broken system, but reinventing it. And so we decided to no longer contribute our dollars to things we are fundamentally opposed to, and instead began the lifelong process of learning to raise our own food, buy local, and live with less.
From the beginning of our homesteading journey, I felt that old familiar draw share the things I was learning, so I started my blog to document, teach (often from our mistakes), and inspire others with similar passions.
My desire is to share my knowledge and experience with you, to encourage and empower you to eat local and grow your own food, to opt out of the “big food” system whenever possible, to nourish your bodies with truly healthy food. Whether it’s an herb garden in your window sill, a weekly CSA box from your local farmer, keeping backyard chickens, or starting a full blown homestead, every little thing matters. Come with me, my friends. Let’s be the change.
Disclosure: I (Ashley) am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.