I am wife to Stewart, mama of four, homeschooler, homebirther, home cook, fermenter, head dish-washer and chief fire-puter-outer. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
766 articles written by Shannon


Every growing year has started out the same for us here on the homestead – we plant perennials. Much of these have been fruit and nut trees and bushes while others have served other functions, like bamboo around the pond or nitrogen-fixing bushes on the front side of swales. IMG_5552

Every year we plant a little more, taking stock of what survived last year and what seems to do well in our climate. Last year we were all excited about the jujube and how well it stood up to the summer heat. Figs, pears, and peaches are also holding up and so we stick with some of what we know has worked in the past. IMG_5558But it’s hard to not get excited about southern apple varieties, nectarines, and apricots; so those find their way into the mix as well.



Our first order arrived from Legg Creek Farm recently. It showed up unexpectedly early so the boys were eager to help with the unforeseen hole-digging that day. I am often shocked at how much physical labor a six and eight year old can accomplish when they are excited about it. And they were most definitely excited about it.

Many of these new trees are being planted before the food forest, expanding it towards the pallet garden, chicken coop, and chicken field.



Each of the children got to pick out a couple of trees this year and when I wandered out with Ruthie to see how things were going, the excitement was palpable. They told me about the varieties they chose and which aspects they were helping out with. The sun was getting low, supper was cooking, and I had sourdough bread rising so I only caught a few minutes of the action.

IMG_5665 IMG_5667

From what I could tell, I think everyone was happy to get their hands (and faces) dirty as planting begins in earnest.

Oh, and I hear another order from Burnt Ridge Nursery is on its way… something about strawberries and crab apples has got the crew all riled up.

saraforestwyfeWe are pretty picky about the ads we allow on Nourishing Days. We’ve turned down lots of ad networks that will not give us control over specific ads that will show. So when people want to advertise on our site that offer truly unique and natural products we get excited about giving them their opportunity to share what they do. So please join us in welcoming Sara of Forest Wyfe Herbals for a brief interview.


Shannon: You say on your site something that really rings true to me – you can find all sorts of opinions on herbs and essential oils all over the internet. As well as having a background in biology and nutrition, you are a trained Clinical Herbalist. Can explain what that means and how all aspects of your education have come together in your work at Forest Wyfe Herbals?

Sara: A clinical herbalist is someone who dedicates their life to working with medicinal plants and acts as a bridge between plants and people by sharing their passion for, and knowledge of, herbs. There isn’t a licensure process for herbalists, so I can’t legally diagnose or treat disease. Instead, I walk with people in their pursuit of vibrant health, entering into their stories in what I hope is a profound and meaningful way. My background in biology and nutrition has provided a firm evidence-based foundation for my herbal practice and all of these things – biology, nutrition, and herbalism – coalesce in my work. All of our products are grounded in clinical research and are formulated to be effective and nourishing, while also being rooted in the idea that beauty calls us back to well being and aids in healing.

Shannon: Your body care products like lip balm and eczema cream are made with a base of pasture-raised lard. While I’m personally pretty excited about the sustainability aspects of that, can you explain to us what drew you to using lard as the fat-base in your products, as opposed to the more common olive and coconut oils?

Sara: I wanted to create skin care products that were deeply nourishing to both individuals and the community – an invitation back to wholeness and health. Rich in nutrients (like the ever elusive vitamin D), pasture raised lard sadly languishes in the freezers at most of our local farms. Using pasture-raised lard in our products supports the families and friends that labor to raise our food, which pours into the health of us all. Beyond sustainability, I believe that pasture-raised lard deserves a hallowed place in the pantheon of high-quality oils and butters. It’s a nutrient-dense oil that softens the skin, doesn’t clog pores and slides easily over the skin – making lard a better carrier for essential oils and potent herbal formulas than other oils – so while I use other oils when they’re appropriate, pasture-raised lard forms the base for most of our products.


Shannon: In your bio you say: “I learned that herbs speak a biochemical language our body hears and understands.” I find this to be a profound statement and one that parallels the principle of the bio-availability of micro and macro nutrients we find in real food. That is, these plants and animals are familiar to our body’s design and therefore we are able to utilize them in an exponentially more effective way than something that was synthesized in a lab. Can you give some background on how you came to that conclusion and how that shapes the products at Forest Wyfe Herbals?

Sara: As I was studying the complex, elegant beauty of phytochemistry in college, I became convinced that nature creates things we may never be able to fully understand, much less replicate in a lab. Even simple weeds are heart-stoppingly complex, containing thousands of different chemical constituents that synergistically balance one another to give us our plant medicines. That complexity protects us and offers us the vibrant health so many of us are searching for. That complexity also explains why prescription drugs (taken appropriately) are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, but adverse reactions to herbs are incredibly rare. When I formulate products, I’m using whole herbs, with all their startling array of phytochemicals and nutrients, to nourish whole people, who also abound in their own complexities. In pairing people and plants with our products, we are building relationships that support the health of people and their larger environment. That makes my work at Forest Wyfe Herbals very satisfying!

You can learn more about Sara’s products and what she does at