Hi–I’m Lyanda Lynn Haupt, mother of Claire, wife of Tom (who blogs at Bikejuju), and a nature writer based in Seattle. Though my latest book, Crow Planet, celebrates urban nature, I never meant to live in a city. As a young, tree-hugging, earth-mother-to-be, I was sure I would end up in some funky cabin-esque home, surrounded by meadows and woodlands, frolicking barefoot with my daughter as the bell on our cow tinkled. That’s not at all what happened. My husband Tom and I settled in Seattle where I worked for an environmental organization, and he worked in global health for the University of Washington. I birthed the presaged girl, cut back my work hours, and wrote my first book from our tiny house during Claire’s naps. To stave off latent cow yearnings, we installed a backyard chicken coop with four beautiful laying hens, and grew a huge garden.
A couple of years ago we bought a bigger house, a 1920s restored farmhouse, surrounded by the smaller houses that grew up around it in the 1940s. I began to grasp the fact that a rural childhood for my daughter (who is now ten) was not looking likely. One day, during one of my whiny-crying fits over this realization, Tom asked, “What would you really do differently if we lived out of the city? I mean, I know you want space, and quiet, but what else? How would you spend your days?” I told him that I wanted to knit, and bake bread, and garden, and make jam. “Um, honey…” he said, clearly confused, “You already knit and bake bread and garden and make jam. Hell, you even sew Claire’s pajamas.“ “Yes, but I want to do more.” “So do more.” I could almost hear the unspoken, “Duh.”
So that’s what we’re doing. And in experimenting with ways to grow an artful, sustaining, urban home, we are in terrific company. All over the country, even in the most densely urban places, families and individuals are acting upon a deeply rooted impulse to produce a part of their household’s sustenance. Clearly it’s not just about “making more jam.” It’s about cultivating habits within our homes and communities that are authentic, joyful, local, life-giving, and—above all—practical.
I consider such practices to be of-a-piece with an ecological sensibility, bringing our lives into a lovely continuity with the wilder, more-than-human world.
At The Tangled Nest, we’ll explore radical home economics, “urban homesteading,” and our relationship with close-to-home wild nature through projects, musings, news, reviews, adventures and misadventures. I hope you’ll join us, leave a comment, share your thoughts…
For more about The Tangled Nest philosophy, see my first post–Home Restoration, Phase II.
Click on the covers below to learn more about my books, including Crow Planet, my newest book.