Well, hello there! My name is Lee Traister, a.k.a Lady Lee, I help homesteaders like you simplify their homesteading journey while still producing a ton of food!

If you are drawn to this “simple” lifestyle… If you desire to learn how to grow your own food, raise farm animals, make soap and cheese…

If you want to learn how to do those things in a simple, non-overwhelming way that still allows you to “have a life” (a.k.a not be completely consumed by the homestead), you are in the right place. 

Take it from a single mother of four who is a business owner and also likes camping, traveling, restaurants, and spending time playing cards with her kids… Homesteading doesn’t have to consume you. It actually can be pretty simple! 

I was born in Israel and raised in a small agricultural community called a kibbutz, where everything was grown, made and shared. I still believe in the power of a community!

These days my community is in Central NC, where I grow as much food as I can and share both what I grow and information on how I grow it.  


My Story…

My name isn’t really Lee… My real, Israeli name is Liron, but it’s hard to say in English so everyone calls me Lee.

I was born in a small city in northern Israel, but honestly don’t remember much of my childhood before the second grade…

At the age of 6, I announced to my parents that I was not going back to public school.

I could not stand being closed in a building even back then. My parents had to look for an alternative and found a small private school in a kibbutz that was accepting “outside” kids (kids whose parents didn’t live in the commune).

A kibbutz is a small agricultural commune where everything is shared…

After a few tests, my brother and I were accepted to this private school and this is where my sweet childhood began…

Riding bikes between classes, having PE lessons in the community pool in the middle of a school day, riding horses, having food fights in the communal dining room, taking naps on huge hay bales, hiding in the communal laundry room between dirty clothes, and raising guinea pigs in the petting zoo are just a few of the memories I have (no memories of math equations whatsoever, LOL).

I grew up surrounded by crop fields and farm animals. And most of my time was spent in the barn with the horses. This lifestyle was just right for me.

Lee in IDF uniforms.

I stayed in the kibbutz all through high school and at the age of eighteen joined the Israeli Defense Forces, which is mandatory in Israel. I was a fitness instructor in the navy for almost two years.

Lee riding a horse.

After my release from the Navy, I held a few jobs around the country, mostly involving horses since I was riding for many years by that time, but finally found myself back in my good old kibbutz.

That was when I met my ex-husband. He was going to school and renting an apartment right next to mine.

We got married a year after we started dating. There were no bells or whistles, only us, our close family, and the Rabbi in a small trailer which was used as the Rabbi’s office.

A couple of months later we decided it was time to check out this America that everyone was talking about. It was also time for me to advance in my riding career (if you asked me back then I would have told you that I was on my way to the Olympics. I lived and breathed horses!) and the US was the place to do that.

My ex-husband flew to California at the end of 2004 so he could start working (we had no money whatsoever) and I joined him two months later with one suitcase and $300 in my pocket. 

We chose California because we had friends there. It was a soft landing, however, I could not find a good place to ride.

I had a friend that was riding horses just outside of Boston so we ended up moving to the Boston suburbs so I could ride.

That was when I found my trainer. She was an Olympic bronze medalist (dressage) and she took me under her wing right away.

When winter gets too cold in the North, horse people move to Florida and so we moved too. I spent months riding in a very high end stable in Florida before I made the decision to take a break.

I was tired of doing all the hard work for all the rich people! Yes, I loved the horses, they are in my blood and forever will be, but I wanted my own farm and my own horses.

I also decided that the sacrifice that I’d need to make in order to get to the Olympics wasn’t worth it for me.

We decided to change things up a little bit and purchased an eighteen-wheeler truck. We wanted to see the U.S… Really see this amazing country. We wanted to drive the back roads and meet all the people in all the small towns.

Towns that a tourist will never find.

So for two years, we traveled 47 states and the east coast of Canada (we were team drivers for FedEx Custom Critical) and it was truly an amazing experience!

Lee's kids with baby goats.

When it was time to start a family, we settled down in NC.

My Ex-husband took a job as a locksmith and we had to get a house in the city so he could respond quickly to emergency calls.

We welcomed Maya in July 2010, Elinor in April of 2012, and Benny in September 2013.

Everything was supposedly good… Except, I once again found myself lost in the city. This was never my place and I had to escape before I suffocated or died of human overload!

In 2013 I found 20 acres of neglected farm land about an hour from were we lived that we could actually afford. We bought it but it wasn’t until 2016 that we moved out to the country.

I found a house right across from the land that was offered for sale for $34,000. We bought it and moved out of the city and I could breathe again!

You can read the story of the house and the land here.

We welcomed Mika in August 2016 just a couple of months after the move.

In June 2018, exactly two years after we moved to the country, I separated from my husband.

Looking back I can see that this relationship was a vehicle provided to me by the universe (call it God if you want) so I could get to where I am and so I can grow into the person I’ve become.

But it was never a healthy relationship and it was time to stop trying to fix it and move on.

So now it’s me and the kids. Here in the country with all the animals and gardens (I kept the farm, YAY!).

Obviously, it’s overwhelming sometimes but I wouldn’t do this any other way. My heart is full, I am so grateful for the people around me (I could not have done this without my amazing neighbors!), and I feel stronger than ever before.

Many people ask me if I would like to move back to Israel. The answer is yes. It’s something that I pray about every day.

This farm is mine and it will forever be, but I believe that just like in the old days, kids should take care of their parents when they get older.

This value is imprinted in me so deep. We should take care of the elderly, period. I would love to be there for my parents. I think that it is my duty and it’s important to me above all else. And of course, I would love for my kids to be able to enjoy their amazing, large family.

However, the courts and my ex-husband don’t seem to share the same values.

Since my ex-husband doesn’t want to move to Israel, I am not able to move our kids there.

So for now, until God decides otherwise, we are here. But we visit often and keep Israel as close to us as possible.

I travel often and share my Israel trips on my Instagram and Facebook pages and I’m amazed at how many people love and appreciate that little country!

There are still many dreams that are in the works! I still want a couple of horses, I still want a working vegetable farm and many other things. One thing at the time and lots of patience… We are moving in the right direction.

The best part for me is that I can share all this agricultural goodness with you here on the blog.

I hope that you’ll find the tutorials helpful and I hope that you’ll stick around at least until the day that I am able to work a field of vegetables with a team of gorgeous draft horses! 😉

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76 thoughts on “About Lady Lee”

  1. You are such a talented person! Smart, funny, resourceful, a good cook, avid camper, awesome mom, a great writer! love you much and miss you, cant wait to meet your munchkins!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I love your journey Liron! I love hearing the stories of others… especially others that have gone through a lot of experiences before settling down on a homestead! We are the same as you… no grandpa teaching us how to homestead – we have to learn it all the hard way ourselves! We will subscribe to your blog for sure!

    1. Since we don’t have said “grandpa” we might be able to save each other some pain by sharing information. Will follow you guys too! Thanks for visiting.

      1. I love your story! I was actually looking up recipes for traditional Jewish recipes when I found your site. It was always my dream to farm and have property. I’m older and never had the opportunity. Did what I could. Homeschooled my 3 boys. Have a garden and clean with essential oils. Loved reading your story!

        1. You did a lot! I miss homeschooling my kids but I also enjoy the time by myself to work on what I love. I hope you follow on social media. I try to share as much as I can from Israel every time we go to visit.
          Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

    2. Agreed Alyssa! No grandpa. It’s sad really, because we have to dig to find so much “lost” information, but maybe it is a good thing, because we aren’t stuck with methods that are possibly ineffective or not as healthy, and we are willing to try new things. It’s a blessing to have other like-minded people to share information with!

  3. I love your website. So inspiring. I also have a passion for gardening and love the idea of some day to have a farm. God Bless. Marta

  4. God bless you and your beautiful family! You guys are a success story already! Following your blog! I shall enjoy reading about your adventure in farming!

  5. I found you thru a link to your Challah bread recipe posted by Laurie at Common Sense Homesteading. The braiding techniques you demonstrated really piqued my interest, as did the recipe! I’ve been using a much more crude approach to braiding rolls prior to discovering this, and I’m looking forward to trying yours. My first batch of Challah dough is twisted & rising, even as I type this… (I’m gonna need a bit more practice making more evenly rolled “snakes”.)

    I really like your writing style, and can appreciate the path that led you to getting your own farm. It was a long road for me, as well. I look forward to your posts!

  6. Chanaka Gayashan

    Hi Mom, Actually it was a great journey. When I read your story I feel some motivation. You are great mom, great wife and nice friendly woman. Triple gem bless you mom and wish you a successful future. I am chanaka from Sri Lanka.

  7. Lee, what an inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am looking forward to learning from you, since I, too, am a first time gardener.

  8. Liron,
    Love your story!

    We are in similar situations but I am approaching it form a different direction. I realize you love farming where I look at it as a necessary evil to survive in the future. (I Have no faith that any politicians can avoid the major crash depression or worse we have coming.) When it came to strong food I didn’t want to start a second job or rotating stock as things got close to the eat-by-date but about then I stumbled into the fact that wheat, properly stored can keep 99% of it’s nutrition for >30 years. I can handle that rotation schedule. But, that meant that I needed to learn to work with wheat berries. I shopped very hard and bought a wonder Jr flour mill. Then I needed to find wheat at a good price. This was a bit of a search but I finally learned that a friend of mine that had horses had a husband that had 80 acres of wheat in the field. We struck a deal, I would provide the plastic buckets, he would fill them at the combine and I would get wheat at his avoided cost. I have found a bread recipe that makes 100 whole wheat bread and have been having a great time learning. I made it a point to share much of what I made with their wheat with them and have developed quite a friend. They laugh as they say they are always interested see what I come up with next. This week they had a small field of oats so I now have tow 5 gal buckets of oats. They came straight from the combine so they still have the very substantial hull on the seed (groat). I am still trying to find a manual method to de-hull it. I did something similar to what you did with the buckwheat but fear I am losing to much with the separation of the fines (flour?) and the hulls. I will try to willow this in the near future. I am certain that in the frontier they had a method but can’t find any suggestions. If you know or hear of any I would greatly appreciate you sharing it with me/us.

    You might consider the route I have chosen until you get more land or perfect your farming technique. It would be hell to have a field of wheat and meet all the the people I did that told me that you have to mix whole wheat flour with store bought flour to get acceptable bread. My fear is to have a bunch of stuff stored up for the disaster days and not know how to use it. With my manual Wonder Jr mill I have made flour meal out of wheat, corn, and soybeans. Lots of exercise and lots of fun.

    I know only two others from Israel, Bridget Gabril and Carolin Glic. You are in very good company.

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Jay. Sounds like you have a good plan going. I wish to be more self-sufficient one day and be able to grow more of my food, including wheat. I only tried buckwheat and I wasn’t successful in producing flour from it. I’ll try again in the future.

  9. Hi! I was reading your post on Aloe Vera and noted you lived in NC. What part of the state are you in? Since our wonderful state can vary so greatly, I became curious (thinking gardening here). I’m in Eastern NC myself. Our weather here in ENC can change drastically week to week, if not day to day, literally. Haha! I’ve really enjoyed reading your story! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, Heather!
      I am happy you liked the post. We are in Rougemont, NC. I honestly can’t keep up with the weather anymore. One week we are in the 30s and the next in the 60s. We are starting to farm for market in a couple of weeks so we should really start to follow the weather more closely… Not that there is too much we can do about it.

  10. Angela R Marino

    You are a treasure Lee! I find your blog so refreshing and funny. I love your story and am going to enjoy learning many things from you!

  11. Welcome to Person County! I saw Jason’s Facebook post about your butternut squash for the Farm to Fork dinner in September. Wonderful!
    Again – welcome!

  12. I can’t seem to find a place to contact you directly but in your drop down blog categories animal is spelled incorrectly 🙂 Feel free to edit or delete this post.

    Shalom

  13. Hi! You’re a great story teller! I just read your story and couldn’t put it down. I’m Kenyan and looking to learn from you guys’ homesteading. My kids are all grown up. I’m looking to grow a lot of my own stuff like, apples, strawberries, pears, vegetables and more. Please allow me to follow you

    1. Welcome, Maurica! I think that where you live you can probably grow things year round, right? It will be a great place to grow food!

  14. You have had a very interesting life and a wonderful story to tell. I am grateful I stumbled onto your site! You’ve got some really great articles. Thank you for sharing!

    Oh, did you do a follow up on your old plum trees? I’ve got a couple of old ones here I am thinking of chopping down and starting all over 🙁

    1. I didn’t. I mentioned it in the pruning fruit trees post. What happened with this one is that my husband ended up building a tree house on it for the kids. So he cut a good portion of it and I honestly didn’t know how to go about fixing the rest so I decided to let it be for now and concentrate on planting a new orchard at the farm. I’ll write about the new trees soon.
      I am happy you are here! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  15. Hi again! I can’t find a contact link to email you, but wanted to let you know that the graphic in your pop up email subscription is only showing the file name, the image is not there. I’d want to know, so I wanted to let you know 🙂

  16. I’m excited to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you
    for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new
    stuff on your web site.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write these kind words!
      As a writer, you hide behind the screen most of the time. Sometimes you are wondering if what you do is actually helping someone. This is such a huge encouragement.
      Thank you!

  17. My husband is 77 years old and to make a long story short, I’ll ask a simple question. What essential oil or essential oil blend should I use to rebuild and strengthen his BONES?

    1. If you’d like to talk on the phone so I can give you more specific information we can schedule a call. Just let me know.

  18. I quite like looking through a post that will make men and women think.

    Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  19. Hey Lee! I just wanted to take a moment and reach out to you and tell you how impressed I am with your amazing story. Not unlike everyone else’s it’s not fairy tale but it’s yours and I love the way you are owning it! I can certainly appreciate that. During my time in the US Navy I spent some time in Haifa. I really enjoyed my time there. So much history and culture. Anyhow, I was the one who posted “Bella!” on your FB profile page. I hope you don’t mind, it was the first thing that popped in my head when I saw your pretty smiling face. Always maintain that positive attitude, enjoy your kiddos and keep living life to the fullest. You are an inspiration to many. Best wishes!

    1. You made my day with this comment! Thank you. Definitely, not a fairy tale, LOL! But I do own it. It made me who I am and I am looking forward for what’s to come.

  20. Wow you are an inspiring lady! Thank you for putting this blog together – I just came across it and found the tomato growing information very useful!

  21. Lady Lee, it was an oversight on my part to forget who you really are. My apologies for that but I have served with UNIFIL in Lebanon and usually vacationed in your country. So it’s no surprise to me that your capabilities are what they are and the results are worthy of commendation. Godspeed and best wishes for more success in your life.

  22. Hi —
    I read you are looking into bees. (I visited your page because I am just starting gardening — I grew my first potatoes this year!! — and am looking into growing sweet potatos.). NC is a great state to learn that skill in because they have highly active state and local bee clubs.

    As you may have learned by now, the best time to start beekeeping is in the spring (Feb/March for SC, your area may be later based on elevation). I think I read right, that you want to do things organically which can be a bit if a challenge with bees but it is possible. It takes more work… but it’s possible. (Quite a few beekeepers are also chicken farmers and chickens LOVE helping eat mite-infected drone brood.) Keep an eye on your pine trees as old, run over thousands of times by a car, pine straw makes great fuel in a smoker.

    Anyway, I have been beekeeping for over 10 years. You gave me great info on sweet potatos so I wanted to return the favor. Unfortunately beekeeping can’t be picked up in a post quite as easily — I’d highly recommend your looking into your state resources if you haven’t already (since beekeeping differs greatly by region, because of differences in pests and diseases, so Youtube can often get you in more trouble than it helps you out of.)

    I also read some good starter books years ago which I could send you as they are just sitting on my bookshelf. Just email me a p.o. box if you are interested and be sure to look up local bee clubs.

    — good luck & happy beekeeping!!

    1. Thanks, Staci! I took a beekeeping course from our local beekeeper’s club a couple of years ago. I decided to go into top-bar beekeeping. I built my own hive (did you read that post?) but still didn’t get my first package of bees. I hope that next year will be my bee year!
      Thanks for the info!

  23. I moved to VB just 2 years ago, from Chicago. Learning how to garden in a different, zone 8after 50 years in zone 4 is quite a challenge. New plants and flowers, different soil, heat. Just renting now and am not doing too much yet. It is so hard not to get my hands dirty. Hoping to own soon, meanwhile I research and work on houseplants! Glad to have found you.

    1. Welcome, Sue! You can grow a lot in containers. If you have a bit of space for them you should definitely consider them. You’ll learn how to balance the long growing season. It is exciting that we can grow so much but on the other hand you learn that you do need a little break at some point in the year. Happy to have you here!

  24. Hi Lady Lee, Your stories are inspiring. I am a single mom of 2 beautiful girls (6 & 8) and live in a small farm in Papua New Guinea (a small Pacific Island Nation north of Australia). I love your stories and your ways of living. Greetings to you all and hope to learn new things from your blog.

    Cheers, Rose.

    1. Hi Rose! Nice to “meet” you and welcome. I really want to visit your part of the world one day! I have a friend who lives in New Zeland but I didn’t get to visit her yet. Maybe one day. Thanks for stopping by.

  25. Rebecca Fitzgerald

    Hi, my name is Becca. I grew up on a 255 acre cattle ranch in a small town in California, called Tehachapi. I relate to your story so much. I want a farm so bad. I miss living that way, “old school.” You are my kind of people.

    1. Welcome, Rebecca! I find that there is a lot you can do on a 1/2 acre lot. But I know what you mean. Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood!

  26. Hi Lee,

    This is a first….My husband and I (in our 70’s) have a small farm…and are trying to teach our grandchildren how to be self sufficient in many ways. One, is how to can milk. Which, is how I came across your web site. Right now we have cattle, chickens (which includes meat birds), horses, dogs and cats…along with many other critters. 😉 We consider ourselves truly blessed…. to be able to live on a farm and have such a freedom. I too homeschooled our youngest son, and which I could have done all 3, however it wasn’t possible at the time.
    You have such a rich heritage…. Thank you for sharing your life and knowledge with us…. My husband and I are living proof that you’re never too old to learn!!
    Blessings, L

  27. Dear Lee,

    I admire your strong, adventurous spirit. Your children are blessed to have a very talented mother. I wanted to suggest the Master Gardeners in your area for any help you need in gardening. They are there for everyone and each area has different growing needs. I’m a Master Gardener in Rhode Island and we are always learning. Look them up on the internet. Also, I’m very fond of University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where there’s a lovely botanical garden. People there are also very helpful and will be able to answer queries you have. I love Israel and was fortunate to visit for the first time this past February. I look forward to going back. God is good and I’m grateful He is leading you on a good, safe path. Bless you.

  28. Thanks for sharing your journey from your childhood in Israel to where you are now it is such heart warming to read. I gré up on a hobby farm (primarily beef, one dairy cow, laying hens, meat birds, pigs, and rabits) and now live in the city and miss the country life. Anyway thanks for sharing.

  29. Hello Lee, You are an amazing woman. I was actually looking for how to de-hull buckwheat at home and landed here. Now I have forgotten all about my buckwheat and reading your blogs ??.
    Thank you for your wonderful writings. I will continue to read them. And so happy to have met you. Regards – Asangla.

    1. I’m so happy that you landed here! My experience with buckwheat was one that I’ll never forget. It was so much fun! I will definitely grow buckwheat again but I think that I might make sure that I have a proper grain mill first 😉

  30. Lady Lee
    Thank for the information you are posting up here for us to learn . But I would like to request you to send the steps of have top, correct and full grained LEATHER,

  31. Your story is so inspiring! Your children are beautiful as are you. I am looking forward to following your blog. My husband and I just moved to a small rural town and are growing and doing as much as we can on the little bit of land we have.
    Good luck with your journey and blessings to you and yours!
    Rebecca

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! And welcome. Good to have you here. You should know that even though I have 20 acres, everything that I do happens pretty much around the house on half an acre. There is a whole lot you can do on a little piece of land!

  32. Greenford William Mafuleka

    Hi, Madam Lee.
    This is Greenford in Zambia. Your children and you get blessed by God. A hard working lady. The four children are also a big God given Blessing. Take care of them, will be your hand tomorrow. I looking forward to learn a lot from you.

  33. Hi I’m starting a soap business and would like a link in where to purchase the oils you use. Terraoils?

  34. I was brought in RI on a peninsula, water on there sides a huge garden ( would plant) I still enjoy to weed and a bay to fish, clamming. Always trying to save money, canning new things and enjoying family. Thank you. So much
    May God keep hold you and your family in his strong hands

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