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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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! 😉