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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127 thoughts on “About Lady Lee”

  1. Hi Lee,
    Your story is impressive.

    I would like to purchase some some Muscovy ducks if you sell them. We are located near Dillard Georgia so I suspect we are not too far away from you. We have 53 acres with two ponds and lots of springs. . We are planning on free ranging the ducks and think they would be perfect for the property.

    If you don’t sell ducks, can you recommend a place to purchase them?

    Many thanks!


    1. I don’t sell them. I’m not sure if they are sold online… I’ve never seen them in a hatchery website…
      I would join a homesteading group or two on Facebook and post there. Someone around you must have them.

  2. As a single parent of 4 I can understand something of your life! At one time they were on 4 different basketball teams and none had a driver’s license yet. Then I learned that it takes a village to raise a child. Other parents were happy to help out.
    I wish you the best!

    1. That’s the stage I am in right now. They all have a ton of activities but I just made peace with the fact that I will be running around for a few years. I prefer that than them at home in front of a screen all the time.

  3. I have saved 99% of your fermenting recipes. They are wonderful. Your personal story is inspiring and familiar to mine in a number of ways, which I will say has probably made my own journey to build a cabin in the back woods 50 years ago, as difficult yet totally satisfying as yours. At 75, I am still living on those 40 acres of forested land, tho’ now I live with a terrific different husband- who started sharing my dream 10 years after the ‘ex’ left to travel his own path. Over the years, we have grown huge gardens, mostly in large containers (we have no real soil here-just shale), canned or dehydrated most of the crops, cut our own wood for heat, etc. We never had children, since we have never really grown up enough ourselves. For 2 decades we drove a 6 hours round trip, to work in a major city for a few days at a time, to support the homestead, then back home, for days more. He worked as a cabinet maker and I cleaned houses. It’s amazing how the love of a piece of land, houses you build from the ground up with your own hands and a garden you tend for 7 months of the year–can give life and hope and meaning to you every day. Add in a few kids, like you have, and all the work and trials and tribulations will fade away by the time you are all older. Keep the dream alive and work hard- you will be rewarded! And thank you for sharing your knowledge, that even an old dog like me can still learn a few new tricks from.

    1. You made me cry! Thank you so much for the encouragement and that you so much for sharing your story with me! It’s amazing and inspiring <3

  4. I am studying the evolutionary basis of anatomical differences between guineafowls in different parts of Africa.

    Can you tell me where the photograph published in Pintrest under the title
    Guineafowls Pro and Con
    was taken?

  5. Gregory Browning

    Hi! What an amazing story, woman and mother you must be!
    I live in a small town in Kentucky that isn’t far from The Natural Bridge State Park nestled in the hills of Powell County off of the Mountain Parkway. Here I live on a small lot and I’m purchasing a neighboring lot that I can place a garden and, hopefully, some fruit trees. I have a small garden that I just started growing this year…green beans, sweet corn, summer squash, zucchini, three different types of tomatoes, beets and bell peppers. With the other lot, of course, I can grow more.
    I once had two different large breeds of chickens which are dual purpose…meat, eggs, fertilizer, ect.
    I plan on raising more after my finances are in order.
    I love the Kibbutz way of sharing everything with everyone in their community. It reminds a lot of the Amish here in America. People here, out in the country, once did things similar… neighbors helped neighbors…what one didn’t have another would provide, and so on.
    It’s shameful that we as Americans, for the most part, have drifted away from this lifestyle. Now, it’s everyone for themselves, except for, in certain situations, community gardens. They need one here. It would be so beneficial to many whom can not grow vegetables in their immediate yards or housing projects.
    I seen a photo once in Switzerland. It was a small community, but, every house in that community had a garden in the front yard. I thought how amazing that was.
    With rising gas prices and food prices, people need to, as you say,”Think outside the box,” and start growing much of their own foods.
    I’m a YouTube surfer…I surf a lot of numerous topics that I’m interested in…gardening being one of those. I’ve viewed how one can grow a lot of veggies in a small space, from raised beds to hanging gardens. It’s very interesting to me.
    Hunting, gathering and agriculture has been around for 1000’s of years. It’s only be until recently that we have become a nation dependant on fast food and grocery stores. What happens if you can’t get anything from either? You can’t eat grass. Well, you could but I wouldn’t advise anyone to solely live on it. It may be okay for cattle, but, the last time I checked, humans aren’t cattle. Although, we may be herding as such, treated as such and lead around like sheep.
    This is one reason I got into self preservation…survival techniques and tools. I have felt led to do this long before this administration took office. It’s like I have been driven to do it. I believe everyone should have a survival plan in place just in case of emergency situations.
    I was a OTR truck driver for 18 years. I had a ” get home bag” long before someone thought it up. Yet, I don’t like being called a “doomsday prepper”…to me, it’s just good common sense. Out in Utah, a large religious group, teaches their children to always be prepared for anything. There is even stores where they can buy what they need in a survival scenario…smart.
    At any rate, I loved your story. I apologize for my ranting about things that I’m sure you are very much aware of.
    You must be a very strong person as a single mother with 4 beautiful daughters. I realize that, in these days and times, isn’t easy and it’s a lot of work and patience on your behalf.
    I always wanted to visit Israel and Egypt. I’m fascinated by the history and culture of both countries…Israel the most since we wouldn’t have our faith as Christians without the Hebrew faith. I’m a firm believer in that we, as a nation, need to stand with and support Israel always…no matter the cost…the alternative if we don’t is far worse than if we do!!! I love the Hebrew people!
    I had a Jewish attorney some time ago up in Detroit whom helped me tremendously out of a situation that could have landed me in prison. He took me out to eat with himself and two other colleagues. He looked at me, after some conversation with the others, and said,” I ask them if I’ve ever took a client out to eat with me before. In the 10 years you have known me(while looking at the other two)have I ever takena client out to eat?” They both said,” No, never!” This, of course, made me feel really good inside and it made me admire him even more, not just as an attorney, but, as another human being. I have the greatest respect for all Jews.
    This leads me to another story with him. We were walking to his car after one of the many appearances. What I did was wrong but what the other guy did was just as wrong…he was from Michigan and I wasn’t. Anyhow, Sanford looked at me and with a grin on his face said,”I tell ya one thing Greg…you were very brave.” I then replied in turn,”There’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity!” This made him laugh.
    I still, to this day, hold him in high regard.
    Thank you for reading my message.
    I hope to read your correspondence.
    I hope this doesn’t offend you. It isn’t intended for that purpose. It is my prayer to you and your daughters:
    May our Heavenly Father keep you within His hands that no man should ever pluck you out. And may He, through His Holy Spirit, lead guide and direct you always in all things in Jesus’ Holy Precious name! Amen and Amen

    1. This doesn’t offend me at all!
      Thanks for sharing this with me.
      I don’t consider myself a prepper either. These are all important skill and ones that I truly love learning.
      Communities are important. Here, in central NC, where I live, I have really good neighbors. We try to take care of each other and it makes all the difference. Makes life much more fun and easy.
      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find useful information here!

  6. I loved reading your story! Our family supports and loves Israel and the people of Israel. A Google search about purple sweet potatoes brought me to your blog. Thank you for sharing so much valuable info and resources. I hope to be a regular around here now. 🙂
    Kindest regards, Belinda

  7. Lee Traister Liron, Thank you for your article on deer fencing. I live on 10 acres in Berlin Ohio. (It is the largest grouping of Amish in the United States) The deer have been a major nuisance for some time.

    Here is my question: How long ago did you put up the fence and has it been a good long term solution? I have planted many fruit trees and have hung old sox filled with Irish Spring soap and a handful of human hair. That works pretty good but sometimes I think they get used to the smell or they just decide to munch on the trees anyhow.

    1. I had this fence up for three years or so before I took it down because I moved my garden.
      It worked very well for the three years that it was up.
      The secrete is to not hang anything on the fishing line… They can’t see it and get spooked if it touches them at night.
      At the beginning, I had to replace the line often because they’ll touch it and I’ll find it broken in the morning.
      At some point, it seems like they learned to walk around the field and not in the middle.

  8. Kia ora Lee. I was looking for videos on how to freeze spinach and I have just listened to your video about your patties. When I looked them up on you tube I found your blog and have just read about your life. Thank you for sharing your story and connecting with others. I live in Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. I moved north here nearly a year ago to live with my new partner after living in Dunedin for over 30 years. I am a single mother, one daughter, she is now 18. I was teaching Art at the same school for 22 years. Now I live on a sheep and cattle farm. We have a huge garden and lots of fruit trees. I want to preserve and freeze what I can. I am now following you on Instagram and look forward to learning more from you. The garlic planting video was especially inspiring. Thanks again for sharing your techniques.

  9. Would you be willing to rent me a room in return for my free labor? And by that I mean I’ll pay rent and provide free labor.
    I’m recently divorced, living in chicago (the urban environment has chipped away at my soul so I could relate to your feelings…though I wish I had the insight to recognize its damage when I was younger:), I love animals and always dreamed of a small farm. My son is off at college now and I’m ready to move on to the next chapter but don’t have the gumption you do to try something like that on my own. My dad fought in the war of independence in Israel so I have a special interest in others who love the country too. I realize this may seem like a strange ask but thought I’d try. I’m a civil engineer by education (though it’s been awhile since I worked in that field) and owner of a marketing/graphic design business for over 20 years, which I could continue or try something else. Let me know your thoughts. Feels very odd to post as a comment but couldn’t email you privately…..

  10. Hi

    This was lovely to read. I was wondering if it would be ok if I used your image of the basket weaving in a seminar I’m doing on mental health, trauma and substance use?


    1. Totally ok. I’d appreciate it if you credit the image back to me so if someone wants to find out more they know where to go. Thanks!

  11. Hello, MS Lee,
    Thanks for the stokes purple potato growing information. I would like to grow stokes potato in my garden in Maryland. Is there any way I would be able to buy the slips from you or if you know who is selling the stokes purple sweet potato slips? Please let me know.
    Abu Khan

  12. Hello Lee,
    I have enjoyed your website and your story. I am using your persimmon recipe to can jam today… can’t wait. I live in rural NC with wild persimmon trees.
    I know your travels in life has been rough but the life lessons you have learned has made u a strong woman, mother, daughter, partner.
    If you can’t move back home, then maybe your parents could come here one day. You have beautiful children. I pray all the best for your family. Take care and God bless you.

  13. I love that you love agriculture and raising your children in the country. I know personally that growing vegetables, as we do in our small garden, brings a lot of satisfaction but also a lot of work with preserving the food, etc. I hope you realize your dream of returning to your native country Of Israel and taking care of your parents. Meanwhile, thank you for sharing all of your recipes and your story! It is fascinating.

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