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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125 thoughts on “About Lady Lee”

  1. thank you so much for sharing your story, and the instructions for canning tomatoes.
    I am one of those people that love your country, yes America is a great place but sometimes
    I wish I could go to your country for a while and be in the country that our is our Lord’s chosen
    people see where he walked. for now He is enough. We will think of you every time we open a jar.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    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!

  6. 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,

  7. 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 😉

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

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