The Eternal and Existential Question – Who am I? Call me Tasha (or Tasha Greer if you know a lot of Tasha’s). In short, I’m a writer, working professional, and Epicurean homesteader focused on enjoyable, sustainable living. Our homestead is in Northwestern North Carolina.
The Epicurean part means that we make our homesteading choices based on evaluations of what will lead to long-term pleasure while (hopefully) causing minimal harm or even helping improve the health and well-being of my fellow global citizens, wildlife, and our shared planet.
In this complicated, interconnected, global world with extremely non-transparent supply chains, it can be hard to figure out the right thing to do. Generally though, aiming to create low-maintenance homestead routines that don’t rely on regular purchases of non-local goods makes it easier.
For example, a one-time purchase of a scythe keeps me fit when I use it. It’s quiet so my neighbors don’t have to hear me run a mower. There are no long-term environmentally-ambiguous inputs. And I look like the grim reaper when I use it.
That’s just one simple example. But choice by choice, we’re finding simpler ways to do the things that used to seem complicated, expensive, and environmentally detrimental. And we’re enjoying life a lot more!
I write all sorts of stuff – fiction, how-to, philosophical meanderings, research-based articles, eBooks on various subjects, and I’ve got a few published full-length non-fiction works — Grow Your Own Spices (2021) and Weed-Free Gardening (Spring 2022).
Grow Your Own Spices is focused on how to grow spices (not herbs) both indoors and outside and in large or small spaces.
Weed-Free Gardening is about recognizing that weeds are one of nature’s tools for environmental restoration and ecosystem maintenance. If you want weeds to go away, you have address the underlying ecological problem or nature will continue sending weeds to do that work. This book helps you do just that.
Of course, it’s also about having fun and creating a beautiful, peace-filled, non-toxic garden without a lot of work!
Additionally, I’m currently editing several novels I’ve written in the realm of ecofiction/fantasy/supernatural — but not dystopian — women’s literature. I hope to find a publishing home for those in the near future.
If you want to support my work, please buy my books! I earn a small royalty for each copy sold. However, buying books doesn’t just help writers like me earn a paycheck, it supports all the people throughout the process including illustrators (like Greta Moore who did my books!), photographers, editors, booksellers, and more. All of us win when you buy books!
Now, if you are wondering about my qualifications… I’m a hodgepodge. Or better yet, you could call me a polyculture person. I approach everything with fascination and curiosity. That has the happy side-effect of quickly making me someone who often gets counted as an expert even when I’ve only been in a field a short time. And it’s allowed me to enjoy success in several fields and have lots of interesting hobbies.
There are some passions that have stuck with me for decades now. For example, I knew I was meant to write the first time I picked up a crayon. I didn’t want to make pictures, I wanted to write words.
Fine cuisine (from the ground up) has been a leading interest since I was a teenager. Herb gardening stole my heart 22 years ago. Production vegetable gardening and mini-orcharding entered the picture 12 years ago. And the Arcadian idea of landscape gardening (including livestock) has consumed me for the past 8 years.
For about 10 years, I was also an avid scuba diver and even interned as a divemaster. That led me to become obsessed with underwater ecosystems. When I got asthma, I transferred my passion for underwater worlds to land-based ecosystems.
I also have a degree in political science. However, an internship on Capitol Hill and a stint at a PAC helped me recognize that politics wasn’t my field. But that hasn’t stopped me from doing lots of research, contemplating political philosophy, and using that as fodder for my writing.
Ultimately, those collective experiences have turned me into the Epicurean homesteader I describe myself as today.
For the last 6 years, I’ve also been the full-time caretaker of my 81 year old dad who has global aphasia, non-functioning short-term memory, plus a history of schizophrenia and identity disorder. Let me tell you — that experience has been a constant source of new learning and expansion of my qualifications as a patient human being.
I also have to tell you that having to carry a flailing, 210 pound man in full scuba gear through heavy waves to become a certified scuba divemaster was great training for lugging my dad around on his bad days! You just never know how past experience might help with present challenges.
I spent 12 years in Intellectual Property Law Administration in Washington, DC. There, I got to work with scientists and engineers who were also lawyers, plus some awesome and intelligent support staff, to pull off miraculous amounts of intricately detailed and complicated work, while having lots of fun! It was some of the best fun of my life and I am looking forward to doing more of that in the future.
I also previously worked in hospitality in Kapalua Maui, in Egypt, and helped start several food related businesses in the DC area. I spent many years immersed in the French and Belgian culinary world (in the US) with regular vacations to France for wine, food, and to visit family and friends. For a short time, I even worked in S.P.A.C.E. (Store planning, Architecture, Construction, and Engineering). Plus, I was a small-scale farmer (poultry processor, nursery, produce, herbs and spices) selling at local markets for a couple years.
I’ve done some traveling, skiing, climbing, hiking, crafting, exploring, reading, and met lots of fascinating people in my journeys. All of this has made me a person of interest… er, I mean a person with a lot of interests! But since I most recently wrote two gardening books, let me give you a bit more detail on what qualified me to write those books.
As you can see from the images above, I love to play in the garden. I’ve been gardening for over 20 years. For the last 8 years, I’ve been doing it on about 1.5 acres (okay maybe more like 2 acres now). I grow a large variety of edible, medicinal, and decorative plants in a lot of different ways.
Much of my gardening is about soil and ecological regeneration. I’ve used targeted applications of organic matter and flocks of ducks, chickens, pigs, and herds of goats for soil improvement. I’ve also strategically encouraged plants other people might call weeds to grow in places not yet ready for cultivation.
Once I improve the soil in an area, then I turn it into a garden “room”. I’ve made 5 rooms so far – The Main Potager (7800 square feet), the Simplestead Test/Play Garden (800 square feet), the Espalier Garden (1200 square feet), the Edible Landscaped Dining Room (2000 square feet), and the Bamboo garden (600 square feet). We also have a mini-vineyard for homemade wine and a few orchard areas plus two largish ponds and several smallish ponds.
I know some people think of gardening at this scale as as work. But for me this is my playground. I also tend to spend more time cooking meals using our garden harvests, or hanging out in our garden rooms, than I ever do on garden chores. This works because I focus on soil health and let plants take care of themselves.
I also love to create abundant, natural, and forageable habitats to beautify our landscape and nourish the local wildlife (like the handsome beast below).
Oh, and did I mention I have a greenhouse? It’s my winter paradise, full of citrus, spices, annual vegetables, a water fountain, and a wood-fired hot tub. It’s the reason I never need to take a vacation from homesteading life because we created our own little exotic escape right here at home.
I also keep ducks, dairy goats, ducks, chickens, ducks, a pet turkey, DUCKS, worms, and (occasionally) pigs. Oh, did I mention I keep ducks?
I love ducks. They have a way of winning your heart with their sideways glance. Really, I don’t think you can trust a person who doesn’t WANT those nosy busy bodies dabbling around in the backyard. Makes you wonder what not-so-dark and loamy secrets they’ve got buried there!
Seriously, though, ducks have been the best form of livestock I’ve worked with for building our soil fertility. I love my other animals for their personalities and the fun of keeping them, but ducks are my all-time best garden helpers. Someday I hope to write a book about Ducks and Gardening too.
To serve my local community, I’m an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. I teach classes related to edible landscaping, vegetable/herb/spice gardening, and organic gardening both online and at public events.
For the record, I created this website so I could WRITE about my Epicurean approach to living well in times when planet earth needs us to choose our paths in life wisely. So, I’m not a social media guru who collects followers like grains of sand on a beach with my incredible marketing savvy. I’m sure I’d make more money if I did. But the truth is: 1) I’m wary of a life moderated by algorithms, 2) I can’t abide word limits, and 3) I don’t understand why you’d want my posts show up in your social media unless you share similar personal philosophies.
That said, I’ve discovered it’s fun to use video and photography to capture happenings in the gardens, goat udder comparisons, deeply meaningful chats with my ducks and chickens, or whatever slice of life/self-entertainment strikes my fancy.
So, you can also follow me Instagram @exploresimplestead for peaks at our normal, non-polished life here on our Epicurean homestead. That way you’ll be able to see for yourself, as my chickens and ducks will loudly tell you, I’m totally flocked up!
But wait… there’s more!
Last but not least — I share my life with an incredibly fascinating and thoughtful man, also a writer, named Matt Miles. Living here with Matt, making Epicurean decisions together, is the best part of my homesteading life.
If you read this far, I feel like you know me already. Please send me an email at email@example.com to tell me a bit about you! Just an FYI – I’m part of the slow email movement (like slow food, only for email). So, it might take me a few days to get back to you.
Welcome New Friends!
Let’s Simplestead Together!