I’m also a grateful survivor-thriver who believes in the power of stories, nature, and creativity to heal the darkest experiences of our lives.
Today I would to introduce you Krista Bjorn. I love how Krista describes herself on her website as a writer, adventurer and tinkerer.
Krista lives on a hobby farm in rural Southern Queensland and runs all sorts of amazing workshops including herbal medicine, home-brewing, cheese-making and other self-sufficiency skills. She makes beautiful wood-burned art and has written several books. Krista and her husband also run a medieval enactment group called Blackwolf.
I am so excited to have Krista as a guest on the blog today. I just know you will enjoy her story!
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
For me it is saying yes, as often as possible, to the things that truly delight me and enrich my life.
I am fascinated by history, by the ways people through the ages have nourished the land, grown, raised, and made food, and foraged and crafted herbal medicine, so I follow those rabbit trails through books, documentaries, and practical experimentation on our farm.
I really love making things from scratch. Whether it's herbal medicine, home-brewing, charcuterie, cheese, bread, furniture, etc., I love learning the processes, growing the plants, raising the animals, and making all the things.
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
Herbs are my great love and I am passionate about growing them, foraging for them, and collecting seeds and dried herbs from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America. Then I use them to create healing remedies, delicious brews, and scrumptious food, and teach those techniques in workshops in Southeast Queensland.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
A series of traumatic events in my life nearly broke me in body and spirit and I moved to Australia to start a new life, a life of real love, peace, and healing. I found all of those things through gardening, caring for our animals, and working with herbs and edible plants.
As my body, mind, and spirit were restored, I started sharing these things with others through blog and social media posts, demonstrations, books, and workshops. I love this work so much.
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
Living simply is still hard work. It takes time, strength, and lots of studying and experimenting to figure out the best ways to restore our land, raise healthy plants and animals, and, in turn, transform the plants, herbs, fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat into nourishing products.
Sometimes my dreams are bigger than the time and energy I have, so I regularly evaluate and adjust so my simple life doesn't wear me out.
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
I've watched our land and animals weather the drought well and recover quickly, experienced my body become resilient and strong after years of chronic illness and pain, and felt my mind and spirit quiet into a gentle cadence that enables me to navigate the ups and downs of life so much better.
I've also loved the sense of community that has grown and strengthened as I've connected with other kindred spirits who love the land and want to grow, eat, and drink the things that best support us and our planet.
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
Harvesting herbs is like mindfulness to me. I sit on our back verandah with big baskets of mugwort, spearmint, pineapple sage, elderflowers, and black nightshade and slowly, steadily strip off leaves, flowers, and berries. It is incredibly peaceful work and never fails to calm and settle me.
Sitting by the campfire in our backyard is my favourite thing of all. Watching the sunset through the trees, listening to the fire crackle and spit, there's nothing better at releasing the stress of the day.
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
Documentary: The Biggest Little Farm.
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
For the past few years I've been focusing my research on Indigenous herbal medicine and wild foods. I've specifically been studying Aboriginal medicinal traditions in Australia, First Nations herbal medicine in Canada and the US, and Bedouin traditional medicine in the deserts of the Middle East. I have loved learning and applying their wisdom in using things like cattails, coffee beans, the Darling Pea in herbal remedies.
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
I am very excited to get my own copper still and learn to make floral waters and herbal distillations.
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
I would absolutely love to travel the world to learn from Indigenous herbal leaders in person, to go into the forests, swamps, and deserts with them to forage and harvest and create healing things together.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?
On my Facebook page I asked readers to answer a number of questions about the principle of reusing. My favourite answer was everything! Yes that is so true. We should be trying to use everything as much as possible. Often when it wears out and can no longer be used for its original purpose, we can reuse it again, turning it into something else. Then, when there is no possible life left, recycling is the last option. I love the answer below about grandma's flannelette sheets!
What is a favourite item that you reuse often?
What is the strangest thing that you reuse?
What are some ways that we can reuse items for community benefit?
What is the most creative way you have reused something?
What is the oldest thing that you still love to reuse?
Here are my answers:
Favourite item - not necessarily a favourite but I do like to reuse any plastic bags that we have bought food in eg. frozen blueberries. Although I try to avoid bags it is not always possible. Bags with zip locks are especially good. I remember reading someone laughing about their grandmother washing bags and hanging them on the line. That is now me!!
Strangest thing - I am still reusing a pile of knee high stockings that my daughter gave me over five years ago before she moved to NZ. Just wear, wash and reuse. The pile is getting a lot smaller as the holes appear.
Community Benefit - Going to the Library! What an amazing free resource, where we can reuse resources over and over again.
Most Creative - I am really enjoying reusing old fabric and turning it into new clothes and other items. Rag rugs are also a favourite.
Oldest thing - my Grandmother's old wooden spoon. It is so well used it is worn down and angled at the top. I think about her every time I use it.
A big thank you to Green Dandelion, Alexia and Tamara for their great suggestions, comments and ideas about reusing!
Favourite item - fabric scrap! We collect every little thread and, depending on size and condition, make it into something else (twine, baskets, scrubbies, hair ties, brooches, ribbon) or compost it.
Strangest thing - old beeswax wraps. I reuse them for lining pot plants, baskets, storage boxes, etc, or wrapping dog treats and other non human food items.
Community benefit - we are creating zero waste aromatic candles with citrus peel at a women’s wellness retreat on the week end!
Most creative way - All of the above, plus we upcycle paper from old magazines Into gift pouches.
Oldest thing - some of my mother’s old clothes. My daughter still wears a 60’s suede jacket she gave me in my youth and I still have a beautiful black wool dress of hers. Plus my engagement ring was my grandmother’s so it is very special.
I have some old kitchen equipment such as mixing bowls, measuring cups and cake tins that were handed down to me many years ago that I still use.
Thankful Thursday: As I was driving home I was thinking about Thankful Thursday and thought how cool it would be to try to think of things that I am thankful for that start with each letter of my name. Now I could have made it easy for myself and did Margy but I will go the whole hog and do Margaret. Why don't you give it a try? I will give you permission to use your shortened name even your initials.
BTW Isn't Leunig great!
Today I am thankful to God for:
M - mince meat. I know that is weird but it is so versatile. We had savoury mince for tea.
A - Art inspiration. A group of friends who are encouraging each other to create art.
R - Recycling Depots. So thankful for businesses who are recycling our rubbish and using it to make something new.
G - Grandchildren. Such a joy that fill your heart.
A - Anticipation of holidays. Not long to go before our Fraser Island trip.
R - Rooibos Tea. I have become such an avid tea drinker and love trying new brews.
E - Eggs. Freshly laid by our three hens and collected by a little boy (even though one was cracked on the way in)
T - Timber. Split, stacked and stoked in our wood heater by my wonderful husband!
This form of visible mending and fabric decoration is inspired by Sashiko, a form of Japanese embroidery and Boro, a traditional style of patchwork used in Japan for mending.
You will need:
Thankful Thursday: Like many people our lemon tree is loaded with fruit. I love the colour yellow. It is such a joyful colour! I had a yellow bedroom growing up. So today is a celebration of all things yellow!
Today I am thankful to God for: loaded lemon trees, yellow autumn leaves, my new bee socks (thanks Sis!), strings of melted cheese, yellow handlebars on a little tricycle, yellow roses on a piece of vintage material, yellow duplo blocks, brilliant rays of light as the sun peeks over the horizon, yellowed pages of a favourite old book, Pete the Cat's yellow shirt!
What yellow things bring you joy?
Trying to eliminate every piece of waste in our society is extremely difficult, although it is definitely a worthwhile goal and there are some tremendous role models in the zero waste movement. However, the next best thing is working hard to reduce the amount of rubbish that we produce and energy we consume. The following are some ways to help you accomplish this.
Once again you don’t have to do all of these things at once. Choose one small change and make it a habit. Small successes breed enthusiasm and motivate you to try something else.
Thanks for all the following additional fabulous ideas from Facebook comments:
Please feel free to add any more ideas you may have for reducing waste and energy consumption in the comments below.
Hello! My name is Margy. I enjoy living simply, I am trying to slow down and I am learning how to be still. I would love you to join me on this exciting adventure.