If you like the idea of a more self-sufficient lifestyle you don’t have to go whole hog, shut off the power and suffer in the dark. There are modern-day “Homesteaders” among us and they are not suffering at all. According to Heidi Oberfranc of, Raincounty Homestead, her lifestyle and business combines the best of both worlds and she is living healthier and more secure than most of the rest of the populous.
Oberfranc was the guest speaker at the Wednesday, Oct. 9 Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Oberfranc and her husband Patrick live a homestead lifestyle in and on their 1/3 acre property just a few blocks from downtown Forks.
“You can live in the city and still practice some homesteading, homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices you make,” Oberfranc said.
Oberfranc advised to start out small, “Don’t try to garden in a huge way to start, start out small, I didn’t just wake up one day and do it all, it has been a process over about 8 years, to get where we are today,” she added.
As time has gone on the Oberfranc’s entire yard has been turned into a garden, the deck is surrounded by grapevines, yes you can grow grapes in Forks, solar panels work to subsidize their power, yes there is enough sun in Forks for solar power. They use a wood stove too, which also is used for cooking, dehydrating foods and drying clothing and for sewing, a modern treadle type machine creates many of the items Oberfranc sells on her online store.
Living a homestead lifestyle doesn’t mean the Oberfranc’s don’t use modern-day technology. Most of their business is done on the internet.
Her YouTube channel has about 36,000 followers and both her and Patrick share how-to videos on everything from how to make food items, uses for dandelions, fermentation starter, homemade pain relievers and so much more. They call themselves Mr. and Mrs. Rain. They also offer an Etsy store where they sell handmade items. Oberfranc said the Etsy store really took off once she offered the how-to videos on YouTube.
“People wanted a recipe or wanted to know how I did something, I don’t really use recipes so I just started making the videos to show them how I did things.”
Oberfranc has gotten so many orders for her hand-sewn skirts and aprons that it has cut into some of her homesteading time. She ships these items all over the US and Canada and has had requests from Europe but the shipping costs, so far, have been too much. She is also proud of the fact she repurposes much of the materials that go into the sewn items, using fabrics from other clothing items purchased at garage sales.
“All my life I wanted to marry a farmer,” Oberfranc said, “So we just started being more frugal, I didn’t know anything about farming but we got chickens and planted a few garden items and learned by trial and error.”
With their online sales, they make enough income to live on, being debt-free was one of their first goals.
You may even be practicing some modern-day homesteading and not even realize it. Do you have a few back yard chickens? A few garden items growing? Homesteading today is a mindset, a can-do attitude. It can start with a spark when you look at something you just purchased and realize you could produce it on your own or the realization that our modern society has some cracks. Next thing you know, you are shopping for seeds and weighing the cost of backyard chickens.