I am the youngest daughter of the back to the land author and educator, Carla Emery. She wrote a great big and very useful reference book called The Encyclopedia of Country Living. It has sold 800,000 copies. She died in 2005. Here she is in 1975, four years before I was born.

She was a great leader, and she was born to teach. She was also a survivalist. Like, the kind that thinks the really big disaster is coming soon, and therefore preparations are in order. I used to try to pretend we weren’t related. But in the last few years I have come to recognize how much I agree with the greater portion of what she taught.


These past few years my family has made our own strong move towards self-sufficient living.  My husband quit his job, and we spent our savings on a piece of land, to work our own bit of earth. Of course now the joke is on me, because I never paid any attention to my mother’s teaching when she was alive.


This is just the sort of joke that I think God loves, that I should inherit so much of my mother’s passion for intentional living, and so few of her skills. It teaches me humility. Here I am, in the homemaking, sustainable-living trenches, learning the old wisdom right along with anybody else.


But I keep my mother’s ghost close by.