My journey to a simple and traditional lifestyle began when I was a child sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table listening to the stories of her childhood and the way the old timers did things, with strong emphasis on my mixed Irish and Cherokee heritage. There and in my day to day I learned what it meant to be an Appalachian, a mountaineer, born in the east Kentucky hills. The road took me away from the mountains for a few years and in that time it was obvious to me where I belonged and how I was meant to live. You can take the mountain woman out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of her.
My husband was feeling the same pressures of the city life and after our girls were born we decided our mission was to move back home as soon as it was possible. We are home now, and our goals in life are basic – live alongside the land as stewards of it, work in our respective fields (mine being writing) to preserve and pass on our unique east Kentucky heritage, to parent our children from a place of peace allowing them to create their own experiences in a natural environment, and using the traditional methods and foods of our people to achieve these goals.
I write on varied topics of off-grid/country living, Appalachian culture, parenting, writing, traditional foodways, exercise, day to day living, and social commentary. The thread that connects them together is the voice. The voice of one born in the hills, making a life in the hills, and one that will someday be laid to rest under the trees on those hills gracefully returning to earth.
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Kelli B. Haywood has received professional development funding through the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supported by state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.