This Is What Environmental Stewardship Looks Like When You're Farming: Eckenfels Farms
You Say Tomato, I Say Potato - Our Summer Season Results

Welcome to Brunette Gardens!


Hello! We're Lisa and Anthony.

Neither preppers nor hippies, the two of us are hip to homesteading. Our motto is: Ditch your lawn and the rat race, at your own pace.

We met more than a decade ago in Seattle, where we got married and lived in tiny apartments with hardly any space to grow things. But in 2017, we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Lisa's from. We could buy a house here with land enough for a garden and look hopefully toward... maybe not actual retirement, but a good life that we define for ourselves.

As we enter our fifth year here, we feel it's been an excellent move. Our 117-year-old "farmhouse" continues to stand the test of time. We've utterly transformed a 1/4-acre plot of suburban lawn, exotic ephemerals, and invasive plants into a lush oasis that supports pollinators and wildlife as much as it provides for us. We've received a Platinum Award from the St. Louis Audubon Society in recognition of our conservation garden, and it's also been designated a Monarch Waystation and certified as a Wild Ones native plant habitat. Seriously. We have the plaques to prove it!

The garden in the spring of 2020.

The Brunette Gardens mission:

  • To share tips on how to create what we're calling a "homestead habitat." How do you design a garden that serves wildlife and pollinators while also boosting your own food security? What's the best method for catching your own sourdough start? How do you care for cast iron? What the heck's a "hügelkultur"? We'll explain it all!
  • To entertain you with our tales of trial and triumph. We're both longtime creative storytellers who enjoy the chance to share a good yarn. We also know stories are the best way human beings communicate the truth.

Our core values:

WE believe in the GSD movement, for Get Sh*t Done. While we could sit here on our thumbs and lament habitat loss and environmental degradation, we prefer to take action on things that are within our control.

WE don't think new is better or disposable is very nice. Reusing is preferable to recycling, especially since recycling itself has become suspect.

WE are convinced that creating a wildlife-friendly, pollinator-friendly habitat and becoming more self-sufficient as homesteaders go hand-in-hand.

WE put forth the theory that instead of waiting until you can take off for the hinterlands, the best way to become a true steward of the Earth is to homestead-in-place. For us, that means right here in the Midwestern suburbs. For you, it could be anywhere!

We hope you enjoy the tips and tales from our homestead habitat.

Copper Iris