About Me

When I was a teenager, I went on a class trip to an Amish farm. From then on, this Chicago girl was bound and determined to someday having a homestead of her own. We found our dream homestead in north Texas.

I taught myself to cook because we couldn’t afford restaurants—that and I didn’t want to starve to death.

I took up gardening thinking it would be a piece of cake. Who knew anyone could be so bad at it? But I kept trying until I could grow food from seed to table.

I taught myself to sew. Okay…that one wasn’t too successful, but hey, I tried.

Fortunately, I have a natural affinity for animals. Raising farm animals has been the easiest transition to homestead life.

You win some. You lose some.

My name is Maria Zannini. I’m a self-taught homesteader and a university-trained graphic artist. I write books! I design book covers. I blog about saving money, gardening, cooking, and recycling.

Did I mention I like to save money? You’ll see a lot of posts about that.

Greg at Fire School...many moons ago
I live with a husband, two dogs, and one cat. All foundlings. Especially the husband.

Nana and Jammy

And growing....

On any given day I feed goats, chickens, quail, and ducks.

Without my consent, I also feed deer, raccoons, and coyotes. We battle those last three constantly.

We used to raise rabbits, but it's hard to dispatch those little guys, so we've given up eating them.

We have a BIG garden. My goal is to someday also include a forest garden. We have significant dry spells throughout the year so I'm trying to figure out how to keep less deeply rooted vegetation alive throughout the year without irrigation.

I'm hoping with a lot of mulch (which I'm adding regularly) the plants will have a fighting chance during the dry season.

Our garden is pretty large. Right now I have seventeen 4 x8 raised beds in an area roughly 20 x 40 feet. Texas has a long growing season so I usually keep something growing throughout the year and rest other beds for the following spring.

We try to live simply, but comfortably. Life is too short to do things the hard way.

Follow along as I share the things I've learned along the way and our misadventures on this homestead. I'll show you the things we build, grow, raise, and love.

In Memoriam
 Our boys, Tank and Iko 

We still miss you. 


Darty said…
I love that your are a gardener! What caught my interest was your name. My maternal grandmother who we didn't know much about, her last name when she immigrated here was Zannini exactly as yours is spelled. I just wondered if you had any background on your name that could help me find out where she is from in Italy?

Darlene Merly Johnston
Maria Zannini said…
Darlene: Nice to meet you! The last name is courtesy of my husband. All he knows is that his people were from the Tuscany region. Sadly, all the family who would know more have passed on.

I went to Italy once and found a store (in Rome, I think) with the name of Zanini--without the double "n". I've never met another Zannini in the US. I imagine they are few and far between. :(