Meet DeannaCat

Hi! I’m Deanna, but a lot of you may know me as DeannaCat. I am all about living simply, getting my hands dirty, lovin’ on plants, and taking care of my family and ecosystem the best I can. My hope is to inspire a love for a similar lifestyle or hobbies in others, by sharing real-life tips and tools to make “modern homesteading” and related activities easy, understandable, and enjoyable ~ so you can learn and dive in with me!

It’s always a bit awkward to talk about yourself, but I suppose it’s good to open up and share some things with you, to give you a better idea about my background, passions, and where I am coming from with all this.


Deanna and Aaron, Team Homestead and Chill
Team Homestead and Chill

So hey! I’m the face behind this blog, a garden mentor to many over on Instagram, and also work full-time as an Environmental Health Specialist. In my personal life, I am the wife and best friend to Aaron, a part-time monarch butterfly doula, and mama to 3 kitties, four chickens, 37 houseplants, around 300 outdoor plants, and a bin of worms. Yes, I have my hands full, but also a very full heart! When I’m not busy in the garden (or writing about gardening!), you can likely find me in the kitchen, cuddling with the kitties, walking on the beach, or doing yoga ~ preferably in the patio garden on a sunny day. And always, everything with music!

If you catch glimpses of a smiling, dark, handsome man here and there – that’d be Aaron. For the record, he may seem pretty behind-the-scenes here, but is an immense contributor (maybe even more than myself!) to the care for this homestead, plants, and animals! He also assists with photo shoots, proof-reading, idea-bouncing, and all sorts of other helpful contributions that I am beyond grateful for. We are a team.

Five significant things have always drawn my interest and energy in life, the first being photography. As a little girl, I had to save up my allowance to develop rolls of film because my mom got a bit overwhelmed at the amount of photos I was taking! Long before the days of smartphones, I was always “the friend with the camera” – always ready to capture beauty and memories.  I am no pro, and only took a few classes between high school and college, but it is completely a part of who I am.

Communication and sharing ideas with others has also always been important to me, be it in relationships, the workplace, or for advocacy and education. This includes writing. I am not one to be short-winded, though I will try my best to keep things to the point here! I don’t like to “read between the lines”, and I love to know the WHY behind things. I’ve often been told that I have a knack for communicating ideas to others, able to impart easy and clear understanding as well as significance. In college, I worked as a lead in various environmental and sustainability campaigns, always out there trying to engage people in conversation, share new ideas, and maybe shift perceptions. After college, my means of outreach have shifted drastically to more internet-based, but hey, that’s okay! That is kinda why I am here now.

The third “thing”  is a deep interest in and respect for nature, living things, and leading a sustainable lifestyle. Trust me, we are far from the perfect image of a zero-waste life or winning the little miss sustainability pageant, but we try. We are conscious of our impacts, and do the best can. Maybe it’s because I’m a Cancer and total homebody, but I’m generally more happy and comfortable with plants, critters, and the great outdoors than bustling social scenes, keeping up with trends, and big cities… not that I don’t enjoy a good party here and there! We have been gardening since 2007, only seriously since we bought this home in 2013. We got our first flock of chickens in the spring of 2014. To read more about our homestead, click here.

DeannaCat in her personal Garden of Eden, surrounded by kale trees and chicken friends


Fourth, my history with healthy eating and fear of toxins runs deep. This is going to get even more personal here, but bear with me…. it’s relevant. Growing up, my mom was a dental hygienist, so processed sugar and many snack foods were a big no-no and a rarity in our house. She switched gears and became a registered dietitian/nutritionist while I was in late elementary school. So we started to look at everything we ate a little more closely, not just sugar. Then one day in early high school, my pancreas decided to quit on the job. Suddenly, on a genetic fluke, I became Type 1 Diabetic. Talk about putting everything I ate under the microscope! While my friends were spending their lunch breaks cruising around getting fast food, I was bringing sack lunches and counting carbs.

Flash forward 6 years. I lost my dad to aggressive kidney cancer when I was only 21. It was absolutely devastating. I was and always will be a Daddy’s girl. Who knows exactly how and why cancer decides to rear its ugly f***ing head, yet I can’t help but substantially blame his enthusiastic love affair with meat, butter, Ben and Jerry’s, and processed foods, and the medications used to mask the symptoms of the issues those all caused. See, my parents were no longer together by then, so they ate very differently in their households. When he passed away, I was already at a crossroads in college, considering studying nursing or physical therapy but not sure what direction I wanted to go.

Losing him made me take a serious step back to process what happened and reevaluate what was important to me. I quit my part time job at a local gym and started crafting as therapy. It was then that I started my journey with sustainability and healthier, natural living. Within the following year I changed my major, got a job as the Assistant Sustainability coordinator for the university, started selling up-cycled homemade crafts and photography at our local farmers market, became a vegetarian, and started my first little garden. Oh yeah, and got dreadlocks.

Sounds a bit like a quarter-life crisis, right? But it wasn’t a temporary dance with insanity. It was the start of my purpose. Over the years since this interest bloomed into a passion and into a lifestyle I will never go back from. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t perfect with our diets either…. we all have our vices! Mine happen to be good craft beer, organic salt and vinegar kettle chips, and dark chocolate.

Last on the list of 5 is this: I am a bit of a nerd, with a passion for research and lifelong learning. I spent 8 years in college, and no, not to become a doctor! I just couldn’t soak up enough. Finally they kicked me out (not really…), saying it was time to move on, but not before I got my B.S. in Sustainability and Resource Management, and a Master’s in Environmental Studies. Once I had to step away from school and jump into “the real world” workplace, I felt this huge disconnect from the exciting, progressive, and creative energy I was so accustomed to. So I poured it into our yard, home, and Instagram instead. They became my outlet.


So, here we are!

All of the above naturally leads me to this moment ~ starting a blog around the things that light my fire, and I hope will light yours too! To me, this is so much more than “just a blog” ~ it is my creative and artistic outlet, my motivator to keep learning and doing, and a way to connect with you, share, and hopefully inspire. I want to help people live healthier, happier lives, in whatever way I can. I also want you to know that I am not here to preach, and never to judge! You do you. No matter your level of knowledge, interest, or involvement in a similar lifestyle, you’re welcome here. Good vibes only.



In loving memory and dedication to my Dad, because I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today without him. I know he would be so proud of both.

DeannaCat, a little blonde smiling girl, sitting in a red wheelbarrow at the age of two. Her dad is holding up the wheelbarrow, looking down at her, smiling.
Oh, did I say I started gardening when I was 21?
I clearly meant two.

30 Comments

  • Dhirq

    Hi Deanna…. To put cannabis in a par with other plants, purely genius movement. I think every garden (every country) should follow your “cannabis regulation model”.

    🙂

  • Sheena Enslow

    Hi Deanna!
    I am so thankful for the day I stumbled upon your instagram account. Between that and your blog, I’ve been given information and freedom to try new things (hello, Kombucha) and new methods for a thriving garden (flowers, flowers, and more flowers) and better understanding for the care of my 23 house plants. I, too, have 4 chickens (all named after coffee origins) and I’m sure my husband thinks I’m strange for the amount of times I’ve referenced you like, ‘Deanna says…’
    I’m telling you this because I am not surrounded by like-minded folks I can glean from. My peers want to glean from ME, which is totally weird if they only knew how little I truly know (ps, I point them to you).
    Anyway, I could go on forever but what I really want to say is, keep doing what you’re doing. You provide information for people like me, 1,000 miles North in lil’ Spokane, WA. where we do have a Master Gardeners Association (filled mostly with grannies) to rub elbows with. But, I need someone like you, who listens to chill music, drinks beer, shows passion and is inspiring in an area that to some, feels like an old lady’s hobby (its not… its totally rad).
    Thank you, and Cheers!

    • DeannaCat

      Oh my goodness, you sweet thing! Thank you for popping in to say hello and for all the kind feedback! This made my morning. Truly. These kinds of moments help me stay motivated when I am feeling overwhelmed or tired 🙂 I agree about the Master’s Gardeners Programs. It is unfortunate they’re geared towards retired folks. I would LOVE to join our local class, but it is held in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday… Lol, some of us have to work! If it were at a more accessible time, I would totally be there, rubbin’ elbows with the grannies (hahaha!) Anyways, thanks for being here and for your support, my friend.

  • Tojo

    After many years micro propagating plants in the lab I found myself a little burned out, disillusioned and at a crossroads. I have recently returned to gardening as a form of therapy. Some of it is new to me as a producer (vermicomposting) vs purchasing as a consumer, some of it is familiar (seedling initiation, greenhouse management), but I watch, listen, and sometimes read all of it because it is rekindling my love of plants. There are only a few content providers I currently gravitate to, but yours is one of my favourites. It’s like coming home. So thank you!

  • Karen

    I have been following you on Instagram and am so stoked about this blog! I find what you are doing in your garden and in your life to be such an inspiration. It’s because of your influence that I released 62 Monarchs last year and that I am on my way to becoming an organic gardener. Thank you so much for doing such an amazing job with this blog. It is so informative and easy to understand. I look forward to spending lots of time here soaking up your knowledge and experience!

  • Matt Boudreaux

    Hi Deanna,

    The information you provide on your website is amazing. Not only do you go into such great detail, but you even provide links (Amazon) of what you are referencing. Your efforts are greatly appreciated (more than you know). As a reference,I have been gardening for 5 years on and off, but have fallen more in love with the concept of gardening organically. My question is how do manage a full-time job and all of your other interests without getting worn out or overwhelmed?

    Matt

    • DeannaCat

      Hey Matt- Thanks for the very kind words and support! I really appreciate it. In regards to balance and work, I will admit it does get tough sometimes. Moreso lately since I am trying to blog on top of everything, haha! But for us, gardening is our treat, passion, and fun – so it isn’t thought of as a chore. We just do what we can, when we can, try to make it fun… like, putting on music and enjoying a beer while weeding together – an otherwise not-so-fun task. There are times I do say “damn, I don’t feel like preserving all these xxxx right now”. but then again, I try to remember and appreciate the fact that I have homegrown food to preserve, and that is a privilege – and better than sitting on my ass watching TV. It’s all about perspective. 🙂

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