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Home Sweet Homesteading: Locals Who Live Off the Land

Homesteading is living self-sufficiently by way of growing your own food, raising animals for meat or other food products like milk and eggs, and making your own home supplies. You may have caught a glimpse of the concept on shows such as Alaska: The Last Frontier, but did you know that some of your neighbors are homesteaders, too? We’ve profiled four locals who embody this unique lifestyle.

Flicker Farm, Placerville

Flicker Farm


When difficult events and a run-of-the-mill lifestyle weren’t bringing joy, Nicole Wilkey, her husband Brian, and daughter Elle (10) decided it was time for a change.

 “While living in the suburbs through traumatic events, your perspective changes,” says Nicole. “Brian and I would only see each other in passing because he’s a firefighter and I was working at an OR,” she recalls. “We wanted to raise our only child more sustainably and in less of the rat race.”

Nowadays, the Wilkeys own 64 chickens, seven pigs, one donkey, six goats, and about 20 rabbits. With so many animals—many of which are used as food sources for the family—Nicole’s passion for meat education runs deep. “It’s disappointing to me how our society as a whole views food and where it comes from,” she shares, recounting the time a preschool tour came to the farm. “Many of the kids loved bacon but didn’t know that it came from an animal. I think it’s incredibly important to love all animals and treat them well while they’re here,” says Nicole. “I just want people to be more connected to their food and educate themselves on where it’s coming from.”

Check out @flickerfarm on Instagram. To purchase goat milk soap, lotion, and herbal salves, visit Be on the lookout for their truck which occasionally sells flower bouquets around town.

The Lyttge Farmette, Shingle Springs

The Lyttge Farmette


For Wyatte Lyttge, her husband, and their four children, the homesteading lifestyle has proven to be a blessing over the past two years.

“We have two kids with special needs (autism and epilepsy) and the desire to build them a safe haven really tugged at us,” she shares. “We closed on our home at the beginning of the pandemic and were so glad to try something different. Being resourceful and learning new things surrounded by beauty has gotten us through the chaos.”

The Lyttge family owns everything from alpacas to pigs. Wyatte especially finds the relationship with animals most rewarding about this lifestyle. “There’s something so magical about watching life begin,” she says. “We care deeply for all of our animals and watching them become moms brings us so much joy. And there’s really nothing cuter than baby animals!”

Aside from raising animals, The Lyttge Farmette produces lots of goods to sell—including turkeys, ducks, chickens, and quail eggs, as well as baked goods like hand pies and chocolate brownies, canned items, soaps, and bath salts. “We hope to be able to find others to collaborate with in order to find ways to shorten our food chain and bring awareness to the importance of growing what you can and supporting local,” says Wyatte.

Check out @thelyttgefarmette on Instagram. Follow Wyatte’s stories for pop-up shopping locations in the area or visit to purchase goods.

Thermaland Oaks, Lincoln

Thermaland Oaks


Christina and Trevor Heinritz take the term “DIY” to a whole new level.
“After graduating from Chico State and wanting out of the college scene, we closed escrow on a 10-acre lot that was raw land…there was poison oak and brush with not even a driveway or a septic well!” says Christina, adding, “who, fresh out of college, can afford to build a house?”

Instead of hiring contractors for everything, their budget propelled them into the do-it-yourself spirit. “We literally built our house from the ground up,” she says. Aside from a growing family (Frankie is two and Georgie is an infant), their Instagram presence has flourished in the four years they’ve lived this lifestyle. “I’m from the Bay Area and did not even own a dog growing up,” says Christina. “I started the platform (Instagram) to document our home build but also to connect with other homesteaders.” She recalls the time they got goats and struggled to raise them. “[The goats] were really mean! I started to ask questions on Instagram and [began getting] advice on how to handle them.”

Nowadays, Christina is the one dishing out advice and tips about the homesteading life—especially on DIY projects, like a dupe for a pricey Studio McGee bed frame. “Hopefully, my Instagram can help inspire others,” she says.

Follow their journey on Instagram @thermaland.oaks, and be on the lookout for a YouTube channel coming later this year.

Three Sisters Farmstand, Folsom

Three Sisters Farmstand


Michelle Kwek is living proof that anyone can have a green thumb—even if you don’t live on sprawling farmland.

Michelle first started gardening as a passion project. “I have this lemon tree and during the pandemic, I wanted to be able to share, so I put out a little stand [of lemons] outside my driveway for free.” Now, Michelle has eight fruit trees in her front yard, along with raised beds and items in pots. “I have kids (Ellery (12), Camille (10), and Amaya (7)), so it’s a multi-purpose backyard,” she says. “There’s a lot you can do with a relatively small space. It’s overwhelming to do it all at once so for those who want to try growing on their own, plan out incremental phases and give yourself grace,” she recommends.

Michelle also plays with garden space at the Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom where she’s the Gardening Coordinator. “I get to manage a quarter acre garden here,” she shares. “I think it’s really important that we’re able to give people access to fresh, homegrown produce.”

Follow Michelle’s gardening journey on Instagram

by Caitlin McCulloch
Photos courtesy of the respective farms.