Gretchen's Happy Homestead

Finding My Passion

Gretchen Hayes, Owner of Gretchen's Happy Homestead

The seeds which would grow into Gretchen’s Happy Homestead were planted in the beginning of my childhood. I grew up running wild at the end of a dirt road in the Santa Cruz Mountains. My earliest memories are climbing trees and collecting worms and pill bugs. I spent hours making “concoctions” and mud pies that for some reason my little brother never wanted to taste test. We had chickens and a terraced garden on the hillside. My giant shaggy dog, Bear, was my protector and companion as I blazed new trails through the brush to go visit the neighbors, and their gardens.

After graduating from High school, I ventured off to college at University of California, Santa Cruz. Here I took classes in sustainable agriculture while working towards my degree in Environmental Studies. Then I spent time working for the Department of Agriculture checking for invasive insects before working for the Green Business Program. A government job is not where my heart lies, so I started a bookkeeping business to be my own boss. I continue to do bookkeeping and train others to do their own books. I have found that is something that I am good at, but it is not my passion.

Forming an Idea

Over the years, at each home, I have had a garden. At our last house we built a chicken coop and started a little orchard under the canopy of redwood trees. We built raised beds and brought in good dirt. The kids and I planted our salad. We planted radishes, spinach, lettuce, kale and peas. My kids loved picking veggies that we grew. They planted carrots, lots and lots of carrots because little fingers have a hard time separating out tiny seeds but it is okay because for the price of a bag of seeds, they were learning where their food comes from. They were helping make dinner and eating fresh veggies. Growing food brings us together, friends and neighbors would come over and walk in the garden. We would talk about what they could grow and I could share knowledge and fresh food.

Gretchen's Happy Homestead: Our First homestead

Building a Dream: Gretchen's Happy Homestead

We outgrew our tiny little house and after years of searching we have found our dream property. Now I finally have the space to create. Our property came with a small garden, a couple of raised beds and a few fruit trees. After a couple of years of discovering what is here and really researching what I want, I am in the process of putting together my homestead and want to take you along on this journey. Not only can I save money and provide for my family, but I can do my little part to be sustainable by keeping it local and knowing what I am putting into my homestead.

Small garden at Gretchen's Happy Homstead
Headed to the small garden
Preparing our first planting at Gretchen's Happy Homestead
Preparing for our first planting
The fruit trees at Gretchen's Happy Homestead
Existing Fruit Trees

The pictures above show what we started with the first year. We have so many plans for this year and the future. I have found my passion again, playing in the dirt and watching things grow, and sharing what I learn with others, so they can come along on this journey with me.

Support Gretchen's Happy Homestead

Ways to eat microgreens


If you are in the North Idaho area, between Coeur d’Alene and Wallace, you can order locally grown greens that will be delivered to you within 24 hours of being harvested.

A bountiful harvest of vegetables

Garden Planning

This beginning garden planning course will walk you through planning your garden from an idea to implementation.

Berry Picking

Homestead Planning

Wherever you are in your journey, I can help you brainstorm your next steps and set a plan in place to get you where you want to be.