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Right at Home: Closing Thoughts From Our Domestic Engineer!

By Victoria Rolfe / Red Hook, N.Y.

The author with a variety of fresh picked lettuces

Before I begin my final article for The Insider, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our intrepid Editor-in-Chief Andrea Sachs for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for such a fine publication. She took a chance on a (formally untrained) writer to allow me to express my feelings and hopefully impart some of my humble wisdom to her dear readers, and for this I am eternally grateful.

When I came aboard this publication three years ago, we were in the throes of the pandemic. It was a strange new world and people were hurting and scared. Some were sick; others were tending to loved ones who were. Some could not see their ailing family members. Some had lost their jobs (at least temporarily) and were scrambling to get by on reduced or no income. Everyone was stuck quarantining at home. Many found this to be stifling and oppressive.

Being a homebody myself, I did not suffer from being stuck at home. In fact, being as introverted as I am, I actually welcomed the forced opportunity to (at least for the short term) give up all my work and volunteer-related activities outside the home. And being a frugal person, I was not affected by any loss of income this caused me. Like the little ant, I had been saving all my life, so we could easily get by on less income for as long as necessary.

But I saw that many people were not faring as well through this difficult time. They were at a loss about how to live on such reduced paychecks. They were panicking and frightened. I fielded many questions on as to how to get by. How to live on less. How to stretch suddenly limited incomes.

Since I had always lived this simple and frugal lifestyle, I was prepared. If anything, this world event confirmed for me that I was on the right track. And, though I have always been environmentally conscious, it reinforced how important it is for not only me but as many people as possible to be frugal with our Earth’s resources, and to do whatever we can to protect our own health and that of our mother planet.

The crushing home, life and job losses, as well as the food shortages, had many people re-examining their priorities and lifestyles. I was delighted to see people taking up gardening and other domestic endeavors. I was more than happy to encourage these new hobbies and do what I could to teach these skills to those who desired to learn them.

May all the new gardens (and gardeners) continue to grow and flourish

It is my hope, now that we are moving on (back to “normal”?) and leaving that bizarre pandemic world behind us, that at least a few people have been permanently changed by it. That some have adopted a more frugal and simple way of life. A quieter way to occupy this world, leaving less impact on the environment. And that some of those who took up gardening as a hobby or a source of food during the quarantine have now discovered a lifelong passion for the joy of growing their own healthy and delicious nourishment.

Some may view my life as a hard one, involving a lot a work, and sacrifice, and deprivation. They look at my gardens and just see the toil that goes into them. But I see it being outside in the fresh air surrounded by lush beauty and a ripe bounty of goodness. I would much rather be outdoors weeding and trimming than sitting playing games on my phone or watching TV or trying to find something else to entertain myself.

I would much rather be in my kitchen cooking up a fresh, delicious meal with ingredients grown just a few feet away than dining at some expensive fancy restaurant. And to me the rewards of living this way are truly rich and plentiful. Others can have all their “stuff.” I have no need for that. This is the wealth that fulfills me.

A bounty of fresh picked snow peas
Nothing beats a fresh garden salad

This delicious raspberry cake from my garden beats anything store-bought!
Garden flowers nourish the soul

It is my hope that in writing about the joys of this simple homesteading lifestyle, I have convinced at least a few people to adopt some of my frugal living principles. I am certain that will not only help their own wallets but collectively will help to make this a better, healthier place to live for us all.

I thank Insider readers so much for reading my humble and sincere words, and invite anyone who would like to continue to follow my journey to check out my blog page at

It truly is in our hands. Please do what you can!

Here’s wishing us all a happy, healthy life on a vigorous and flourishing planet, and a very bright future for ourselves and our progeny. Thank you one and all!


A long, long time ago, after the birth of her third child, Victoria made the life-changing decision to leave the work world behind and devote herself to being a full-time mom and homemaker. Along with her new title of Domestic Engineer, she took on the role of the Chief Home Economist for the family.

At first, it was scary to try to live on less than half their income, but Victoria found that she not only rose to the challenge but thrived in the enjoyment of learning to live their best life with limited resources. She embraced this new frugal lifestyle of the at-home-mom and went on to add a fourth child to the mix. And their family was complete.

Along the way she acquired a great deal of wisdom in how to not only avoid debt, but pay off mortgages early, buy cars for cash, travel on a shoe-string budget, and send kids to college with no student loans, all while also saving a tidy nest egg for retirement. She currently educates others in these skills through her business Bright Future.

Now living the life of a modern homesteader in the Hudson Valley, New York, Victoria has added gardening to her list of skill sets as she grows many of her own vegetables to supplement her family’s primarily vegan diet. And she has come to realize that this waste-not, want-not, carbon-friendly, sustainable life she is living is not only benefiting her own family but also our Mother Earth, and that each of us has the obligation to live a responsibly sustainable life not only for ourselves, but for the greater good of our community, and our planet. We can all do this one household and backyard at a time. We are the world! And it all begins right at home.

Victoria can be reached at



Aug 09, 2023

What an eloquent send off... I appreciated all the great ideas, fun humor and joy in your articles. Best of luck to you and the editor Andrea Sachs!

Victoria Wragge Rolfe
Victoria Wragge Rolfe
Aug 10, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Linda, for being such a loyal reader through the years! Wishing you especially a beautiful bountiful life and a bright and delightful future.

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