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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My urban homestead

Uh oh, it seems I infringed on a trademark by using "urban homestead." Urban homestead! There, I said it again.

My urban homestead consists of three hens, a scuppernong arbor, wild grapes, and elderberries. There is a nice garlic every year, but I have yet to pull it up. That is a sad little urban homestead. Oh, yeah, there are hickory nuts, but they don't count! They are useless. They only serve to roll as I step on them and make me off balance. They stain my fingers if I try to pick them up. I would just starve to death for all the sustenance I could get for them. It would take more calories to crack and pick out the meat than I would actually be able to consume.

Soon, I hope there will be all sorts of plants here, enough to make a difference in my life. What does it take to make a difference in my life? Plants grown without pesticides make me happy. The fruits of my labor being canned, frozen, or dehydrated. I do recycle and participate in other activities that make me more self-sufficient.

If Thelma stays broody, we may just have some hatching happening. Then, I will have baby livestock on the old homestead!

What I plan to plant:
green beans
hot peppers
Bell peppers
red and yellow peppers
roses with hips for vitamin C
sunflowers for seeds
Pumpkins, maybe
squash, maybe
potatoes, maybe

I desperately want an Excalibur dehydrator. I need a new pressure canner. I am buying 1/2 gallon Ball jars. I believe I have plenty of the other sizes. Hopefully, I will be dehydrating and storing in canning jars. Or, I will be water bath or pressure canning.

My barrel is opaque and white. So, the barrel will need paint before I can grow potatoes.

On my agenda: dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and eggs.

I am very afraid, but I will try canning meat this year.

Before the summer is over, I want to make a quilt.  Maybe I will take to wearing a bonnet. However, I will NOT be carrying water or birthing cows. Okay, I don't have a cow on my urban homesteading lot. That really sounded homesteady didn't it?

By the way, click here to find out what the "urban homestead" issue is.

Your turn
Do you have an urban homestead, no matter how modest? Do you strive for more seff-sufficiency?


  1. We definitely have an "urban homestead," even though we do not live in an urban area. We dont live in the country. We are kind of in between. We live 2 miles from town, but 20 miles from the closest WalMart.

    We have a total of 1 acre, and I've been adding plants/trees/gardens to areas spread all over the place to help make us more sustainable when it comes to food. The first thing I planted when we moved in were red raspberries against one side of the house. They have quadroupled (spelling?) in size since planting them, giving us enough berries to keep both hubby and I happy in the late Summer/early Fall. The plan for me is to get berries that produce in each season. Strawberries (we had some - I killed them though. Going to try again this year,) Blueberries (takes a few years to produce enough to do anything, but we have one patio plant right now,) and then the red raspberries. I am going to also plant blackberries and many more blueberries this year that will produce wihtin 2-3 years. I also want to plant concord grapes; however, that may be next year. We'll see. Not too much at one time - it's too difficult to keep up.

    Last year in June, we bought fruit trees at 75% off from Lowes. We have two pear trees, an apricot tree and a dwarf plum tree. One great thing about these trees is that they are ornamental, so we have them in the front yard. They wont get too big, but will hopefully produce this year or next.

    In our garden, I plan on planting:
    Brussels (never planted before - this is my new veggy)
    Soybeans (edamame)
    Green Beans
    A couple of green pepper plants

    Those are my plans for our garden(s) this year. I am really excited. We didnt have a very large over abundance of veggies to can last year, but I really would like to can green beans this year and tomatoe sauce. We pretty much ate them as I picked them.

    We live on a dead-end street with 3 houses on it, and we own two of the houses. There is a bit of wooded land next to our neighbor and I asked hubby if we could buy it so I can make an even bigger garden. I would REALLY like to grow ALL of our produce and can it for the year. Cantaloup, all veggies, pumpkins, carrots, etc.

    We'll see. For now, I am happy with what we've got planned.

    Oh, how I long for Spring to get here. :-)

    Sorry for the long post.

  2. We started out as urban homesteaders, with just a small plot in a community garden. We applied the lifestyle as much as we could at home in an effort to be more self sufficient and sustainable. Canning, dehydrating, fermenting, baking all of our bread, wine and cheese making... The entire repertoire it seems. I learned most of these skills in books.
    Eventually, we bought a very small farm which we are rehabbing now, but we continue to live in the city. I found the most inspiration in my grandmothers prolific urban farm which she established in the mid 70's and in Cubas urban farming tradition.
    We bought the farm because we couldn't find opportunities to grow more food in the city and our apartment is not ideal for livestock. We have an open invitation to all of our urban homesteading friends should they care to use our land for larger projects. So far, we have a beekeeping coop in the works. Urban homesteading has been about community from the start, country life is also but in different ways. Honestly, I prefer the urban type of community and so hope to take some of it with me.

  3. I have wanted chickens so bad, for so long. But our darn city council will not allow it. Someday, my husband and I want to move out to the country and then I will finally have my chickens! But for now we do our adaption of urban homesteading. We garden- tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, raspberries, many herbs. Oops, I forgot about the sunflowers. My hubby loves to plant sunflowers. He is always amazed at the height they achieve.
    We eat and share much of our produce as it ripens. And we can and freeze whatever is leftover.
    We both love to cook and probably eat 90% of our meals home-cooked. It saves us a lot of money and we feel so much healthier.
    My friend just bought me "The Self-Sufficient Life and how to live it" by John Seymour and "The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food" by Janet Chadwick. I can't wait to read through both of them.
    I agree with you that reduce, re-use, re-purpose, and recycle are another aspect of urban homesteading. We try to live by those 4 R's too.
    Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm giving your insomnia tips a try and will report back to you in a few weeks, what ones worked the best for me.
    Have a good day,

  4. Defy authority! Don't ask. Get four hens. Then, there are websites to supply you with informations on how to get the city to allow chickens. Just don't get roosters.

    Thanks for sharing what you do and raise. I will have to look up that book.

    Several things at once help me to sleep. Good luck.

  5. SB, that sounds so nice. Some day you will have to post pictures of your lovely garden. And, expanding? Great. I wish I were young and full of energy.

    Linda, what a great thing to continue a tradition.
    Aha, cheesemaking is something else I want to try. I am going to get the Ball canning book and learn to can meat. When I get the dehydrator, I will be able to preserve so much more.

  6. I got the dehydrator because I am very terrified of any pressure canning:) I do hope you will share your experience with canning meat when you start! But yes, the Excalibur which you mentioned wanting is honestly a great investment. I have a nine tray and need a larger one. Size does matter.LOL!

  7. Linda, I was terrified of the pressure cooker. I have had this one over 40 years. However, it may not be up to standards for canning with new rules. Does your dehydrator have the thermostat and timer? I kept scorching bananas when I used the dehydrator overnight or even in the day when I had the cheap WM dehydrator.If I am going to dehydrate again and invest, I might as well get something that doesn't scorch the food to cinders and leave some still very soft.

  8. I didnt realize I did not have any pictures of the garden from last year. I will try to post some this weekend for you on the blog. :-) I dont have any of the trees, but I should in the next few months when the snow melts and you can see them.

  9. I will be watching for pictures.

  10. Posted. :-) Thank you for your interest.

  11. Hi Linda
    Sorry it took so long to get back to you about the Excaliber. No timer or thermostat (do you mean an internal thermostat or a temperature control? It has a temperature control.) But I have had no problems with it, not even with bananas. This machine has a back fan and heat is very evenly disbursed which I think is it's biggest advantage. Also, because it has a back fan, you have more space for food. It's pretty much the top of the line for non commercial dehydrators. Love mine!

  12. The factory website calls it a thermostat. That's all I know. I know I will love mine when I get it!

  13. Yes we do have a UH. Do you think I can use UH instead of the actual words and still get sued?:) Silly people!!! Joni

  14. I wonder! These are people I admired.


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