I am an urban farm girl. That just means that I grow my food in the back yard of my neighborhood home , and keep my chickens inside the city limits. There is nothing at all wrong with that! In fact, it has a lot of benefits. Let me quantify tho; my chickens are a huge flock of four after Ruby died, and my bountiful organic garden is organized and edged in 15 very "neighborhood-like" raised beds, mainly because I just like it that way, but also because there is no point in becoming the neighborhood eye-sore. Daddy always said, "anything worth doing, is worth doing right", and I agree. So we work a bit harder to keep the gardens right.
On less than an acre, we utilize about half of our culdesac yard for grow beds, the chicken coop, rabbit hutch and the 10x15 barn that sits a whopping nine foot from the corner of our house. I plan to keep growing. We don't have fruit bearing trees, and we need those, so that's not far in the future of this little place. Who knows, if we live here many more years we will probably end up with a fence, but for now that is not in our budget. Budget is a meaningful word here. We do not fear it. It is our friend and helps us to keep our little urban farm growing at a manageable pace.
We did not set out to eventually grow, harvest and hunt two thirds of our food. There were a few determining factors, but mostly we started out just like the other middle class Americans that want to tone down the materialism, get off the fast-to-death foods, and on to Mother Earth as she was created to be enjoyed. There is so much on our planet to embrace. Why spend your entire life chasing something God did not create? Yes, the dollar is necessary but it is not to be worshiped. So we stopped, plain and simple. That is when our time here got great!
My point is not to boast or promote our life choices as if they are more, or better than all the others. It is just to say it is better for us, and if by chance you are also contemplating living smaller and cleaner, free of being controlled by paying for things you don't need and sometimes don't even want, then by all means, start where you are, and go for it!
Like us, you can do it on any scale. We are self employed photographers/printers. We love how we make our living, and it easily affords us our low key lifestyle of growing and preserving food. Hunting venison and cutting wood for winter fires. But it hasn't always been this way. We gave up careers in nuclear power and corporate America to pursue our dream of dreaming together in the same bed each night. Nuclear power took Jay from state to state earning a sweet salary, and the world of corporate put me exactly where I am least happy, indoors and in heels. But hey, if jingle-jangle could make you happy, we would have been ecstatic because extra cash was not a problem!
We did not arrive at giving up both of our careers quickly nor easily. We were a bit nervous, and knew it would take a lot of work on the front end getting out of debt and structuring our way of doing things differently. I wasn't sure how all that was going to work out since I am not very structured by nature myself, but luckily Jay is. What I did know was we love each other more than we loved our stuff and a heck of a lot more than we loved being away from one another to pay for it. So, in stages we began our journey to arrive at where we are today. And what a beautiful pilgrimage it has been. Jay and I are free from worry of having to be apart and I don't have to dread my commute to the office. Best of all, there's no pondering of where we are going store all the boxed non-foods (ie: fishy crackers, that fake block cheese, sugar cereals) and cases and cases of diet beverages that we drink. Okay, truth: I could go for a diet coke right now, but I'll be good and stick with this cucumber and pineapple water. Man, it truly is way better, so why do I still crave the other stuff? I know why. We can talk about that another day.
As everyone's does, our scale of meeting goals ebbs and flows. We have niched out a plan that for typically works for us, but is ever changing.
In 2010 I had a 4x8 foot garden bed, a compost tumbler, and YouTube. I quickly realized that almost anything you question about organic anything and homesteading how-to's can be googled. Now I am trying to figure out how to find the time to squeeze my own YouTube channel into my day so I can help promote the benefits of growing food over grocery stores and memories over money. In just a few short years we arrived at growing and hunting more food than we buy, appreciating the clover that grows with the bermuda grass in our yard rather than spray it with carcinogens, and almost every Spring morning you will find me plucking beetles and worms from vegetable seedlings and tossing them to the chickens rather use pesticide that will quickly kill the insects and me. We work hard for our food, we give to others when we see the need or have a surplus, and we play on trails and creeks for fun. Our children are our life and we have time for them now that the work commute is so short! We are thankful for our little corner of the cul-de-sac to continue to learn all we can about homesteading. We are eager to implement new ideas on this tiny urban almost farm.
In hindsight we gave up nothing to be here. Being where we are is exactly where I was made to be, in my farm boots. I guess you can say we are officially modern day homesteaders. And we are happy.
Go ahead... give it a try!
Here a few snap shots of our little urban homestead:
"Live self sufficiently, love others purposefully, care deeply for Mother Earth and Her Creator"