I grow most of my food and keep my chickens in my backyard. It is so much fun!
My chickens are a huge flock of six, 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 as "right" as they can be.
On less than an acre, we utilize about half of our culdesac yard for raised grow beds, the chicken coop, rabbit hutch and the 10x15 barn that Jay built which sits a whopping nine foot from the corner of our house.
I do 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, but it is planned carefully and adhered to strictly in order to do what we do on a small amount of money.
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 home cooked meals and 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 a naturally structured person, 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 a
re 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 to store all the boxed non-foods (ie: fishy crackers, that fake block cheese, and sugary cereals) and cases and cases of diet beverages that we used to enjoy. Okay, truth: I could go for a diet coke right now, but I'll be good and stick with this cucumber and pineapple water.
Our goals successes ebbs and flows, but for the most part we do quite well. We have niched out a way of life plan that 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 need to know about homesteading 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 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. We are thankful for our little corner of the cul-de-sac to continue to learn all we can about homesteading. And there is much more to learn and implement. We aren't even halfway there yet.
In hindsight we have given up nothing to be here. Being where we are is exactly where I was made to be, in my dirty boots. I guess you can say we are on our way to modern day homesteading, and we are happy.
Go ahead... give it a try!,
Everyone should have a philosophy to live by. Ours is:
"LIVE SELF SUFFICIENTLY, LOVE OTHERS PURPOSEFULLY, CARE DEEPLY FOR MOTHER EARTH AND HER CREATOR."