Urban Homestead Home

| 4/1/2009 4:13:52 PM

Tags: urban homesteading,

For eight months I have been anticipating sharing this news with you – I am moving!!! Not a big move as moves go, only about 5 miles, in fact. But the change in the neighborhood atmosphere will, I hope, be substantial.

I currently reside in a suburban setting in a four bedroom, 2,300-square-foot house. A reduction in the size of my family has signaled this is a good time to reduce my eco-footprint in general and downsize to a considerably smaller abode – 1,300 square feet (with a full, clean, dry basement) to be specific. The basement will be a necessary repository for the canning jars, books, scrapbooks, photos, kids stuff, etc. that there is no room for on the main level. In addition to a smaller house, the yard will be about half the size of my current one. But it’s a clean slate, no gardens at the moment.

Why, you might wonder, am I sharing this life change with you? Well, I am looking at this move as an opportunity to engage in urban homesteading. Does that mean filling the whole lot with veggies and fruit and a small coop for chickens? Not exactly, although I do plan on constructing four raised beds to continue my love of fresh tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, strawberries and raspberries – ahhhhh! For me, homesteading is as much about developing community as it is about growing tomatoes. Where would our homesteading ancestors have been without the support and cooperation of their friends and neighbors? The historical neighborhood I’m moving to may not have a blacksmith or wheelwright shop, but it does have a neighborhood florist, a church where all the community meetings are held, a park for barbecues, potlucks, parades and plant swaps, and folks I’ve already discovered who are avid gardeners. Certainly they will be interested in trading bulbs and seeds, and sharing their gardening successes and failures.

By locating in an historic downtown community, I’ll also be within bicycle range of the library, my own church and the Saturday farmer’s market. It’s been 45 years since I explored on a bike and I’m looking forward to the experience.

Over the next few months I plan to share my urban homesteading adventures with you, including some photos, as soon as I learn how to download from a digital camera – there’s always something new to learn!

If you have had some experience with urban homesteading, share your story in the comments section below.

4/6/2009 8:06:49 AM

Happy homesteading!! I'm a little jealous. I'd love to do more on my own 1/2 acre but the neighbors, area and my own finances limit me to little bits here and there. Eventually we'll move but right now, in the economy in my neck of the woods, my house would not sell. So we putter around, doing a little here and there and set goals for down the road. Scarlett was right, tomorrow is another day.

jennifer juniper
4/2/2009 8:40:32 PM

I am in a similar boat. I close in just a few days on a 1900 sq foot house with a 140 by 150 lot in the midwest. The difference is that my daughter and I are moving there from a rented inner city slum house in one of the US's largest metro areas. I can't wait to put my large container garden into the ground (raised beds), have already checked city ordinances for chicken keeping, etc. Next is a woodburning stove and after that are solar panels. Then a composting toilet. And a use for our greywater. And a trellis with grapes. And apple tree. Oh and maybe a partner or spouse one of these days (mother earth news singles?)...the possibilities are endless. Best of luck to you on your new life.

Jill Swenson
4/2/2009 12:29:30 PM

Congratulations....It IS about more than the land. In Madison, Wisconsin, my best friends Amy and Trace live in a sweet little house and walk, bike or bus everywhere they need to go. They have a tool library on their city block and the block residents share a snowblower. This spring they have a seed and bulb swap and as the produce comes into yard gardens they share the bounty with each other.

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