City Dwellers - Need Ideas

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ChiliPalmer, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to solicit a few more ideas on what I can do in the meanwhile, being stuck in the city for a bit yet. DH is military and so we are transient by nature, plus there ain't no way I'm settling in Florida.

    Things I have to work with:
    Huge city lot, corner on a cul-de-sac. Bad - it's all front yard and a rental to boot. Good - seven foot high privacy fence surrounding the postage stamp back yard. Bad - house is just shy of a McMansion, big thing in the suburbs and most of it wasted space, AND it's rented. Good - landlord doesn't ever come by, so I'm free to do as I please as long as it doesn't scare the neighbors. Bad - I live in a dead zone for farms. There aren't any for hours and hours and hours; no U-pick for poor Chili. Good - southern exposure in Zone 9 means I should be able to container garden year-round.


    On the list so far:

    Clothesline for the private back yard. It can go in the garage on our (frequent) rainy days.

    Container gardens in the back. Move-able, so it won't kill the grass. Herbs, carrots, tomatoes, onions and .....

    Coat closet off the foyer is being turned into a second shelved pantry and the closet in the master bedroom into a walk-in pantry.

    We own a small chest freezer and are buying a second, larger freezer as well. I shop sales with a vengeance and take full advantage of the commissary, and so have hit the point that our bi-monthly shopping trips usually consist of buying six items in bulk.


    Our goals are two-fold: cost-cutting and to ease a little of my disgust at having to live in town after being raised out in the country. I'm lonesome for my upbringing. We're a family of eight. Mr. Chili is Navy, second class petty officer, and he makes a good bit. I work the night shift (no day care that way, as dad is home to watch them) two or three nights a week and make as much as he does most weeks, and sometimes more than he does. Our bills are minimal - no credit card debt, one truck payment of $240 (new truck) - and everything else is utilities, rent, gas and food. I'd like to get things to the point where all of my income is going straight to savings. We're not hurting by any stretch of the imagination, I just like being thrifty.

    So. Anything I haven't thought of?
     
  2. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    Well if you are interested in this: I had my first chickens, ducks and rabbits on a city cul de sac lot with a board fence, lol. I don't think anyone but the guy across the alley knew they were there, and he was an ex hippie and a very cool guy.

    hollym
     

  3. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    Maybe you could compost? That's quiet and won't offend the neighbors with any funky smells if done properly.

    /VM
     
  4. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When my daughter was stuck in the city going to college she grew lots of veggies in the flower beds around her front porch. Had cukes growing up the railings, peppers,tomatoes,green beans,pole beans,lettuce and spinach around the side where it was shadier...dug it up spade by spade...this was in Illinois. Harvested alot of $$$ and people we always walking by admiring her garden and ingenuity. Now she lives in an basement apartment,had a big private back yard so had a garden, a rabbit for his contributions(!),compost pile, a small greenhouse. Next desire is for her pa to bring her a hive of bees!!!!!!! Where there's a will there is a way. You could easily have some hens since they are quiet...a small coop would be easy to construct. Many years we've only kept 3-4 chickens and got plenty of eggs for household use. Be sure and group your pots of plants together and they will make their own micro-climate that saves on watering. DEE
     
  5. suzyhomemaker09

    suzyhomemaker09 Well-Known Member

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    Quail are another thing you coudl do as well...when we lived in Fla....(right smack dab between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale) we had quail in or walk in closet in an apartment even....they lay lots of eggs..don't require lots of space. The mention of chickens is a good thought too..you could only have a few hens.. they don't need an old noisy roo to lay eggs. If you look online you can find plans for building your own "Earth Boxes" self watering container gardening things. I made one last spring and had tomatoes in it...( only my neglect caused my poor yield )
    Good luck with your endeavor....I know we didn't want to live in Florida so we got out .
     
  6. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion of animals but that won't fly (more's the pity). I'm renting in a HOA-division in the city.

    Mutti, we can't dig anything up (and the HOA restricts what plants you can use in landscaping visible from the street) but I was thinking of getting a good-sized container garden going. Perhaps the equivalent of 15x15. I figure if I rotate the containers throughout the backyard then no one's the wiser and the grass stays alive. A compost pile's a fine idea and I know just the spot for it.

    Thanks all!
     
  7. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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  8. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Your comment aboutbeing in Florida made me immediately think of this....
    A family of eight requires some serious planning in case of emergency. Have you got supplies packed for evacuation? Fill a few backpacks in the garage with what you need (water, light weight food, flashlight, etc.) and have them ready to go with your fireproof box of family documents. Go to www.ready.gov for some advice on this.

    Make your own breads, cook from scratch whatever it is your family enjoys, teach the kids the same.

    Learn to craft things like: soap, lotion, quilts, knitting/crocheting, sewing. These can be done anywhere and are great skills to take with you and can be lifelong activities. Consider making sourdough starter, homemade pop/beer/wine and other hobbies that will pay off in independence and fun.
     
  9. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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  10. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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    We finished the bug-out bags last week. I just set my sponge to rise in the oven, though not sourdough this time as my starter went bad (doesn't seem to do well in FL). Two days ago I sorted through the scrab bag for squares to make the youngest a quilt, as he's the only one that doesn't have one yet and he's outgrowing his baby blankets. I may live in the city but I was raised out in BFE on a hobby farm. I've done all this before, just never in the city.
     
  11. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Get two female goats or a goat and her kid. We lived in Dunwoody, GA, which is as surburban as it gets and the people a few streets over raised goats for years. Because we had no fence and several dogs, we settled for our organic garden. Goats won't stink up the area like a chicken house will.
     
  12. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    I was going to suggest the Extreme Simplicity book as well. And bees!

    You can grow all kind of herbs for medicines and fabric dyes. Don't forget al the home crafts you can learn like canning, soapmaking, rugmaking, knitting, carpentry, etc.

    What about rain barrels for water collection? Solar hot water? Ham radio operating?

    If you go to survivalblog.com you can find profiles of what different survivalists have done to ready their homes. It's a little different mindset but lots of ideas there,

    Beaux