Does anyone here Uran or Suburban homestead?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Deb Mc., May 2, 2004.

  1. Deb Mc.

    Deb Mc. Member

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    Hello everyone!

    A long-time lurker here, just starting out into homesteading. I'm new to homesteading and am looking for advice you could give to a newbie.

    Info on my circumstances: For right now, any homesteading being done will be inside city limits, with about 1/4 acre that's usable. (My long-term goal is to eventually own about 5 acres outside the city and turn it into a full-fleged homestead site.)

    So, does anyone here do homesteading in the city or the 'burbs? If so, do you have any tips for a newbie homesteader, please?

    Thanks and God Bless!
     
  2. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    Dont any more but two years ago I lived in town and had a small back yard[ about 900 feet] and had eight dwarf fruit trees, a grape plant trellised over the rabbit shed. One huge orange tree. three hens in a movable coop and two goats a pygora and a nigerian. And four raised garden beds. also five rabbits.
     

  3. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    I think that homesteading is more a state of mind than how much acreage you live on. That being said, I live on 1/6th, yes you read it right, of an acre in the city. :waa: However, since I have the homesteading mindset, I have accomplished quit a lot on my little peice of self sufficiency. Vegetables, small fruit, chickens for a start. Homesteading does not stop at the front door however and teaching myself new skills, I try to learn two or three every year, has greatly increased my ability to do for myself. Simple things like making soap, spinning wool, making cheese all are steps in the right direction for me so that when I do get some land someday soon, I can do all of these things using the raw materials, wool, milk, lard, that I raised myself. Baby steps. Theresa.
     
  4. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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  5. Deb Mc.

    Deb Mc. Member

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    Shrek,

    Thanks for the links! I'll check those out after this post.


    Kathy & Theresa,

    Thank you for the info and the tips - they give me hope, even with this small city lot. :)


    Theresa,

    I totally agree with you about homesteading being a state of mind. My spirit is willing, but the pocketbook is weak. I've been teaching myself how to hand-spin (drop spindle) wool into yarn, knit and crochet, plus my Mom and I are re-familiarizing ourselves with hot-pack canning.

    God Willing and circumstances permitting, we'll get this place turned into a small homestead yet! :D


    Thanks again all!
     
  6. MomInGa

    MomInGa Well-Known Member

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    Best of luck Deb and glad to have you with us, not only lurking. :)
    The mindset thing is absolutely true and you can do just about anything you set your mind too. :)
    I was gonna post some links but Shrek beat me to it. He is full of good stuff.

    Welcome and let us know how your progressing as I know some will be very interested. ( I will :) )
     
  7. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    This is one of my favorited sites for urban homesteading. What these people have done is just incredible.

    www.pathtofreedom.com
     
  8. MomInGa

    MomInGa Well-Known Member

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    Gesh Melissa, that is a WONDERFUl site indeed!

    :)
     
  9. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    I love it when they post how many pounds of food they have harvested so far this year. I think last year it was over 6000 pounds just from that city lot. They also have a newsletter each month you can sign up to get. I love to read the journal and all the links. That site has really been instumental in changing a lot of my thinking. It is great reading.
     
  10. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Deb -

    Welcome to the boards!!!

    I'm stuck in the burbs again myself... And, with a homeowners' association that sucks up every chair they sit on... (yup... rather bitter.)

    Right now, its just DH and I, three huge mutts, a cat and a rabbit. Three more does and a buck coming within the next month thanks to someone else on the board here (THANKS!!!).

    If you either have a TON of privacy, or an understanding homeowners (or city) org., you might be able to have a few hens for eggs, too. I can't here - for some reason, a pot-bellied pig is preferable to three little hens with their wings clipped..... But - nobody EVER has said anything about the rabbits (not that they know).

    Rabbits are great for a suburbanite - easy to care for, QUIET!, reproduce, well, like rabbits, great meat ('tastes like chicken' lol *wink*) and great fertilizer. Plus, you can sell them both as pets and for meat, so at least they might pay for themselves in addition to the other things they provide.

    I garden just about everywhere... There are veggies tucked into the previous owner's flower beds, seedlings on a table in the living room and more started in a spare bedroom for sale. There's a 20 x ?? garden in the back that does most of the rest. I grow herbs, and I use everything I can possibly find a use for. I make our own soaps, cleaning products and some medicinals, like salves and such. Hang laundry on a line nearly year round, etc etc. You just do the best you can with what you have, and work toward 'that beautiful day'!!

    I do a fairly brisk amount of business between farmer's markets and CW re-enactments... I bake and sell muffins and cookies (Victorian themed, of course, lol!!) as well as seedlings, herbs and herbal body care stuff, and crafts, and that money goes into paying down some stupid behavior from last year and toward our 'farm fund'.

    (Incidentally, being a suburbanite.....) you'd be amazed at how well 'strange' jellies sell at markets!!! I do dandelion, lavender, rose (Dad grows them), basil and violet jellies. Never thought they'd sell - did it on a lark - but other folks might want to try it, too, lol.

    One thing I've finally done - and I hope it works... I've finally committed some goals to paper... We sat down and decided on a time frame to finally get out. We set some goals as to what we want to look for, and what we'd like to do with whatever we manage to find. While we both understand that there will be innumerable changes, the basic goals are right there in writing. When we get discouraged, or really want to mess with the process, we go back and look at that. Its been helping - so far!

    Good luck to you!!

    Sue
     
  11. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    I try. :) I live in your average 3 bedroom 2 bath with a yard. In fact, my fiance and I actually live in the garage of the house. It's warm, but it's not too bad. I've taught myself to sew, and now I'm trying to teach myself heirloom sewing and how to crochet. We built a couple planters that hold herbs, tomatoes, pole beans, bell peppers, strawberries, and cucumbers. I use my own version of square foot gardening. We're thinking about tearing down our old shed and turning it into a veggy/dwarf fruit tree/flower garden. I've also taught myself to cook and how to make bread, pressure cook, and can. I think it's more a state of mind than anything...
     
  12. MomInGa

    MomInGa Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your doing just super! Your also very self motivated sounds like, and I think your right that it is a state of mind. Let us know what kind of dwarf trees you get. I would love to know how you like them. :)


    Melissa, you have me now addicted to that site. I cant believe what all they are doing on 1/5 acre lot. If they aren't an inspiration, I can't imagine anyone would be!
    power of determination.
    I love it.
     
  13. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Here's a link that I used to learn to crochet (probably belongs elsewhere, but here it is anyway...)

    Learn to Crochet

    Warning - its addictive!!!!

    Sue
     
  14. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    I know MominGA. When I read on there, it makes me feel like I am doing nothing compared to what I should and could be doing! Wish I had that kind of energy... We have 16 acres total here and we aren't nearly that productive...YET! But I hope we will be someday. I am not sure how long they have been working on their place, but it is several years. It takes time to get established and to learn, but I figure if you make some forward progress each year, it is better than going backwards.

    Thanks for the crochet link. I would really like to learn this skill.
     
  15. Deb Mc.

    Deb Mc. Member

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    MomInGa, SueD and all,

    Thanks! :) It's a wonderful board here - you all are great, such a friendly and welcoming group of folks!

    Mom and I just had 11 tons of gravel dumped today (for the driveway), fortunately most of it doesn't have to be moved by hand. The second delivery should be on Thursday. Tomorrow it's time to paint the barn (but that's what my brother is for...) :D

    Thanks very much for the links! The "Pathtofreedom" looks like a wonderful site! So much good info to browse through - though it's tough trying to beat back the urge to run out into the back yard and start a project. :D Guess I'd better get the forsythia bushes and scrub trees trimmed first...



    Sue,

    Wow - you are one busy lady! I hope I can be as successful as you with my homestead. :) Fortunately, we've been blessed in that we can have chickens (the fellow from City Hall said chickens didn't need the acre-limit restriction), and as long as we're planning on showing some of them, there isn't a problem. Ditto with rabbits too.

    I talked to my next door neighbor (downwind) and he wasn't really thrilled about it, but he didn't say "No" either. Both of his daughters have rabbits right next to us, so he really doesn't have too much he can say or do, especially since our coop would be at the very back of the property, well away from his house and down-slope too. If not chickens, then definitely rabbits. (Any breeds you'd recommend?)

    Right now the main thing is to get the yard whipped into shape. After that, I'd like to start working on the shed (soon to be coop) to get it ready for next spring. After that is building a couple of raised beds (complete with Fort Knox-like wire surrounding it 360 to keep out deer and groundhogs). The last bit would be to put up 8' fencing around the yard's perimeter. THAT'S going to cost a lot though, so probably not this year...

    I've got herbs growing out on the back deck (can't put them elsewhere because the groundhogs or deer destroy them). I'm hoping that once the raised beds are in place (with wire underneath, on the sides and on the top), I'll be able to switch over to square-foot gardening. Keeping fingers crossed...


    Thanks again all and God Bless! :)
     
  16. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Deb,
    I switched totally to the cash from squarefootgardening last year. I put up enough for myself and my dogs while at the same time adding 3000 to 6000 annually to my income, depending on produce demands in my area.
     
  17. Deb Mc.

    Deb Mc. Member

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    Shrek,

    That's pretty darned impressive! What's selling best, (if you don't mind my asking)? Did it take long to set up a customer base?

    Once the raised beds are in, I was thinking of growing some heirloom veggies to try to sell at the local farmers market, but that goal is a bit further down the road for now.

    Thanks again!
     
  18. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Deb, lol - busy like a nut!!! If I'd just CONCENTRATE, I could do more, but since we are here, this is my 'experimental station'. I was REALLY lucky that I learned most of the basics from my parents and grandparents, and an uncle with a farm while I was growing up... That, and since my family thinks I'm crazy anyway, they are constantly telling me I 'can't' - whatever. Creates a burning and rather vengeful desire to do whatever it is, lol! GREAT Training!

    Shrek - DETAILS, buddy - details!! Always looking to improve the skills in both areas over here, lol!

    Sue