Take a breath.
No, seriously, take a deep breath. You’re halfway through the week, and if any of y’all are like me, when I’m tense and tired for a stressful week, I forget to just stop and take a deeeep gulp of air now and then. It might surprise you how much it helps.
Now that I’ve bossed you around and gotten more oxygen in my system (and coffee, just as necessary for my survival), let’s talk urban homesteading.
Now, to be frank, I’m not sure I live in what’s considered an urban area. It’s a very, very small town, population five thousand-ISH. We don’t even have a Wal-mart anymore. I live near downtown on a small lot, so it’s not quite an urban environment like a bigger town or city, but it’s definitely not a country homestead or even suburbanish. Small spaces often mean big challenges, though, and I like this kind of challenge.
City ordinance here allows chickens and other small poultry to be kept in city limits, so eventually, I want a couple of chickens, but we’ll see how Mr. J takes that. I DO know I want to really up my garden game again, going to try my hand at a couple pumpkins again this fall and see how we do, and hopefully expand from there in the spring.
For now, it’s mostly planning, and making sure this is really the route we want to take. It is, but there’s some comfort in knowing we’re in a place where we can make adjustments and change that route to fit our needs as we need to. Adapt and overcome, that’s our motto. One of them, anyway.
It’s going to be a boatload of work, on top of my already very full plate. It’s going to be a lot of stress until we get everything set in stone that we need to be solid, and it’s going to be a big transition. It’s one we’re ready for, though, and here’s why:
10. I miss the dirt- That may sound silly, but it’s true. I used to spend hours in the garden with my dad or grandparents, and I miss that connection and satisfaction from growing something from seed to producing plant. I’m not one for religion, but if I had to pick one, nature is my religion.
9. We need to take time- Even though we’re under the same roof, there are countless distractions pulling us apart; he’s busy with school and games with friends (which I don’t mind, as I watch!), I’m always working or doing something around the house, and we’re often guilty of not spending enough time together. We love doing projects together, and it’s time we got back to that.
8. Better use of my time- I have a slightly neurotic obsession with not wasting my time. Outside of my ‘set’ relaxation hours in the evening, I can’t stand knowing I could be doing something more beneficial or productive with my time. That kind of thought is good in moderation, as it always keeps me busy and things get done. What’s a better use of my day: waiting for emails or watching TV, or working on green beans that we can can for the rest of the year?
7. Stress relief- I don’t know if any of you have ever split firewood or kindling or ripped up weeds, but there’s something incredibly cathartic about it. Rather than pick up bad habits to try and cope with stress, I’d rather work it out through something productive for my family, like getting wood for the back pit.
6. Smaller footprint – The older I get, the more I’m becoming what a lot of people would call a ‘treehugger’. I consolidate our trips around town, I’m dying to get a solar panel or two on my roof to help lighten our load, I’m getting a rain barrel, and damn it, I’m gonna save the honeybees if it’s the last thing I do. The more stuff we can do for ourselves with stuff we already have or can recycle from elsewhere, the less of an impact our lives are going to have on our little hunk of rock.
5. Bartering power – Right now, with Mr. J in school, I’m the primary breadwinner. There’s a ton of pressure on me, and while I’m doing everything I can to bring in more income, it’d be nice to have something to barter with. It’s a small town, a lot of people are willing to trade other goods or services for homegrown or homemade goods, and I’m all for it. Strawberries and jam, green beans, tomatoes and salsa, fresh bread, pumpkins in the fall, I plan to have a lot to offer folks.
4. Better choices at mealtime – I’m guilty of taking the easiest route with food a lot, and often, than means something storebought, processed and all around terrible for us. The more fresh produce I can keep on hand, the more likely we are to eat it over something else because let’s face it: not much beats tomatoes fresh off the vine on a burger from local beef.
3. Our lot, our world – If I wanted to live a plain old cookiecutter life, I’d be living in a bigger city in the suburbs again. I’m here, in my little town in my little lot in my little house. We could either leave it as it is, which is nine kinds of ‘meh’, or we can transform it into a sanctuary that supports us. This is our life, and this little lot is our kingdom, and we want our kingdom to thrive, small or not.
2. Back to basics – Life is complicated. Our life, especially, is complicated. It’s hard, and confusing, and more often than not, it feels..cluttered, to put it simply. At the end of the day, we want to focus on what actually matters, our actual lives, not the digital world, not the dollar, just living.
1. Savings – It may not sound like much, to save on green beans, or tomatoes or sauce, but over time, it adds up. Every little bit counts, especially when you’re in the midst of rebuilding your life, and I intend to save every penny I can, even if that means working my butt off in my garden.
I like having choices in life. That’s part of what being a free human is, being able to choose the kind of life you want to live, whether it’s conventional, old school, primative..whatever. Do you. I also like having the choice to change my mind and try something else.
What we’ve been trying so far doesn’t work for us. Trying something different is the only way you can expect to get different results, and I’m eager to see the results from this new path we’re on.
Are you an urban-dweller or a rural folk? Do you wanna live somewhere else?