So maybe I’ve watched way too much Discovery Channel, or perhaps read Charlott’s web too many times as a kid. The idea of living on a farm has always appealed to me. The idea of living in a self sustaining off the grid homestead appeals even more. But, the reality of being able to achieve these things at this point in my life, while giving up a lot of the financial security I currently have in my home, is not realistic at all. So for the moment at least, I’m embarking on a hybrid: Suburban Homesteading.
So what does Suburban Homesteading look like? Well, it started with pulling up patches of brick in the backyard patio. The largest of these patches now houses the chickens, only two, who provide us with eggs and companionship. Thus far there are four smaller patches, three of which are planted with herbs, arugula, rainbow chard, peas and spinach. It’s a waiting game as to weather my seeds will be successful or not. Another patch currently sits bare but covered, to avoid raccoons or cats from digging. I still have plans for cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and maybe strawberries, and sincere hopes for maybe beets and sweet potatoes, although those may have to wait till next year.
The whole idea here is to see how much food I can get out of my backyard. I consider the above to be Phase 1. Depending on success, continued interest and stamina, I hope to move onto Phase 2, which would include solar panels, rain barrels, and possibly quail for meat.
What I’m doing here is far from radical. I still grocery shop, but hopefully for less in the future. Our home will still be on the grid, city water, and even have Internet. I also have no current plans of trapping and eating the squirrels and possums that sometimes hang out with us. I’m just interested in becoming a little more self sufficient. I like the idea of producing my own food. If we’re successful this year, maybe we can even jar our own Marinara sauce.
The whole thing is part of a larger DIY lifestyle. I’m increasingly dissatisfied with the offerings at most grocery stores. Packaged prepared foods generally have too much salt, too much sugar, and make me sick. It doesn’t stop me from indulging from time to time. I still need the occasional Cheetos or Oreo fix, but these things are far from staples in my regular diet. I’m much more interested in making things from scratch. I typically spend at least part of my days off cooking so I have easy to grab foods available in my fridge. We make our own hummus, soups, and beautiful salads that are better than any grab and go option at supermarkets.
For me suburban homesteading is doing as much as I can at home and using the resources I have to provide at least a portion of what we consume. It won’t stop me from going to Trader Joes or my local farmers market on a regular basis, but maybe I’ll be getting a little less when I do.