After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It Starts....And We're Super Excited!

For many years (well, for me, my whole life), we've been wishing and hoping and praying that one day we could buy a bit of land.  Just a tiny bit.  No more than 5 acres.  Just something big enough for chickens and goats and plentiful amounts of things to grow and harvest, can and pickle.  Well, I have to admit, I've had time where I was wishing more than I really should......borderline coveting.  God blessed us with this house we own and as soon as we started viewing it as our families home as opposed to just somewhere we live until we can own our homestead, we started seeing the beauty in its quirkiness.  You see, after we were both done with school, we moved back home to settle down and start a family.   The real estate market was up, so we were in the market to rent.  We were surprised to find that rent was very high and that we would basically just be paying someone else's mortgage.  We had no money saved as we were both fresh graduates, but we wondered how high our mortgage would be if we were able to get financed 100%.  Could it compete with the rental market?  We did some research and indeed it did.  We would either buy at the bottom of the market and pay our own mortgage, OR, we could rent for the same price.  We choose to buy at the bottom of the market, which meant a modular house 25 minutes outside of town, in a small lake community.  We weren't planning to be first time home buyers, but suddenly were.  I was also 2 months pregnant with our first when we moved in.  The place needed major help so you can guess that the last 6 years of home owning has flown by as more children have been added to our family, and the house is always in more need than it seems we can give it.  We have gone through times, like I mentioned above, where we were bummed with our house.  It needed a lot of work, it wasn't anything fancy, etc.  But through the years, I have come to love it for those very reasons I used to not.  I love that it's not a "normal" house.  I love its quirks.  I LOVE that its not fancy.  And you know what I just recently realized?  While we were sitting on our arses waiting for the day God led us to a homestead, we were sitting on land, just a little bit, that could be utilized, if wisely done, for tons of edible gardening.  Gardening that would yield enough for canning and pickling.  Maybe not chickens (though I plan to fight our H.O.A. on that) but rabbits for sure.  Funny how once we are content with and love what God has blessed us with, how we FINALLY see its full potential. 
So, I got online and searched and searched and searched for good literature.  I finally decided The Urban Homestead looked like the perfect book for us.  I asked for it for my birthday and have not put it down since receiving it.  In fact, after reading the introduction we were so inspired that we dropped the book, grabbed the kids and literally started ripping everything out of our front yard that wasn't edible....EVERYTHING.  I will talk about this book more later, but this post is wordy enough so let me just say that its great for us because it talks about how to homestead on limited space including patios on apartment buildings and rooftops.  In fact, our tiny plot would actually be considered one of the larger areas this book addresses because we have a front and back yard to utilize.
So, our changes so far.....our little fenced off backyard kitchen garden we've tended since we moved in will become the rabbit (and hopefully chicken) run.  A little wire on the fence and a hutch is all we need.  Oh, and rabbits.  A friend's bunny is pregnant so we are expectant rabbit owners.  We plan to use the rabbit pellets as fertilizer.  Everything is getting ripped out of the front yard which will become our edible garden.  Our front yard has gone majorly over to the weeds, so its been a big job.  Here's a few pics of day one of transforming our yard into our urban homestead.
This is our pond, which we put in ourselves when Logan was tiny.  Its not the best picture.  We plan to keep this as the birds love it and birds on our urban homestead mean natural bug control.  Plus, we like to watch the birds come get drinks.  You can see Logan in the background hacking away at a dormant crape myrtle bush.  The stump is still not out.  Its a biggy.  But this raised bed against the house will be a great planting area.  I'd also like to attempt an apple espalier on our barren trellis Zac made.

Forgive these bright pics, they were quickly shot as we ran out to start digging everything up.  I wanted a few before pics and couldn't wait for better lighting.  :)  This is the majority of our front yard.  I'll measure it one day soon.  It looks smaller here, but it IS small.

Here's another corner of our front yard.  Under those weeds is a traveling rose bush I recently hacked away at.  I don't know if I'll ever be rid of it as its roots spread around half this area and send up shoots.

This is our side yard.  We grew tomatoes down this strip in wine barrels one year, but the sun hits this side of the house ALL DAY LONG and even the tomatoes struggled.  I would however like to one day turn this into an area to hang dry clothes, taking advantage of that constant hot sun.  You can see how close together the houses are in this pic.  We are lucky that our neighbors on both sides are lake vacationers so that gives us more privacy than if they lived here year round like us.

I'll have to post more pics soon because that yard full of weeds is emptying out more and more each day.  Its rained the last few days, keeping us inside, but that'll help soften up the areas around those big roots we've been working away at.  I bet they'll come up no sweat the next time we can get out there and work.

Today was an exciting day.  We planted our first seeds ever!  That's right, in years past, we started our little backyard kitchen garden from store bought started plants.  I've wanted to do seeds for years but had seed anxiety.  ???  The Urban Homestead and some homesteading blog friends inspired me to take a crack at it so today was the day.

My 3 filling the seed trays with soil.  They all loved this part.

OK, I know that's a lot of pics of Kian's little hands, but I can't stand it.  I had to post them all.  He LOVED planting the seeds.  He'd poke the hole, then shout "more, more, more!" until I gave him a seed.  Then he'd drop it in the hole and cover it up.....not very neatly, but that's where I came in and tidied it up.  :)

Felicity was also a great seed planter.  She was so very patient through every step.

Busy Logan got bored of seed planting and got himself in trouble.  But he loved watering them with a spray bottle.  He's not too patient with tedious tasks these days.

So there you have it.  We are becoming urban homesteaders and we have excitedly worked, read, researched, and planned for the last few weeks.
My mom told me tonight that I hadn't blogged in a while and needed to.  She might eat her words after reading this L.O.N.G post!  If you've made it this far, you are a good friend and its very nice of you to stick with it.  :)  I tried to shorten this post as I typed it, but I just couldn't.  I hope that my excitement about this is obviously overflowing this long post and will inspire other urban dwellers to jump in and do something in their small yards too.  If that's you, start with getting a copy of The Urban Homestead as fast as you can.  You'll be amazed.


  1. this is so exciting!
    we went to the library and put in a special request for the book...they found a copy and we'll have it in a week!

  2. I love looking at pics of Kian's chubby little fingers!

  3. ps- i have had that book on my to-read list for awhile. I think you inspired me to find a copy to borrow and get on it! thanks!

  4. Taryn, I was thinking of you when I read it and thought it was up your alley, based on books you've reviewed on your blog. :)

  5. I so love this post! I so love the image of you racing outside and ripping up all that is not edible! I am very excited to see what you do with your yard, what you grow. :)
    Oh, oh- those little hands are just to die for. I don't blame you for taking many photos.
    And that red hair!!!