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.