My Spring Plans for Urban Homesteading

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I’m in the process of building a shed for the two goats I’ll soon be bringing home, and drawing up plans for my raised garden and rabbit hutches this coming spring, when I realized.. Hey! I’m turning into an urban homesteader!
The first time I heard the term “Urban Homesteading”, it was on a local crunchy mom Facebook group, where a gal was advertising her upcoming workshop on “How to Start Your Own Urban Homestead”.
Me, being new to the whole trendy crunchy mom scene, asked, “What is urban homesteading?” I’d like to say I was promptly answered and educated, but instead all I got was a lot of run around (some of it rather condescending) about how that was a silly question, and no one – seriously, no one – answered the gosh darn freakin’ question. Did I mention I hate crunchy mom groups? lol! (Love the moms, hate the groups.)
A friendly mom private messaged me to explain that urban homesteading was, “planting gardens and owning chickens and crap like that.” Oh, okay. I guess.
Now, I grew up with a backyard garden, and rabbits we bred for meat, and many things that I recognize now as what would classify as urban homesteading. But I never once ran across that term. I never once considered myself a homesteader, or someone into homesteading. So I didn’t give it much more thought. Let the crunchy moms plant their Pinterest inspired used pallet strawberry beds, I’ll do my own thing and call it a day. That’s not a bandwagon I need to jump on anytime soon. Not me, no sir, not nohow.
But now, as a first time home owner, as I research projects I want to pursue this coming spring I realize: I’m totally into urban homesteading! Like, bad.

Urban Homesteading Is…

To answer the pesky question of what, exactly, homesteading is (thank you Wikipedia):
“Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.”
Now, I’m not going all Little House on the Prairie all up in hyah. (Though how cool would THAT be?!) Some homesteaders are veritable back-to-basics pioneers, sans the frilly bonnet. The thing is, even if I wanted to devote my every waking moment to tilling the Earth, I really couldn’t. According to a random meme I found on the internet (and random memes do not lie) it would take roughly 2 acres for a family of 4 to have every single nutritional and energy need met for a whole year – this includes meat, dairy, wheat, veggies, fruits, solar panels, water, etc. etc. (Click here to see the original meme.) 
And honestly, we have already found many healthy, and local sources for food that excel at what they do and fit within our budget… raw cow milk, grass-fed organic beef, free range chicken eggs, local raw honey, an organic veggie and fruit weekly co-op, along with multiple sources of organic and fair trade food items online (raw sugar, organic coffee, beeswax candles, etc., etc.)
So I’m not planning to go all rugged country woman in rural Visalia, California. I’m just wanting to indulge in a few personal projects that will ultimately make me happier, healthier and all the wealthier for the extra effort put in.

How It All Started…

It all started when I decided to start weaning Tessa off of breast milk so I could give my breast milk donations to Thyme when she is born. (Click here to read about my breast milk journey.) The healthiest option outside of human milk to switch Tessa to (and give to Thyme as homemade formula if the breast milk donations run out) is raw goats milk.
But with raw goats milk running $32 per gallon in California, (that would feed Tessa for about 4 days) I started seriously eyeballing owning my own milking goat. Turns out, it’s WAY cheaper. I’m talking.. one goat will pay for herself in less than two months.
Then I started looking up what I could do with all that extra goat manure I’m sure to have on hand. The house we bought already had a garden plot, maybe I could grow some heirloom veggies there? (I love me my heirloom veggies.)
Then I started thinking I should maximize my space by growing plants that are beneficial for the goats milk (many plants have a beneficial effect on flavor, volume and butterfat content)..
Then I started eyeing the side of the fence that looks like a perfect spot for a couple of rabbit hutches… I grew up on rabbit meat, it’s way healthier than the meats we regularly consume, and it sure would be nice and save us money on buying the grass-fed beef at the Farmers Market every week…
And, well, you get the picture.. it just went on from there.

For the record, my upcoming spring urban homesteading projects include:

– Raising goats for raw goat milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and soap
– Harvesting goat manure for natural garden fertilizer
– Raising rabbits for meat
– Cultivating an herb garden for culinary and medicinal use
– Growing an heirloom veggie garden for food and fun
– Planting decorative flower beds with beneficial plants for the goats, bees and butterflies
– Cultivating our pre-existing fruit trees for baking, juicing and preserving
– Fermenting, canning and preserving our foods and drinks
– Planting rare and endangered plants for seed sharing and propagation
I’d also like to raise chickens for eggs, bees for honey and beeswax, and possibly raise small game birds for meat, but those are waaaay in the future, and probably for when we are on a country homestead, not an urban one (not sure how the neighbors would take to a stack of beehives over the fence…)
Anyway, so there you have it! While I’m just getting started, I’m well on my way to becoming an urban homesteading domestic geek. It would thrill me to no end if you guys would watch me on my journey while I record my discoveries and share my successes and failures as an urban milkmaid!

Do you indulge in any aspects of urban homesteading? Please share below, I’d love to hear all about it!

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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

13 thoughts on “My Spring Plans for Urban Homesteading

  • 7 November, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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    I’m actually extremely interested in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and what you change on the way and how it all goes.

    • 7 November, 2014 at 11:06 pm
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      Please do keep in touch! I can use all the support, advice, and input I can get! hehe.. I am already documenting the building of the goat shed and pen like crazy (posts to come soon!)..

  • 7 November, 2014 at 11:28 pm
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    Sorry I didn’t get you the pix of the bunnies! I thought dad would be home in time so I could scan them. Even when we stopped raising our own meat rabbits, there was a store in town that had rabbit meat. It’s been years since I’ve had it. It’s a lot of work to care for them, and when dad got too busy, we just gave them up. I’m glad you talked about bartering services for the butchering. You were extremely traumatized by one attempt to dispatch one overly active bunny…and things didn’t go smoothly. I will never forget your little face…with that child’s look of horror. I think even dad didn’t want to continue with them after that. I hope you are going to be able to haul in the food for the goats and bunnies while you are pregnant. I used to hoist those 50lb sacks out of the van and into the barnyard! Something that I’d not be able to do now, and you shouldn’t do while carrying my grandbaby. I can’t wait to see Tessa playing with the goats though. She loved them at the petting zoo. 🙂

    • 8 November, 2014 at 2:26 am
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      LOL, I don’t remember the traumatizing bunny slaughter… only the tasty rabbit meals! lol.. And I really do miss owning goats! When I mention I’m getting goats, people look at me like I just said I’m buying a pony.. usually followed by, “Do you even know what owning a goat entails?!” lol. Fun times, fun times! I’m so excited to get started, you have noooo idea!

  • 8 November, 2014 at 1:50 am
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    That’s really cool! And good at the same time :D. May it all go well :).

    • 8 November, 2014 at 2:26 am
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      Thanks! I appreciate the support!

  • 8 November, 2014 at 5:22 am
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    Fun!! I had a veggie garden before baby girl came along, but the combination of a very hot summer and a new much-anticipated baby made for little gardening enthusiasm. Looking forward to picking it back up soon though. I’d totally do goats and chickens if we had more room.

    • 8 November, 2014 at 3:52 pm
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      What did you grow in your garden?? I’m looking at primarily corn, beans and squash (the classic Three Sisters trio), and then maybe some container gardening – like carrots or something. And maybe a pumpkin patch. Or watermelon path. Oh heck, I want to plant ALL DA THINGS!!!

      • 8 November, 2014 at 7:22 pm
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        I only had room for an 8ftx5ft raised bed, but at different seasons I grew zucchini, yellows squash, green beans, romain, spinach, strawberries, carrots, bell peppers, and a handful of different herbs. It was fun!

        • 8 November, 2014 at 10:38 pm
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          What was your favorite to grow? My fear is mixing up too many plants that have different soil, light, or moisture requirements.. we’re going to make three separate raised beds, so I can try to grow kind with kind, but not gonna lie.. I’m nervous! Haha.. back when “we” had a garden, it was all my dad taking care of it, and my role was just the eater of the yummy veggies, lol…

          • 9 November, 2014 at 5:25 am
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            I really enjoyed growing zucchini. It’s one of my favorite veggies and it grows like a weed. Goes with almost anything.

          • 9 November, 2014 at 4:48 pm
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            Yeah, I read that pairs well with the corn and beans I want to grow… ugh, SO MANY CHOICES!!! I want to grow some of the heirloom variets they sell at rareseeds.com and there are just waaaaay too many to choose from!

  • 17 February, 2015 at 5:24 pm
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    I’ve always wanted to get into urban homesteading! We currently live in a duplex and don’t have much outdoor space but last year we started experimenting with growing vegetables on our balcony and managed to get a few peppers, tomaties and herbs out of it. This year we’re looking to moving into a house with a yard but it will still be a rental and so we might only get a vegetable garden for now.

    I’ve just come across your blog, and I look forward to reading more about your homesteading journey!

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