Our farm vacation last week brought many insights and provided a valuable opportunity to re-up my urban homesteading and sustainable living goals. Here are some of the urban homesteading actions I am recommitting to:
The Clothesline - There is nothing like hanging freshly-washed diapers to dry outside in the beaming sun. We enjoyed lots of space and sunshine at the farm, in stark contrast to my small city deck, shaded entirely by an ancient and towering pine tree that hinders both growing and drying (though it does keep us cool.) Still, I had so much fun with our al fresco drying at the farm that I reconnected with my outdoor drying rack and hung up a clothesline too. So far so good.
The "Pig Pail" - While on our farm-stay vacation we had a small "pig pail" in our kitchen in which to save food scraps that would be used nightly when we slopped the pigs. Very cool. I have been interested in composting for quite some time, but hadn't had much luck getting things going. First, the worm composter I had in our basement a couple of years ago bred flies (probably because I wasn't vigilant enough to keep it constantly tilled and fed), and an outdoor composter seems a bit of a hazard, given our fair share of city rats who hang around even without the temptation of rotting food. We had so much fun with our farm pig pail, though, that I thought I would again investigate our options. I discovered, with gratitude, that our city has greatly expanded its composting program, providing more frequent and convenient drop-off times and teaming up with our local Whole Foods market to offer compost drop-off every day of the week. Yahoo! So now we have our "city pig pail"-- and my three-year-old is happy to resume this "chore" at home, just as he did at the farm.
The Brew - I've been talking about making our own home-brewed beer for ages, and our trip to the farm provided just the right getaway to refocus on this urban homesteading goal. We've visited our local home-brew supply store (which conveniently also has the cheese-making and yogurt supplies that I've been using), and are stocking up on supplies to hopefully enjoy a home-brew batch just in time for autumn.
The Wool - I'm back to my goal of increasing my knitting skills, hopefully learning how to sew in the not-too-distant future, and refocusing overall on learning important heirloom skills.
The Local Farm - For over a year now, I have been getting most of our family's food from two sources: a Vermont farm collaborative that serves Boston-area families. and our local Farmers' Markets, that in warmer months occur daily within just a short walk of our city condo, and weekly in the colder months. We have also enjoyed frequent visits to local farms for pick-your-own days and other educational and recreational events. After living on a farm for a week, though, I felt like we needed to have a deeper, more consistent connection with a specific farm in our area. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) often provide this connection and are ubiquitous in the city, and I was looking for a similar model with a small, welcoming, educationally-focused farm. We now make weekly trips to a sweet little organic farm for eggs and produce and other farm-fresh items, and linger a while to feed the lambs, pat the cow, visit the chickens, watch the turkeys grow plumper, chat with the farmers, and wander the fields. I get my weekly farm-fix while supporting local, sustainable agriculture.
The Urban Homesteading Community - I have found many urban homesteaders to be passionate, active, and eager to share their skills, knowledge, triumphs and challenges. I have connected with a local urban homesteading network that offers an array of regular classes on topics ranging from bat-house making, to urban chicken-keeping, to canning and composting, and would highly recommend connecting with a local homesteading network for support and fellowship.
Sometimes a bit of travel and relaxation are all we need to refocus on our goals and recommit to the actions necessary to achieve those goals. What about you? What goals are on your homesteading to-do list?