I’ve never considered myself a homesteader. I’ve never considered myself a legit gardener. I’ve never considered myself competent in being fully resourceful.
Last year I got a little bit more into food preservation and this year I got more into gardening. I read every book my library had on soil, permaculture, homesteading, urban gardening and crop optimization. I bought seeds, I started researching individual plants, I worked for my dad and learned from him. I got a rain barrel and began looking at my yard differently. I saw corners to house pollinating flowers, edges to cultivate mushrooms and all the nooks and crannies to squeeze productive plants.
I saw the benefit of gardening on my son who now points out gardens around the city, helps me harvest and eats garden produce like candy.
Then, lastly, I began to look at more processes in my life that my land could fulfill. Composting is a passion, I have a clothesline (!), I have a cool basement that’s perfect for food storage and brewing beer (Shane’s thing, obviously:). Who knows what else I can do that I haven’t even thought of!?
Slowly but surely I am beginning to relate to myself as a homesteader. Yes, I am in an urban setting but that is still no excuse not to take advantage of our resources. My resources don’t just include my small plot of land (under a quarter acre). They include my vocation as a stay at home mom which provides me with time to invest in gardening and preserving food. I also have a good location near a farmers market, my parent’s live nearish by and have given me lots of resources ranging from my Dad helping me build my actual garden and installing my rain barrel as well dumping countless pounds of produce from their own garden into my lap that I have preserved and eaten fresh. The point is, I try to look around and see what I CAN do, instead of what I can’t. I have sun limitations, I have space limitations and I have equipment limitations but guess what, I have more projects than I can get done and that should be my focus, not what is out of reach.
Even after feeling like I had no idea what I was doing midway through this year, my garden looks like this. Lush, growing and producing. If I can screw up on so many things in one year and still get something out of it, think of how much better each year will go as I learn and adapt?
I am a mom, I’m about to have my third kid. My life is busy and full but the thing is, homesteading is a lifestyle, it’s not just extra work for a better product. It’s something I include my kids in even if they can’t do much yet. Avery helps me weed, he helps me pack up my dehydrated herbs/fruits/tomatoes, water the garden and harvest. Eli can’t wield a hose yet or determine which tomato plant will ripen in what color but he hangs out in the garden just the same.
My goals for next year are basically just building on what I have been working on since we moved last summer. I should probably write a project list so I can check things off.
For now though, My focus is winding down my garden throughout the fall, having a baby, and enjoying the rest that winter brings. I’m already giddy about next spring with all the things I’ve learned this year but I know having an infant will certainly bring a new perspective as well. So I enter it with that relaxed feeling of doing something I love with low expectations and high hopes.