Monday, August 27, 2012

Homesteading in the City

...or at least our attempt at it.  Read on if your interested.

The chickens: There are four, named Star, O.C., Toothpaste, and Baby Elise.  Toothpaste and Baby Elise were named by our neighbors' twin girls who are four years old.  They each lay an egg every 1-2 days.  We have plenty of eggs with enough to sell about a dozen a week which helps cover the cost of the their feed.  Their coop endured a thorough cleaning on Saturday with the help of a pressure washer, a gallon of white vinegar and some sunshine.

The chickens happily roamed the yard during the cleaning except when they were frantically trying to find a place to lay their eggs.  They are creatures of habit and they really wanted to get inside their coop into their nesting boxes to lay.  One of their favorite placed in the yard is the compost pile.  They will scratch in it for hours.

It's also where they decided to make a nest and lay their eggs.

Star was the object of Elise's attention

The Gardens:  Two raised beds in the backyard, a large garden two blocks away on a houseless corner lot, herbs lining the sidewalk up to the house and some grape vines shared with the neighbors on the chain link fence.  The gardens are waning in their production, but still producing the occasional tomato, cucumber, pepper or zucchini, plenty of okra, eggplant, and Swiss chard and lots of herbs.  We've harvested our pop corn, one of our 2 pumpkins and one of our 5 watermelons.

My hope for the garden this year was to get at least enough tomatoes to can one batch.  We've been blessed with much more that that and will be opening jars with thankful hearts into the winter months.

One of our raised beds with tomato plants falling over, basil growing tall, a teeny-tiny bit of cilantro and pepper plants that may or may not give us anymore peppers

The Bees: This is our first year with bees and we won't be harvesting honey this year.  We're leaving all that they've made for them to eat over the winter so they won't starve.  We are learning.  I was attempting to work in the hives by myself last week and got done what I wanted to, but disrupted the bees unnecessarily by almost completely upsetting a hive box and by murdering several bees.  I still need Dane there when opening the hives!

All of these amazing fruit-bearing plants and food-producing creatures that we are just managing and hopefully being good stewards of are a gift.  Gifts from the One who loves to give His children good gifts.

Farmer Elise, helped us out by sitting there being cute and eating grass

When growing up my mom always told us to eat grass if we got kidnapped.  Either 1) the kidnapper would think we were crazy and not want us or 2) it would make us throw up and the kidnapper wouldn't want a throwing up kid.  We never had to try it, because we never got kidnapped, so we didn't know if the method would actually work.

Elise proved that the throwing up part does work...twice

Dane's latest project has been building shelves in the back laundry room.  I didn't realize that these shelves were something that I needed, but Oh, they are wonderful.  They're still a work in progress.  He wants to dress them up a bit with trim and maybe some stain, but I'm already using them!

And of course, I must leave you with a cute picture of Elise and her new rocking horse that we found at a rummage sale for $5.

Ain't she a doll?


  1. love it all!! i didn't know ya'll had chickens and bees already. nice work. and i was wondering about that corner lot--i saw you there once. does someone own that?

    1. Thanks, we're really thankful for all of it! Someone does own it. The family that used to live beside it gardened there with the permission of the owner until they moved out to the country. The owner said it would be ok if we used it after they moved. But we still haven't met the owner. I think he lives in an assisted living facility. We need to meet him!

  2. Love this! Especially the pics of the cutie-patootie farmer. :)

    I hate to be that person and I didn't check any other part of the post, but the "your" at the beginning of the post should be "you're". (My only criticism. :))

    1. Thank you Mrs. English Teacher. I did TRY to proof read!