Browsing Tag

urban homesteading

Tomato Bisque

Home cooking, Recipes By December 16, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

I love tomatoes! And I love creamy soups! So it really figures that one of my favorite soups of all time is tomato bisque. I used to go buy tomato bisque from Safeway (they make a pretty good tomato bisque) whenever I had the hankering, but now I know how to make it, which is way better because all the Safeways on my end of town closed down this year. 

Share:

A look back on this years garden

Gardening, Uncategorized By October 28, 2014 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Although my garden is still producing armfuls of kale, and a few tomatoes here and there, garden season is pretty much over. It was a pretty good run, the best I’ve ever had In this house, but it’s over now. All that’s left to do out there is spread compost and plant some bulbs. I need flowers in the spring. I need them.

This was, by far, our most successful year gardening in this home, but over all I’m still disappointed. For having planted 15 tomato plants, we got remarkably few tomatoes. I got a whopping 1 squash, a spaghetti squash, none of the rest of my plants (which included 4 zucchini, 4 summer squash, 3 spaghetti squash, and 2 pumpkins) ever even produced a female blossom. I only got a tiny bit of lettuce, one cabbage, a few cucumbers (although I consider that a victory given how late in the year I planted cucumbers), and no spinach – it bolted too quickly.

This yard is very hard to grow in. The sun exposure is just not very good. Everywhere we can put plants is either too shady or the sun is too intense. It’s hard to find balance.

Jeremy suggested building a couple of raised beds in the middle of our back yard, where we get the best sun, but since we are likely going to be selling our house in a year or two, I don’t want to do anything that’s going to mar up our lawn too badly. This is a white bread house in a white bread neighborhood and if we want to sell it, it’s going to need to appeal to white bread buyers, which means pretty lawn. That’s why most of our garden is currently in containers.

But I can’t deny that our garden is going to be severely hindered by current conditions, so after a little bit of research, I decided that a straw bale garden would be a good choice for us next year. It would kill the grass under it, but when the time comes to sell, it’s easy enough to reseed or lay down a few rolls of sod.

Generally, I’m a big believer that food should be grown in soil. Preferably soil in the ground. Things like containers and hydroponics systems are cool and do produce plants and harvests, obviously, but I’m not certain they really provide the plant with everything it needs to produce optimal food. There is so much we still don’t know about what’s going on in soil, and food, for that matter, that I don’t think we can really know with confidence that we are providing everything a plant needs in a liquid or bagged formula. Also, the set ups are expensive and complex, especially hydroponics, which makes it not super accessible.

Straw bale gardening has a lot of these issues. You aren’t growing in soil, and you’re relying to a large degree on store bought fertilizers. But, you are growing in composting straw right on top of the soil, which probably puts it pretty close to soil nutrition wise (microorganisms and whatnot from the soil can move up into it as it decomposes), and I can do much of the fertilization with my own compost, so I’m going to give it a try. It’s also cheap, so why not?

Now that it’s (essentially) winter, our homesteading doesn’t stop, it just shifts gears. The garden is no longer my focus, instead I’m focusing on fermentation, soap making, bread baking, sewing, quail care, and probably some winter gardening. We do have cold frames I’d like to try growing greens under again. Last winter I was not terribly successful because I forgot to water them. Jeremy will have home improvement projects of his own.

Winter is not really a slowed down time for us. It’s just different stuff we are doing. What kind of homesteading/self sufficiency stuff occupies your winters?

Share:

Tomato blooms, squash growth, and tiny citrus. More rocking on the homestead

DIY, Gardening, Home cooking By July 16, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I figured I’d catch you guys up on how the gardening is going. ¬†Here is the view from the deck.

Our patio garden

Our patio garden

Share:

Vertical gardening

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, DIY, Gardening, Home cooking By May 29, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

I love the idea of vertical gardening! Grow as much food as you can in as little space as possible. This is an important concept for people and the environment as populations become more urbanized and we have to put the brakes on shipping food from long distances to reduce the amount of global warming, asthma, and cancer causing pollutants we put into the only atmosphere we’ve got.

Share:

Can urban homesteading feed the world ?

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, DIY, Food Producing Animals, Gardening, Home cooking, Social Justice By May 19, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Recently I read this article at Grist and while I liked some parts, I disagreed with much. It argued that urban farms and homesteading were unlikely to do much in the quest to feed an ever growing, ever urbanizing, ever globalizing population, but it might provide some kind of educational benefit or something. Their arguments make sense, if you go into it assuming that everything else they talk about is the right way for things to be. Personally, all I could take away from it is that they were focusing on the wrong problems. This is why intersectionality in environmentalism is so important.

Share:

My relationship with the domestic arts

Feminism, House keeping By October 24, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

My interest in the domestic arts is a complicated one, and should not be confused with an enjoyment of the domestic arts. Do I like the domestic arts? Sometimes, depending on which art it is. But mostly I can see how they are considered a drudgery, and why women have been so eager to escape them, and men have not been eager to pick them up.

Share:

First things first – Starting this homesteading blog journey

Feminism, Gardening, Social Justice By October 13, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

I’d like to get a few things out of the way as I start this blog. I am not doing this to paint a portrait of my perfect family. We are not perfect, not as a family, nor as individuals (although in my somewhat biased opinion, Jeremy comes pretty close). I read a lot of homesteading and natural living blogs that do a pretty good job of painting a perfect picture, and a lot of criticisms of those blogs for doing so. I’m sure those families and bloggers lives are not as picturesque as they seem. Everyone puts their best foot forward when in the public eye. But it is not my intention to do that.

Share: