Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Suburban Homesteading

Think- Little House on the Prariemeets Ed Begley Jr.
I've put a lot of emotional stock into selling this house. I've made countless deals with myself "When we get a bigger house I'll start making curtains, pillows... quilting." "In a bigger house we can grow our own herbs, veggies... maybe even raise chickens." (Yes, I just said 'raise chickens'.) "We can have a greener, more efficient more energy neutral home."

In all this deal-making I did with myself I didn't have a name for these things I wanted and by putting it all in the basket of "when we have a bigger house" I didn't have to even deal with any of these things now while we're still in this house. I'm tricky, you see. Well, after a conversation with my savvy Sister-in-Law (who might be forever known in my blogverse as SavvySIL) she said "What you're talking about is like homesteading. I know people who are doing a suburban homesteading thing. They've gotten really creative with how they used the space in their home."

Light bulb.

So I turn to Google. She kinda let me down. There is what one might call a 'crap load' of information about homesteading, and suburbia but not a lot of ideas and examples of people trying to create a simpler, more natural, more handmade life for themselves down the street from a Trader Joe's, a tot lot and within 3 miles of a mall.

I have not gone crazy. I will still be shopping at Trader Joe's (sometimes). My kids will still have 'normal' toys(we aren't going to start making dolls out of corn husks). And I'm not going to start looking like a tragic hobo who doesn't know how to operate her sewing machine.

Since we might not be selling the house right now I'm tired of rationalizing putting everything off till we do. And frankly with the economy the way it is doing some things myself whether it be canning or making curtains is also good for the old bank account.
So after taking a year of from our CSA I'm thinking about starting up again, or at the very least scheduling weekly trips to the farmers' market and planning our meals around what we find. Maybe sometimes I can preserve or pickle our local goodies. I have this huge deck, maybe I could put some railing planters on the deck and grow fresh herbs, baby steps.

I realized I could also find a way to get my sewing machine out of Jack's closet and use it (like ever). In discussing this with my mother she tells me she has a micro mini sewing table that just might fit in our house but folds out big enough that when I'm working I have room to work. I'm not in the make-my-own-clothes phase, because I need to start slow here too, but I've been wanting new, light-blocking curtains for our bedroom and I'm pretty sure I can sew in a strait line.

Depending on how long we're here we might look at making the home more energy efficient, new siding and a foam board wrap would make our house snug as a bug in a rug.

I don't really know how far I want to take all of this, but I do know these things: 1. I long for a simpler life, a less consumer driven life. 2. The Husband and I both like to make things with our own hands (hence the DIY renovations). 3. We both want to live in a greener more carbon neutral way.

Mostly I still want to blog about my kids, my yoga and my food but you might find an occasional suburban homesteading post mixed in...


Kate said...

Curtains and pillows are a much better use of your time anyway. In my experience making your own curtains and pillow covers (I've made 17 since we've moved) is an easy way to get exactly what you want for a lot less than retail. With the price of fabric these days and the sheer time involved making clothes for an adult isn't nearly as cost effective as shopping the clearance section and maybe even modifying stuff you find at the thrift store. It might be a wash for kids since they can get away with wearing cheaper fabrics and they need less yardage in the first place.

Emily said...

My thoughts as well. Though I should say my wool allergy limits what cute winter styles I can wear, so if this thing takes off I'm definitely going to start making cotton or fleece styles I like that only come in wool off the rack. (I could go on and on about how much this problem ticks me off!!)