Yesterday I did something nuts:
I ordered chickens.
Four female sex-link day old chicks, to be hatched tomorrow night and picked up Saturday morning an hour away from here.
I also built a brooder with my wonderful husband.
And put a deposit on a chicken ark, to be started this weekend and delivered in a few weeks.
This is on top of the above-ground potato planter, the four new fruit trees, the multiple berry bushes, the 94 seed pods working away, the three indoor plant containers, the topsy turvy tomato project sprouting in the window, the raised bed carrot garden on the side of my house, and the now planned 12 x 4 foot cinder block raised bed to be built in our backyard in the coming weeks (to hold on those plants coming from the seed pods).
And we're still signed up to 2 CSA's.
Can you say "someone's been bit by the sustainability bug"?
The fact is, we LOVE fresh food, and even more so now that our bodies are used to it. Oh, sure, I love a good junky pizza every now and then, but I feel like crap if I eat too much of it, and eating food like that daily? I can't even stomach the thought anymore.
Nope, now I start my day with a big bowl of steel cut oats (locally ground), smothered in (local) honey, flax seed and raw almond slices. I have two cups of (fair trade, organic, Ethiopian) coffee with that same local honey and some organic creamer.
My lunches and dinners are varied, as I believe in eating a variety (except for breakfast), but I try to incorporate fruits, veggies, whole grains, and organic, fresh or local items as much as possible.
And, wow, I feel good. So does my husband. So do my kids.
I *LOVE!!!* that my toddler chows down on fresh curry-cumin rice&lentil stew, I *LOVE* that my big guy enjoys tough breads and not-as-sugary foods, I *LOVE* that they eat fruits and veggies and salads, and that even their snacks are varied and often healthier than mainstream alternatives. Oh, sure, we have meals of Cheese-its sometimes, and yeah when we go out I have no qualms about ordering a large side of fries to split. I'm not a total tight a$$, and honestly I don't mind if they eat crap every now and then so long as the majority of what they eat is pretty healthy. Complex foods of varying tastes and textures that provide the nutrition they actually need.
So I'm excited about growing our own food, excited that the kids will be able to help raise baby chicks into laying hens, to cuddle and care for them and then collect their eggs and eat them fresh. And my word are fresh eggs incredible! Our chickies will have a diet of fresh bugs and weeds and food all day, moving their ark to a new spot daily as they clean and fertilize our yard, and their happiness and good nutrition becomes our own. Egg whites that are actually white, thick orange yolks, low cholesterol, high protein... yuuuuuummm :)
And the veggies! As a child I snacked on fresh green beans and carrots, stolen from our garden. I love fresh veggies! Here's hoping my own little guys enjoy grabbing and gobbling a ripe tomato, or picking their own salads. If all else fails at least they can smell and see the fresh food and learn the important life lesson of how to create food for yourself!
And on top of all of this, there's the sustainability thing, the carbon footprint thing.
I want to drive less. I want to buy less. I want to create less waste.
And so here we sit on 0.33 acres of fertile land, hardly using any of it other than to mow it and run around with the kids every few days on, oh, half of it maybe? Some part of me just *aches* to work our land, the land we own, OUR LAND, and create OUR FOOD in our own backyard. We can work this soil, we can build and tend our gardens, we can care for our flock, and perhaps by the end of the summer we'll be eating, I don't know, 30% of our meals from our own yard? 50%? Dare I go higher? The fact is, our lawn is just sitting there being grass and we loose absolutely nothing by turning our hardly-noticed lawn into a small, sustainable working farm.
Sure, we have to put money and time and effort into it, but we have those in spades right now (got the tax refund!) so that's not really an issue. The way I see it, we gain from this. Health and confidence, knowledge and fresh food.
And our kids?
Our kids get the calming presence of docile animals, the health benefits of fresh, organic farming. They get to see where food comes from and tend life itself, from a tiny chick or seed up to a laying hen or producing tomato plant.
As someone who openly practices therapeutic parenting with one of my children I can't even count the benefits to him. The wonderful way he behaves when he eats whole, fresh foods, how calm and gentle he gets when he's caring for an animal, the excitement in his eyes as he checks on his little tomato sprouts in the window....
And for us it's pretty cool too. I mean, dude, we're growing *food*. You know, like, the stuff you buy at the store. Only it's in our own back yard! Or windows too, I guess. I mean, we have blossoming plum and peach trees! And a small green strawberry forming! And chickies! We're getting chickies!
So, yeah, I guess this is me saying:
"Hello, my name is Megan, and I'm an Urban Homesteader-aholic!"
(Also I totally need to order my mushroom spikes already so I can inoculate some of the rotting logs over our back fence!)
Lily in a loafing barn
4 weeks ago