We are urban homesteaders, too, so glad to see this thread
FWIW, I have no interest in moving out to the country -- I am a city girl! We live in a 50's neighborhood (once the burbs, now considered "inside the loop"). It was once farmland, and before that it was blackland prarie, so our soil is TEH AWESOME. There is a little market in the center of the neighborhood with an IGA and pharmacy. There's a little herbalist shop and acupuncture. The public library and schools are all in walking/biking distance. I can lean over the fence and chat with my neighbors, we have block parties and meetups at the playground. We have light rail and the city bus to everywhere. I love living here. I wish all neighborhoods were this well planned!
We turned our yard into an edible lawn (very Food not Lawns). So, we have some traditional raised beds, but we also have a lot of stuff just growing about. We eat about 50% from our garden and the other 50% comes from the neighborhood CSA, the local farmer's market, the big-box bulk warehouse and our neighborhood grocer (but I'd love to go 100% local -- we're working on it).
We haven't gotten chickens yet. We're vegetarian, but I sure would like to have homegrown eggs (DS1 and I are allergic to dairy, but DH craves cheese now and again, and we all like eggs). We'll see. With four kids, two dogs, a cat, the garden, two volunteer commitments and a small business, I am already overloaded.
We're trying to go off-grid, this will take both installing wind and solar as well as overall decreasing our electricity usage. We are finally down to one car. Once we are financially independent (2015 is the plan), we hope to ditch the other car as well or put it in storage to use for annual vacations/family visits.
So... things are swell. I'd love to keep chatting with everyone about this subject. The thing I would really love to chat more about is how to continue to encourage our neighbors to adopt a more self-sufficient lifestyle and really get hyper-local. I'd say about 15% of our neighborhood is on board, but the rest are watching us with curiosity and continuing to live unsustainable lifestyles. I like to think we are setting a pretty good example, tho ;-)
Can I come and work for you so I can learn? haha
I feel like it would be so wonderful to live like this and I think I would like to do it if we ever are in a place we own or plan to live for a long time. I just am a bit scared. I grew up in very urban fast paced city, with a maid and a driver and I really feel like that has been a curse for me. I don't know how to do anything. There was just no one in my family that did these kind of things and we lived in a 3bedr apt downtown, there was no land to grow anything. I learned how to cook when I moved away from home at age 21 and I feel like I'm still learning. I keep daydreaming about baking and being a better cleaner and learn a craft of some sorts, but I feel overwhelmed about where to start.
I've been feeling like I want to go move in the mountains and forget the world, but I think settling for something in the middle might be better. I just don't know where to start. I bookmarked that canning site, that's something that I should learn, but if anyone has more books, sites, guidance, I would gladly take it. I feel at a lost and wish I had somewhere around that could teach me the ways of the world and in turn I could help with whatever they have going on. I've even thought of joining a commune haha