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#1 of 26 Old 06-17-2007, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so we are learning to rely less and less on mass-produced items and we are pretty crunchy, but we have a lot that seems to tie us to this chaotic life: 220K in student loans and we own no home and have no savings and still lots of debt, plus i am a city LOVER and barely made it through 4.5 years in the suburbs since leaving chicago.

truthfully i don't even know what the word homesteading means, but here are our current "independent" sorts of parts of our lives:
homebirthing
simple home business
homeschooling/unschooling
cloth diapering
mama cloth
some family cloth
no more boxed cereals (wahhh)
CSA farm shares
trading with WAHMs and IF a mom makes it i won't buy it at target (soap, shampoo, clothing, tea, wool, toys, bags, insect repellant.....etc)

BUT
we rent a house (kind of a townhouse....no chickens allowed)
we have no yard (no growing our own food)
we have 220K in student loans (so dh's job seems tied to a city where the 100K per year is in the realm of possible)
we want to be near a vibrant and dynamic people-loving church community
we still rely on lots of technology (internet, libraries, health food stores)

how could we learn about homesteading. lay out a plan, figure out a way to simplify and keep/start paying those loans and really live a simpler life.

i want to start a 6 month total decluttering (we own very little big stuff...borrowed tvs...no stereos or furniture sets or major appliances and we don't own a home...although a weehouse sounds really nice)

thanks for listening and making suggestions. i think we could do rural living or homestead near tucson or somewhere totally different. this is the time for our family to make changes and our kids are ready to commit and we can work together. my WAHM stuff can help provide a lot and requires only wool and my hands.....

hmmmm......
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#2 of 26 Old 06-17-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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I want in on this too!
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#3 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 09:45 AM
 
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Check out this site to get an idea of what homesteading today sort of means. I like this definition, but really homesteading could mean a lot of things. It has a lot to do with being more self sufficient.

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....esteading.html

I guess my suggestion would be to find a place that you can stay at for a few nights in the country. Maybe if you know someone who farms or has a place similar to what you think you would like. That way you could see if you could actually handle living in the country. I love the idea of homesteading myself, but I don't truly think when push comes to shove that I could do it.

You might also find some info on the off the grid forum. There is lots of info on country living. I don't know if I have been much help, but hopefully a little.

Hope, check out my life at http://thethriftyqueenspeaks.com
 

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#4 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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So, are you talking about Urban Homesteading or just Homesteading in general? We live in the city, although we have a house and a decent back yard, and I think I'm interested in Urban Homesteading. We use as little nonrenewable energy as possible (ride bikes or walk instead of drive, use fans instead of a/c when we can, line dry clothes, etc), grow as much of our food as we can, and we are planning on getting a couple of chickens for eggs. I need to learn how to sew, though, so I can make clothing and curtains and stuff...
I've seen some pretty good blogs and websites on Urban Homesteading. Mostly stumbled upon them while researching keeping chickens in the city.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#5 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks!

the closest we have come is tent camping with all the kids for a few days here and there and staying where there is no el train and no children's museum

lol

i will check out the links!
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#6 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by anamama View Post
So, are you talking about Urban Homesteading or just Homesteading in general? We live in the city, although we have a house and a decent back yard, and I think I'm interested in Urban Homesteading. We use as little nonrenewable energy as possible (ride bikes or walk instead of drive, use fans instead of a/c when we can, line dry clothes, etc), grow as much of our food as we can, and we are planning on getting a couple of chickens for eggs. I need to learn how to sew, though, so I can make clothing and curtains and stuff...
I've seen some pretty good blogs and websites on Urban Homesteading. Mostly stumbled upon them while researching keeping chickens in the city.
well i was talking about rural homesteading but dh thinks learning to live a sustainable lifestyle in the city is truly the new frontier and an important part of our future (globally and individually)

right now we cannot line dry clothing (no yard) or have chickens or go without ac or bike full time (we live in the desert where it is over 100 degrees more than half the year) but we do go years without using any heat and could try hanging clothes indoors more often... and kitchen gardening?

i am just now learning to sew.... but with WAHM and homeschooling stuff i do very little sewing for my family so far....my stitches are sadly uneven unless i do them all my hadn (i did that for halloween costumes once...thousands of stitches and it was HARD...lol)

yesterday i decluttered about 100 pounds of stuff with hardly an effort and we do that often, so we have a LONG way to go!
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#7 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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It sounds to me like you are doing ALOT already to live more sustainably! If you are interested in rural homesteading, I would definitely check out the country living forum.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#8 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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I rural homestead (a little bit) but I could totally see doing something like it in a city. You would need a yard to grow vegetables (enough to can and freeze anyway). The beauty of the city is public transportation. You can cut your dependency on cars and you're halfway there!

Suggested reading: "This Organic Life", www.casaubonsbook.blogspot.com

I think your DH has a point about the value of sustainable living in the cities.

It's a long process, take your time so you don't get discouraged.

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
:
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#9 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Here's the site I was thinking of: http://www.pathtofreedom.com/about/urbanhomestead.shtml

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#10 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ahh we pulled that up last night...incredible!

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#11 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 02:27 PM
 
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I love the path to freedom site too. Very inspiring!

And I agree with your dh- I think that it is possible to live more sustainably in the city than in the country, if you make it a conscious choice. Way less driving. But there is also more consumer temptation in the city.

Personally, I think you just have to decide what's best for your family and go for it. Then do it in the most sustainable way possible. I think the biggest hurdle is mental. We moved from a city to small town almost 2 years ago, and it took awhile to "downshift" to the pace of life here. I am so glad we did, and now as we prepare to move 13 miles out of town, it will be another downshift. But I have spent the last 2 years dreaming of all the things we will do when we get to the country. What's your vision for your family? How do you imagine yourself, dh and your kids spending their days?
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#12 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ideally dh is still working a job he loves and we are still homeschooling and our kids are surrounded with people who are different than them and museums and plays and art exhibits and people playing paint bucket drums and rapping on the subway and we would have festivals and yummy uber-cheap ethnic food and a compact space. we would go a church like the brooklyn tabernacle where the walls and the streets shake on sunday morning and the membership is diverse and welcoming. our kids would have lots of high school choices for soth if they wanted (art schools and music schools and science and math academies) and i would not have to drive (didn't even learn to drive until age 25 -- 6 years ago)

but i LOVE the outdoorsy stuff too

camping, exploring, getting dirty, cooking over a fire, the kids having a safe space to climb and wander and finding bugs and animals and natural wonders and room to breathe and run and i love OLD odd houses. i have never mowed a lawn or gardened either....lol

but i have never been that far from an indian buffet or a trader joes....lol

i also don't want dh needing to commute 3 hours to work
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#13 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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great thread! :takingnotes
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#14 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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OP, have you considered looking into purchasing really cheap rural land from tax sales? You could find a few acres, have some space to do at least some of the things you described as outdoorsy and not have to make a move that your family may not yet enjoy- the commute for instance. It could be like what other people have- a summer house, but instead, an out-of-town homestead.

We live in a very small town and so this isn't at all like you described, but it's my best example. A friend of ours has a sled dog team that he keps on his hundreds of acres outside of town. He is taking this summer to make a small farm on the land, including goats, chickens and cover crops (alfalfa, clover and grass) for grazing. He paid dirt for his land and it has a large section of burned forest, which is where he is now making his farm. The burn wood is awesome! And the soil is easy to move and cultivate now that it's been burned.

Anyway, his situation had me thinking about some of what you wrote; we love the sights and sounds of different cultural activities around us, seeing different ethnicities, having access to museums and learning opportunities that don't exist here, but we also want to have the real experiences of living in connection with the earth and all it's wonders from the sloi to the sky, the rolling hills and clear water, yum. I think if you could do this, you'd completely have the best of both worlds and would be the envy of very many! Me especially!

Is this even remotely possible for you? I know you mentioned your debt, but some land sales are exceedingly cheap, like you could pay for it with a few paycheques. Even a couple of acres would suffice- or you might find others who would do that with you and be able to work out buying it together.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#15 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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those are great ideas and i would totally love the land....but now dh is set on urban homesteading...thinking it is really important globally for us all to learn to live in small spaces consciously. usually i am the uber-passionate one so I am really excited that he likes the idea.

we are two years past bankruptcy with the student loans still to pay off (mine in default and dh's rehabbing at 800 per month.

we are in a pretty tight spot financially but trying.

i love the idea of a little land somewhere someday
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#16 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Do you have a rooftop, balcony, fire escape, or even a sunny window where you could start growing things? Even if you had a tomato plant and some fresh herbs, it would be so satisfying to grow them and feed them to your sweeties. You could also hang dry clothes in a hallway or on a porch/balcony. If you are not allowed to do this in your building, find a new situation and move as soon as your lease is up. I lived in an apt once that came with a composter in the yard and a big porch for growing herbs and drying laundry! It was awesome! I'm sure something like that exists where you live.
Also a part of urban homesteading is buying local foods and other products. I'm familiar with your WAH biz, and it must be very grounding for you to make all that beauty for people. Could you sell your wares at the farmer's market, too? I know how the mamas at hc go nuts over your stuff....
It sounds corny, but I think the best thing you can do now is to write down your lifestyle goals, and find ways to make each one happen. Keep dreaming and doing, and you'll get there, sweet mama.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#17 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have a rooftop, balcony, fire escape, or even a sunny window where you could start growing things? Even if you had a tomato plant and some fresh herbs, it would be so satisfying to grow them and feed them to your sweeties. You could also hang dry clothes in a hallway or on a porch/balcony. If you are not allowed to do this in your building, find a new situation and move as soon as your lease is up. I lived in an apt once that came with a composter in the yard and a big porch for growing herbs and drying laundry! It was awesome! I'm sure something like that exists where you live.
Also a part of urban homesteading is buying local foods and other products. I'm familiar with your WAH biz, and it must be very grounding for you to make all that beauty for people. Could you sell your wares at the farmer's market, too? I know how the mamas at hc go nuts over your stuff....
It sounds corny, but I think the best thing you can do now is to write down your lifestyle goals, and find ways to make each one happen. Keep dreaming and doing, and you'll get there, sweet mama.
thanks so much for your thoughtful comments

we actually have a patio with a foot or so of dirt and a large wall. I hang wool and diapers to dry so why not clothes? I am so silly

and we will plant some things this weekend (i have to figure out desert gardening) and we have a great balcony upstairs unused because we don't want the kids messing around out there but some plants could work...there is a door from our bedroom out to it and we could easily find a shadier spot)

i am super excited.

what can i grow INDOORS?

and i ordered a FREE composting unit from the city but since we live in what is essentially a townhouse. i might try them again. they said 2-4 weeks and it has been 8 MONTHS!!

baby steps and we get this place for a steal (1100 per month for a 2006 built 2100 sq foot house) and until we are ready for a big move we like that we are renting from a woman cutting us a deal and in a great place for the kids. a big move is only 1-2-3 years away I am sure! our lease is until next may
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#18 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and thanks SO SO much for your kind words about my stores. I need to set personal goals now too!! off to create a nice clothesline!!! right now!
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#19 of 26 Old 06-18-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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taking notes...
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#20 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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First of all,
Check out this site http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/
This guy is doing a really cool no impact project while living in the city. It is not urban homesteading, but he has lots of links to other projects like that.
Second of all, was this thread supposed to be in the homesteading forum?
Third of all, can I ask what the degrees were in? I have never ever heard of student loan debt that high. I am not being snarky or belittling your choices in any way, I am genuinely curious.
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#21 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we went to depaul university and dh has two degrees in philosophy and I have a BA in political science and all-but-thesis on a master's in women's studies.

we also got married our senior year and were pregnant two months later and used student loan money to live when I was super sick during the pregnancy and could not do much. we had a kid every two years and ds1 was very ill (ER trips every month at least and we paid uninsure hospital bill for his pneumonia and my two ectopics and had three kids living in the city before we finished our coursework.

ideally we would ahve taken less loans and lived on less but we had some hard times and a LOT of debt.

our bankruptcy did wipe out our cc debt but we have to pay the loans, kwim?

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First of all,
Check out this site http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/
This guy is doing a really cool no impact project while living in the city. It is not urban homesteading, but he has lots of links to other projects like that.
Second of all, was this thread supposed to be in the homesteading forum?
Third of all, can I ask what the degrees were in? I have never ever heard of student loan debt that high. I am not being snarky or belittling your choices in any way, I am genuinely curious.
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#22 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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where is the homesteading forum? i still don't see anything like that??
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#23 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 04:14 AM
 
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where is the homesteading forum? i still don't see anything like that??

it's a subthread in mindful home management -- country living / off the grid
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#24 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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Countryside Mag says this about homesteading:

"It''s not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life; a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family nurture and community cohesion; a certain hostility toward luxury; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an anxiety about the technological and bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional."

Here is a FAQ from that magazine about homesteading:

http://www.countrysidemag.com/faq.htm

IMO, the real homesteaders could live years without any reliance on the economy or outside resources. Few people are at this level of homesteading, so perhaps it's an aspiration rather than a goal.

You might look around and this homesteading forum to see what others are doing as far as homesteading goes: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/

We are in a suburb, but I will inherit a little over 100 acres of cropland and a few settled acres in the middle of nowhere at some point. I am considering spending a few years after dd is grown on the farm to see if I am cut from the cloth of a homesteader. I have my doubts because I'm a wimp about a lot of things. You have to have an iron core to be a real homesteader.
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#25 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it's a subthread in mindful home management -- country living / off the grid
gotcha.

i didn't put it there because we are really thinking urban not rural so country living doesn't seem to apply now ....and the posts there are really realted to being in places without water or postal service or far from others-- urban homesteading seems really different.... although we were undecided at first, it is definitely going to be the city now.... maybe we need another forum?
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#26 of 26 Old 06-20-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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I think there are threads there about urban homesteading
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