You Know You’re an Urban Homesteader When…

What exactly is urban homesteading?

Homesteading has traditionally been defined as living off the land, maybe even off grid, while implementing practices that lead towards a self-sufficient lifestyle. However, that’s changing. More people, such as our family, are redefining what a homesteader is. The true essence of homesteading is having the ability to transition from being a consumer to becoming a producer. Homesteaders can live off the land sure, but what if you live in the city or in an apartment? Homesteading isn’t about where you live, but how you live. Don’t let limited access to land limit the urban homesteader inside of you.

Here are five simple ways to know whether are not you are an urban homesteader.

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You Don't Refrigerate Your Eggs

This conservation is often held with new visitors on our homestead. Most people are shocked to find my abundant egg bounty sitting casually on the kitchen counter. Most people are likely to feel more comfortable refrigerating their eggs than storing them at room temperature. However, if you’ve traveled abroad, you'll find room temperature eggs are the more common practice in many countries. Here in America, the USDA requires all eggs that are sold, be refrigerated. Keep in mind, most eggs purchased from grocery stores are already a couple of weeks old!

Many city ordinances now allow city slickers to keep a small number of chickens in their backyard and many people are taking advantage of that. So now you’ve got these adorable hens and that lay plenty eggs in Spring and Summer that have the potential to overcrowd any urban homesteaders refrigerator!

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Mason Jars Are Part of The Good Dishes

As a child, I remember mom would announce we are using the 'good dishes' tonight. Most of the time that meant company was coming. Today, mason jars have been promoted to the good dish status. What can I say? I have a thing for mason jars. As a matter of fact, you know you're an urban homesteader because you use mason jars for multiple things. They're everywhere.

Mason jars are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by. They can be found at your local grocery store, hardware store, and thrift store. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and hold up to heat and cold quite well.

I also use my mason jars as a water bottle. I enjoy drinking infused water, especially in the heat of Sacramento summer. Mason jars have become my go to infused water bottle. Just pop in a few pieces of frozen fruit, freshly sliced lemon, and sometimes a sprig or two mint from my garden and its golden! I also use the jars to store my dried herbs and seasonings, tea light candle holders for an elegant dinner outside during Passover, flower vase, pencil holder, storing and selling my homemade whipped shea body butter, store loose change, desk organizer and so much more!

water

Water is the driving force of all nature...

You Make Your Own Wine

Ah yes. Growing your own food can be hard work and sometimes I like to relax with a little bit of wine. Mead. Homemade honey wine. Families have been making wine for hundreds of years and home wine making is quickly becoming a lost art. Many people believe its illegal for them to make wine at home, this is simply not true. Each adult can make up to 100 gallons of wine per year, if you have another adult in your home – that’s 200 gallons. Wine can be given as gifts to friends and family, just don’t sell it! Be sure to check out ATF (Alcohol Tabacco Firearms) to get the skinny on all the legalities of this amazing art! If you’re interested in learning more about wine making I recommend this book. It has became my wine ‘bible’ when I first started wine making. It it jam packed with tons of information and plenty of easy recipes to get started.

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mead book

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You Make Your Own Natural Products

Making your own natural beauty products isn't as difficult as most people will think. With increasing number of reports of dangerous chemicals used in commercial products and their long term effects, it's time to start cutting out the middle man and take control of the products in your bathroom. For those of you who already have made the leap, then you have already discovered just how beneficial homemade natural products are.

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In our transition from city-slickers to urban homesteaders, I discovered many great uses of the herbs that we grow. I've used lavender and comfrey in soap as well as beeswax from our hives to make lip balms and candles. In addition, I make a fantastic whipped shea body butter for skin moisturizer and even toothpaste. Making natural products isn't expensive and allows me to be in touch with my creative side.

Here is a great beginner's guide to soapmaking that isn't too expensive and full of helpful tips and information.

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soap book

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You Grow Soil

Simply put, composting is growing soil. It's also nature's way of recycling. If we did nothing to the leaves that fall to the ground every year, they will eventually break down and create a rich organic matter to support plant life. Most people compost to speed up the process in a more controlled environment. We can decided where, when, and how this natural recycling process takes place.

If you're already composting, you may have already discovered the benefits of creating this amazing 'black gold'. So whether you're composting to amend your own soil, or saving your kitchen scraps for your neighbor's compost pile, you are one step closer to being an urban homesteader.

So save your toe nails, dryer lint, hair from your brush, and your coffee filters and make this rich 'black gold'!

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let it rot

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The staff at your local feed store know you by first name.

You're a regular. There is nothing more to say.

This is by far not the complete list. What else am I missing? I had a follower on Facebook tell me they now save their green onion roots and place them in a mason jar of water near the window of their apartment. Yes, these onions will regrow and can be used again and again. What are some other practices that demonstrate you’re a urban homesteader? Please leave your comments below.

Happy Homesteading!

Judith

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