Homesteading is an adventure. It can provide a sense of fulfillment and be a source of pride. On a homestead you may find the following: animals (for food), vegetable gardens, fruit trees and/or shrubs, compost system, assorted outbuildings to contain/protect tools/equipment, as well as someone who has some skills that are often associated with days gone by. Such skills may include, but are not limited to cooking from scratch (no box mixes), canning, cheese making, beer/soda/wine making, fermenting foods such as sauerkraut, sewing/mending clothes, curtains, quilts, etc… and repairing, reusing, and upcycling parts and pieces into new products. In short, all steps towards self-sufficiency.
Now while books or blogs may enchant you with bucolic scenes, you may get the sense that homesteading is easy or at the very least…. pretty. No weeds. No mud. No bugs. No dirty clothes. No offending aromas. Homesteading could be straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Picture perfect. But let me set the record straight… there are beautiful moments. The rest? Not so much.
As an example, here is what my day was like. Just an average Saturday. A summer Saturday. A Saturday spent in the yard and garden while friends went to the mountains to hike. Or other friends who got out their bikes for a pleasant morning ride. And others wandered the booths at the local farmer’s market. We did none of those things.
Day in the Life of an Urban Homesteader
- Woke up and had coffee.
- Dressed in my work clothes that I wore yesterday and still smelled of sweat. Oh… and the pants have several holes in them. In embarrassing places. Did I mention that I have a sewing machine and that I know how to mend clothes?
- Did not make the bed. There is work to be done before the heat of the day settles in. No time (in my head) to make the bed.
- Skipped making breakfast. If you are unsure why, reread the second sentence in the previous bullet point.
- Weeded for the entire morning. My nemesis? Bindweed. Lots and lots of bindweed. And the weeds are visible to my neighbors. (We do not have a lawn service company stop by like others on the block). We do not spray harsh chemicals. Our main method of weed control is simply pulling them.
- Feed the chickens while ignoring the fact that I need to clean out the coop.
- Raced through picking strawberries as I tried to stay ahead of the sun and work in the shade. Tossed rotten or partially slug-eaten berries onto the path. There were more tossed berries than were in my basket. Could I have taken the berries to the compost pile? Sure, but it was getting hot and I figured that the birds or squirrels would eat those berries.
- Empathized with Mr. Overalls about the electric lawn mower overheating after running for just 10 minutes. Both of us tried to ignore the fact that the mower is on its third motor in just two years. Discussed the pros and cons of taking it into the shop where we bought it, but dropped that idea over the thought of how much it would cost.
- Watered hanging baskets that are loaded with basil. Reminded myself to replace the one brown basil plant that has been dead for a week.
- Trimmed back perennials that sprawled across the sidewalk leading to the front door. At the start, it looked like a jungle. It was hard to see the sidewalk itself… it was overrun with errant plants. Only finished one side of the sidewalk.
- Harvested three cucumbers (yep… just three cukes were ready) and the last of the peas. Not a huge haul, but enough peas for fresh snacking.
- Went into the house to escape the heat and to make lunch.
- Peered in the ‘fridge. No leftovers. No instant anything. While homemade food is great, it does take time to plan meals and to make them. Briefly pondered the thought of making breakfast for a very late lunch, but changed my mind and opted to make a pizza recipe that claimed it could be made from scratch and cooked on the stove top within 20 minutes. Thank goodness for the canned homemade pasta sauce. Twenty minutes later… we had pizza. Was it neat and pretty? Nope. It stuck to the sides of the pan and came out in chunks. But it was food. Actually tasty food. Okay… mental note to save this recipe since it can be made so quickly. Don’t expect to post photos of this anytime soon.
- Shower! Oh what a heavenly feeling. Cool water. Dirty soap suds going down the drain.
- Laundry time. Sorted clothes. One pile of delicates. One pile of darks. After washing, hung as much as I could on the drying rack. Loaded up the clothes lines with wet clothes and bedding. Remaining laundry went into the dryer since I ran out of space.
- Checked on chickens and attempted to gather eggs. The always-moody hen was on a nest box. She HATES to be disturbed and will peck you repeatedly until you withdraw your hand. Not in the mood to be pecked. Skipped gathering eggs and made a mental note to come back in an hour.
- Tackled the piles of paper and mail… most of it junk mail. Created three piles: recycle, shred, and save for records. Amazed at how much junk mail arrives in spite of calling companies to remove my name from their list.
- Loaded up the vehicle with recycling, including the shredded paper. Okay, it is officially hot outside. Take along one of the cucumbers, we split eating it, skin and all.
- Instead of heading straight home from the trip to the recycling center, Mr. Overalls surprises me and takes me to a local ice cream shop. (Apparently he wanted something sweeter than a cucumber). We sit outside, in the shade of several large ash trees. He leans in and whispers, “What do you think of our 20 minute date”? I smile. Simple pleasures and kind words bring me joy.
- Once home, we set about the final chicken check… including gathering the eggs. With all the rain, the chicken run is somewhat muddy and no matter how frequently we change out the nest box straw, the eggs are muddy. So much for a glamour shot of multi-colored eggs.
- Dinner time. Ah… a favorite time of day. With the jar of pasta sauce (the jar is still mostly full from lunch), I set about making pasta for dinner. Grate some parmesan cheese, mince some fresh basil from the garden and we have dinner. The cats hang out with us as we wind down from the day over our meal. We share our favorite parts of the day as well as looking ahead to what awaits us tomorrow.
Looking back over the course of the day. It has its own rhythm. Ebbs and flows. High and lows. Risks and rewards. Would I do it again? The answer is a resounding yes. I can’t imagine doing anything but this. In this urban adventure I find myself. Daily struggles reveal grit and determination. Quiet moments bring peace and reflection over the life I have chosen After all, tomorrow will be another day in the life of this urban homesteader.
Read more about a day in the life of homesteaders from these great ladies. Each story is unique. Each story is personal. Each story is their life.
A Day in the Life by Ashley of Whistle Pig Hollow
Homesteading On The Farm: A Peek Into Our Life by Ashley of The Browning Homestead
The Answer to “And what did YOU do today?” by Chris of Joybilee Farm
A Day in My Shoes by Emilie of The Toups Address
Homesteading Rhythm with Little Kids & A Bump by Isis of Little Mountain Haven
Homestead Truths, Minus the Sugarcoating by Janet of Timber Creek Farm
A Day of Homestead Living by Jessica of The 104 Homestead
A Day in the Life of a Homesteader by Katie of Livin Lovin Farmin
A Typical Day of Homesteading by Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading
It’s Not About The Work by Leona of My Healthy Green Family
Life, Unfiltered by Melissa of Ever Growing Farm
A Day in the Life of This Urban Homesteader by Meredith of ImaginAcres
A Day in the Life of a Homestead by Quinn of Reformation Acres
A Day on Acorn Hill Homestead by Teri of Homestead Honey