JoJo and I started our downsized, responsible, prepared, urban homestead living process nearly 3 years ago now. It was really JoJo's idea--but I've sort of taken it and run with it.
Our social circle was astounded when we sold our 4800 sq. foot home on a hill and paid cash for a 1200 sq. foot, 1905 bungalow right off downtown that needed allot of work. Friends shook their head when I sold my Porsche and bought a Prius....when i tell them we have no TV they really step back...and stare.
We have been working pretty much non-stop on rebuilding/restoring the house. Paying cash as we go....Planting gardens for food...working our way bit by bit through solar power....and those i work with and those who are our friends still, I think, do not know what to make of what we are doing.
Very occasionally someone will mention how we got ahead of the housing bubble collapse...or how much less gas I am buying than they are...but society has short memories...people have forgotten 4.00 a gallon gas, have gotten over their initial outrage at AIG and the bailout...if they are working, then the depression we are suffering through is something other people have to deal with, not them.... it appears as if many are still running in the wheel created for them by others having learned nothing, paying no attention to the signs around us that the world is changing and doing nothing to adapt to what is coming.
JoJo and I took these steps so that we could be free. Free in our old age together. Free from worry, free from money problems, free from outside opinions on what we could/would/should do.... at one time these outside--TV talking head opinions were, important in our considerations for the future, but they are now totally irrelevant and unimportant to our future. We now grow our lives like the flowers we use for centerpieces...on our own and made into personal art. Independent we are and capable of self sustaining our own art and our lifestyle, regardless of what occurs around us. It feels really good.
A good week at our 50' x 90' urban homestead. Although we are pulling out area's of the garden that have become unproductive after fulfilling their requirements and are done for...(which actually hurts to do by the way) The Tomatoes have come in full force, and we have produced enough all around vegetables this week to make $50.00 today at the farmers market, give away multiple bags of produce to friends and neighbors, feed ourselves all we want, and store some for next year. Not too shabby for our first year. There are still many-many things we need to refine in our process however such as---
Solar power: I still can't get excel energy (the local supplier) to contact me about getting on their small producers listing and hooking my system up to our meter--Excel Energy made a big deal of offering this small solar supplier program but they are apparently incompetent at actually making it work, I am afraid that this must be a PR stunt only. But I will keep trying. I'm producing electric and trying to use it all but I really want to feed it back into my household meter against our use...for this I need the energy company to cooperate---still struggling on that one.
Urban Chickens: basically I want them, JOJO does not. I can really see the value in keeping two chickens providing both eggs for personal use, and manure. Based on this years gardening experience with a couple of laying chickens on hand cooped in the way-way back of the yard we could have ignored the grocery store for a good bit of the summer if we wished... i would like to have that option available in advance of societal problems. So I am working on JOJO alittle bit at a time to go the Urban Chicken route. We'll have to see tho....
We are, actually, in extremely good shape when one steps back and examines what we have done from a distance.
Our Rain barrels are full, we now can absolutely purify drinking water out of our 160 stored gallons if necessary. We have 3 months of, ready to eat food stored, and working on making it 6 months. Speciality supplies are on hand in case of a very bad flu season. I am capable of dumping my vehicle and walking home from anywhere within a 40 mile radius if necessary via my vehicle bug-out-bag that i am now carrying. We are just shy of purchasing a recumbent bike for JOJO which combined with my Segway could allow us to be completely oil independent around town if desired or necessary. I am averaging over 51.0 miles per gallon weekly in our Prius so our contribution to the Bush family oil overlords is basically nothing compared to the society that surrounds us.
When I step back to look at what we have accomplished, even I am impressed---with the cravat of there's always more to do.
I've taken to wearing a straight bladed knife around the property. I love folding knives, pocket knives, Swiss Army Knives, don't get me wrong. They are my constant companion at work...but when I'm at home over the weekend I often simply forget to slipone in my pocket at the start of the day and are SOL when i need a knife for some project. So...I began to model John Locke on LOST. I now wear a 2 inch web belt with a straight blade sheathed knife on it all the time around the house. Immediately after starting this process i was dumbfounded how useful having a knife like this available all the time was and of course I required a whole new equipment set-up. I just ordered a fisherman's 2 inch web belt with fast-tex buckle and a straight bladed, camping, utility knife from Ka-Bar knives called the Becker companion knife and tool. This Becker designed Ka-Bar knife has a 5 star rating and fits my personal requirements for a utility knife foremost of which is NO SAW TEETH ON A KNIFE BLADE. I hate those John Rambo style, useless saw teeth...it makes the knife look ninja warrior like but other than that saw teeth are impossible to sharpen and are useless, unable to even cut a tree branch. Saw teeth on a knife you actually use just takes up blade space and allows you to cut yourself repeatedly...so this simple Ka-Bar was the knife for me. Just so long as I don't forget i have it on and leave the property upsetting the neighborhood in the process...... I have enough problems with the world not understanding me as it is.
I made a vow to get my blog off of weird personal issues that are happening to me right now and back to thoughts, concepts, experiments, urban homesteading and other more important things than what I had been focused on..hope it worked! Thanks for putting up with me the last few postings. I appreciate it.