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Urban Homesteading Reality

A little over a year ago, I wrote about my Urban Homestead Dreams. Chickens, expansion, raised beds, crops, and big, big, grandiose plans. Now that we once again dwell in the time of little daylight, when my garden is neglected because there just aren’t enough hours in the day (not that there’s much going on there anyway), I’m reflecting on those dreams and plans. What was a success? What failed miserably? What do I want to add? Was it all worth it?

Broccoli. I manage to grow broccoli.


That tasty brassica. Pretty consistently, and with minimal effort. Effort. Broccoli and effort. Minimal effort. Let’s address that for a second. Going forward, Ugly Garden in all her muddy, mucky beauty she’s going to require less. The infrastructure is there. Those 2012 accomplishments, the Chicken Coop, the compost bin, basically everything except the lettuce table, they’ll see me through 2013. And then some. I’ve still got bigger plans. Irrigation would be great. Bees, fruit trees, a few more beds. I know its only February, but I’m not feeling terribly motivated. I’m feeling like my parsnip bed looks.


By some stroke of ‘nature totally rocks’ the actual parsnips underneath the dirt are completely edible. Even pretty once you wash them off. The same can not be said for the brussel sprouts which succumbed to pillaging by these guys.


Eww. That right there feels like wasted effort. Maybe there’s a lesson learned (More sluggo? Don’t get pregnant in the fall?), but much food was certainly not produced. This much to be specific.


And even those were a little nibbled around the edges. I offered them to the Ladies, and heard no complaints.

Am I going to coast into Ugly Garden ’13? I’m certainly lacking the fire that fueled starting tomatoes at about this time last year. There will be no new chicken additions. I’ll be ready to pop, just about the time they need crucial flock integration. Since that can be a pain in the ass in and of itself, requiring my personalized chicken wrangling attention, I’d rather not delegate it to The Husband. He does not enjoy it, (and the Ladies do not enjoy him. Ahem.) Besides, we are getting 3-5 eggs a day, with no supplemental light. In January. That’s beyond plenty. Why rock the boat?

What will I manage in 2013? What will be my Ugly Garden reality? Seeds? Or Starts? Will I get around to those fruit trees? Is minimal effort my focus? I haven’t even cracked my fancy new garden journal. I’ll get there.

Yet somehow, when I pull up those parsnips, when I come in with a pocket full of warm eggs, when I manage to scrape together a couple handfulls of edible greens to supplement dinner, I feel like a rockstar. Its a self satisfied ‘heh’. Food I grew. Available to me in the depths of the PNW winter. Not a lot of food. Not pristine food, but honest to goodness real food. That keeps me strategizing. Thinking of the starts I will be able to get in the dirt, in spite of my enormous belly. Because come planting time, it will be enormous.

I’m going to skip the basement grow-op this year. I might order some additional seed potatoes. I’ll direct sow seeds left over from last year, when the time comes. Bees and pregnancy do not sound like a good combination. I think we’ll skip that. Ugly Garden won’t get nearly the focus this year that she did last. But, I’ve got enough faith in her (and the work we did). One way or another, she’s still going to provide plenty.

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Yep, welcome to the new reality. The “I can have everything I want but not at the same time” reality that dictates that during the first few years of new baby, you will most certainly not get it all done. And there is nothing wrong with that, logically, but it can wear on you emotionally. I think that might be one of the reasons why pregnancy is so uncomfortable – it gets you used to slowing down and cutting back. And me, with my first born who is finally old enough to actually help and/or entertain himself depending on the activity in question, I’m having another baby, haha.

Good luck with your gardening – whatever you can get done (nap time is your friend!). I would stick with what you know will yield the best results with minimal effort and not do anything new this season. While my impending move will not yield a yard for gardening, I’m hoping for more sun so I can at least do some herbs in containers on the balcony. I currently have neither yard nor sun.

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