As many of us have realized, things are getting pretty expensive lately. Fuel and food take up most of our paychecks. Life in the fast lane of Blackberries, cell phones, fast food and video gaming is getting harder. Some would say that is a good thing. Either way you like it, something has got to give.
I can help you with the grocery bill no matter where you live, even in condos and apartments. It is not difficult to grow things such as tomatoes and peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, even melons in small spaces and containers! A sunny spot is all you need. If you don't have a sunny spot, a florescent light will do. You don't need to waste your money on the "grow lamp" bulbs, the white light bulbs do just fine. If you don't feel like that is going to do it for you, you can always use the bulbs designed for fish tanks, readily available at Lowes or Home Depot.
For people living in rental homes, you can expand a little with a small chicken coop built like a dog pen or even rabbits in wooden hutches. The hutches even work well for a few chickens. Remember tho, if you have crabby neighbors, don't get a rooster! Chickens are daylight sensitive and lay an egg every 24 to 28 hours so plan accordingly for your egg consumption. Just 6 hens give me 3 dozen eggs a week, give or take an egg here or there.
In an 8x10 coop with a 10x10 run, I have 4 to 6 fresh eggs every day and fresh meat whenever I want some chicken. How to kill a chicken will be another days post.
Remember my post on raised bed gardens? For those of you that have the opportunity to make a raised bed, I forgot to mention how easy they are to maintain! It is easy to cover the garden in the fall with grass clippings, even newspaper or paper sacks, anything organic that will decompose, kill off the weeds, add to the nutrient value of the soil and keep your soil easy to turn. Just one small raised bed garden here produces literally hundreds of pounds of healthy, pesticide free food for my family.
Now to rabbits- I keep 2 does and 2 bucks, I breed every other month for 12 to 18 kits for the table. Rabbit is high protein, low fat and can be served up just like any chicken recipe you have.
Rabbits don't make any noise, their manure is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potash and can be used right out of the rabbit, no composting needed. It will not burn your plants like cow or horse or chicken will. Rabbit is a win win situation! Small spaces work out well as a medium sized meat rabbit needs just 2'x2' to stay healthy and produce for you.
All these things add up to savings. Think about how much money you spend on food stuffs like meat and veges. Canning is easy to do and cooking is just as easy. Think about how much money you spend eating out. A healthy and tasty meal can be whipped up in your own kitchen for a third of the price if not cheaper than that, for just 20 minutes or so of your time. Plus, you get to spend a little quiet time at home relaxing while you do it!