Friday, December 18, 2009

Self Sustained Urban Living

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, 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 or 2 will do.

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! It's also a good idea to check your city or town ordinances to make sure having chickens doesn't violate some unknown law because you don't want to have to get rid of you egg layers as soon as you get them settled in. 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 10 to 14 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 4 does and 1 buck, I breed every other month for 32 to 40 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, 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! Don't under estimate the stress relief of producing your own food.

4 comments:

  1. Excellent post. I really am hoping to get animals this year.

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  2. I love the last sentance of that post. It really IS stress relief! It's good for the brain and the soul and the pocketbook! Gotta say that I love my chickens. Watching them run around the yard, with clothes on the line, and veggies growing the garden is the best looking thing you could ever see! (I'm so out of the tech-world, that when you said Blackberries, I thought 'what?' It took me a minute to remember that it's a phone--or something like that!)

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  3. Thanks for the informative post. I have a few questions that you sound like you could help me with.

    For the growing plants indoors, my husband and I would like start our own seeds this year. We tried to last year, but they got moldy and were very spindly. We just planted them in peat moss and had them on the kitchen table. What would you suggest for a better seed starting medium and lighting setup? I'd like to have a set of metal or wood shelves with lights on each tier. Would that be feasible?

    Also, I'm interested in raised beds. They seem to eliminate a lot of work in the end, but we think they might be a lot of up front expense and work. The up front expense is the main problem :) Any suggestions for how to make them cheaply?

    One last question! I've been interested in rabbits for years. Right now we have chickens for meat (and I love not having to rely on the store for that!) but we're still considering rabbits. My main hesitation is the dressed weight. I've heard that the dressed weight is around 2 and a half pounds, which seems rather small. How many rabbits do you fix for a meal? If it takes a couple of rabbits per meal instead of one chicken per meal, it seems the extra butchering would be a pain, but do you find the benefits outweigh the extra time involved in butchering?

    I'm sorry I have such a long comment, but if you are able to answer my questions, it would be wonderful! It's rare to find someone already established in what we'd like to do.

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  4. LOL Gen, I got a 20 yr old college student that keeps me in line for all the "cool current" stuff. Sheesh, you'd think growing up with me, she'd be more down to earth. Go figure.

    Hang in there Happy Hermit, you'll get there!

    Hello Meghan, I'll write a post in response...

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Comments always welcome