Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Lauren: I’m Growing! September 18, 2012

Filed under: Beginnings — suburbanpioneers @ 6:22 pm
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If you would have told me when I was growing up that six years after I got married I would want backyard chickens, I would have said you were crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y, crazy.

I grew up in a typical suburban home in Cleveland, Ohio. There, my mother’s hobbies leaned more in the direction of Bingo rather than sewing or gardening, so I didn’t grow up knowing or seeing someone doing those things.  The first time I used an iron, the one that had idled in my mom’s linen closet for quite some time, was to straighten my hair in high school. In my defense, this was back in the day before flat irons became widely available. I got pretty good at not burning myself.

So what changed? It all started when I stumbled into the bottomless well I now know as the Netflix documentaries page. Growing up, I thought documentaries were a teacher’s way of torturing small children by making them sit through some old guy talking for an hour about the life cycle of the dung beetle. It turns out they aren’t boring like I thought they’d be and instead let me sit down and learn something new (in one hour!), a feature I especially enjoy since I have a toddler and infant at home. Oftentimes I only have one hour, if I’m lucky, when no one needs to be fed or held or changed, when no one (husband included) is asking “Want to play?” And there are only so many times I can read “In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon. . . ” before I start to crave some more challenging concepts. Not that I don’t love Margaret Wise Brown’s classic, but sometimes I need a little more.

Most people will never forget their first love, I’ll never forget my first documentary: Food Inc. 

 Food Inc. was the movie that planted a little seed in me to be more conscious about the things I am buying and what I am putting into my body and the bodies of my loved ones.  And that little seed has sprouted. Continuing on with the analogy. . . My frugality is the water that helps it grow. It’s cheaper in a lot of ways to make your own cleaning spray or new skirt or graham crackers (more on those later). I prefer the term thrifty rather than miserly.

In short, I am in love with becoming more and more self-sufficient. Then I can make things exactly the way I want them with the ingredients that I want. Hmm. I think am starting to sound like a control freak. I don’t think I really am. Let me explain. Sometimes I have this daydream about what would happen if there was an apocalypse and then I envision how I would handle it. My husband usually daydreams about being a hero and saving people and I daydream about being the last ones on earth. (I really am a happy person. See this? That’s me.) Anyway, then in the daydream I list off the things I could do/make myself and try to gauge how well I could take care of my family (we all survived the apocalypse, of course). So in trying to defend myself about being controlling, I’ve let my weirdness show. Oh well. It was bound to come out sometime.

Now I find myself dreaming (a happier dream) of a little farm with goats, chickens, a pot belly pig (as a pet; they’re so cute), a huge garden, and a root cellar full of food I’ve canned. But I am not sure when (or even if) that will happen. Right now I have to be content with turning my little bungalow in a small city into a little urban farm and teaching myself how to make things myself.

I wish my porch still looked this clean.


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