Heya! Thanks for stopping by. I’m Erica. I grow, I cook, I save and I try to stay slowish in a very fast world.
I have too much garden space to weed, and not nearly enough to grow food and flowers. Until all my weeds are edible, I keep up the fight. My husband and I have been working to convert a suburban lawn into a suburban homestead for 8 years with no end in sight.
Our goal is to grow as much of our own produce as possible. Total self-sufficiency isn’t the end goal, because local people with more land and more skills than we possess are raising up wonderful grass fed beef, heritage pork and pastured chickens, and it is a joy to support their efforts by purchasing those foodstuffs that our 1/3 acre plot will never be able to support.
I come to the suburban homestead life by way of really good food. I went to culinary school, and for 10 years worked in restaurant kitchens in and around Seattle. I worked with some amazing chefs, saw some amazing food, and even had a hand in making some of the good stuff myself. So my backyard veggie patch started as a way for me to have a few really fresh vegetables and salad greens to cook with. That was all I wanted: a really fresh head of lettuce.
And then, in a turn of events that will feel familiar to all gardeners, I got bit by the bug. I started looking at my nice green lawn as the enemy of productive space. I put in some espaliered fruit trees and a berry patch. I dragged my husband to Home Depot for banks of florescent tube lights so I could start my own seeds indoors. I spent entire Januaries with my nose in seed catalogs. I became….obsessed.
The upshot to all this gardening obsession? As the garden matured, we started saving a lot of money on produce, while eating very well. Fresh raspberries, green beans, brussels sprouts, peas, delicata squash, baby tomatoes. You name it, we probably grew it and ate it. And what we couldn’t eat fresh I dried, pickled or froze.
What this showed me was that I could truly work at home. I could stay home and raise my children but still contribute to the family in a way that’s more rewarding than laundry (though I do that, too, of course). I could bring in the premium fresh produce I use to cook and create in the kitchen, without the premium market price. And the cost to me? Several hours a week in the sun and drizzle, getting dirty and tired. You know, paradise.
It turns out I’m not the only mom (or dad) crazy enough to try this. Call us the new guard of domesticity, urban farmers, radical homemakers: we’re out there trying to grow a little food, live on a little less, have some fun. It’s a job that takes work, but it’s flexible, the commute is awesome, and I can always bring the kids along.
Thanks for joining in.
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