Apartment Homesteading

Part of living more simply is self sufficiency – Growing and hunting your own food, composting, recycling, reusing, etc. When most people think of self sufficiency, glamorous images of farmhouses on acres and acres of land drift into their minds. The exact opposite of city living. But, most people don’t realize that there are steps one can take to start a more self sufficient lifestyle, even if they live somewhere as small as an apartment.

I have lived in Wilmington about a year now, and while it’s not my favorite place in the world, I have done more to increase my self sufficiency here than anywhere else I’ve lived. I live in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment and have already started making the steps and learning skills I’m going to need when I finally do get my dream farmhouse on acres and acres of land!

So what can you do to start a more self sufficient lifestyle today? Here are six simple changes to make:

1. Porch or windowsill garden. I got lucky and my apartment came with a sizable porch. So I have cherokee purple tomatoes, cayenne peppers, strawberries, thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, and dill growing a couple feet from my front door! Even if you don’t have a large porch, many plants can still grow wonderfully in pots. My neighbors are even garnering and small orange tree, right in a pot! If you only have a windowsill, herbs are so easy to grow, and will save you money. Fresh herbs from the grocery store can be very expensive! They’re almost $5 here at the local grocery store.

2. Composting. This one may be a bit tricky for an apartment, but it’s not impossible! In a well ventilated receptacle, begin composting eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, and fruit and veggie scraps. This will help your garden, too.

3. Rain bucket. Summers in Wilmington mean brutal storms, so I have a bucket set up on the edge of my porch to collect rainwater. I use it to water my plants!

4. Canning. This is a skill I have not learned yet, but canning in your apartment is totally doable! Research the best way for your living situation, and start preserving your porch harvests!

5. Utilizing local farms and farmer’s markets. Even in cities, sometimes farmland is just a drive away, and farms sometimes sell their goods right from their land! And if not, most cities have a farmers market where you can get fresh, organic produce, eggs, dairy honey, and meat, and you’ll also be supporting local farmers! It’s a win win!

6. Recycling. In my apartment, bottled water is a no-no. But on a recent trip to a farther away beach, I forgot my water bottle and was dying, so I had to buy some at the one gas station during the long drive. While I initially felt bad, I realized I could continue using the bottle afterward. I poked multiple holes in the lid and now I use it as a watering can! Reuse and recycle constantly. I have three bins for plastic, aluminum, and glass that I regularly take to the recycling center.

Here are some shots from my porch:

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Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Spearmint

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Strawberries!

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Basil, Goji Berry, Dill and Peppers

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Closeup of my peppers

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Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

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Eggshells are really good for tomato plants!

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This is my recycling area. It’s a bit cluttered right now but we have aluminum, plastic and glass.

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And my rain collector. It’s empty now, we have a heatwave going on and I’m keeping my plants hydrated, but a storm is probably on it’s way! They usually are.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! If you’re in my neck of the woods, please stay hydrated and don’t stay out in the sun too long. Be safe!

 

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So far…

Hi everyone! I just wanted to pop in real quick halfway through my first gluten free day!

So far things are going well. I had organic scrambled eggs this morning. Back in Charlotte, when my parents lived only two hours away, I had a pretty constant supply of true organic, free range, farm fresh eggs straight from their chickens. Now, since I don’t see them as often, I do the best that I can. I’ve been researching some local farms, and in the meantime I buy Full Circle organic, cage free eggs.

For lunch just now I had leftover homemade chili made with organic, grass fed beef. I’m actually not a huge chili fan but we had all the stuff to make it and needed to use up some veggies that were about to go so…It all went into the cast iron pot for chili. I don’t like to waste things so I’ll help to eat it before it goes bad!

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing for dinner tonight. I do have a thing of gluten free pasta, and some of my mom’s homemade pasta sauce in the freezer (which, I guarantee you, does not have anything other than tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil) so I may just do that.

I’m feeling pretty good so far. Usually I’m fighting to keep my eyes open around this time and I’m fully awake so that’s good, and definitely a big change. Justin and I have also started a bike riding regimen, and I’m hoping that after a month of peddling uphill through the surrounding neighborhoods, soon my legs will resemble Taylor Swift’s. If I’m lucky.

We finally got Justin’s Subaru back from the mechanic so now things can start to go back to normal and we’ll have two cars again! And now it’s back to work for me. Break’s over!

Stay well!

I’m still here!

I promise I haven’t forgotten about my blog – I’ve just been really busy trying to organize my life and money. I haven’t had much time to record everything I’ve been doing, but I’ll report in now!

My porch garden is still small but after a few tribulations, it seems to be growing well. My basil is shooting up like a kid having a growth spurt, and my thyme and rosemary are as fragrant as ever!

I’m trying to use less paper towels and more washable rags/sponges. Sure, it takes extra time but trees are more important than the convenience paper towels give me. I’d rather have cleaner air.

I’m getting back into the vegetarian groove. Commercially packaged meat is gross and dirty and full of fear and hormones…I’m planning of writing a post more in depth about my feelings about meat, but for now, I’ll just say that the meat found putrefying in grocery stores is unappetizing and makes me want to cry.

I’ve been using this website called FreeRice. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not FreeRice actually donates rice to the hungry, but after some research, I personally believe they do the good that they say they do. You answer questions, and every time you get one right, 10 grains are donated through the World Food Programme. Click HERE to try it out! and if anything, you’ll at least learn some new things.

That’s it for now. I’m eating kidney beans sauteed with soy sauce and sriracha. Because I’m poor and I love beans.

More soon! Much love and light,

Stephanie

Yumday

Whew! Sorry for the delay in posts – what a busy week it’s been! I’m in the last few weeks of training at work, balancing my social life with work life and STILL trying to get this apartment organized. I need to up my dumpster diving game because on my budget, even thrift store prices seem a little hefty!

So I want to start something I’ll hopefully be able to keep up every week. I want to call it “Yumday” where every Sunday or Monday I’ll post a yummy, organic, and hopefully all local ingredient recipe!

Today I’ll start with something extremely simply. I call it “Skinny Pizza”.

I love love love love love love love pizza. But I don’t like processed meat, cheese, sauce, dough, or non-organic anything so if I order it or (gasp) buy frozen, that means I’m on a SERIOUS budget! And the calories in pizza, I can’t even…and then you pair it with some cheap beer, you may as well just go eat at KFC!

(I am not judging. The amount of pizza and cheap beer I have consumed, and probably will consume again, in my life is probably enough to feed a small town. Because I am human and imperfect.)

So anyway, Skinny Pizza is something I made on Sunday because I wanted the taste of cheese, tomato and basil in my mouth without having an actual pizza. This is what I did instead:

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I took a piece of organic seed and grain toast from the Great Harvest Bread† Company (I have the Dakota bread. Chock full of grains and seeds!), slapped on some homemade goat cheese, topped it with farm fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, and organic basil from my porch garden.

Simple. Local. Organic. Easy.

And that’s one of the things I love about “Health Food” – it’s not like you have to go all out. It can be just like this.

So that’s my Yumday post! I’m sure I’ll do something more intricate soon, but let’s start out simple 🙂

Other than that, I’ve been working, tending my porch garden, and reading about Ayurvedic medicine. I WILL be fixing my lip balm soon too.

 

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photo 1I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!