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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DIY Lip Balm Attempt One

Sunday Funday! I actually never understood the term Sunday Funday because tomorrow is Monday which means 6:00 AM, 9-6, workday grind but…whatever.

Today started out bumpy but after the tizzy was over I was sitting on the couch and said, “I have all the stuff to do it, so I’m going to try and make my own lip balm.”

I followed a recipe I found on Wiki How and got to work and added my own flair.

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Ingredients:

1/2 oz beeswax, pellets or shaved. I used pellets.

1/4 tsp dried lavender

1 tsp sweet almond oil

1 drop Vitamin E oil

(Shea butter is pictured but I didn’t use it)

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Set the beeswax in a double boiler and allow to heat up. when they start looking shiny and sticky, add the lavender.

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Wait for it to melt. Stir occasionally, and once fully melted, add one teaspoon of sweet almond oil and one drop of Vitamin E oil. I don’t have a photo because I blurred it pretty badly. When you add the Vitamin E oil, it’s going to solidify a little bit but just stir stir stir and it’ll combine.

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When it’s all melty and combined, pour into a container of your choice. I used an eyedropper to fill sterilized plastic lip balm tubes.

Okay…So this is where I may have messed up. I got a feel for the dried product off the stirrer, and I may have needed a bit more oil. It felt a bit hard but did become softer as I handled it. So what I would suggest is to “sample” it before you pour it. Dry a little bit of it and see how it feels on your skin.

My other mistake is I’m unsure if I filled the containers enough. Small mistake, but I’ve never done this before so it’s part of the learning process. I’m determined to get it right, because even some “organic” lip balms still have a ton of chemicals, and the “good” ones can really empty your wallet.

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They’re still drying, it takes about three hours. I will definitely update about how they turn out when they’re done.

I’ll leave you for now with a photo of my potted herbs!

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I hope everybody’s weekend was awesome!

UPDATE

So the lip balm DID come out super hard and not able to use really – but I plan on correcting this soon, and I’ll be sure to explain how I fix my mistakes!