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I do the best I can to maintain a homesteader's lifestyle in the suburbs.

I've been a subscriber since June of 1982. Things were different then.

I was living on a rented 10 acres, had fallen into what I now call the "selfsufficiency trap" of trying to do it all, and had succeeded only in exhausting myself physically, emotionally and financially.

Then followed a long period spent smack dab in the middle of suburbia. Not a great place for homesteading, but I still had a garden and kept a show herd of Satin rabbits. Most importantly, I got back on my feet financially and started seriously saving money toward a place of my own.

For the last three years I've been renting a small cottage (once a guest house) on the fringes of the suburbs. If I tune out the traffic noise I can still have the illusion of being in the country, as the subdivision developers haven't yet swallowed everything up. (Give them a little more time though and I'll no doubt have a sidewalk!)

Moving to a rural area would be wonderful, but the sad truth is that, in this state at least, the rural economy hasn't improved much in years. I have to work, and my work keeps me in an urban area.

I do the best I can to maintain a homesteader's lifestyle though. I still have a garden every year, raising as many vegetables as possible, as well as herbs and flowers. I get fruits and berries at U-pick farms. I freeze or can a lot of both vegetables and fruits. It does save some money and I am spoiled. To me, the quality and taste of home preserved foods are far superior to "store bought". It's worth the effort it takes.

I keep a few French Angora rabbits. I enjoy having them and they provide wool for my spinning as well as manure for the garden. I crochet, knit a little, and have just bought a small loom. Learning to weave is on the agenda for this winter. Currently I'm working on a quilt which will be a Xmas gift -- it's being sewn on my circa 1913 treadle sewing machine. (I won't list all my various activities, but you get the picture, I'm sure.)

One of the hardest things for me about maintaining this lifestyle is the lack of contact with people of similar interests. (My various activities and adventures provide a lot of amusement for my co-workers at the office, all of whom are life-long city dwellers!) That's where COUNTRYSIDE comes in. Every issue is a shot of enthusiasm and encouragement and I end up feeling a bit less like the only one of my kind!

Back in the July/August 1987 issue you ran several articles on "urban homesteading". I've read and re-read that issue many times. And I'm finally about ready to start searching for a place to buy and set up my own urban homestead. I'll have my garden, of course, and my rabbits. I want to plant blueberries and put in an asparagus bed --and know that I'll still be around when those first berries and green spears come.

And maybe, just maybe, I can have a trio of laying hens tucked away in a corner.
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Title Annotation:Lessons Learned, Changes Accepted, in the Last 10 Years of Homesteading
Author:Nielsen, Debra
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:I live minimally, doing the kinds of things that matter most to me.
Next Article:Advice on finding the right locale: read local newspapers, and fly over.

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