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Growing up on a farm in Iowa was one of the best learning experiences of my life. My parents taught us to be stewards of the land and that every animal must be respected. We learned that chores were a part of daily life, meals were made from scratch, the county fair was the best part of summer, and at some point, you would be dunked in the cattle tank by an older sibling. A right of passage for each of us (6 kids in total) was learning how to milk the cow and tend to the chickens.
This was not viewed as an, “Oh no”, moment, but rather as something that demonstrated that we were growing up and could be trusted with more responsibilities. We were raised in a very self-sufficient lifestyle. If something was broken, we fixed it. If it was torn, we mended it. If it mooed, we milked it. If it was dirty, we cleaned it. If something/someone was hungry, we feed it. If something was ripe, we picked it. And probably one of the most important lessons… if you can make do without it, don’t buy it.
Hard work was expected, but we also had time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life: enjoying the company of friends and family, watching fireflies and stars light up the night, playing hide and go seek in the hayloft, and riding our ponies on the gravel roads that connected our community. Now as an urbanite along the Front Range of Colorado, I brought my country ways with me. My husband and I are urban homesteaders in a city of 143,000. We live near the center of town, just a few blocks from the local hospital.
On our 1/3 acre homestead we raise chickens, keep bees, tend to our gardens, preserve the summer harvest, and make meals from whole foods. We gladly trade our eggs, vegetables, cheeses, fruits, wines, and preserves with friends who are growing things we don’t have. Our neighbors know as as, ‘the ones with chickens’ and children enjoy watching our girls free-range in the backyard. We still wrestle with the same issues of our country cousins.
Deer snack in our garden beds, squirrels sample our apples, and raccoons love our grapes. But those annoyances are leveled out by the arrival of new chicks in the spring, fresh tomatoes in the summer, and honey harvest in the fall. All of those moments make up the rhythm of our urban homestead. Welcome to Urban Overalls! You can subscribe to our blog at Urban Overalls .
You can also connect with Urban Overalls on Facebook! We Thank Connie for her contribution to What’s Hatching and hope to read more from her in the future.