PARKWOOD URBAN HOMESTEAD
My husband and I live on a small lot in a city in Western Mass. We love historic houses, so we bought a historic Victorian in the city.
When we first moved here our backyard was asphalt, with only a small strip of weeds.
We started off in our first home with two cats and one beagle:
and not the slightest idea of how to cook our food from scratch, much less grow it ourselves. We had 2 vehicles at that time and both commuted 30 minutes to work every day. We had dreams of reducing our carbon footprint, but knew it would involve sacrifices and a lot of learning. We also had a lot of projects to do to renovate our historic victorian, and little knowledge of how to do it. The first job was improving the backyard, since we spend so much of our freetime outside. The Asphalt Jungle was an eyesore!
We didn't remove all of the asphalt, because we have a shared driveway, and we needed a place to park our second vehicle.
The Garden, as of September 2007, was coming right along, but it was still mostly about asthetics. We wanted a retreat, some place quiet in the city, where we could enjoy ourselves and play with our beagle, Shelby. The grass was for her, the garden for us.
Right about that time our neighbor put in an above ground pool, right next to the fence . There goes the privacy! We have great neighbors though, so it isn't too bad. Next we thought we could plant a garden, but being fall, it was only preparation for the next year. By June the next year we had our own little vegetable garden, complete with rainbarrel!
I was a little overly ambitious and planted way too much in my small space. Production was limited by overcrowding, and many of my plants got a fungus.
I sold my car, so we were down to one company-provided truck. That year we also adopted our crazy little mutt, Brandi; we think she's a dachshund/pitbull mix:
Since our house doesn't have gutters, we needed a way to control the water coming off our roof. We installed a rain garden on the side of our house in the fall of 2008:
It is beautiful when its dry, and functional when it rains. The water all runs toward the fence and gathers in a small pool where it slowly drains out in our sandy soil.
Our red maple in the fall:
That's when the chicken ideas started to hatch. We decided to get 3 chickens to supplement the vegetables we were growing. One day in the Spring of 2009 I came home and my husband had already started to build the coop. I started looking for information on raising chickens and found BYC and the amazing forum, full of helpful information. I learned about a chicken swap an hour away from us and we got our first 3 wyandottes, already 9 weeks old:
A few weeks later I became impatient waiting for my eggs and I picked up this little beauty:
She's already giving us beautiful blue/green eggs, and she's the sweetest thing!