Sunday, February 23, 2014

Urban Homestead

As some of you know, Ryan and I are in the process of purchasing a home here in Buena Vista. It is a two story home built in 1898 right in the middle of town. What makes it a little different is that it sits on two lots so the yard is larger than most found in the city. 
For years we have been talking about starting a hobby farm, but we are not yet to a point where we can afford a lot of acreage. We have decided to go forward with some of our plans anyway and begin with what I have dubbed our "urban homestead". Ryan laughs at that because Buena Vista is a rather rural town nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, but the house is in city limits and just around the corner from a post office, park, library, and shops therefore I call it 'urban'. So here are some ideas I have had for our urban homestead.
Chickens - I enjoy raising chickens and who doesn't like farm fresh eggs? I am considering Rhode Island Red, Araucana, Black Sex-links, and Barnevelders. The latter are beautiful birds known for laying dark brown eggs:

 Notice the double laced pattern on the feathers. I think they are stunning. Just because I love them, here's another picture:

Dad and mom raised Araucanas which lay blue/green eggs:

I also want to get a bantam hen or two as pets for Reagan. Maybe a Silkie or Sebright. Here are some coop ideas:

 I like this one because I can put an herb garden on top and save some space.

Garden - Since space is limited I have had to research some unconventional gardening ideas. Here are some I have gleaned from the internet:

 I'll have to start saving my 2-litre bottles for this one.
 Ryan could probably build this. He can build anything.
 This one and the one below are called "gutter gardens". I'd like to put one in along the fence.

 With this one you can grow your own salad in limited space.

I believe that this one is a vertical hydroponic garden. Ryan has long been interested in hydroponics and aquaculture.
If the chickens and plants survive the summer then next year I'll add more to my little farm. I'd like to raise rabbits and worms (vermacomposting) as well. Unfortunately, the goats and other livestock will have to wait until we move to a real farm outside of the city. 
So what do y'all think? Have you seen any neat urban homesteading ideas?