How could I be a homesteader without my own home? How could I move forward with my plans and dreams?
But after much soul searching I’ve come to the conclusion that a homestead is not dependent on a mortgage. A homestead is wherever you choose to make it–be it an apartment, a town house, or a single family dwelling.
We’ve been practicing many sustainable habits for years–we recycle religiously, we buy energy efficient appliances, we buy all-natural cleaners and soaps. But I was ready to take it up a level by adding livestock like chickens and rabbits, and expanding my gardens and bee-yard.
It’s taken me a good month or so to realize that even without these additions there are ways I can increase the sustainability of our family regardless of whether or not we own our own home.
By focusing on more do-it-yourself projects
But I can do even more.
I can make my own yogurt: I have a yogurt maker my mother in-law gave me, and while I’ve tried it out once or twice, I haven’t committed to making my own yogurt as a rule.
I can make my own condiments: did you know that the Farmer’s Almanac offers the recipes to make some of your own condiments? Check it out here.
I can learn how to make my own hot dog and burger buns.
By increasing conservation efforts
We do alright remembering to turn off lights when we’re not in a room, but I know there’s room for improvement there. And, while we have our kitchen appliances plugged into a power strip, we rarely turn the thing off.
I know we can do better.
While installing rain-gutters for a water collection system isn’t an option right now, I recently read about a man who keeps a bucket in his bathtub to collect water whenever anyone uses the shower. The reserved water may not be much, but it’s enough for rinsing tin cans, plastic bottles, and other such miscellaneous tasks about the homestead.
I might be able to get a laundry line put up so that we can dry our laundry outside.
Household resources can be conserved by re-purposing stuff, which I already do to some degree by saving smaller jars to use in storing dried herbs and spices, reusing plastic containers, etc. But I know I can find even more ways to reuse our household’s resources.
We currently pay a couple of our monthly bills online on occasion, but if I’m going to increase our sustainability I’m going to have to get serious about paying bills online and cancel the paper billing in favor of email.
We’re not vegetarian but we do buy all of our meats from local and organic farmers. Even so, I’d like to conserve our meat in-take; I’d like to find a few more vegetarian meal-recipes that my meat-loving husband will eat in order to step it up a notch.
Step it up
I don’t know when we will be able to buy a home of our own, but home-ownership does not have to keep me–or you–from moving toward living an increasingly sustainable life.
In many instances it is simply a matter of being more aware of what’s going on around you. But sometimes it involves making the commitment to step up your efforts. Personally, I know it’s the right thing to do.
Check out these useful links for more ideas on ways to step up your efforts to be more sustainable:
10 Ways to Be Green – from OurEarth.org.
10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green – offered by the WorldWatch Institute.
40 Tips to Go Green at Home for Earth Day – provided by the Simple Mom blog-site.