The City Chick and the Homestead
I am a city chick–born and raised in the third largest city in New York. As a teen, I could hop a train and be in New York City in under half an hour. Growing up, I was used to having an abundance of shopping. The newest items and trends always hit the stores in our area first. I had all of New York City’s culture and art at my doorstep. Apartment life is what I knew. I attended school with the children of foreign diplomats and high ranking network executives.
In my late teens, we moved to northern Westchester County. I thought we moved to another planet. What I thought was a rooster crowing every morning turned out to be a mockingbird. It was then I decided that city life was what I wanted. This borderline rural suburbia without a mass transit system had to go.
Fast forward 10 years. Now I have one kid and country life is starting to have an appeal. Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News magazines cover my coffee table. I am a living contradiction. On one hand, I am a computer nerd. On the other hand I am a free spirited, hippie wannabe with the responsibility single parenthood brings. Single parenthood was due to a divorce which will never be discussed online.
At this point I was gardening when I could and the windows of my home looked like a small jungle. Once again I moved. This time it was not my parents who decided, it was a joint decision with my current husband. The job market in New York was not looking great and commuting to New York City was insanely expensive. So, we packed up our belongings, my daughter, a rabbit and a sulfur crested cockatoo, and headed for Raleigh, North Carolina.
Still, I am a city chick. Raleigh is nothing like New York City, but it is the capital of the state. While it was more rural than I was used to, it was still very much suburbia. Our early years in Raleigh was apartment life. We finally purchased an nice house on an acre of land and I thought that was where we would stay…
Now to the present: We purchased a house in Northwest Arkansas. It is a small home, just 1300 square feet on a 0.18 acre lot. In this home resides me–The City Chick, my husband, 3 boys (2 college age and one is a teen), 4 dogs and 9 chickens. Well, once the chicks start feathering out and it warms up a bit, they will go to their outdoor facility. Our homestead is a standard building lot that is under 1/4 acre. So I guess from a size standpoint, this is urban homesteading.
Our town has a population of just over 9,500. I have worked in office buildings that held more people. They call this a city, I don’t think so. There are no buses, taxis, trains, or any form of mass transit. Only 2 pizza places deliver to my area and neither are worth ordering. My city has no chicken ordinances other than I cannot have a rooster. There is a greasy spoon diner and three other restaurants in the town, maybe 4.
My kids are into shooting sports, hunting, 4-H, video games, and friends. The swear that they are not into our chickens, but for people who are not into chickens, they spend a lot of time watching them.
Currently our homestead has 3 blueberry bushes, 2 apple trees and a space for the vegetable garden and chickens in the backyard. This spring we planted peas, greens, and spinach. Once the chickens are outdoors, I will follow Harry Ussery’s advice and let the chooks till the garden.
We plan to raise our own meat and to have espaliered fruit trees planted along the fences. Once a permanent garden fence and gate are installed, rasberry and blackberry plants will line the fence line. Perennial vegetables like asparagus and artichokes will have a home in our garden. As things progress, I will post about the challenges, successes, and mishaps that our small homestead goes through as it evolves from an idea to a home and garden that provides us with shelter, food, and family.
–Lynda, the City Chick gone country