As I stare out my apartment window at the bare trees and highway I image what it would be like to stare out the window of an old farm house. I would see the chickens roaming the land, goats and horses frolicking along the fence line, and beautiful fresh produce shimmering in the sunlight. Well, it’s good to dream right?! For now I am staring out into the highway and hearing the hustle and bustle of the cars zooming by. I have big dreams of have a huge homestead and living a sustainable life. But for now, I will be an apartment dweller and that’s okay.
Homesteading isn’t limited to having acres, a huge garden, and animals. Anyone can truly be a homesteader. Homesteading isn’t about the physical stuff, it’s about the practices and methods you partake and believe in. I consider myself an Apartment Homesteader and honestly I am proud of it! I face different obstacles because I am limited for space, not allowed a container garden outside, or have animals. Those are only of the few obstacles I run into. Why do I want to share my apartment homesteading with you? Because there isn’t a lot of information out there on apartment homesteading and I feel there needs to be. So this is why I truly invented this blog to educate people on how I run my apartment homestead.
Below I am going to list some things that I do as an apartment homesteader. I could write for days on everything I do, but where would be the fun in that? I guess you will have to come back more often to visit for new insider information!!
Well our apartment complex is a little ok more than a little picky about any items being outside our apartment. They say “It’s all about the curb appeal,” I loved to tell where to shove that curb appeal up but that’s not nice or is it 😉 So with that being said, we have to be a little creative if we want fresh produce. Since we can’t have container gardens outside we get our fresh produce different ways. My parents are always more than happy to grow extra produce in their garden for us. I usually sit down with my dad before growing season and talk about different items to plant and how much of each. But I can’t expect my parents to grow enough for two households, so that is why we also buy from local farmers markets and farms. I honestly don’t care if the grocery store has produce cheaper, I would rather support local agriculture and not to big companies. Part of being a homesteader is trying to be more sustainable not rely so heavily on outside companies. And unfortunately when SHTF and these stores close their doors, and if you solely rely on them you are going to be in a world of poo poo. I also encourage people to also look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce delivered right to your door. It is a wonderful program that self support local agriculture and you don’t have to even leave your home to receive it!
Preserving Your Food
Okay so if you can’t grow your own food you can’t preserve anything right? WRONG! Like I stated above you can get fresh produce from local farmers to preserve. Actually, a lot of local farmers have specials on bushels and mass quantities of products. Our local farm always has specials going on each week on bushels and baskets full of produce. The best time of the year to load up on produce is at the end of the season when farmers are trying to eliminate some of their products. So what do you do if there is no fresh produce available in your area and you want to preserve? Well if you see produce on sale at the supermarket and it a banging deal, just get it! You are not going to be frowned upon because you buy produce at the store. Not everyone has the luxury to have local farmers markets in their area. My only suggestions is to buy it organic if possible. Heck, I buy some produce at the grocery store too. I am not going lie and say if I don’t see a great deal on strawberries that I am not going to buy 20 of them to make jelly.
Also, who says you can only preserve produce? WRONG! There is so many items you can preserve that if I stated all of them, I would be here for a whole month if not more. Some great options to start preserving are:
- Meats- I try to buy my meat from a local farmer who has amazing products that are all organic. If they aren’t open usually during December-February (they take the months off to enjoy Florida!) I try to find a good deal at the supermarket. Trying to buy organic products is important to me, but it isn’t always available at the store. So what do I do? I am that crazy lady at the local supermarket waiting for the doors to open up at 6 am to buy all the quick sale products that need to be sold that day. Want to know why? Because it’s cheap! Living in an apartment isn’t cheap at all. Most of the time, apartment renters spend more in rent and utilities than an homeowner. I try to find ways to save money as much as possible. So buying meat at half price is how I roll! There is many methods of preserving meats.
- Dehydrating– this one is one of my favorites for deer meat! But you can also dehydrate pork, beef, turkey, and chicken. It is great for a quick snack or chop it up into your favorite recipe.
- Curing-unfortunately for an apartment homesteader this one may be a little tricky. Curing involves preserving your meat in salt, sugar, and nitrates. They suggest you hang your meat in a barn, shed, or old refrigerator. It was a method that dates back many years that people would use because they didn’t have the many luxuries today we have to keep their meat preserved. There is however, new modern day appliances that the curing for you, but you will be paying hefty price for it!
- Canning– a lot of homesteaders partake in this method. It is a great way to preserve your meat without worrying, because you don’t need electricity to keep it fresh. You will have to have a pressure canner for this process and follow instructions on how to do it from your local extension office. I am not a big fan of canned meat for some odd reason, but I really wish I was because this is a great method.
- Smoking-I don’t have much to say about this one. I haven’t been able to partake in this process because obviously our apartment owners won’t allow a smoker on the back porch. They are meanies!
- Freezing-Last but defiantly not least on my list, is freezing! This method is what we use the most. Like I said above, when I find a good deal on meat I buy a lot of it! I use my food saver and repackage the meat and label it. This is the easiest method for us. However, there is a downsize to freezing a large amount of meat. If the electricity goes our in the apartment, we are totally in a world of dog poo. Depending on the time it takes them to restore the power, which isn’t very long because we live in the outskirts of a college town, it could ruin the products.
- Condiments-Say What!? This is one of my favorites! I am a huge lover of homemade ketchup, bbq sauce, and chili sauce. I think it taste so much better than the store bought products. Plus in the long run it is so much cheaper! Some of my favorite recipes are listed below:
- Seasonings– This one makes me so happy! I am such a fan of making my own seasoning. Growing up I would always get headaches if I would eat certain things. Now that I am older, I understand that I have a sensitivity to certain colors and preservatives that are in some products. When I would eat store bought taco season I would get a headache within 2 minutes of consuming. That’s when I decided I was going to start making my own. At least I would know exactly what is in my product. Now that I have made my own, I am addicted and won’t go back to the store stuff. Just store them in mason jar and keep in a dark location and they will last up to 6 months to a year. Also, they cost less in the long run as well.Below is a list of my favs:
I am a big fan of making my food from scratch. Being a graduate of Nutrition, it is important to have a balance in my diet and know what I am consuming. I truly believe that making your food from scratch is the best way to help become healthier. Yes, going to the store and buying that box of fruit snacks and loaf of bread would be easier, but its the mystery of not knowing what is in it that scares me a little. Like I said above, I get headaches due to some dyes and preservatives. So making I myself allows me not to suffer days with headaches. Some of my favorite items to make is listed below:
- Homemade Wheat Bread: Homemade Whole Grain Bread (motherearthnews website)
- Homemade Fruit Gummies: Homemade Fruit Snacks (dessertswithbenefits page)
- Homemade Chips–Homemade Chips (cookinglight website)
Yes it takes some time but you get really great safe products!! When I first read an article about making homemade chapstick I was in disbelief that you can actually make a successful product. It wasn’t until I actually starting making numerous products that I was hooked on how great homemade product are and how cheap. BOOM,the cheapskate comes out of me again. There is so many different products you can make that you may never want to buy a product at the store again. Lets talk about the amount of harmful ingredients that are in your products. I can’t even pronounce half of the things in it so that’s probably and indication I shouldn’t be using them. Here is a list below of some of the items I make:
- Surface Cleaner–Homemade Surface Cleaner (livesimply website)
- Chapstick–Homemade Lip Chapstick (thewellnessmama website)
- Hand Soup–Homemade Hand Soup (livesimply website)
Well folks that’s the ball game on this blog post! I hope you enjoyed some of my ways I homestead while living in an apartment. There is so much more I could tell you, but you need to come back again soon to read another blog post. Stay tuned my friends because this journey is going to be wild!