Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Am I Really an Urban Homesteader?

It's nine o'clock on a Saturday morning and I'm standing in Home Depot halfway between the seed aisle and the veggie transplant aisle.

On one shoulder sits the angel homesteader, whispering in my ear, "Seeds are the only way to go. You cannot be a real homesteader if you are buying those awful transplants. After all, they came to this huge chain store on a huge truck that required a huge amount of gas causing a huge carbon footprint on...on...well on wherever carbon walks." On the other shoulder sits the devil homesteader, yelling in my ear, "Don't listen to that self righteous, tree-hugging hippy. It's so much easier to just buy the four pack of pumpkins, stick them in the ground and use the rest of the day watching chicken olympics in a lawn chair with a six pack, (of home brew of course).

There are so many factors that go into self-sustainability. Sometimes the hardcore homesteader in me takes over and I'm all set to pull the plug and jump head first off the grid into the 18th century. Plow the front yard, we're planting corn. Then there are times like that morning in Home Depot, where the chickens need wormed, the bean poles fell prey to the wicked monsoon storm and the aphids have considered Casita to be ground zero.

I make sure nobody is looking and quickly grab that four pack of pumpkins put them in cart under the tomato cages and head for the checkout.

For more info on us, click Arizona homestead and homeschool.

12 comments:

Heather said...

you bought store ready pumpkin plants???? taking you off my friends list :) LOL...

Karen said...

That is one fabulous jackolantern!!!...

Great blog, thanks for stopping by mine!

Cynthia said...

I am reading a book right now about Arizona rancher in the 1920's. Weather, water issues (sometimes too much, most of the time too little), livestock illnesses, schooling farm kids, etc. The book is based on a true life and isn't about ranching as much as a lady's life story, but ranching is the setting. Your troubles posted here sound a lot like what has been happening to homesteaders from the beginning of time!

bob said...

Whether they're seeds or plants, you're doing your bit just by raising them there in the land of OZ.

Once upon a time I lived in Tempe and raised tomatoes - until they got exactly 28 inches tall. That was the height at which the constant wind blew a constant fine grit of sand, which acted just like sand paper and hone the tops of the plants to exactly 28 inches.

So do whatever it takes - a little labor saving isn't such a bad thing.

Gary said...

Such a good, well written story, but not one with a necessarily happy ending. I see two morals here. (1) pumpkins are pumpkins, but you get to choose between real seeds and homeplants. (2)in the big scheme of things, truth is more important than a happy ending. Even though you looked around to see who was watching, you told the truth. Blog on my son.

The Cast said...

Heather - Be nice or I'm telling Karl.

Karen - Thanks!

Cynthia - What is the name of that book?

Bob - Tomatoes are definitely tough to grow here in the desert. I've taken to only growing them in containers. Easier to control the climate that way.

Gary - And blog I shall!

muddytoes said...

I totally relate to buying storebought transplants sometimes (I'm buying a couple of peppers and eggplants today because my own plants are tiny and I'm impatient.) That said, not for the squash family. They don't like their roots messed with and they grow so quickly. I do start seeds in (4-inch) pots indoors so that they have warmth to germinate earlier than they would outdoors, but I move them outside really early and try to transplant while they only have about one set of true leaves, careful to transplant the entire 4-inch block without disturbing it. In contrast to the tomato transplants that are about 8 weeks old and the peppers or eggplants that might be 10-12, a pumpkin transplant is only maybe a 3 week old plant if it is the right size to transplant easily without bothering the roots. They're also nice, big, easy to handle seeds, so they're one of the plants my kids can easily start (they don't know it yet, but they're planting pumpkins and sunflowers this afternoon).

Thanks for adding me to your sidebar! I'm enjoying your blog. My 3 older kids are at three different public schools (long story!). While they've had excellent school experiences sometimes I wonder how things would be if we had taken the "other road" -- we were close enough to choosing homeschooling that we were deciding between Sonlight and The Well Trained Mind, and I often shop from the Rainbow Resource Catalog for gifts and interesting summer activities. I enjoy reading about other people's homeschool adventures.

muddytoes said...

(eep, that comment didn't look so long before I hit post. Wow, I'm longwinded!)

Jamerrill Stewart said...

Well at LEAST your planting SOMETHING! I'm wearing my "chicken badge," however what is growing in our gardens is bulbs...lots and lots of bulbs. Can I just admit right here that I {gasp} still have my SNOW MAN flag hanging out front. I know, I'm a loooong way from hoeing out a corn patch, lol! Nice to find you :-)

The Cast said...

muddytoes - I just finished my sunflower planting last night. Hoping for about 100 plants this year.

Jamerrill - I love bulbs! I only have a couple of small spots with some daffodils and gladiolas but I can't wait every year to see them come up.

Simple Summit said...

LOL - love this post :)

Christine said...

Great post. And great jack-o-lantern!

I had a similar argument with myself last week. Impatience is mostly the problem. I've never been brave enough to start seeds indoors and usually wait for semi warm temps to start them outside.

By that time everything in the stores is already huge in comparison.

I try to buy transplants exclusively from local businesses rather than the big box chains to ease my conscience a little. Although I am not above getting better prices on supplies like soil and fish emulsion at the chain stores.

(Nobody's perfect! Looks like I am among good company!)

Good luck with those pumpkins and your homesteading efforts this season!