Thursday, May 7, 2009

Visiting an urban homestead

Bloom where you are planted.
Last Saturday, Mike and I delivered goats to three different families in and around St. Louis -- and yes, I really do mean in St. Louis. As I was navigating and giving Mike directions for finding the second delivery location, we commented on how we seemed to be in the middle of the city, yet we only had a couple miles left before we arrived at our destination. As we made turn after turn, we finally realized that these two goats would be living in St. Louis.

After we found the house, we started to walk up to the front door and noticed corn growing in the front yard, rather than a lawn. After meeting Danielle and Justin, they invited us into their backyard and their urban homestead. Mike and I were incredibly impressed with everything they are doing on their tiny city lot. I've been saying for years that you don't need 32 acres like us to grow a good portion of your food, and this couple is proving it. They've dug up all their lawn and replaced it with a very impressive garden. They also have chickens, and now, goats. Did you notice the bee hives on their roof in the top photo? The goats will be living in a small fenced-in area at the back of their yard and will eventually provide them with milk.

18 comments:

SkippyMom said...

That is amazing! It would never fly anywhere near us [the animals and the front yard gardening] to do anything like that around here, in the cities, you have to follow the ordinances or move out of town.

I wish.

Juliann said...

Amazing is right! God bless them, I would have to do the same if I ever got stuck living "in town". I hope the city (or their neighbors) leave them alone.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Kudos not only to Danielle and Justin, but to St. Louis for being progressive enough to allow goats, chickens and front yard vegetable gardens! Wouldn't it be loverly if more municipalities followed suite?

Annette said...

Impressive. I love the bee hives - thank you for pointing them out 'else I may not have noticed.

Ari_1965 said...

Will the goats be happy in a small enclosure? I mean, will they thrive?

Deborah said...

The goat area is about half the size of our buck pens, so it's big enough for them to run around, and Danielle plans to take them for walks in the park. All of their neighbors have fenced yards, and I suggested that they might also let them "visit" people who don't spray their lawns.

Shula said...

Now that is an impressive use of the space you have. Wow. Very cool.

pedalpower said...

That's inspiring! I'm glad they are allowed to keep animals in the city...I'm not sure we would be allowed to do that here in our little town.

Deborah said...

Most people are surprised to learn that few cities actually forbid keeping chickens. People just lost interest in it, so in most cases, ordinances were never changed. I've read that you are allowed to keep chickens in the city of Chicago, but not roosters, and recently someone told me she knows a woman who has chickens in Chicago.

J. M. Storther said...

I think the bee hives and the gardens are terrific. I'm not so sure about livestock. Isn't there an aroma associated with livestock that their neighbors might object to? Maybe it's not an issue if there are only two goats?

At any rate, I'm sure the goats will be a big hit at the park when they go out. Not something most folks get to see every day.
~jon

Deborah said...

Chickens and female goats don't stink if they're in a free-range situation. Male goats stink, and when chickens are packed into factory farms, they stink. When we first moved out here, I heard from at least one person for every species of livestock, "Don't get _____ because they stink!" That's because so many people have seen animals in unnatural surroundings. The only ones I've found that really do stink are male goats and pigs, mostly when they're confined to small spaces, like a barn. Given enough room outside, they aren't usually objectionable.

I forgot to mention that Justin and Danielle also have a worm bin under their rabbit hutches, so the worms compost their rabbit manure.

Alyssgirr said...

That is so great! I recently saw an article about the same type of thing in Boulder, CO. And the man that the article was highlighting also "leased" other people's yards so he could grow veggies on more land and then had a CSA with the food that he would harvest. Such a great idea!

YellowTree Farm said...

Hi Deb! This is Danielle, and I just wanted to say thank you for the kind words! And also thank you for the lovely goats! Nice to read all the comments from your blog visitors, too!

The urban homestead's going great. Vegetables are really starting to come in nice, and the corn out front is about knee-high almost!

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know what this is doing to your home value. Would this be considered an "asset"?.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I think "anonymous" is missing the point. There are many ways to define "asset." To a lot of us, it is more important to live as green and self-sustainably as possible than it is to realize an increase in our home's market value - especially if we intend to live in our home indefinitely. All the "pretty homes" won't matter a twit if our planet goes to pot!

Deborah said...

A lot of things are being redefined by society right now. Edible may be the new pretty. But I shouldn't get started. I feel another whole blog post coming.

Anonymous said...

Silly me....guess I was wondering for not only the "green" dwellers but also the neighbors who have chosen not to have a farm and garden in their backyards.

YellowTree Farm said...

I consider our homestead to be an asset. I view our garden as adding to the property value because we're beautifying our neighborhood. And really, our neighbors hang out on their back porches now, for *entertainment*, and gaze upon our yard.

Don't quite understand why "anonymous" views gardens as being undesirable... But that's a shame.

And for front yard gardening - you really do need to call and check on the ordinances. You'd be surprised. Around here, any type of front yard garden is fine, vegetables included. The only ordinance here relates to how tall your grass can get. And yes, corn's a grass, but hey, it's also a vegetable!

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