I grew up in the ever-expanding, shiny and exciting city of Austin, Texas. My parents raised me in the suburbs, I went to schools with thousands of students, my university was just south of downtown, and my heart was set on someday moving into a very specific concrete parking-garage-turned-apartment-building. I loved socializing, going to downtown events, trying new restaurants, and many other typical city-dweller activities.
Fast forward to now, I still live in the suburbs, but the town I’ve settled into is outside of (and much smaller than) Austin. In fact, my little city is in danger of being swallowed up as a far-reaching suburb of the capital someday, but for now our neighborhood is surrounded by farmlands and ranches.
I’m married to a talented and dedicated electrician, with whom I have two beautiful children, a good home with a reasonable mortgage, and a lot of pets. I have a desk job at a community newspaper company, a Netflix obsession, and strong interest in writing fiction (obviously).
My idea of a fun night out now is spending time with friends who are only a few miles away and enjoying dinner while our kids play. The closest I get to parking garages or apartment buildings is seeing them in Netflix shows and our most frequented restaurant is the local Chili’s.
We’re super fancy.
But even if I could have predicted all of those changes to my city girl lifestyle, I never expected the strong pull I feel to engage in homesteading.
My mother-in-law is a grade school teacher and her class gets the exciting chance to learn about how eggs turn into chicks with real eggs that turn into real, fluffy little chicks. Typically, the chicks return to the agricultural/poultry sciences department at their local university once they hatch… unless someone decides to give them a new home.
This year, my husband and I caved and took home six of those classroom chicks.
I have never had chickens before, I have not raised livestock before, I can barely even maintain a garden, but bringing those chickens into our home spurred an interest in raising them to the benefit of our family, which in turn spiraled into researching gardening more effectively and other ideas for self-sustained living.
It’s weird to think that those chirping little fuzz balls have ignited such a call to homesteading (and perhaps one day a larger plot of farmland) in me, but I am so excited about this new adventure and everything that could come next (i.e. goats or horses or even cows!) that I have actually purchased an apron with pockets to use in the kitchen and garden, and perhaps even carry the little chickies around while they fit.
I barely recognize myself now. Everything I swore I would never become has in fact become exactly who I am.
And it’s FUN.
There is so much to learn about keeping a productive garden, raising chickens, and all sorts of other tasks that will actually benefit my family. There’s such a rewarding feeling to that: knowing what you make can sustain your household. It may be awhile before we really see significant changes to our lifestyle, but the spark of homesteading has been kindled.
All of this is not to say I don’t still love the city and wouldn’t be just as happy surrounded by concrete and steel, but this is a kind of lifestyle that I didn’t ask for or expect. If I could, I would still want a condo in a high-rise overlooking the glittering windows of office buildings and other businesses, but it would have to be in addition to my little semi-country home, not in place of. I’ve gotten quite attached to the calm, quiet life.
Let’s see how it turns out!