At Downtown Homesteader we teach practical skills and encourage creativity to cultivate a more joyful, self-sufficient life no matter where you live.
In this way, we aim to build a more resilient, secure, and capable community – now and into the future.
When I got married and moved into a beautiful, historic downtown building with my husband, we knew it wasn’t permanent.
The rent was affordable, and through our frugal DIY efforts we made it quite comfortable. So, it would be where we made a home until we found our forever homestead. Something like a cute cape with a patch of grass I would sink my toes into while sipping my morning coffee. And chickens. Definitely chickens. We both agreed to stay where we were until we found a place we liked better and started hunting for our home.
In the meantime, we committed ourselves to practicing homesteading and self-sufficiency skills where we were.
We sought guidance where needed and taught ourselves a lot of things. Like how to develop and manage a deep pantry, cook with stored foods, and preserve our own through canning, dehydrating, freezing and fermentation. We practiced growing some things. First in window boxes, then in adopted park plots and through a farm-share. I built a very simple hydroponic system that provides us greens all winter long. We learned how to properly paint a room and practiced over and over again through each room in our building. We asked for power tools for Christmas and used them to build and repair things. Both of us became YouTube junkies, learning how to refinish a claw foot tub, use a sewing machine, knit, weave a basket, forage for mushrooms and wild edibles, make homemade lip balm and cleaning products, play the ukelele, and replace light switches, outlets, washing machine pumps, and thermostats.
This was all practice for the future. When you live in the country you can’t always pop to town every time you want a can of tomatoes. You need to be able to entertain yourself. And there might not be ‘a guy’ who can come and install a dimmer switch for you.
It’s a good thing we learned all of those skills.
They have come in handy since we bought a place. Which just happens to be that beautiful, historic downtown building. When our landlord decided to retire and sell, we had not yet found a place we liked better, so we had a choice: find a home in a hurry, or buy the one we were in. We don’t like making big decisions being under pressure, so while we kept our eyes open for other places we moved forward with negotiating a reasonable price for the building we were in. We closed on it a few months later.
So here we are, on our Downtown Homestead, living proof that you can build confidence, capability, practical skills and self-sufficiency no matter where you live.
I don’t have a patch of grass to wiggle my toes in every morning. Actually, our yard is a 14x30ft rectangle of pavement out back where we park our cars. But when you walk through the door to our home, it pulses with homestead life. Sourdough bubbling on the butcher block, fresh bread on the counter, vibrantly colored ferments adorning a kitchen shelf. Canning jars serving as flower vases, drinking glasses and food storage containers. Plants are being propagated in every patch of sunshine. Hydroponic lettuce and Swiss chard fill my office, kombucha is on-tap at all times, and my homemade apron adds a pop of paisley to the pantry.
You don’t need to have 40 acres and a mule. Or chickens. Homesteading is a mindset. A way of life. A bucket of skills that generate capability and self-reliance.
After more than a decade of practicing this mindset, these skills, and this way of life, we are creating a living classroom inside our home where we can share and instill in others the desire and ability to do for themselves as much as they can – right where they are.
There is no doubt in our minds that no matter how turbulent the times in the world, if people feel confident in their abilities and can help steady themselves and their neighbors, we can foster strength, stability and resilience. In our community and beyond. Today, and forever forward. Please join us.