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Homesteading in the City

I lived in New York City for almost 5 years, in a neighborhood in Manhattan called Morningside Heights. My husband was attending the graduate program at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, which is the only reason I agreed to temporarily live there. "Two years," was my deal. "And then we move back." Well 2 years turned into 4 years and 10 months before we returned to the Hudson Valley. A farmgirl in the Big Apple? I'll admit, it was hard. I had to find ways to satisfy my farmgirl heart in the midst of the chaos of living on an island with 8 million people.

My daughter was born one year into our city adventure (we'll call it that). Every day we would walk to Riverside Park, or down to Central Park, or search for any green patch of grass and trees we could find. This was one of the ways I survived in a place where I felt I didn't belong. I found nature. Another way I made it through was to go to the Green Market every Sunday on Broadway outside of Columbia University. It was there that farmers from farms I knew, that I had been to upstate, gathered to sell their produce, baked goods, yogurt, mushrooms, meats, and even young plants. It was like a visit from home every week and it nourished my soul. I talked with farmers, looked at pictures of their sheep with them, talked about places we both knew, and counted the days until we could go back.

I did a good amount of grocery shopping here. What better way to get our food than straight from the farmer? And sometimes I would even take Maddie on the subway down to Union Square on a weekday just to see everyone again and walk around. These excursions downtown about become a whole day trip that included lunch at the market, playing in the playground and shopping for books at the bookstore before she fell asleep on the train back home.

In the spring before much of the produce had grown yet, some of the farmers would bring plants. Veggies, herbs, flowers. This was so exciting! I could grow food in my apartment! I had a huge window in the living room and a ledge where I could line up all my plants in the light. So I started an indoor herb garden. And it was fabulous.

While I waited for the day we could go home, I soaked in all that I could on how to homestead. I read blogs of homesteaders, tried recipes from Pinterest, and I even made my first lumpy loaf of bread. I cooked soups and made meals with all the food from the farmer's market. I made natural cleaning products and infused oils for skin care for myself and my baby. I started sewing dresses and aprons and pillows (all of which I began selling a couple of years later at the encouragement of my mom friends.) I found ways to live the slow and simple life I desired right there in the most famous city in the world, the city that never sleeps.

So if I can do it, and in New York City no less, so can you, wherever you happen to be. I took all my beginner lessons and made them into a downloadable eCourse so that you don't have to wait until you get to the perfect place to start living a homesteading life. It's called Bohemian Farmgirl's Backyard Homesteader Skill Building Course; 12 Traditional Skills to Start You on Your Journey Towards Simple and Sustainable Living. And you can get it here and start right now. Do the course in 12 days, 12 weeks or 12 months. It's up to you. But just start.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it;

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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