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A Self-Sufficient City Farm In Today's Modern World

Updated on January 24, 2014

Is That Even Possible?

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency.

Quentin Crisp

Look at the title of this article and you will see the words “city” and “farm” side by side as if they belonged together. Well with an increasing number of people across America those two words do, indeed, belong together and they work quite nicely together as well.

A farm is simply a tract of land where vegetables and/or animals are raised, so why not a city farm? Many people who live in a city have back yards large enough to have a serviceable farm. The author of this article lives on 1/8 of an acre in the middle of Olympia, Washington, and we have a vegetable garden, six chickens and soon will have rabbits and bees. Yes indeed, a city farm!

And why are we doing this? Why are we moving ever so slowly but steadily towards self-sufficiency? Because we are fed up with being dependent upon the economic system; we are fed up with buying food that may or may not be healthy; and we are fed up with the feeling that we really have no control over the forces that have tossed us about for so many years; so now we are doing something about it.

This article is a very brief look at one family and their attempt to become self-sufficient. In three years we plan on leaving the city and moving to a small farm (twenty acres) in the country, but until that is a reality we will practice here in the city.

Would you like a tour of our farm?

The Toolshed

We buy nothing new when we need tools. In the five years that Bev and I have been together we have either made do with what we had or bought at garage sales. We refuse to buy new tools. New tools are made of metal and metal has to be mined and we are against mining. I can buy a used saw at a garage sale for two dollars. All the wood we need for projects comes from used pallets that we get for free.

We do not even have a lawn mower. Why? I hate mowing lawns. Period! We use a weed-whacker that is electric and I keep the front yard manageable using that. The back yard is trimmed by the chickens and yes, chickens eat grass. They also fertilize. Handy little buggers, aren’t they? I have also found that grass will not grow if you don’t water it. Who would have ever thought, huh?

Part of our busy flock
Part of our busy flock | Source

The Chickens

All cities are different with regards to domesticated animals. In Olympia we are allowed five hens (we have six) and no roosters. Contrary to public opinion, chickens will lay eggs without the services of a rooster. Our chickens lay, on average, four eggs per day. We have not purchased eggs for six months and won’t have to do so for the next six years, at which time our hens will become chicken dinner (or not since we do love them as pets) and we’ll buy six new chicks.

Chickens are great bug-eating machines. They love aphids, a fact many gardeners will be interested in. They also love table scraps. They are also fertilizing machines and their natural fertilizer goes into our garden.

Their chicken coop was made from used pallets and an old truck canopy we had. The chickens love it and I love the fact that it cost practically nothing to build. Quite frankly I am amazed more city-dwellers do not raise chickens.

The joy of fresh, organic produce
The joy of fresh, organic produce | Source

The Vegetable Garden

Our garden is the product of manual labor. No machines were used; shovels were the tools of choice. It was quite a bit of work to begin with, but after that first spring it is simply a matter of maintenance, and during the winter months the chickens do the maintenance for us.

We grow potatoes, onions, lettuce, beans, peas, broccoli, various herbs and whatever strikes our fancy from year to year. The only thing I am not happy about is that we use city water to keep it moist during the summer, but soon we’ll get some rain barrels and let nature handle that problem. Then all I have to do is find some PVC pipe for free and lay a watering system down that hooks directly to the rain barrel.

We usually end up giving some of our vegetables to friends in an informal bartering system. If it was good enough for our ancestors then it’s good enough for us.

The Berry Bonanza

Is there anything better than raspberries straight from the vine in the summer? How about strawberries? Marionberries? Blackberries? We have them all and we’ll have more. Bev eats them off the vine; I put mine in a mixer and make smoothies.

We have planted some berries in the front by the road so that neighbors can have fresh berries when they walk by. Why would we do that? We both have a strong sense of community, and this is just our way of saying share and share alike. Hopefully the concept will catch on and we will have a neighborhood of sharing happening in a year or two.

We have big plans
We have big plans | Source

And Soon to Come

Lo and behold, our city of Olympia also allows two goats per household. How great is that? If not this spring then next we will be adding two goats to our city farm. We’ll try our hand at milking them when the time comes, and we’ll let them do some yard maintenance as well.

In addition, beekeeping is becoming quite popular in our neighborhood, so naturally we will be trying that. Honey bees have had a tough time of it lately, so we want to see if we can establish some hives and help those little devils re-establish themselves. In return they will provide us with fresh honey, the nectar of the gods.

And that’s about all we have room for. We are still kicking around the idea of getting a miniature pig; I’ll let you know how that goes when we finally decide.

Once in the Country

Well then the sky is the limit. One cow will provide meat for an entire year for us and our five grown kids. We’ll also have a couple pigs, more goats, and a much larger garden…..and chickens by the dozens, and ducks, and geese, and……well, you get the picture.

Now It Is Your Turn

Is it possible to be truly self-sufficient living in the city considering the lack of space available? I don’t believe so although now that I have written that I’m sure someone will prove me wrong. However, it is possible to move towards self-sufficiency and ease the dependency that most families have on the economy.

Hopefully you enjoyed the tour. Stop back any old time you are in the neighborhood. We’ll be glad to share some of our eggs with you, and I’ll even mix up one of my famous smoothies for you. That’s what neighbors do you know….we welcome others with open arms.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, it is only going to get better from here on....I am a lucky man my friend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like a great way to live. I applaud you, and miss my little piece of heaven where I grew up. Those were truly good times.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Beth; I wish there were more of them. It's always appreciated when you stop by.

    • profile image

      Beth37 3 years ago

      That's so impressive. I love self sufficient ppl.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I hope you get that place in the country one day. We are two years from it and I can hardly wait. Thank you again for the visit.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I love this! You guys are really doing a lot to be self-sufficient. I try to grow a few tomatoes every year. LOL. I want a place out in the country one day where I can do more. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go Glimmer...the deck is a perfect solution when there are restrictions. So many things you can grow in containers these days. Best of luck to you and thank you.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Wow Bill - I'm impressed. I did not realize how much you did towards self-sufficiency. Like I've said before, I wish we lived in a neighborhood that was more conducive to veggie gardening on a large scale. For now, I'll try my deck.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      jpcmc, good luck with those hens. They really are easy to raise and they continually give back to you. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur...I will have some berries for you while i'm at it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      grand old lady, thank you so much. One small step at a time....that's the way to begin so it doesn't seem like such a chore. Good luck with that composting.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is such a wonderful hub. I've been wanting to raise layers and broilers at my yard. Of course for our own use. We love eggs and this will help. Plus, we have lots of space for it. I already have some vegetables growing and it's my little heaven when I'm not at work.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      You have a great farm and a great garden. Freshly plucked berries are great to taste. Enjoyed the tour, thanks for sharing.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Love the idea of having a farm in the city. You guys do it very well. Maybe I'll start little by little. I used to compost but that didn't get too far. Maybe I'll go back to it and do things, even if one tiny step at a time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again Michael...well-stated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is no disgrace in a simple mistake; besides, this mistake gave me a laugh, so it was a gift instead of a mistake. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, I sincerely hope I am wrong and the economy corrects itself....of course, that would take several hundred million people to correct themselves....LOL I don't see that happening. I will be prepared and I have no doubt you will know how to survive if the worst happens. I have never been a believer in the worst case scenario, but with regards to the economy I am.

      Blessings to you my friend....and have a wonderful week ahead.

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Bill,if you want , please, delete my comments above, and I'll fix " Collecting hogwash from neighbors for collectively feeding the animal, and fighting the bureaucracy …"

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Dear friend, you know it isn't " Google night" - its Good night. ( after all correction , my finger slipped and the comment went disgracefully.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello, and good evening Bill.

      Practical , timely , first hand step-by-step instructions to inevitable self-sufficiency. Correct, you and Bev have made decision to become self-sufficiet for practical reason for yourself as well because you see the " "writing on the wall "- gradual movement toward impoverishing vaste majority WORKING people - as we see the average families income declining rapidly. It will become an eye opening as soon as socialistic ideology will run-out of others people money and " distribution" of " "wealth " - making most equally poor , will force everyone to provide basic elements for surviving .

      In such times a back yard , even a front yard becomes a super-blessing to possess and use. In my native country the people in big cities were raising pigs on high rise balcony, collecting hogwash from neighbors so that everyone will have share of nourishment.

      My guess is , that this article will make history by being re- published and reprinted in the local news papers ( the National won't be in circulation by that time .) (Ups!)

      " Searching for happiness" would take right turn and the world will see again " maturing" individuals developing strong characters solely by moving toward self- sufficiency.

      Voted up, awesome , useful and interesting .

      Google night , and a blessed week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Blond...thank you for the visit. Yes, I have raised goats....they can be rather disgusting at times, can't they? LOL....I did know about chickens...no worries; we'll just get more chicks when the time comes. In two years we will be on a farm and we can have a never-ending supply of eggs. :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      It sounds like a plan.

      We tried goats and although I liked them, they ate everything we didn't want them to. (consider yourself warned)! We ended up tethering them, which I didn't like doing. Not sure if you have had them before but the male will urinate on his face and then rub his head on your leg. Just another adventure in farming, I guess. LOL

      Can you drill a well where you are now? All our water is from wells here on our little patch.

      One other point to mention, chickens become less reliable layers as they get older. If you buy fertile eggs, they will hatch them for you, then you can whack one to keep the numbers in check. I have bought fertile eggs at the grocery store before. I ended up with two white chickens amongst my brown and black ones.

      I am envious of your hives and bees. City bees are suppose to produce better honey as they visit a wider selection of flowers.

      Good luck and I look forward to reading about your ongoing adventures in the world of urban farming.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome vkwok; thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, pretty great I think. :) I love this city we live in.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing about this interesting way of life in these modern times.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Two goats per household...how great is that! Wonderful article, Bill. I found it Useful and interesting. Will share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, as we say in the States, Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we'll make our dream happen. I wish the same for you my friend. Thank you and have a blessed weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, you nailed it...simple and complete. Thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I can't wait to sell our home so that we can begin gardening again. I loved your tour of the farm. It reminds me of when we lived in the country and raised ducks. All so simple and complete.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this brings back some wonderful memories, we did it all, the goats, sheep, pigs, a herd of cattle, exotic fruits and my very own veggie plot, exactly what life was meant to be. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control we were forced to return to the UK from the Grenadines. Hopefully when we finally retire we will be able to do more or less what you and Bev are now doing. Good luck with your dream farm, I know you guys will make it happen. My best to you both.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I'm quite certain they will be allowed to live to a ripe old age and then be buried under the apple tree. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! My love to you and Dai! Enjoy your weekend dear friend.

      love,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear that DDE! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks John!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mylindaelliott, as Jodah explained, it depends on each city. Here we can have five hens; some cities none.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out too. Have a great weekend yourself my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Oh, the thought of you possibly eating Penelope, Butter Bitch or any of the others! Bill, you've named them! Can't you let these productive girls retire once they're too old for eggs?

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another gem from you Billy my dear friend.

      Voted up as always and wishing you a great weekend.

      Eddy.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting hub with excellent ideas. Self-sufficient works well in the region where I live.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Most cities will usually allow a certain number of hens mylindaelliott,but no roosters. Neighbors complain otherwise. That's around here anyway.

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      I didn't realize you could have chickens in some cities. I don't think you can here but I sure am going to check.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I must say Bill, you are the most resourceful person I know. You make good use of every square inch that you have there. I love the idea of goats and bees. My sister tried bees a few years ago. Sadly they succumbed to whatever it is that is killing them lately. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all works out. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Barbara! I forgot to mention the fact that we have an apple and a pear tree....Olympia, where I live, really is a very progressive city. They allow so much freedom for homeowners. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      You need to plant some fruit trees. I've only got two, a peach tree and a pear tree. Apples would be included, but I get them free from my sister. If you get dwarf ones, they don't take up a lot of space and once mature they put on enough to eat fresh and can. They can look decorative at the same time.

      I enjoyed seeing your little farm. The animals are something we haven't gotten into yet, because of our dogs. I'm amazed your town allows even goats. Around here, some of the towns won't even allow chickens.

      Have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, if this weather continues we'll see a lot of yard sales popping up around here in February instead of the normal April. :) Weird, weird winter.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm sorry about the disappointment. LOL It is a pretty name, isn't it?

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

      bill

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      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I wish I had could have chickens to mow my lawn instead of me having to mow it. I highly doubt my Homeowners Association would agree to that. I also like to get whatever I can at yard sales, quite a thrill getting a deal at a sale! :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      You call them 'rain barrels', we call them 'water butts'! Must make a list of these word-exhanges, it's fascinating.

      I've just looked up Marionberries; they're just a type of blackberry - how disappointing for such a lovely word!!

      That's it for today! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, one of my dreams is to be completely off the grid in five years. We just might make it. I would love to see more and more people moving in this direction before the economy makes it mandatory. :) Thanks for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Gosh this is a great hub I'm so impressed with your efforts to become self- sufficient. I wrote an article on Wikinut titled: Our dream is to be totally 'off the grid' . with photos of our grey-water system. I would have to rewrite the same article but I could use the before and after photos. It's a thought.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I didn't know you had moved. Well that is exciting...I don't even know if you have been writing; I haven't received any notifications if you have. Well, it's good to see you and I hope all is well in your world. Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you did it again...what are water-butts? I've never heard that word before.

      Marionberries? I don't know how to describe them, but they are quite common here in the States....just another berry is about all I can say. Blackberries grow wild in these parts; there is never a shortage of those in this area. As for self-sufficiency, we are going to slowly increase our efforts each year. I would like to reach the point of being off the grid in five years. :) Have a great weekend my friend and thank you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, if I had your track record I would never farm again. LOL How traumatic for you. :) Seriously, this isn't for everyone. I'm just trying to pick up a few converts along the way. Thanks for sharing those painful memories with us. :)

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      Vickiw 3 years ago

      Hi Bill, sorry, long time no see! How could I resist this - it is so what I believe in. As you might know, we have just moved to the Sunshine Coast of BC, and what a great climate. Getting ready this year to plan a lot of production in raised beds! There is no cure for some of us with this addiction to providing for ourselves and our neighbours. Lovely Hub, glad I found it. I don't receive notifications, even though I have checked my settings. My sunroom is 30°C this morning, so it is heating the house as well!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, that is a huge concession. Buying locally is wonderful for the movement. Bravo and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, it makes perfect sense to me...that's why we are moving in this direction. It sounds like you realize it....awareness is the first step...best wishes to you my friend and thank you.

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I love smoothies! What are Marionberries? I'd guess at blueberries as they seem to have several names.

      We did much of this in our French house; the chickens, the water-butts and the use of bits and pieces of wood, metal, old tools etc, plus honey from neighbours up the road and pies and bread from the baker next door. Community is so important, like you say.

      Here we have a paved garden with a few flower beds; no good for chickens as there's not enough for them to scratch at and I have a feeling they'd be all over next door's patch devouring the flowers! We still recycle all sorts of things though; the garage is full of years' worth of I don't know what - that's his province, I don't even ask!

      Great hub; I'm with the self-sufficiency style all the way. It's the only way to know exactly what you're putting on your plate.

      Enjoy your weekend! Ann

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      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      When I was very young, we lived on a small working farm. My Mom had a lot to learn, but she seemed to enjoy it, for a time. All the animals

      were my pets, or so I thought. When they came up "missing", I was heart broken. When all the pigs "ran away" one frosty night, I was inconsolable.

      My Dad tried to have a small garden each summer, but it dwindled down to a plot for home grown tomatoes.

      When my husband and I settle in KY., and bought a house, we tried to

      grow tomatoes in pots on our deck. At the end of the season he calculated the cost against the yield. We were eating some very expensive tomatoes!! That was the end of our horticulture career.

      I think your ideas are great and I wish you the very best. It will be exciting to watch you and Bev bring a working farm to life.

      What an adventure!

      DJ.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I admire your hard work and enthusiasm. I have the will but not the energy so I'll visit my friendly organic farmer near-by. Up useful, interesting and awesome.

    • Brian Prickril profile image

      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      At the rate you're going you'll be living "off the grid" soon. All you're missing is solar panels and a car that runs on table scraps lol. Just kidding, of course. I think what you're doing is great! I've haven't tried my hand at gardening yet, but the idea of being self-sufficient is something that I find appealing. I think we slave away too much at 9-5 grinds to buy the house and all the "things" and it all seems like it's for nothing to me. It's hollow because we're not living for us. I hope some of that made sense. All I mean is, hats off to you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, bravo to you my friend. I love it. We will be making jelly this year....love it on hot toast and scones. Here is wishing us both a huge harvest.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. I'm a big believer in sharing as a community. Who knows, maybe the idea will catch on. I hope so.

      blessings to you my friend and enjoy your weekend as well.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, I know all about those little devils. I had four goats back in another lifetime and learned my lessons the hard way....also learned that males stink after they pee on themselves. LOL

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      It's like turning the clock back in time and rediscovering the benefits of what previous generations did with success. I have red currants as an edge on one side of my backyard and depending of the year, I can produce quite a lot of red currant jelly that I prepare with either strawberries or raspberries. 2013 was an excellent year so I invited friends and neighbours to come and pick :-) I have a special machine to extract the juice by hand; it works very well and I share that too!

      Red currant fresh from the bushes are also very good in the fruit salad in the morning. And we share the bushes with the birds too :-))))

      Have a great weekend, Bill!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, thank you and fun with me all you want. There are some veggies I will eat; I love beans right off the vine....so I am learning. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, thank you and no, I don't mind. I'll do the same with yours my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope so, Victoria. Good luck on that dream. I'll keep you all posted on our dream as it approaches.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is great billy to show everyone they can do at least...something. I do what I can and I even had two goats at one time. Now I can't wait for those stories because I am laughing my butt off thinking of you with a goat. Oh, did I say butt? lololol One tip....do not bend over, ever.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sheri and yes, we grow herbs. Rosemary is one of my favorites to grow; that and the mints which I can't get enough of. It is great fun; I love late spring when everything starts popping out of the ground. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I didn't know that, Deb. Interesting!

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Bill, this topic would actually make a wonderful book! And I bet it would sell like hotcakes! I love berries on the vine and we had them growing wild in our yard growing up. That is awesome about planting them next to the curb so that neighbors can enjoy them as well! Up and more and sharing. Have a great weekend, Faith Reaper

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I think it's so cool you have berries available for passers-by to help themselves. Now that you're growing your hair long, you need to get a straw hat and a pair of overalls! Sing with me now. "The farmer in the Bill, the farmer in the Bill..." Ha ha. Just funnin' with you, Bill. I think what you and Bev are doing is awesome. Have you learned to eat your veggies?

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Bill. You are doing amazing things on your 1/8 of an acre in the city, just wait until you get your 20 acre farm. Love to hear about anyone attempting self-sufficiency and have written a hub on the subject. In fact it was the first hub I ever published. (i put a link to this hub on mine 'In Search of Self-sufficiency", I hope you don't mind. Keep up the good work.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      You know, my husband wants a ranch of his own one day on a good deal of land. This will be us one day!

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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Great hub Bill. I love to garden and have for most of my life. There is something so satisfying about working with nature and for some reason food tastes better when you grow it. I love walking through my garden and plucking a tomato, warm and ripe from the vine and chomping it as I continue my garden cruise. Do you grow herbs? Sooo easy and so delightful to go pluck a fresh leaf of this or that and cook with it. Easy to sell them too...have you seen in grocery stores two or three little springs of rosemary that they are selling for three or four buck. The plant grows like a weed and gets huge very quickly. Best luck as you continue your urban farm life. I have pinned this onto my green thumb board

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      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Actually, I've heard there are places where rain barrels aren't allowed. But I think those restrictions tend to be in drier locales where there are all sorts of issues involving water rights.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, those damn Homeowners Associations. LOL Well they can't complain about rain barrels, so I hope you get another one soon for the spring rains that are coming. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

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      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      I love this! I really want a goat but I don't think I'd be able to get that one by the Homeowners Association (the chickens already have caused some consternation). Definitely get rain barrels. We have one and it's amazing how quickly it fills up from water coming off the roof and how long it stays full. I want to get at least one more.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cmoneyspinner, what a wonderful woman that was. What if there were about a million more of her sprinkled around the land doing works of mercy like that? Thank you for sharing her memory with us.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Randi. We still have a lot of work ahead of us but we are healthy and willing. It is a lot of work but it is enjoyable for us.

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      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @billybuc - You are so right when you say many people have backyards big enough to have a “serviceable farm”. I knew a Christian lady who grew vegetables and fruit in her back yard. There was enough to call it a farm, but her home was not situated on farm land. It was just her living alone, as her husband had passed away. Gardening was her passion. Charity to the poor was her ministry. She would always share her bounty with the needy. She actually let people come into her backyard and pick fruits and veggies to take home to their families. If you knew her you would never starve. Her generosity was exemplary. I left Miami, Florida years ago and did not stay in touch. You brought a very sweet memory for me with this HUB. Thank you. :)

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      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      You guys did an amazing job in your city-Farm! So impressive! I have no doubt that you will soon be raising goats and bees. As for a miniature pig? I have heard that it is one of the best pets you can have! I love that you grow your berries in an accessible place. Many of the citrus growers here do the same! I really enjoyed the videos, the second one remined me so much of our village in Israel. Especially watching her do laundry! Congratulations to you and Bev. This is stellar!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, if I were your wife I wouldn't want to farm either. LOL I'm sure she has had all of that she can stand for. Well my friend, good luck with your efforts and thank you.

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We are just now turning the soil. My wife grew up on a Southeast Asian farm and has no use for such now. But bit by bit we will grow. We will go in for the vegatables as so many of our neighbors already have mature fruit trees. Critters will be eased into the mix.

      Great article and good stuff.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you are not alone with your fear of bees, and one does have to be careful around them, but with proper clothing....well, you know....I understand. :) As soon as that snow melts you can start thinking about gardening again. Thank you and have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Carol. I am an organized human being for sure; it helps that Bev is a very hard worker. We have a pretty good system established and it works for us. I will tell Penelope you said hello and best wishes with your business. Have a great weekend.

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      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I'm willing to try anything EXCEPT bee keeping. I know they're necessary but I have an uncontrollable fear of the little buggers.

      My tomatoes did well last year and there's a good possibility I'll be planting more this year, back to the days when I had a full garden.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      This was so much fun and it is amazing how a little resourcefulness can turn your yard into a food factory. You must be a busy person--writing and taking care of your farm. I think it is all about organizing time. And it is amazing how much you can accomplish..and leave a little time for laziness...(reading, movies etc)...I have to say I am impressed with your pursuits here and how everything works. Say hi to Penelope for me.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I love it....I know, some people just aren't cut out for this sort of thing. I, on the other hand, would be a mad man living in the large city. Oh well, I'll keep you informed about a life you will never know. :) Thank you and enjoy the heck out of your Friday.

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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I adore you, but farming is so not for me my friend. I was born and raised in Queens, NY. We moved to Long Island (suburbia) in my teens and have been here ever since. I think this is a s country as this city girl could get and will totally admit that to you. But I seriously do admire you and love all the hard work you have put into your farm and then some! Happy Friday to you and can't believe it is just about that time again for the weekend, too.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure Dora! Hopefully others will learn from our experience. When we get our farm we plan on having classes for children. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mari, it definitely needs some friends. Good line about the green thumb, and good morning my friend. Thank you!

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I can see you and Bev teaching lessons on city farming. This article in itself is a good lesson on how to as well as proof that it yields good results. Thank you for sharing your writer-farmer experience.

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      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      The only green thumb I have right now is when I fingerpaint with the kids. However, I am planning on adding berry bushes to our front fence and at least plant a few more fruit trees. We have a pear tree and it needs a few friends.