Anyone who knows me just a little should know that a book titled "The Backyard Homestead
" is guaranteed to make me swoon!
Add in a subtitle of: "Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!" and be still. my. heart.
At the conference we attended last weekend, my darling hubby saw me practically drooling over this book, and proceeded to sneakily buy it for me and surprise me with it during one of our lunch picnics. I've been devouring it every since. :)
On the back of the book, it tells you that on a 1/4 acre, you can harvest:
- 1400 eggs
- 50 lbs of wheat (seriously? I love that!)
- 60 lbs of fruit
- 2000 lbs of vegetables
- 280 lbs of pork
- 75 lbs of nuts
It also happens to mention that you can make dandelion wine, and inside there are a whole host of other ideas for using the wild dandelions in your yard. My husband was quick to point out that in light of this, I should be viewing spring as a season of bountiful harvest, rather than being irritated by the vast sea of yellow-ness that has spread across both my front and backyard and is about to go to great lengths to further propagate itself. Thanks honey. I'll try.
Not every idea in the book is practical for us, because although our city lot is technically pretty close to a 1/4 acre (though the house is quite large), it is a rental and therefore I can't start going nuts (hee, hee, no pun intended), tearing out shrubs to replace them with berry bushes, or adding a small orchard along the side of the house.
Here are a few ideas that have me seriously thinking right now, though:
- Chickens are still technically a no-no, but due to the city of Vancouver's possible bylaw change, my days gathering fresh eggs may not be quite as far off anymore
- I've been reading up on dwarf fruit trees in barrels or large pots, and especially the fact that you can get some wonderful varieties that are self-pollinating (which means you only need one, not two, trees). Cox's Orange Pippin apples, here I come! I need to research more and see what trees I can find locally. But it's promising! Turns out there are actually a host of dwarf trees that you can grow in containers!
- Starting a nut tree in a pot may also be a possibility. Perhaps something that we could replant when we buy a house.
- Crazy as it sounds, I'm tossing around the idea of raising rabbits for meat. Now, consider the fact that I don't think I have ever eaten rabbit meat in my life. I only know that it's edible, that she talks about it in the book, and that it's both legal and feasible to raise lots of rabbits in our yard. I'd rather have a sheep or a goat, but I think a goat's out on account of too little space, and a sheep most likely on account of silly old bylaws :)
- Expanding my herb gardening, to provide for more of my cooking herbs, and well as for making teas and medicines. This is something I've been interested in for awhile, and am slowly adding to my repertoire.
Has anyone else read this fantastic book? What types of ideas have you gleaned from it and have you put any of it into action yet? And what goes through your mind when you hear the word "Backyard Homestead"?