Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Rented Urban Homestead


As the season of rain yet again creeps up on us, I am reminded that our roof still leaks into our attic, into my son's attic bedroom, and into the garage where the rabbits live right now. I am also reminded that I never finished rainproofing the chicken coop. Apparently our landlady is on the same thought wave, as she now wants to fix the roof. All I can think in response to that is how much RIGHT NOW does not work with where we're at with other projects. But it would be pretty awesome to not have an even leakier roof this winter.

She has other projects in mind for the house that also complicate and conflict with where other projects of ours stand currently. But, we are very lucky to have an easygoing landlady when it comes to certain aspects of urban homesteading like the animals and vegetable gardens. When I think about ways to incorporate greywater systems, I am confident that I could even have that conversation with her, which I couldn't have done in other places I've lived.

As a renter, each new aspect of urban homesteading has to be weighed against possible homeowner objection, lack of permanence, etc. For example, I wanted a chicken coop that could be removed from the backyard without destroying the coop or the gate/fence. That didn't work out, but it's still a goal of mine since we aren't going to live here more than another year or two. The rabbits are another aspect that I'm still nervous about. How do we make a raccoon proof enclosure for their cages that is nice for them AND easy to move? How do I keep the chickens enclosed but also give them enough space without building a permanent fence? Do I put back in a raised bed when I might not be here through another growing season?

What improvements are worth making that you can't take with you? For me, I see my intended drip irrigation project for the side yard being less of a headache for us, as well as any future tenants, which will keep the plants alive and happy and the neighborhood more beautiful.

This is the blogpost where I want to hear from others, so spread it around and repost it till we get a conversation going...

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