How We 'Fixed' Our Attitudes by Fixing Our Urban Homestead.

About 3 years ago, John and I were stressed. I was at a low point in my professional life, John was on the brink of traveling extensively for work, there were some challenging things happening within my family, and it was taking a toll on our marriage.

We were working far too many hours, spending little time with each other or our friends and family, and we neglecting the things in life that brought us joy.

I would dare to say that about 3 years ago, we couldn't pinpoint more then 1 thing that truly brought us joy. Isn't that sad?

Nothing in our marriage needed fixing, per say, but there were several things in our individual lives that needed to change - and quick - if we were to preserve our marriage. And sanity. We each needed an attitude reality check.

What did we do? How did we turn things around?

We turned to the home. Specifically, the urban homestead.

First, we started having conversations about the things that brought us delight and joy. His was working in the garage, fixing things, building, and creating. Mine was similar: Being in the backyard, growing things, and creating.

Then, we set a few small goals - no, more like agenda items - that we wanted to accomplish. These were small things. For example, I wanted to add compost to our raised garden beds and John wanted to build a work bench for his garage. These were two small steps to reenergize our spirits and dip our toes back into our passions.

Next? Well, next we started thinking about things that would make our lives easier, happier, and healthier. Adding a fleet of rain barrels to our backyard not only fed John's need for creating and building, but it supported by passion for gardening and growing things. That was just the beginning.

Then came 3 more raised beds, and a bigger compost bin, and edible landscaping, and chickens, and even more canning and preserving, and sharing with neighbors and friends. Slowly but surely, we began to see the beauty and benefits of our passion and hard work. Although, this type of 'hard work' has never equated the work we put in at our day jobs. (Funny how that works, isn't it?)

Then, after about 3 years of slowly focusing our efforts on us and our happiness, we realized we'd built a homestead right in the middle of the city. A little oasis in our food desert. Our gardens are flourishing. We have backyard chickens. John's garage is a place for creating and relaxing (thanks to the comfort of that wood stove). We're connecting with our neighbors, bartering and trading skills and goods, and are being more proud of our DIY lifestyle than ever before.

What exactly did we fix in our relationship? We began to know ourselves and our interests. We began to prioritize, and I mean really prioritize our obligations. No longer did we decline requests to gather with family and friends. No longer did we accept an additional responsibility at our day jobs, knowing it could possibly add stress to our personal lives.

I said 'yes' to learning new things, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and becoming an urban homesteader.

Fixing up our little urban homestead was the best decision we could have made for our marriage. 

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  1. I love your backyard! It looks so beautiful and the fact that you are growing things from the earth just makes me joyful! I would imagine that your neighbors shouldnt have anything to complain about either because it all looks so neat and orderly too. I cant wait for this to be my reality when we buy our first home.

  2. It's great that you decided to do this!:) I believe that a human being just has to enjoy what he/she does every day.. otherwise it kind of loses its meaning. And I have a dream.. to have such a beautiful back garden..and chicken and I dream about growing the food my family needs.. Oh, how I dream about those things!:) Your garden is just lovely!:)

  3. What a wonderful story!! A few years ago my marriage just seemed so stale, and our conversations boring and routine. We began thinking about moving to the country and building a straw bale house. It took 5 years before we were able to move but in the meantime our marriage flourished. We began working towards an urban uomestead, building our gardens, composting, helping to change our town laws to allow chickens, and mostly we began to dream together about our future. I love how building our homestead, both in town and now in the counrty has brought us closer together.

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