Like me, maybe you are feeling the pull to start living more self-sufficiently in your day to day. Maybe the accounts that you follow on social media make homesteading seem appealing in a way that independence does when you first get your driver’s license. Only there’s one problem, you have no land. You live in the suburbs.

Welp, me too. Hi, it’s your friendly suburban mom living on a quarter acre in an HOA.

In early 2020 when this desire for more skills, and a space to learn them, started to burn in my belly, I felt overwhelmingly stuck with where I was. It was like walking on a treadmill, eager to get where I was going, but ultimately always stuck in the same place. But by the grace of God, I have since found contentment with where we are because I have learned that there are still things to be learned in a small space that will one day be beneficial when we get off the treadmill and get to where we’re going. Bit by bit, growing in the spot we are planted and being productive until the day comes when we can run around the land we have always dreamed of. I have also learned that you don’t need a milk cow in your backyard to “homestead”. One of the most practical and accessible ways to start living a more self-sufficient life is to learn to bake bread.

When I first started baking our family’s bread, I started with easy recipes and commercial yeast. When I felt like I was getting the hang of that, I dove headfirst into the world of sourdough. The process of baking bread is praiseworthy. I remember pulling my first dense, flat, bland loaf of bread out of the oven and still feeling an enormous sense of pride that I could take the simplest of ingredients, like flour and water, and turn it into something (barely) edible.

So then I ran to YouTube and fermented my own sourdough starter in our suburban walk-in pantry. It took almost a month for it to get active enough to bake a decent loaf of bread, but it was worth every minute. We now have a binder full of recipes + sourdough staples that would have never come to be if I chose to stay in my small head space and had never given myself a chance to learn something new.

Baking bread has given me a “maybe I can actually do this” mindset. Which, like a game of dominos, birthed my first garden. That is correct, I have a fully productive, fruitful garden on just .18 acres. We have 3 large wooden garden beds, 3 fabric pots on our porch, a wooden playset for three homeschooled kids, and just enough green space for our 2 dogs to run around. We’ve used every square inch of our tiny backyard, and made it work for us.

Some other ways, outside of baking bread + having a small garden, that make it possible to homestead in the suburbs is trading goods with our friends. We trade sourdough bread for eggs with friends who have backyard chickens, we’ll also trade bread for books or vegetable starts.

We have a meat subscription from a local farm here in the Carolinas and they deliver an entire box of beef, pork and chicken to our door one Saturday a month which covers all our meat for our family of five.

We do our very best to support local, American businesses and buy what’s in season at our town’s farmer’s market. I have turned sourdough into a business by dehydrating sourdough starters and supplying fresh loaves to our church community.

And my favorite thing that we just started doing is writing down all our family’s recipes. I wasn’t gifted a cookbook that was handed down from the generations before me. But, along with so many other wonderful things I have learned in our small space, I have learned that sometimes you’re the one to start the generational cookbook. Sometimes you’re the one to start family traditions.

Fresh BREAD Emails Coming Right Up

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