3 Urban Homesteading Projects to Try

From backyard and rooftop gardens to community plots in parks and vacant lots, urban agriculture has become a nationwide movement, and more homeowners have taken an interest in producing their own food. For many urban homesteaders, it stems from a desire to know where their food comes from and live more sustainably.

Are you interested in participating? These three small-scale projects are great places to start.

Raising Backyard Chickens
Chickens provide a relatively inexpensive, low-maintenance way to feed your family, plus they act as complimentary fertilizer and chemical-free pest control. Before you buy baby chicks, make sure you research and follow local laws, city ordinances and homeowner association rules.

Taking Up Beekeeping
In the 1940s, America had five million beehives, and today, roughly half of those remain. A growing awareness of this drastic decline has led to an increase in urban beekeeping, to the tune of approximately 120,000 backyard beekeepers.

Becoming a beekeeper starts with a lot of research, followed by choosing the right equipment and bees. Don't want to care for an entire colony? Plant native flower and weed varieties that help encourage bee pollination and reproduction.

Gardening and Canning
Whether it's a large plot or a small section, a personal garden gives you control. Plus, you can preserve fresh fruits and vegetables via the canning process. While many homesteaders use yields from their garden, others buy extra produce in its peak season. Canning veggies and fruits is a family-friendly activity that lets you enjoy seasonal produce all year long.

Though urban homesteading may seem intimidating at first, it's easier to start small. The projects above can help minimize your impact on the environment and allow you to take part in your own food production.

Article by Annie Nelson

 

2017's Top Kitchen Design Trends

While a home's curb appeal may draw buyers in, its interior matters just as much, if not more. Several features are high on the wish list of today's homebuyer, including a modern kitchen. Whether you're thinking of starting a remodel or you're just curious about what the future holds, check out these trends that turn kitchens into buyer bait.

Hidden appliances: Upgrading appliances is one of the quickest ways to add value to a kitchen. If you're looking to impress a buyer with deep pockets, look into hidden appliances. What's the appeal? Less obvious appliances keep the eye on the kitchen's overall flow and design.

Personalized pantries: The utilitarian kitchen pantry has evolved into a trending design element. Whether you choose a pocket door and complementary light fixture or a rustic barn door and wallpaper, there's no shortage of ways to express your personal style.

Creative countertops: Looking for a revamp with an immediate impact? Upgrade the counters. Quartz and butcher block, both easy to maintain, are quickly replacing traditional marble and granite surfaces. You can dress up your kitchen further with sleek waterfall-edge countertops that extend vertically to the floor.

Mixed-up metal accents: Accessorizing with different finishes is a trendy, cost-effective way to update your kitchen. In addition to stainless steel and gold, homebuilders are seeing copper accents emerging as the metallic detail of choice.

Don't let a dated kitchen cost you when it's time to sell your home. Incorporating a trend or two could be enough to give your kitchen the face-lift it needs to entice buyers.

Article by Annie Nelson

Household Hints

HOUSEHOLD HINTS

Occasionally cleaning household appliances like stoves and refrigerators may seem obvious, but what about equipment that does the cleaning--like the dishwasher and the washing machine? Give these often overlooked appliances a cleaning with these tips.

Unclog the dishwasher. The cleaner the dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes will turn out after going through a wash cycle. Take a moment to clean the dishwasher's filter. Usually located on the inside bottom of the machine. This detachable filter becomes clogged with food and debris over time, so empty it regularly to keep it running efficiently. 

Degunk your garbage disposal. Use a natural abrasive combo such as ice and salt to loosen grime from the blades. Though it will be loud, run the disposal until the ice is gone. When finished, you can grind up a lime or lemon wedge to deodorize the drain. 

Give your washing machine a wash. Avoid musty smelling bedding and towels by sanitizing the machine and removing mildew buildup every few months. To do this, run a hot wash cycle without a load and add one cup of bleach to the dispenser or directly into the machine.

Give your vacuum more power. Keep your vacuum maintained with simple fixes like unclogging hoses, cleaning the rotating brush and changing the filter. 

Want to keep your appliances working hard for you? Give them regular attention and their own cleaning now and then. -Household tips brought to you by Annie Nelson.