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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:33 pm 
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Discussion starter. More at the link.

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You ripped up your front lawn to plant kale and a heritage quince tree. You adopted as many chickens as your town will allow. You make your own bread, jam, cheese, pickles, yogurt and beer. Worms eat your garbage, beekeeping supplies are on the way and you’re wondering if the neighbors would notice a dwarf Nigerian dairy goat under the porch.

What you’re doing is ecological, economical and profoundly personally rewarding. You are living the dream, and doing it all within bike commute distance of an urban hub. Congratulations, you’re an urban homesteader! And you just want to share everything you’re learning with everyone else. If all those friends still buying their eggs at the store just knew how much better really fresh eggs were, you are sure they’d want chickens too!

STOP!

You are at risk of becoming an Urban Homesteader Asshole. It is an easy trap to fall into, and it comes from a good place: an urgent desire to share all the great changes in your life with the people you care about. But before you make an unsolicited offer to help your apartment-dwelling friend build a chicken coop, step back, take a deep breath and remember those people.

Remember the guy in college who would only listen to Polish post-Industrial Pop, because German post-Industrial was total mainstream swill? Remember the vegan who asked how it felt to be eating rotting flesh just as you were about to bite into your burger? Remember the young professional who gave you that withering look in the waiting room while you were reading People, then pulled out her own copy of The Economist?

We really don’t want our Urban Homesteading to turn into that. No one likes it when people imply that their way of life is oh-so-much-better than everyone else’s.

[snip]

So get out there in your front yard and grow those berries and that chard. Send the kids out to gather those eggs. Walk the walk, but be soft with the talk. Show your neighbors that Urban Homesteading isn’t just for hippies. If you are experienced in a certain area, mentor those who truly want it. They’ll find you. Be proud of what you are doing, but be gracious with those who are doing less or who aren’t in the same place in life. Focus on your community and your neighborhood. Be welcoming but don’t scare people off. Let people find their own first step.

Don’t be an Urban Homesteader Asshole.

http://www.nwedible.com/2011/02/dont-be ... shole.html


Do you "evangelize" your way of life or do you let people discover it...ahem...organically?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:32 pm 
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dogbane wrote:

Do you "evangelize" your way of life or do you let people discover it...ahem...organically?


When I lived in Pa, about half my neighbors, within 3 blocks of the town square of the town I lived in, had small "victory" gardens. Some had 1/4 acre plots rright in town beside 5,000 square foot Victorian houises built over a century ago. Most were above the age of 50 and all of them loved discussing their gardens and trading excess produce and seeds. Nobody had chickens or goats, but you only had to dirve a few miles to find someone who did. The sweet corn farmers sold their crop out of the back of their pick-ups for cash starting in June depending upon the weather. We bought 1/4 cows and half hogs for the freezer every year. That was normal.

In Florida, people are shocked when they see my raised beds, earthboxes and compost box. Their kids are always amazed at the flavor or smell of the produce I pick out of my garden. Nothing like getting a child to see the wonder of growing ones own food. I almost fell into the Urban Hipster mold, becaue gardening is truly a passion of mine, but now I just say how easy it is to start and that if the kids ever want to do it at home, I would be glad to help, and leave it at that.

I have also petitioned my girls' principal to start raised bed gardening at their elementary school. A beginner garden club. We'll see what happens.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:46 pm 
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Seriously. UHA is an epidemic here in Santa Fe NM.

I do as much as I can with the restrictive covenants of the HOA I live in (and can't wait to get out of). That said I am rather proud of my HOA for holding a disaster prepardness seminar at the local fire dept. and for trying to get everyone in the community prepared for the types of issues we have in this area of the country.

I help my neighbors who wish it. I learn from those who teach. I don't preach tho and I don't try to make it obvious what I do.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:35 pm 
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BUhahahaa seriously I love this... My mom was like that after she got her chickens but soon calmed down. There's nothing wrong with being an (sub)urban homesteader. But to go out and preach it is just annoying.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:25 pm 
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So we shouldn't be tossing our extra chicks in everyone in the neighborhood's mailboxes. Right I will try and remember that. :wink:

Actually I am sadly not homesteading at the moment. But I do look forward to eventually getting back into it after my next move to a better place.

This is a very good post and goes beyond pushing homesteading on others, folks should realize pushing any idea on others is counter productive.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:29 pm 
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Before I bought a house, we lived in a two-flat above an uber eco urban homesteader. The lawn was natural prairie grass, house had a green roof, compost bin and garden in the back, seven rain barrels, biked to work. Everything but the chickens.

Nice guy. Though it was weird waking up to smoke and find a controlled burn going on in the backyard. I got a few smug looks on trash day, but otherwise he ever told us how to live. I learned a few things that I plan to implement at my current digs.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:37 pm 
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Do whatever you want in your backyard. Keep a tidy neat lawn in the front.

Otherwise your an urban homesteader asshole.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:54 pm 
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Everything old is new again, as a kid in the 50s and 60s we had chickens, pigeons, a large garden and of course, every rode bikes...

The city forced us to give up the chickens when a the neighbor got pissed off over one of the roosters crowing all day long - or so they said.

Roosters crowing, dogs barking, cats crapping your garden, everything in a city setting makes life harder for everyone of you don't control your livestock. Ya, and the neighbors really hated the pigeons...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:07 am 
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Many people, when they first really get into something new and exciting will proselytize it all to others.

I mean, I love this awesome thing so much so I'm going to do my best to get you to do it too because it's very fulfilling and enjoyable and goshdarnitwhydoesnteveryonedoit?!?!?!

This can cover about any recreational activity. My brother got into biking. Rode his bike everyday and built all sorts of maintenance kits and got a lot of doodads for his bicycle. For about three months, every conversation we had he would talk about how great it was to ride a bike. Ok, so he enjoyed it and it was a healthy hobby. I want him to be happy so I liked the discussions etc (I wasn't just letting him indulge is what I'm saying).

After a while it became, "just buy a new bike--you'll love it and it's awesome and!" We had a discussion about this very topic.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:40 am 
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I'll admit that sometimes I need to curb my enthusiasm for my hobbies, but I'd like to think I'm more guilty of going on too long for how awesome I think something is but not of trying to shove my hobbies down other people's throats.

lokifz1 wrote:
Do whatever you want in your backyard. Keep a tidy neat lawn in the front.

Otherwise your an urban homesteader asshole.

I'm guessing your joking and it's just going over my head, but if not then I disagree.

I'm not a big fan of lawns personally, but if other people like having one then more power to them.

TacAir wrote:
The city forced us to give up the chickens when a the neighbor got pissed off over one of the roosters crowing all day long - or so they said.

Roosters crowing, dogs barking, cats crapping your garden, everything in a city setting makes life harder for everyone of you don't control your livestock. Ya, and the neighbors really hated the pigeons...

It's funny how people seem to get all bent out of shape about some noises and smells but seem perfectly fine with others that, in my opinion, are just as bad if not worse. I'm sure I'm guilty of this same thing and just don't realize it.

Children are the most un-neighborly pets a person can have.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:43 am 
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dogbane wrote:
Do you "evangelize" your way of life or do you let people discover it...ahem...organically?

My life experience has been that evangelization is annoying on any topic whatsoever, including things I'm personally really into. The most effective "missionaries" for any idea/group have always been the folks who walked the walk, were perfectly willing to talk about it in a friendly and non-judgemental manner, and made other people feel genuinely welcome. Most of us started with baby steps too, and a slightly prepared neighbor/friend is better than a completely flat-footed unprepared one.

And what murphman and Tacair mention about local norms is important too. Urban homesteading in my neigborhood might get people's attention, but there's already a couple houses with chickens and edible lawns, nobody's going to say boo. What lofkitz said about "keep the front lawn neat" made me laugh - I walk by two (very nice) houses on my way to work which have essentially let the entire front go wild except for the walk to the front door. They both have very proud "animal habitat" signs in them to indicate it's on purpose. In this neighborhood, nobody cares (or not enough to say anything, anyway). I am well aware that in other neighborhoods this would be an obvious mistake and piss off the neighbors. In those neighborhoods it would be really important to make sure the trim on the rainbarrels matched the house (which I plan on doing myself, actually) and to make sure your edible front lawn was artistically arranged and impeccably weeded. The more you're going outside of local norms, the more important it is do to it thoughtfully if you don't want the neighbors getting negatively interested.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:05 pm 
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quazi wrote:
lokifz1 wrote:
Do whatever you want in your backyard. Keep a tidy neat lawn in the front.

Otherwise your an urban homesteader asshole.

I'm guessing your joking and it's just going over my head, but if not then I disagree.

I'm not a big fan of lawns personally, but if other people like having one then more power to them.


I think the point of that comment was put on a good outward appearance, what the public can see. But when in private space not overly visible do what you want.

The nice lawn idea is basically saying don't make an eye sore of your yard.

If you don't like lawns, the front could make a great medicinal and culinary herb garden space maybe? Plenty of herbs are perennial so would always be there to make the space beautiful and with the annual herbs you can add in some nice extra flair.

BTW I don't like lawns either. Seem like such a waste of space and resources for little in return. But I do agree that your back yard homestead operation will get less negative attention if your front is presentable to the neighbors. Some places that might mean having a lawn so your place doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, even if you don't like them yourself.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:49 pm 
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I know of a few these types... and it can really be tough to bite my tongue sometimes. I even know a few that have turned full bat crazy homeopathic nutjobs.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:38 am 
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Sworbeyegib wrote:
I know of a few these types... and it can really be tough to bite my tongue sometimes. I even know a few that have turned full bat crazy homeopathic nutjobs.


And this is where I step in with my confession.

I can be an arse about skepticism and some of the time I mean too, but most of the time, I just forget that not everyone thinks Homeopathy is a scam, lots of people believe in ghosts and my own assumptions about the world aren't everyone elses. I don't know if I'm evangelising, I'm not waving a Ben Goldacre book and telling them how to live their lives, but I do talk disparagingly about woo-woo and other scams. Is this organically letting people know my views? Is this me being an arse and shoving my opinion down other peoples throat?

The worst of it is my questions, I can tell that bugs people, but I just keep asking questions if they prod my skeptic nerves. 'How does X work', 'what did you actually see?' 'Why did you believe them?' and though I'm cheerful and interested in the answer, I'm also 'an arrogant wanna be intellectual who can't accept he's wrong* or know when to drop a topic'.


*I still maintain I'm right.


More on topic, As a teen, I was less of an urban homesteader arsehole than I was an urban homesteader oneupper. Growing up on a small holding I'd meet people keeping chickens and such like, have a conversation and then reveal that this weekend we'd hatched a new batch of chicks and built pen's for the old batch and had a haul of a 7-12 score of eggs. I also hated the urban homesteader argument that I have egg's and I'll never kill chickens, ergo you don't need to kill chickens to have eggs ever, for everyone in the world.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:52 am 
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On a corner lot, the back yard is a second front yard, and many lots have more front than back, or no back at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:14 am 
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I'm guessing your joking and it's just going over my head, but if not then I disagree.

I'm not a big fan of lawns personally, but if other people like having one then more power to them.


No joke.

If you live on several acres go crazy. If you live in the city your part of a community be considerate and keep your property up and neat.


Put the garden in the back yard otherwise your the urban homesteader asshole.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:21 am 
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The only problem with vegetables and herbs in the front flower beds is the risk of veg-nappers.
Most people remark on my beautiful tomatoes, etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:25 am 
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lokifz1 wrote:
No joke.

If you live on several acres go crazy. If you live in the city your part of a community be considerate and keep your property up and neat.


Put the garden in the back yard otherwise your the urban homesteader asshole.

Would you care to elaborate? I fail to see how having a garden in the front yard is being inconsiderate.

If a person enters into an agreement with their neighbors to maintain a nicely trimmed lawn, then I can understand how that person would be a jerk for deciding to break that agreement and plant a garden.

Maybe this is just one of those weird cultural things that I just can't get my head around.

I remember a thread a long time ago where people were actually angry about their neighbors parking on the grass in front of the neighbor's own house. That is when I wrote off the entire lower 48 as being too crazy to deal with*. I believe in that thread I was told to stay in Alaska, so I guess the feeling is mutual. :lol:
*I know that there are plenty of people in the lower 48 who feel similarly to myself, so I'm sort of joking.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:35 am 
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lokifz1 wrote:
Quote:
I'm guessing your joking and it's just going over my head, but if not then I disagree.

I'm not a big fan of lawns personally, but if other people like having one then more power to them.


No joke.

If you live on several acres go crazy. If you live in the city your part of a community be considerate and keep your property up and neat.


Put the garden in the back yard otherwise your the urban homesteader asshole.


Who says a front yard garden is not neat? You? I have seen plenty of well tended well kept front yard gardens. Sounds like your the one with the attitude problem not the person with the garden in the front. You have twice made the same statement, with no real info. Just your opinion that gardens can't be in the front yard without offending others.

Sounds to me like you need to stop worrying about other people's yards and gardens and work on your communication skills.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:26 am 
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ineffableone wrote:
Who says a front yard garden is not neat? You? I have seen plenty of well tended well kept front yard gardens. Sounds like your the one with the attitude problem not the person with the garden in the front. You have twice made the same statement, with no real info. Just your opinion that gardens can't be in the front yard without offending others.

Sounds to me like you need to stop worrying about other people's yards and gardens and work on your communication skills.

[img]image[/img]

If property values didn't depend on the neighborhood as a whole, maybe. Personally I think the picture there is an eyesore. Looks like a growhouse.

Image
That's better, but the bare wire and unkempt hedge is a bit trashy.

There's also health and safety issues. If you have livestock (chickens, rabbits) are they being maintained properly and in a way that doesn't make the entire block smell like a farm? Are the fertilizers and pesticides being used safe for the area and (back to chickenshit, especially when it rains) polite?

Along a similar line of thought, I don't care how two consenting adults have sex, but don't tie your SO to a hammock and get nasty in the front yard. It's largely situational, and some neighborhoods will be more amenable than others, but in general, don't be an asshole.

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My parents house is a corner house, and so they have no back garden. Fortunately, people complaining about the garden isn't an issue, as when they moved in , we planted pyrocanthus and privet hedges, and put up a 3m wooden privacy fence. It was intended to be temporary untill the heges grew in, but it has remained in place.

I wonder if people would rather look at my fathers square foot vegetable plots, or the plain wooden fence? Of course, they don't have a choice. People have 3 years to complain about a fence over 1.5M, then it gets planning permission. We had someone complain after 6 years, but they complained about every high fence on the street.

I don't know what Doc's on about, first garden looks much neater to me. Second garden needs weeding.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:18 am 
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Someone is concerned with pesticides & fertilizers. Man,I see lawn services & homeowners using a LOT of both on lawns!
Plus many lawns are weed free---imagine how much herbicide is needed to attain that!? Also,mowed lawns are of no real benefit to anything,other then "aesthetics".
I see nothing wrong with maintained gardens on another's property-front,back or side. There are already too many restrictions on our freedom


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It's simple to compromise.:
Lay out your "flower beds" around the edges of the lawn and around trees in an aesthetic and pleasing manner.
Dot the beds with perennials and flower bulbs so there is usually a bright flower blooming.
Plant vegetables and herbs between the flowers.

Some people notice the vegetables, others love the flowers.

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Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
If property values didn't depend on the neighborhood as a whole, maybe. Personally I think the picture there is an eyesore. Looks like a growhouse.

What if it was possible to lower property taxes by trashing your house and front yard, thereby lowering property values for the neighborhood as a whole?* Would you then be obligated to spray graffiti on your house and pile up used appliances in your front yard in order to save your neighbors money?
*I don't think property taxes are calculated that way, but lets say they are for the sake of a thought experiment.

I think a person has a moral obligation not to create health and safety hazards for their neighbors, but in my opinion not planting a garden for the sake of the neighbor's property values or sense of visual attractiveness falls pretty far into the category of supererogatory good.


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