Our family’s been urban homesteading for the last 20 plus years, but when we started actually documenting our journey online 10 years ago, we knew it wasn’t about “just doing it” but keeping track of what was done.
Keeping records really helps you to see where you’ve been and where you want to go. “Keeping track” is a must for any urban homesteader when it comes to what/how much we use, what we grow, how it’s grown, etc, etc.
Besides stats, Farmer Justin has over a dozen “black books” detailing what he’s planted, when, watering schedule and even when/how he fertilizes. Not only that, but every month we print up a schematic of the garden with each raised bed and other planting areas identified by number. Based on that garden diagram, Farmer Justin systematically writes down what was grown in each bed. That way he has an idea from year to year what was planted, which helps us maintain a successful crop rotation.
For Farmer D’s recent presentation at the recent EcoFarm Conference, we really had to update our graphs and stats. The last records that were published here on the website went from 2001-2004. The question was, ” How well are we doing – now, have we gotten better?” The problem was nobody had the time to sit and do paper work, but the recent presentation helped spur us to action.
So, thanks to the Eco Farm presentation, we finally sat down and went through all the notebooks and bills, and we’ve put together stats that are up to date (2001-2009) WOOT!
Where We’ve Been, Where We are Going
Though the site is still a work-in-progress, Jordanne has published the graphs here for your viewing pleasure.
Check them out here where it says URBAN HOMESTEAD CHARTS & FIGURES
One of the real shockers came when we saw that we have, in the last few years, cut our water bill in half while maintaining our high harvest yields. With an eclectic combination of reclaiming water, using ollas, polyculture and continuous mulching, we hope to continue slashing our water use!
Keeping track helps keep us on the right track!
And with any urban homestead one needs to see how well your project coming along from year to year. Record keeping is all about comparing you with you. Records tell you if you doing or did things right or wrong. Urban homesteading is like a life-school and although actual grades may not be important the fact of improving your skills is! And of those skills is documenting your journey.
We actually can do better in our documentation – yeah really! Like how many cans of something we preserve/put up a year, how much do we spend on clothing or personal items, how much are actually saving by growing 95% of our produce etc, etc.
Putting a pen to it, things really start to add (or subtract) up! Oh and it should be fun too. Just like in baseball, with every swing the batter tries to improve his average and so it is with urban homesteading with every step we try to improve/lighten our footprint and you can’t know where you are going or how far you’ve come unless you’ve marked where you’ve been.
Keeping Track of Tracks
Have you started keeping track of your tracks in aspects of transforming your home into an homestead and your sustainable journey. Has it been helpful and what records are you keeping?
Care to share your record keeping experience?