Modern Urban Homesteading – Wannabe Urban Farmer



Most of my writing is focused on the exciting, exercise or health related parts of my life and not the mundane day-to-day actions. When I first started Dirt in Your Skirt I was living in an old hotel turned boarding school, my entire living space was tiny compared to most people and I was fully contained in one old hotel room. Then briefly had my own place as part of a duplex before moving west. Now I find myself in another living experiment.




My boyfriend and I share a total of 560sq ft of living space. Situated on less than a quarter of an acre right in Salt Lake City. If you passed the property on the street all you see is a modest 1920’s bungalow fitting into a little neighborhood in the city. Our front house has a tenant and we are in the back. However it’s not until you get to the back that you see it’s not your traditional backyard.




In truth the backyard has gone through many iterations since my bf first purchased the property almost 13 years ago. It’s been a bike park, RC car track, and now it’s quickly turning into an urban wannabe homesteading operation. It started with a few chickens, then expanded into a garden, one became multiple beds, then a greenhouse was attached to the side of the house. Now as winter hits our woodstove is serving dual purpose as our heat source and stovetop.




Days here start very different from our neighbors daily chores include opening the chicken coop, feeding the chickens sprouted wheat, checking their food, splitting some kindling, starting the woodstove, turning on the power cord for the internet, and then it’s time to make the coffee, this all before the first email of the day is checked. Other chores include watering the greenhouse plants that then feed us our veggies, feed the sourdough starter each day (for homemade bread), collecting eggs, composting table scraps, and generating compost tea (fertilizer) for the plants. These chores on top of the normal cleaning, laundry, and dishes.




1185151_718523745640_1790519765_nPeople often ask, why? Why in an age of everything available would be choose to do it the “hard way”, why not just go to one of the many grocery stores located less than a mile from our house. Well our choice is a conscious one. We choose to do it ourselves whether it’s a quant endeavor grasping at a past gone by or you think it’s the new back to the land movement is up to the eyes of the beholder. For us, it’s just called life. As we process further down the rabbit hole of our own little experiment at home, it has given great perspectives into life the way we live it. We have looked down into a green bin behind the grocery store and found bins and bins worth of food still fit to be eaten thrown away, instead we take it to our chickens and they give us even better eggs. The bread we eat is made with my own hands through natural fermentation processes and I can list off the full ingredient list. More recently, we have been tinkering with cooking on our woodstove (the only heating source in our house) thus using it for a dual purpose. I have felt my hips and back after hours and hours of wood chopping and hauling, to later experience the joy of heat radiating from the woodstove made possible by our own work. Butchering our own chickens was an experience that every meat eater should go through once in their lives. All these things have given me insight and greater understanding into my own consumption.




1374276_704877308210_1459404843_nThese are the activities that fill most of my days now that it’s winter. We have made the conscious decision to change our surroundings even if moving is not an option. We create our world, our environment, and our surroundings it’s completely our own choice. Our life models one more of a rural lifestyle than that in a city. However, right now we are living in both worlds and slowly making our way through this world in our own way.  Not sure the point of this post but more it’s a chance to see what happens here on a day-to-day basis. I think at the end of the day if you are able to start to shape the world around you as you want, no matter your physical location you are winning. And for us in our little experiment has brought us closer to the land, our food, and opened a greater consciousness to our surroundings.


OK back to racing, training, and all things trails and OCR.




Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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