Monday, April 30, 2012

My top 5 urban homesteading tools...

Each homestead is different just as each home and family found within are different.
So, here are my top five necessities for our homestead.

#1 Coffee containers
We have so many uses for them
grain scoop
compost container
chicken scraps
If you don't drink coffee, ask your neighbor, family, scrounge at the office.
I find the "red brand" containers to be the best since they have a grip area on them, but not a tube formed handle that stuff gets stuck in like the blue brand.  They are easy to clean and when they are too banged up/cracked to use, they can be recycled.

C. in how she has grown!

#2 A good sturdy bucket with handle
Especially in the cold winter it helps to make as few trips from the house to the coop/compost bins/garden as possible.  I can fill mine half way with chicken feed and then still fit in one gallon of water for the chickens, two coffee containers (scraps and compost) as well as eggs on the way back from the coop.  Make sure that the weight isn't too much for the handle (or the one doing the carrying.) This leaves one hand empty to carry an old grain sack full of straw or for a hoe to move around the deep litter in the coop.  In the summer my bucket may contain seeds, gloves, and hand tools.  When things are arranged at the garden, it will be empty to go get a few buckets of finished compost or to put weeds into and carry to the chickens.

#3 A hoe
I use mine all year long.  They are great for mucking out the coop, breaking up ice in front of doors, weeding, loosening up soil, planting, creating hills for potatoes or corn.  Really, it is indispensable around here.  We used to have one we got at a yard sale, but eventually the wooden handle splintered and broke (and now makes a great hand tool.)  We now have one with a metal handle and like its solid heft.

#4 Scrap wood/pallets.
I use it for everything.  I have piles of tree limbs that should be mulched and used as walkways...or burnt for a bonfire...I have lumber from tearing apart an old out building.  We then look at each piece of wood.  Some gets trashed or bonfired, the rotten pieces that are riddled with nails...the ones that are so splintered they'd never hold a nail...those that are barely over the size of sawdust.  The scrap wood that passes the test goes in a pile and reused for making little things such as chicken coop tunnels and roosts, cold frames, or other items needed like buttons...

#5 Coffee-Tea...something to get the engine going.
This piggybacks upon the first item on the list.  I need coffee containers...I need to drink coffee.  Some mornings one can wake up a bit sore.  For example moving compost piles tends to give one "shovel shoulder."  This will make one not want to get up in the morning to do it all over again...but there is coffee brewed (I set it up the night before and the husband usually will turn it on on his way to the shower.)  It gets me going and ready to face another day/another crisis.  Usually I take my first mug with me on the morning chores (water the chickens, make sure they have feed, let them out of the coop, check for early laying, and give them scraps.)  Then the coffee comes with me while I tidy up the house and wait for the children to be fully awake.  It is my drink of choice to start the home school day.  Usually when the pot of coffee is done, I switch to tea...Chi is my favorite right now...honey and milk...yum...and after one cup of full test tea I change to decaf...and water...after all, you can have too much of a good thing...and think of all that compost it grounds and tea bags.  Sometimes when I remember to separate out my coffee grounds, I'll use the grounds to fertilize my greens as well.  The nitrogen and acid in it make really nice leafy greens.  And for seed starting, coffee grounds also make a great planting medium...just be sure to transfer the plants into something more traditionally nutrient rich  when they start poking up.

Linked up with the Monday Barn Hop and Simple Lives Thursday and The Morris Tribe


  1. We use the coffee containers for lots of things also.

    1. I need to label mine so I stop throwing the wrong thing in the wrong bucket when in a hurry!

  2. Oh good list- I'll add to it- a wheel barrow! I just bought one and I can't believe how much easier hauling compost was! Beats my "pulling it on a tarp across the yard" method!

    1. I have one but it's down on the list for husband probably would have it much higher on the list he uses it for lawn work (leaves and grass clippings...) I tend to use it mostly for big jobs like finished compost.

    2. I love my wheelbarrow. This year I put a new wheel and tire on our old metal wheelbarrow. I bought the kind that will never get a flat. Finally, after 20+ years, I decided that I should invest in something that wouldn't have to be fixed ever again. (hopefully!)
      Great list! I love the coffee containers. I have 4 out by my chickens.

  3. Since buying our house/land, I am appreciative of all the handled buckets I have saved! When we go to our families houses, we are always taking any buckets that they have set out to go to the trash, and they think we are insane. You can never have too many!

  4. Ditto on the buckets! I'm always looking around for one. And a coffee can became my "coffee can of death" for squash bugs in the garden last summer!


Thanks for visiting with us girls...put your feet up and stay for a while.