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September 9, 2007

GROWING PAINS

Posted by Anais Dervaes

With the heat sending us inside for most part of the day last week, we were able to catch up on computer work and hash out the new path for the PTF site.

Something old

Cleaning out seven years of online clutter is one heck of a job. Sheesh, I much rather in a hot kitchen standing over a huge pot of boiling water making preserves.... yeah, I already do that.

The new ("catchy new title" - sorry not giving it away just yet) journal I am happy to say will have categories ( can hear the readers cheer); however, what to do with the seven years of postings that really need to be put into categories. What a headache that will be and not looking forward to that task.

Another headache is with our newsletter'Tracks' we purchased some software (thanks to yourdonations) but for some reason when we send out the html newsletter we are swamped with emails from subscribers saying they can't view it and others have no problem. So you can see why there's been no 'Tracks' sent out for months now.   This week, we finally had time to contact the software company and they did a check and everything seems to be in working order.   Stay tuned for a new issue coming soon.

TheResource section of PTF website was a really good idea at the time; however, with our being so busy none of us is able to give it proper attention and it's, sadly, on life support.   With a new website in the works a decision has to be made whether to pull the plug.

And there's theE-Neighborhood is crawling along. Unfortunately, we aren't able to give it the attention it needs and appreciate those readers who do take the time to post (you guys are great!) however, spammers constantly flood the registration and some even get past all the security measures we've put in place -- totally drives us insane and gets our blood boiling.   Our time is limited enough that we now have to be "web police" too.    That stinks.

Something new

It was suggested by a reader that we put all the Q&A's together. Good ideas, especially with our answering thousands of emails over the years we've really covered a lot of questions and our answers that could be shared online. OK, who wants to go through over a hundred thousand emails?   Hmmm, how did I volunteer for that anyhow? *grin*

Ah, yes and thePhoto Gallery. I know, I know, it hasn't been updated in about a year. When I was on top of things taking pictures and uploading the best things ran smoothly; however, let a few weeks and then months slide then what to you have? A problem.  Now there are not just a few photos to go through, there are a few thousand.  We are looking at some new software that will make it even easier for us to update and even allow our readers too ******* and ****** and even ****************** (suspense killing you all yet?)

Emails. We've prided ourselves on personally answering every email that comes in, but now with PTF growing can we still be able to continue this personal touch. Should we instigate, can't bear to even type, an automatic response for certain emails?    How much should we freely give our ourselves and to what extent?   Perhaps the new site will help because it's going to have LOADS of new stuff!

PTF Outreach. Wasn't long ago that PTF urban homestead was hopping with film screenings, "100 mile pot lucks", knit togethers, seed swaps, workshops -- almost two or three events a month!

Path to Freedom was on the ground floor in influencing and starting a localized sustainable movement here in the LA area spawning folks to instigate similar events and projects in the surrounding cities. Being (and bringing) the change in our own backyard was our action plan.   However, eventually events organized took time and effort and the growth of the urban homestead and ourselves suffered so hence the continued sabbatical as we forge ahead on our sustainable path and tying up loose ends (projects). In the interim we've conjured up ideas/plans for future possible events. Like ************* and ************** and perhaps ***************.

Then there's the new online store and the time and expenses that go with any new business venture The store was implemented in hopes slowing down the deficit of funds, bringing in income to support PTF as we still remain on the less traveled path and resist stepping on the "highway" by putting ads on the site.

Over these seven years, we feel that the PTF website and outreach offers a valuable public service, and like public television, should pay for itself, be self sustaining, and not drain away personal funds from our personal urban homestead project.     So, if you haven't already, please check out our online store - especially the new school supplies section If you don't find anything that you can use, by Thanksgiving we'll be upgrading the online store's shopping cart software and will be adding over 30 new products so perhaps you'll find something useful then.

There's also a book(s) and docu video to consider and which folks have for years been clamoring for us to do. I'm sure if given the time, there could be a series in order since there's so much happening here on the urban homestead it couldn't be covered in just one book or film.

So we'll certainly be very, very busy trying to grow further and give more of ourselves. Unfortunately, we can't do all the above so few things will have to be sacrificed. One of the major reasons that we haven't gotten around to writing a book is that we are too busy actually being (becoming) urban homesteaders - planting, growing, cooking, building, caring, learning, preserving, tending by getting our hands dirty our brows sweaty and struggling through successes and constant failures for these last seven years.   It was never our intention, like some others, to start a project & website simultaneously with writing/getting a book or film deal.  We've chosen the path less traveled than what's "normal" these days, especially in a sustainable movement that's, sad to say, driven with author/title mania.  

Growth comes with growing pains and hard decisions .... some popular and not so popular. All we can do is our best, so bear with us.   In a nutshell, here you have a few of our hopes and dilemmas that we struggle with. Not to mention wrestling with what to do when we finally complete the projects here on the urban homestead as we ask ourselves "what's next?," "should we stay or go?"

Right now we are focused on finally finishing the PTF site in hopes of it becoming a new platform for new paths and journey's ahead.

It won't be long now, stay tuned for the ride and a brand new site this fall. Although, we vastly underestimated the cost of such growth at $6,000 ( thought such a figure would match the amount of our 6, 000 lb harvest) the new site, will still remain "ad free" because we have faith in our "less traveled" path. The new site will have quite a few exciting (sorry don't want to spill the beans) features which I know our readers are going to like.   Heck, I sure do hope so.

So, excuse me while I turn up the volume and blare songs from  Alison Krauss, Lifehouse, the Wailin Jenny's, REM, Cat Stevens, Goo Goo Dolls, Natalie Merchant, etc, I've gotta whole lotta "copying & pasting" to do.

For those of who who wrote and asked for recipes, stay tuned. I will be posting them this week - promise.

BOOKMARKS

Flavoring Suspected in Illness {Washington Post}

She was once in constant motion; her co-workers compared her to a roadrunner because of the way she darted around the workplace. But now Irma Ortiz sits at the edge of her couch, too winded to sweep her patio or walk her son to school without resting. She is slowly suffocating.
read more

Air Fresheners: Something Rotten in the Air? {MSN}

In recent years, sales of air fresheners—especially plug-in air fresheners—have soared. But while sales are up, so are complaints from people who are exposed to the scents at home, at work, in public places, and in the homes of family and friends.
read more

Study ties hyperactivity in kids to food additives {MSNBC}

Certain artificial food colorings and other additives can worsen hyperactive behaviors in children aged 3 to 9, British researchers reported on Wednesday.
read more

What a blessings we've been spared of such unhealthy products. All thanks to our down to earth, hippy parent.   The "granola" lifestyle which for years was unpopular or consider "strange" (and now so "hip") is now finally showing to be the healthier path.
Summer was hot, but August was scorching {USAToday}

If you thought it was unusually hot this summer, you were right: Nationally, the summer of 2007 was the sixth-warmest since records began in 1885, based on preliminary data from the National Climatic Data Center. Only 1936, 2006, 1934, 2002 and 1988 were hotter.
read more


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3 Comments: "GROWING PAINS" »

  1. That does sound like alot of work! Seems like there should be some way that we, the readers, should be able to yall sift through all those posts. After all, it's the readers who posted the questions to get answered. Maybe it's something you could set up on your discussion board so that folks could post questions and responses they've gotten. Or maybe we could help with the cutting and pasting from old posts- we could cut and paste into a draft and yall could edit. I dunno- there several ways you could work it but it seems there is some to share the load for a resource we all enjoy.

    todd

  2. Thanks for working so hard for us, the readers! Your site is such an inspiring and educational resource. I can't wait to see the new and improved version, although the site you have now is pretty darn good as is!