March 27, 2015


Posted by Anais Dervaes


Sis & I are into the second semester of our "Farm to Table" program we have with our neighborhood school and we are enjoying every minute of it.  Not only are we having fun teaching the kids, but we are learning along with them as we put together lesson plans for each session.

Keeping with the "farm to" theme, one of the sessions we are having the kids dye some yarn and fabric with a vegetable.  Probably beets (since we have a bunch)   Of course, I wanted to do a bit of experimenting myself and during the session wanted showcase dyeing with vegetables, fruits, coffee, and even spices using simple fixative of mordant of salt or vinegar.

So a quick search on the internet for the "how to." The process was fairly easy - but messy!   I used blackberries, onion skins, coffee, turmeric, beets and spinach and was happy with all the results except for the spinach.   I was expecting a light green but instead was rather dirty white (blech)

When you think about this, this was how people dyed their clothing/fabric for thousands of years.  It was only "recently" in 1856 with cheap manufacturing that  synthetic  dyes started to be used.   Not are these chemical dyes posing a environmental risk but to the factory works and also a health risk since our skin absorbs.

As I was dyeing I felt I was stepping back in time, a few hundred years or so- perhaps in little cottage surrounded by a large dye garden, big black kettles boiling away, stirring the dye batches with a big long stick, surrounded by freshly dyed fabric waving in the breeze.

But, alas, my cell phone goes off...... back to the present!

:: Resources ::

 Make Natural Dyes With Leftover Fruits and Vegetables

Dye Your Clothes with Food

How to Dye Using Fruits & Vegetables




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February 24, 2015


Posted by Anais Dervaes

Over 3 decades of homesteading in the city, I find that each year our goals and resolutions evolve with the years.   For a mature city homestead like ours, goals are definitely different than a newbie and little more challenging, I think.  Chickens - check, Bees - check, Solar - check, Garden - check and so on and so forth.  30 years of checking off the check list there's little to check off the "master to do list."

Over the years, we've seen aspiring homesteaders succeed & some have sadly failed in their efforts.  Many commit for the long haul, whilst others have ridden the self sufficiency wave for awhile and neither have the time or energy to continue.   Commitment to such a lifestyle is one of the challenges that we all face, especially when a new year brings about setting goals for personal or physical growth.   Our mantra is: "Living a simple, self-sufficiency/sustaining life is not always simple!"   It takes sacrifice, hard work and the willpower to see it thru the hard & challenging times.  Having said that, I also believe it  acquires one to adapt to changing times, sometimes it's just not possible to DO everything and you have to be willing to admit that.  It takes a family and community.

This year, for me, one of the challenges is keeping the growing homestead organized.  A well organized homestead is a happy one.  Especially with a busy schedule, one can't afford to spend time looking for this or that.   Our homestead is not only a home but a business and community space so sometimes the lines get blurry.  And that's where the other challenge comes in, setting up boundaries so we don't burn out.   Keeping a healthy balance is critical and you have to believe in your own self worth.

So with a new year just starting, what challenges are you facing?

Weigh in city and rural homesteaders!

In closing, like to share something that our friends and fellow city homesteaders wrote

The point is, we are all in process.  None of us are perfect. No one has a corner on the crunchy market.  We try to do everything we can and to always be doing better.  But, we will never “arrive” because as soon as we do, we’ll learn something new and amazing and perhaps even terrifying and we’ll re-evaluate and adjust.  It’s called life.

--- Courtesy The Provision Room


I also want to thank those who took time to "welcome" us back to the blog world.   We truly appreciate your readership and support.

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