• Natural Lighting: Solar Tube

    Back in 2004 when we re-roofed the garage to put on 12 solar panels, one of the best things we did was to install a solar tube on the garage roof Solar tubes are cylinders lined with mirrors which bring natural light into dark homes or work spaces.  Here on

  • Simple Steel Cut Oatmeal

    In Southern California, we experience a gloomy weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer. I love a warm breakfast on those ” Gray May” or “June Gloom” mornings; but, for some reason, regular rolled oats give me heartburn.   I

  • Homestead Herbal: Toothache Plant

    No homestead is complete without an herb garden.  It’s like your very own homegrown pharmacy.  Pick mints for tea if you have an upset tummy,  dry some calendula flowers to use in soothing salve.   Did you know you can grow your own “Anbesol” for tooth or gum aches?  It’s an

  • Mind Body Green: Meet The Family Growing 6,000 Pounds Of Food A Year In Their L.A. Backyard

    by Emma Loewe, MBG Editorial May 19, 2016 Originally Published at MindBodyGreen.com From the street, the Dervaes family home in Pasadena, Calif., about a 30-minute drive from Los Angeles, resembles most others on its suburban block. But a quick peek around the corner reveals a backyard brimming with plots of

  • Food Tank: Interview with the Dervaes Family

    Original article at FoodTank.com Jules Dervaes is an urban farmer based in Pasadena, California. Dervaes and his three adult children—Justin, Anais, and Jordanne—operate an Urban Homesteading project on their property. The Dervaes family grows approximately 7,000 pounds of organic produce annually, powers their home with alternative energy, fuels their car with homemade biodiesel,

  • Growing Natives

    These past five years, Southern California has been gripped by a severe drought.  This is a semi-arid region, which on a good year, averages 12-16 inches.   In In three of the five years, we’ve hoovered around 4 inches.  Last year we received about 6 inches and a bit over 6

  • Blackberry Jam

    We are blessed to have an abundance of blackberries this year.    I confess, I am hoarding them (sorry, farmbox subscribers!) to make preserves. I love making preserves and a few years back I kicked the box habit  — using any store bought (boxed) pectin for my jam making.   Yes,

  • Avocado Toast

    Even homesteaders have to admit, there are some days they are  too durn busy to cook.   We start the day with good intentions but then we blow past lunch and, before you know it hunger strikes – it’s dinner time and your stomach is  fit to be tied. Toast has

  • DIY Pallet Planter Fence

    Being thrifty homesteaders, we are always on the look out for clever and creative ways to re-use things.   A friend of ours had a bunch of pallets and wondered if we wanted them.  Heck, yeah!  Who can turn down free wood?  Pallets ( seeds, plants, baby chicks and canning jars)

  • Suckers!

    Tomato plants are in ground and getting bigger and bushier by the day.   Flowers have appeared and we are sooooo anticipating the first tomato of the season!  Mmmmm, mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Many garden sources say one should pinch (prune) tomatoes suckers (the growth between main stems