URBAN HOMESTEADING IN LA

WINTER’S DAY

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter’s day
I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin’
On such a winter’s day
~ Mammas and Pappas ~

Another cold night last night. Every night before going to bed JC checks the thermometer outside.First blooming bulbS

If it registers at or below 40º at 10pm then it’s more than likely to freeze during the night. Last night  JC knew it was going to be a cold one when the thermometer registered 36º at 10pm, so JC and JR went out and covered the plants with tarps.

Whatcha lookin’ at?

DUCK SITTING

 For the next few weeks, we will be “sitting ducks”. The nice couple to whom we sold our extra Khaki Campbells are visiting their folks back East and needed someone to watch over their “babies.” They dropped the gals off yesterday and we spent some time swapping duck stories. It was really nice to see the other pair of ducks again, as we did get attached to them while raising them. But they have a great home with their new folks — I really do not think we could have found better, more caring people. It’s so nice to hear how much the ducks and their folks truly enjoy each other. It’s a great relationship.   

Ducks are certainly funny creatures and these Khaki Campbells are even less hassle than our Banty chooks, meaning that they eggs lay all the time with no broodiness problems. Our ducks aren’t sensitive to changes of temps and keep on producing eggs while the chickens stop. We currently have a backlog of duck eggs!!!!

And, as a matter of fact, we are having a bit of a hard time selling the extra eggs. People’s reactions are basically “eeeewwww.” I think they believe duck eggs are “nasty” when in fact they are wonderful for baked goods.   It’s like people have some sort of mental block against anything they see as “unusual.” I don’t know personally about how duck eggs are for scrambled eggs as we don’t eat many eggs, but a friend of ours who is French told JM that in France, bakers will only use duck eggs. I don’t know either if that’s all true or not, but I do know that the cakes and baked goodies we’ve made with duck eggs are certainly richer.

Anyhow, looks like I’ll have to give some away first to get people to try them out.

FLU PREVENTION

With the nasty flu going around we are making sure to wash our hands after going out and taking doses of vitamins and herbs. So far, thank God, so good.

RESPECT, RETHINK, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

As we try to live by the five R’s, we are still trying to reduce our electricity usage even more. In the winter, candles are used in the morning. Also, we are expecting to receive some glass oil lamps which we hope to use during the nights along with candles. For more aboutcandles, visit the PTF Forum (which is hopping with activity BTW, so please stop in and chat).

We really like Lehman’s and Cumberland General Store catalogs, but their prices are a bit steep. So, by doing a bit of browsing onEbay, we have found similar. if not the same items, for considerably less!

THIS OLD HOUSE

Besides having an old, albeit “fixer upper” house, we are thankful that our home is old and hasn’t been tampered with (aka modernized–though it needs a lot of work and TLC).

In the kitchen there’s an old time vegetable cooler which was a useful commodity to homes in 1917 in the pre-fridge” era. The cooler was the “icebox” of its day. It outwardly appears to be an ordinary kitchen cabinet but the shelves inside are made of wire mesh. At the bottom, there is a vent opening into the cellar and at the top, an opening to the attic. This allows a natural cooling air flow which is a very sensible arrangement that has all been forgotten by modern builders.   We use it to store veggies and fruits in. As a matter of fact, for a few years we had lived without a refrigerator (more because we had to for financial reasons). It was hard in that we had to go to the store almost every other day for things such as butter and cheese (which was not very easy on our side of town). But it was a very interesting learning experience – teaching us planning and frugality. A few years ago we had to purchase a fridge for the edible flower/produce business so we bought an Energy Star model. It’s much bigger than what we need for our personal use – could definitely get by with a much smaller model, but at least it doesn’t use much energy. Well ’nuff said about that!

BY GIVING WE ALL RECEIVE

As the year starts to wind to a close, there’s still work that need to be done and plans to put into action. Yesterday, I was going through the log of visitors that have come and taken a tour of our wip (work in progress) urban homestead. For 2003 we had over 170 visitors (not including friends, btw) stop by!! Many have been kind enough to take the time to thank us andwrite about their experience (not to mention those who have brought things from our “Wish List” – we THANK you!).

We’d like to take the time to warmly thank all those of you who have generously lent us a hand by offering your time and services in volunteering here at Path to Freedom. Your much needed help and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated!

Whew, this is certainly becoming quite a long winded posting, so I’d better stop and save some musings for tomorrow! 😉

Weather Report: Touch of frost in the mornings, warming up to a gorgeous sunny day..

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