The “normal” SoCal winter weather is back, with temps in the low 80’s to mid 70’s. We are really spoiled!

Last Saturday, we enjoyed an afternoon hiking in the mountains with some friends. The day was really lovely and it was nice to get out in nature. With the recent rains the smells and sights were quite intense and lush. Just as lively as the rain-washed landscape were the conversations which ranged from fair trade chocolate and coffee (benefits of coffee), figuring out creative ways to use up the 300 plus pounds of trombocino squash to making sourdough bread (we plan on fermenting some starter soon)

Until the Industrial Revolution, nearly all breads were made from sourdough cultures fermented by airborne bacteria and yeast, which create most of these breads’ flavor. Bake bread in this ancient tradition, with natural, homemade sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast, and discover rich texture and fabulous flavor.

…. Unlike sourdough starters, which are inhabited by many different species of wild yeast, baker’s yeast is made from a single hyperactive species that produces a uniform product in a relatively short period of time. The two hours required to make a loaf of fluffy white bread also do not give bacteria adequate time to complete their job, so most people consider the flavor far less complex and interesting. And a cake of baker’s yeast produces only a single batch of bread, while a carefully tended sourdough culture can conceivably be passed down through more >>


Spending less time updating the site (and answering emails) on a regular, daily basis has left time for other more profitable activities around the homestead as we try to break the hold of modern technology’s grasp and take back our simple lives. On the other hand we haven’t made any progress in our plans on re-vamping the site for ‘O5. Slimming this site down to make easier to update will ironically require more time at the beginning.

This week’s a busy one, we gals will be helping catering a holiday party for a friend and have been hired by one of clients to help with their business during the holiday rush.

The plants are slowly recovering from the “deep freeze” last week. The green crops are coming back, so now we can once again supply our clients with salad (news which they are thrilled to hear) The salad mixes are getting better each week with new tasty and colorful leafy additions.


Also, I’d like to thank those who wrote telling us of the sawdust toilet as a cheaper alterative to the commercial compost toilets. Many years back we bought a copy of Joseph Jenkins great and humorous THE HUMANURE HANDBOOK.

At one point, two years ago, we considered building an outhouse (privy like JD had in New Zealand) with a five gallon bucket/sawdust toilet.    Unfortunately, since our lot is small and space is already crowded (our three compost bins barely fitting in our yard) and with having to deal with codes, we thought otherwise. However the city “OKd” a commercial compost toilet. 

If we weren’t “famous” and had our own little private urban homestead, we could get away with a five gallon bucket (I know many who have) Since we are in the “public eye”, we have to keep the sustainable projects close to city code as possible (we bend a few things here and there, but not so sure the city would let us get away with this one, especially since we sell our produce to caterers and restaurants in the area — health dept would have a field day
— even though it’s safe and natural)   

We had another letter (thanks!) suggesting that we look into cheaper wood stoves such as replicate cast iron models. Fortunately (or unfortunately — however you look at it) California has strict regulations on wood burning stoves which keeps one from making or buying cheaper “old fashion” models forcing one to look at EPA rated models that are a bit more pricey but are beneficial to controlling air pollution.

So basically we are stuck – not really any cheaper options to consider (but we’ll keep our eyes open).

Anyhow, at this point we are hunkering down — little, if any, money will go out for purchasing sustainable products untill we pay of the car repair expenses.


This Saturday (Dec 18th) marked PTF’s five year presence on the worldwide web.

It’s been quite a journey…. and there’s still a long way to go but as one reader’s email to us said ” I still have a long way to go but I enjoy the challenge.” That’s the key – enjoyment!  Sure it’s been rough, but that’s what makes the experience worthwhile (so they say *grin*).

Nowadays we are so use to fast fixes and the fast lane, why on earth would one get off that path for certain hardship. Yep, not many and those that do, they are the new pioneers.

Weather Report: Nice

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