Before we head up North (check out our itinerary of places we’ll be) here’s another pictorial dispatch from the urban homefront.

After the early cold snap, we’ve been enjoying some beautiful weather (yep, just in time for all those hoards of out of towners)  Thanks to our beautiful weather, we probably have another slew of folks wanting to move to the already crowded and congested sunshine state.  Well,they can certainly take our place.  We’ll trade for a some wide open spaces any day!

This wonderful weather is a bit unsettling; it’s either going to turn out to be a mild winter or its saving up for a cold snap of some sorts.  I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the latter.

(note this post was written early in the week, the weather’s changed Today – it’s RAINING!)

Chop, chop.  Time for getting spiffy and some in home barbering services.  I believe I did a post a few years about about our hair cutting ventures.  We gals cut the guys and us gals cut each others.

These days around the urban homestead you’ll spot some unusual pieces of this, that and whatever as the guys work on few new projects.

Let’s now play a game of ” I Spot!”  Strolling around the urban homestead, I spot…..

This project

This one

and that one

and another one!  Have an inkling this one has to do with a greywater system.

Jordanne works on finishing a window box.

and the guys reuse some of the broken up urbanite near the new garden shed.

And then take time to fix and old kitchen faucet that started leaking (not good for our water saving measures)

Certainly some serious work going on these days.  Winter is a good as time as any to get a jump on the new projects because once spring comes around planting fever will take over and then it’s farming time!

In the garden there are….

Happy faces.

Loads of pretty limas!

Thanks the wonderful winter weather, the garden is growing.  We are even (get this) enjoying FRESH tomatoes in January.

Tomatoes and lettuce fresh from the garden to our table.  Tomatoes!  Yeah, I know, I said that already!

Forest of peas

Already topping the cages!

Greens are growing like weeds!

Bed of collards

And Pac Choi


and broccoli.

Justin pours a concoction of organic nutrients into the raised beds.

Here’s some news!

Justin gave me some interesting information regarding our garden’s production and water use.   In 2004, at the peak of our garden’s production (harvested over 6,000 lbs from our 1/10 acre), we used an average of 1000 gallons of water per day (of course, the majority of that came in the summer time)

Now, hold on before you hit the roof.   Going to break it down for you.

An Average American uses 150-175 gallons of water per day.  We are using only about 100 gallons per person and our entire water bill for the year comes to only $600 (which isn’t bad considering how much food we grow)

It’s not like we use lots of water – personally.   We do laundry about once a week, take a bath once a week and only use about 5 gallons per bath, and use about 4 gallons of water for dishes, also we follow the “let it mellow rule” when it comes to flushes.  But every bit counts.

We are very conscious about water so it’s hard to define personal vs garden.  So about 90% of our water use is for food production.

Now, of course there are  lots of improvements in the water arena here on the urban homestead, but here’s the good news!

In these last five years we’ve cut our water use in half! Whoot.  We are now using ~ 500 gallons a day while maintaining about a 5,500 lb average.

What that means is that our soil is getting better.  Not to mention with the use of clay pot irrigation and other water saving measures we are slowing going about saving water and keeping our high yields.

Under the bridge.   It’s the city I live in, the City of Angels…..

On another one of our weekly goat walks in the Arroyo Seco.   Here we are walking under one of the freeway bridges that spans the seco.  The goats and humans are a mere dot!

Purple haze.  On the way up the seco to the car, we and the goats (happily nibbling on sycamore leaves) enjoy a beautiful sunset.

One of our clients who we met on one of our goats walk  (yep, never know who you’ll run into!) and now buys eggs from us came by the other day to show us some of his amazing photos of American history.

This one if of his friends Coyote (a Wailaki Indian) and his companion Clem (left) and John (Preservation of Predatory Animals) and his canine companion Clem (right) Both  were influential in bringing back the wolves back in Yellowstone.

Unfortunately, these two rescued beauties (wolves) met a tragic death when their pen was broken into by (reportedly a woman) and were poisoned with tainted meat.  People can be so cruel!

Jordanne shares the photos and the story with Farmer Sergio who dropped by with some produce from the farm

Yoga pose.   Goats take their afternoon naps seriously.  It’s their time just to veg out, chew their cud and just be darn cute.

“Who me?” Yeah, Blackberry I’m talking about your cuteness.

Taking down the laundry and enjoy popcorn clouds and blue sky

Taking stock.  Sorting out the home preserves.  Certainly was a busy canning season last summer and we are enjoying the fruits of our labor this winter.

Ahhh.  The goat yoga pose again. Blackberry, in a sort of trance,  enjoying some of that warm winter sunshine.

Hey, Blackberry, anybody home?  Blink, blink.  Guess not.

Amy’s (the injured duck) enjoys the warm weather and her time in the water.  For those who have been following her saga – read about her story.

She still gets daily (sometimes twice) massages.  I am noticing a change in her body and the warm weather did help.  Seems like the sustained trauma was in the neck/wing area and every time I massage that area she gets worse for a bit and then she starts to look better.  I keep the massages short but thinking I should do it more frequently because it is seeming to help.  Notice this week. however, she’s scratching at her neck more.  Assuming this excessive scratching has something to do with tingling sensation that she’s feeling – healing perhaps.

I commented to Jordanne that it’s weird that she can bring her head all the way out and forward to drink like a normal duck and yet she still rather scrunch her neck when she walks.   She is a resilient one, I have to say, after what’s she’s been through!  Especially when we hadn’t a clue what was going on and second guessing ourselves all along the way.

Sprouting grains for the chickens and ducks.

With much of our greens from the garden going to the clients there’s little leftovers for the critters so during the “shortage of extra greens season” it’s time to get sproutin’

Jordanne packs for the upcoming trip and Cassidy wants to come along too!

With the warm weather the bees are out in droves and when afternoon sun hits the hives the intense, sweet aroma perfumes  the air.  Yum.

I am sitting on the back porch knitting (another hat which I plan on bartering for a whole load of nettle – more on what we are going to do with the nettle in a future post) and  Fairlight comes to check out what I’m doing

Then Blackberry wanders over… sniff, sniff…

“You got any of my favorite sycamore leaves?”  No, silly.


Wait a minute, it’s too early!

The warm weather is sure fooling a few of our fruit trees into blooming.  While other parts of the country may be in a deep freeze, we are enjoying unseasonably warm weather.  But, for how long?

An update on the weather.  It’s changing!

Chance of rain this week (update: it’s RAINING!) and more showers are expected for a better portion of next week.  Of course, we are thrilled with the rain chance – means that the master rainmaker Himself will be taking care of our garden while we are gone.

Of course, we are going to need more where that comes from.  So far this rainy season we got about  6″ inches and normal is about 19″ so we have a lot of catching up to do and only a few more months left.


I can just taste these melt in your mouth beauties with a meyer lemon and herb butter sauce.  MMMMMM

original fundraising ideas:: Field Hand Appreciation :: CD $5, CM $100 Thank you for your donation of support. Your tax deductible support will help us grow on to the next level.

Also thank you to S & EW $50 and thank you note which read:

“Dear Dervaes family,   We wanted to send a little thank you to help start the new year.  You’re an inspiration to us all.   Reading our posts online inspired us to work harder to be self-sufficient and gave us joy in what would have been a otherwise dark year.  THank you and here’s the new year!  B & S W”

Thank you B & S for your heartfelt letter.  Such words fill us with great joy and we are certainly touched.

Your contributions make possible hosting, technical and outreach support. They are very important for our survival.

We do have some exciting plans for our network of sites, outreach but we need your support more than ever,

To be honest, times are tough (our operating costs have increased) and, if we aren’t able to cover the outreach, we may have to make a few cut backs.

Imagine if every Freedom Gardener (6,000 +) or our 1,000 + daily readership to the blog donated just $1.00 we’d just have enough to cover 1 years worth of hosting.

Here’s how you can help.

Don’t forget, we are also offering Little Homestead in the City calendars.



  1. Ecologystudent says:

    I will admit that the prospect of growing my own avocados, oranges, lemons, limes and bananas has been a temptation- but I like it rainy and somehow I doubt I’d be able to afford the move.

    Love the pictures, and your goats sure do look pleased with life.

  2. Sarah says:

    As always, enjoyed all of your pictures. Wish we had warmer weather here in Indiana. I am going to start growing some of my garden plants inside my house soon, and hopefully next year have a small greenhouse that I can grow greens in all year, or at least MORE of the year!

    Love seeing content and happy animals too… 🙂

  3. Susan says:

    Great pictures! I love the pansies. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen red ones before. I’m also knitting at my desk on my lunch break, but I’d much rather be knitting with a cute little goat watching me!

  4. Gill says:

    I would love to know what’s in Justin’s bucket – it must be good stuff!

    Here in England we’re just beginning to emerge from the most snow since at least 1987.

  5. Mavis says:

    It’s amazing to me how much money people spend on having their hair “done”… It’s such a money saver to be able to cut your own family’s hair 🙂

  6. jengod says:

    Thanks guys. Can’t wait to hear more about the greywater project. Enjoy your trip!

  7. woodcutter says:

    Ahhh! I can not believe your pictures of the garden. Ours is under 2ft. of snow with lots more to come. We will not be putting anything in the ground until the middle of May. The frost just comes out of the ground in the middle of April. I guess your photos give me hope! Have a great day.

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