AROUND THE URBAN HOMESTEAD

“Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
–Anne Dillard, The Writing Life

I was sitting in the living room adjusting, testing my camera when I snapped this photo.  No reason for it but it’s pretty.

All stained.  The new “was to be honey turned into garden shed” (made with old shutters from Habitat for Humanity salvage)

Head of cabbage

Winter garden partially  under covers

Signs of spring

Farmer David brought us these wonderful winter squash.  Thanks for sharing, looking forward to more baked squash!

Homemade no knead bread fresh out of the oven

A gift from Julia’s handy husband Gary.  We squealed with delight when we got the package!  Fits perfectly in our country kitchen.  LOVE IT.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Back side! Blackberry lounging in the sun.  I let her be, even though I had a strong urge to “tickle her backside!”

Ducks and goats in the animal yard.  The chickens?  They are hanging ’round the corner perched and preening on old chairs.

Another sign of spring. Peach blossoms

Potatoes

Loaded!  Incoming!  Bees packin’ pollen.

Jordanne making repairs while the goats watch.  Yeah, watching not even lending a hand or hoof.  What’s up guys?

Lucie moseys on over to see what all the fuss is about.

Eggs!  Molting season is over, more hours of day light so there’s eggs to be had.  Oh, and the lovely dishes there on the counter were all given to us – two by our dear friend Jenny (who moved to CT) and the rooster one from Sherilyn.

Farmer Justin works in the garden

I see if there’s any eggs in the nesting boxes

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

Now that you joined us on our recent travels time to get back into the swing of things happening here on the urban homestead.

Yeah!

Leaving for such a short time, the work never goes away just gets pushed back and then it hits you like a ton of bricks – “welcome home!” (a bit of sarcasm here)

The latest storm this week dropped another 1/2 inch of rain.   All we ask (pray for) is one small storm a week for the next few months.  That would be such a blessings.

The weather this week is actually mild – could winter be over? Guess I am done my knitting hats and scarves marathon.   Knitted enough to get us thru this winter and bartered to boot (I am expecting a load of nettles from Farmer Sergio…. soon).  So onto some different sorts of knitting projects. Hmmmmm

First, going to use up some of the scrap yarns to make a few hot water bottle covers.

For the life of me, Jordanne & I  wish we knew what the heck was wrong with Amy.  She’s better, mind you, but still scrunched like some tight rubberband is holding her neck down.  And then she goes into some sort of stretching conniptions that includes her left leg.  She has full neck function but it’s as if a nerve or tendon is pulled taunt that is keeping her head close to her body.   Darn if I know how to help her any more than I/we have.

One thing we did notice, after coming home, is that she is standing taller/straighter.   The change was noticeable so I guess that’s the good thing about going away.  You can get a better sense on things that, otherwise, you see every day.

Actually, in the morning I have to sometimes look twice to spot her among the others.  But, by afternoon she’s resting with her neck back and leg stretch out.  Jordanne reminds me that ducks especially are sensitive to pain – if something hurts just a little, they rather just “go lame,” looking worse then they actually are.

Sure wish we could just holler for someone like James Herriot (if they even exist anymore). That would be swell and an answer to a prayer just to see how things are going for her.

On the bright side, she’s happy and hanging with her pals – quack!

The DOA arrival fishes got recycled – fed to the duckies.  First time they ever saw a fish so they weren’t sure about ’em.  I watched for awhile but they didn’t gobble them up like I had anticipated.   Coming back a little later, I noticed the little fishes were gone, so suppose someone ate them.

The garden waits for no one – and, boy, do we have a LOT of catching up to do.   Spring is almost here and the planting fever is just about to hit.  I can feel it just simmering under the surface.

At one of the dinners at the EcoFarm Conference, Farmer Sergio commented that it’s just about time to start planting tomatoes.  I almost dropped my fork.  “****crap, already!”   Just then, I felt that winter didn’t last long enough… or maybe not.

Justin is savoring the seeds he got at the seed exchange at the EcoFarm Conference and, boy, did he/we pick up a few beauties.

Just remember to not drool all over your keyboard – promise?

Like this one

and this one

or this one

Projects, projects, projects.  I am not one for cloning but when the projects start to pile up, that doesn’t seem such a bad idea.  Other than get hitched to someone who has kids or sprout limbs (is there a pill for that yet?) Hanging around farmers, I learned one thing – you got a have/keep a sense of humor; otherwise, you are toast!

Sunday it was “all hands on deck” here at the urban homestead doing some outside cleaning projects.  Just like keeping a a home clean, the outside requires the same bit of attention.  More so since we are in the city with neighbors.  Jordanne did a bit of repairing to the animal yard while I “mucked” out the duck and chicken house.  Justin and Farmer D were busy with all sorts of projects – moving dirt, plants, digging here, digging there.

Weather forecast has it that two storms are going to bring us some more rain by (possibly) mid week.

In other news…

Jordanne is busting her butt trying to get the new blog up  – it’s going to be so sweet.  After eight years of blogging, this is going to be the best blog yet.   You are gonna to love it, I just know it.

So, please give Jordanne some moral support or a bar of chocolate.  Working with computers is a thankless job which can make the sanest person insane and in much need of caffeine, chocolate or a hug!

Now, in the foreseable future, to get to all those great questions you asked while we were out of town.  Those of you whose questions we do answer will get you 15% off either PeddlersWagon.com or FreedomSeeds.org

Oh, and there’s some weekly meal wrap ups too and also writing about the downside of the urban farming/homesteading movement.  Yep, seems some folks aren’t taking into account one of the major elements of URBAN HOMESTEADING (“Be a good neighbor”) and they are now meeting with opposition from neighbors.

Comments(15)

  1. jengod says:

    Great to see you guys posting again. So excited for later this week when we get the second big El Nino storm system of the year.

    Regarding the “good neighbor” part of homesteading, I was just researching the demise of the Integral Urban House (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Urban_House) and apparently one of the issues that led to its demise was, “For one thing, the whole building smelled like the composting toilet.” (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/01/17/HOGF349D811.DTL) That’ll get you every time.

    Anyway, I’m glad I had a chance to clean up the front yard this weekend!

  2. thyhandhathprovided says:

    Thanks for the initial quote, I may have to add it to our blog- it really sums up how we feel, too. Also, your pictures of your garden are gorgeous- I miss seeing green in our garden- ours is currently covered underneath 6 inches of snow. It sounds like you have a lot going on, so get back to work!

  3. Jane says:

    I really love reading about all the wonderful things you do, and i get excited when there is a new post. But I am quite confused about the fish farming. Now I know you are vegetarian, which means abstaining from all flesh. Justin commented that the fish should not be named due to the fact someone has to kill them. This is not a practice of a vegetarian. Now for the sake of argument, lets say you are going to eat or sell the fish. There is nothing sustainable about fish farming. It has been proven farm raised fish lack the nutrition of wild fish,not to mention farmed fish are often affected by viruses and bacteria due to the confined living space. I could go on about how un-sustainable fish farming is, but I would like to know why you have chosen project.

  4. Chiot's Run says:

    The first picture reminds me of Little House on the Prairie. Ma always had her little shepherdess she put up on the shelf.

  5. 1916home.net says:

    Love the no knead bread! Are you using a heavy cast iron pot to bake your bread inside the oven? Ive tried it (from the NYT) and it has come out excellent! The heavy pot with lid helps trap in moisture giving you a very delicate, soft and moist bread center with a hard outer crust.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

  6. Janice says:

    gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous! the last pic before the lovely bean pics, is that really your hen house??? Oh my! That is adorable!!!

  7. Heather says:

    The beans are gorgeous!

    Why does everything have a reflection in the mirror (first picture) except the green candle?

  8. kitsapFG says:

    Fun pictures! Welcome back. I imagine the homestead and the critters are glad to see you return.

    I hope Amy continues to improve. Spring is no time to be kinked up!

  9. Cena says:

    The first picture reminded me of Ma and her china shepherdess also! The beans look enticing. I love to grow Christmas Lima, and I want to get another fun one to add to the bean collection. Our best and most prolific crop came from grocery store dry kidney beans. They were excellent as green snap beans. And we make the no knead too, my families favorite. Welcome home, and Happy groundhogs Day. We celebrate by getting new underwear and socks, I’m not sure why. Traditions are fun though. Gotta go wrap undies.

  10. theherbalkitty says:

    Hi, Anais,
    I don’t know if any of her books will help with Amy’s condition or not. But I have recently used one of them for a rabbit who was having some kidney problems and I am amazed at the results. Her name is Juliette de Bairacli Levy–or Juliette of the Herbs (either one googled will bring you to info on her). Juliette passed away in May 2009 at the age of 96. She went to college in the early 1900’s to study veterinary medicine and was so disenchanted with modern medicine with it’s “poisons” and “chemicals” that “didn’t teach her how to heal the animals at all”, that she took to the road and followed the gypsies and learned their medicine instead. She has pioneered natural rearing for animals and has written many books. If you don’t already have them, I would highly recommend both “The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Farm and Stable” and “The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat”. Both have proved to be invaluable for me. She highly recommends a more natural diet for the animals and on my fledgling homestead in Northeastern CT, I have slowly been incorporating this practice with my animals (right now, dogs, cats & rabbits). Some things, well, I live in a more populated area than Juliette so allowing my dogs to catch their own supper isn’t exactly practical but it’s easy enough to ad lib for the suburban homestead. There is also a DVD entitled “Juliette of the Herbs” that is a fascinating interview and autobiography of Juliette.
    As for Amy, have you heard of something called Tellington Touch? I haven’t used it myself but have heard good things about it. In fact, I’m considering adding it as a course of study as I already do Reiki and Reflexology and it seems to be closely related. I don’t know what the fees would be but maybe you could google to find a practitioner in your area.
    Either way, best of luck to you and Amy; I’ve been following her progress via your website. It is great to hear she is improving!

    The Herbal Kitty

  11. Anais says:

    test

  12. Alice says:

    Love your posts as always. Could you send some of the rain my way? Being in the NW we are missing all the wet stuff. We have had some snow but far less than we should. It could make for a long dry, fire season in the summer. Poor Amy wish she could just get better. I am getting the baby chick fever. One month until they are in the Ag centers here. Thinking about ducks too. I will have to start plants soon for garden. We have a very short season here so have to start all I can. I know when the snow (what we have) goes the yard will need a good clean up. Where does all that stuff come from anyway. Joining you in the spring fever. If you ever run out of things to do I could use your help. You are so lucky that everyone there can help on the stead. Wish I had help here just takes longer for one person to do things.

  13. Diana says:

    I would love some feedback from anyone with my situation. I live on a farm in Ohio with approx 200+ acres and a large garden area. Our main production is apples. I am overwhelmed with what to do with so much space. I would love to be as self sufficient as possible and welcome any advice.

  14. Susan says:

    Sure wish I could BUY one of those ORGANIC signs! He needs to sell those….too cute!! They would be a hit! 🙂
    SUSAN

  15. Kaisenji says:

    Oh it is so wonderful to see your place trucking along even in our weird winters. The rain today is making the yard a mess but I know the weeds aren’t going to get far if they make it at all thanks to the chickens! Alas, a head cold and arthritis is making me slow this weekend or I’d be outside like you guys pruning the fruit trees and picking out big branches to use as stakes for beans/peas. This year I have plans to tear down an old shed to make a small barn/shed for goats, etc. How are the bees working out? Also your cob oven inspires me! Happy planting!

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