Living in Southern California, there’s not really much down time for us homesteaders-farmers.  Only one more month left in 2010 and already projects and plans are being hatched for 2011.

Jordanne & I are working on the middle bed room/turned craft room.  Trying to get a grip on organization and such (folks are always giving us fabrics and yarn… and books!).  Like to turn it into a music room too.

The other day we had another evening of music.  Sure wish I had taken pictures!  It was quite the quaint scene with two girls in the kitchen strumming away on banjo and guitar while apple butter bubbled on the stove top.  Oh, and not to mention chocolate cake!

Now that the whole backyard garden is protected in floating row cover the farming chores turn to pruning the fruit trees, finding places for some “homeless” edibles along with cleaning up dead underbrush and fallen leaves (turning that into next year’s soil)

In the barnyard, we are looking forward to adding to our chicken flock next spring.   The hardest part is which heritage breed to choose.    Chooks are like cookies, you can’t have just ONE!  We LIKE them all but, alas, can’t happen.  Should we get more Belgian banties or cochins?  What about some Barred Rocks, Wyndottes or Orphington.   Jeez, we are going to have to pick – eeny, meeny, miney moe!

The feral bee hive we saved from the Arroyo Seco is thriving and feasting on the flowering perennial basil, avocado and citrus.

We are pretty excited about the harvest totals this year.   Goes to show you that small spaces can be productive (and beautiful) if you grow the soil first!  I’m even amazed that after 10 years of intensive growing efforts continues to put out such high yields.  Sorta reminds me of the widow and the olive oil Bible story.    The earth gives back blessings with faith and hard work.

Here’s another round of snapshots from the urban homestead – enjoy!

Kumquats, can't wait till these babies ripen!

Micro greens


Watercress growing in hanging basket aquaponics system

Snow peas and blue skies

Estella who acts more like Charlie Chaplin

Can we join you up there?

Sleeping duck

Enjoying the morning sunshine

Rinsing clothes

Hung out to dry (yep, those be bloomers)

Nothing like the smell of sun dried laundry on a winter's day



  1. Jeni says:

    Oh how I love my morning routine of reading your blog:) It always keeps me motivated to try new things! And to also take more steps backwards:) I was wondering what do you guys use for laundry soap? I am really wanting to get into washing clothes by hand like you do and just haven’t found anything online I really trust.

    I can’t wait to see what little chicks you decide on…we to are adding to our flock this coming year:)

    • Anais says:

      @Jeni: Aw, that’s so sweet of you to say. Makes me motivated to post because sometimes I sit and the computer paralyzed because there’s so much and yet so little time. In fact, I was just thinking about that very thing. Stay tuned for Laundry on the Urban Homestead
      Me too! We are still deliberating 😉

      • Jeni says:

        @Anais, Ok sounds good:)

  2. girlinthepinkdress says:

    Oh…to see growing things! Love the pictures. Everything is all covered in snow here, and I am missing my plants so much.
    Funny, we’ve been planning here too, but mostly for next year’s garden.
    A post on laundry soap would be really interesting! Would like to know what you use.

    • Anais says:

      @girlinthepinkdress: Thanks! One of the downsides of living in So Cal is there no “downtime” with snow putting things on hold. No time to just sit … and wait patiently for Spring. We are working on a 3 or 4 part laundry post. So stay tuned!

      • Matt J says:

        @Anais, Sit and wait patiently till spring? No way! We’ll be planting in March again (under plastic). Until then we are working on firewood, pruning, composting, firewood, organizing the food storage, crafts, organizing the garage, and more firewood. Just because it’s dark and cold outside doesn’t mean we’re not busy. Trying to cram as much gardening in as we can in our short growing season means putting off some other duties till winter. The rest of us cold weather folks are jealous of your eternal growing season. Keep up the great work.

        • Dan Langhoff says:

          @Matt J, That’s great to hear matt that there are this to do that relate directly to gardening. I remember living in Oregon and I just pored over seed catalogs, but still managed to get outside to do something, anything in the garden. I would have gone stir crazy otherwise. But now, in Southern California, forget it, there is so much to do on a day-to-day basis in our “winter”. Sometimes I am as confused as the plants when we go from 45 degree temperatures to 80 degree days in the span of one week.

          • Anais says:

            @Dan Langhoff: Yep, So Cal winters certainly keep us on our toes. Pretty soon it will be time to start those tomatoes!

        • Anais says:

          @Matt J: OK so you got me! LOL

      • girlinthepinkdress says:

        @Anais, I agree with Matt J- because of the short growing season, we don’t do anything but gardening and preserving. Everything else gets shoved up to winter. I do set aside a fews days for planning though. And this past week we were forced to sit as the blizzards kept us in.

        • Anais says:

          @girlinthepinkdress: Sure, I understand that efforts are directed elsewhere. Guess I was trying to say there’s really no “time out time” for us. Where as in other parts of the country nature buts the garden to bed for you… here we grow 365 and it does keep a little tiresome. With it being mostly sunny sometimes inside activities are neglected. We just march to a tune of a different drum.

  3. elaine says:

    I always enjoy the beautiful pictures you take of everyday happenings, plants and animals on the homestead. The laundry on the line brought back memories of my mother’s clothes line filled with clothes drying in the wind and sun. The wonderful fragrance of sun and air dryed clothes is something you always remember!

  4. Dori says:

    I have bantams in my small backyard.But many of the bantam varieties are more for show than hunkering down and egg laying.I am wondering if you have any recommendations.Right now I am leaning towards the bantam brahmins.Thanks!

  5. CE says:

    One of my favorite things is going to bed on sundried sheets and smelling the fresh sunny sheets as I fall to sleep.

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