Hi readers,

It’s been awhile since my last post. The reason was we went to New Orleans to volunteer ourselves to assist friends and relatives whose homes were devastated by the “man made disaster” that contributed to the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. I will post soon about our experience there.

We just got home today and are settling in. Sadly, on arriving home this morning, we found our bantam hen, Peggotty, had passed away in her sleep last night. We had known for about a week or so that her time here on the homestead was short.   We shall miss her.   

Our flock is slowly shrinking due to old age. We’ll have to decide come Spring if we want to bring in some new baby chicks. Right now we aren’t quite sure if we will still be living here – there’s only so much one can do (and take) in this urban environment.   We shall see, taking it one step at a time.

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  1. Jamie says:

    I’m glas you made it home saftely from your travels :)However I am saddened to hear of Peggoty poor chick…like so many before her I know she was well loved on your “farm”. I am suprised though that you’ve lost so much of your flock over the few years..I have read that chickens live to be 5-10 years ? Do bantys have a short life span or just luck of the draw ? We will hopefully see you soon..might ditch the boys and visit you at the knit out !

  2. Anais says:

    Hi Jamie

    We are not surprised at all, the chickens passed away of natural causes – peacefully in their sleep. Up till the day they died they were healthy – eating and mingling amongst the other chickens.

    Bantams chickens do have shorter lifespans that regular chickens. Those that passed away this year were nearing 4 years old.

    They were all well taken care of, given the best food and environment. One visitor that came over recently was even surprised that our chickens were even still alive at such an age.

    So I think we (Jordanne) did pretty well and keeping them alive so long.

    If we had to get bantam chickens again we’d definitely not choose rhode island reds and would not purchase them from Murray McMurray. This company is too large to choose the best runs and the rhode islands are notorious for being inbred.

    So we’ve learned a few things – don’t purchase from large hatcheries and look into finding breeds that have not been interbred (heirloom )

  3. chris brandow says:

    I am glad that you are back from NO, I am sure that your notes from that trip will be interesting, to say the least.

    wow, “not sure how long you will stay in the urban setting?” I am sure that you must be considering the amount of land you could afford elsewhere, given Pasadena property values.

  4. Michele says:

    What kind of things are you “taking” right now? As someone who has been inspired by your story and is in the process of tearing up lawn for veggies, I wonder if there are hassles with neighbors, code enforcement, etc. Hang in there. What you have done and are doing is amazing!

  5. Anais says:

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for the welcome back. It’s good to be home.

    The housing prices here (even our neighborhood) is ridiculous! Lucky for us Jules purchased the house nearly 20 years ago. These days we couldn’t buy our fixer upper house!

    One day I (we) like to move on. One can only accomplish so much in an urban environment. Being raised in the country on 10 acres one feels a little closed in sometimes.

  6. Anais says:

    Hi Michele

    Thank you for your comment. We are glad our journey has been an inspiration to you.

    Oh, no — sorry if that’s what my comment implied. We have absolutely NO PROBLEMS with neighbors, code, the city — etc, etc.

    It’s just that sometimes one feels the need to move onto better things/place.

    I don’t know if and when it will happen, but one always need to look forward and be prepared to take the opportunity if it so arises.

    I miss living in the country, would like to have more animals ( a REAL farm) and more acreage to grow more food. A dream, that I hope will come true one day.

    Like to say again, that everything is fine here on the homestead (except for ordinary obstacles. I grew up on 10 acres and sometimes the city life gets hard to “take” at times.

  7. nulinegvgv says:


    glad to hear you traveled safely and sad to hear about your bantam. if/when you do move might you document the transition and the farm setup in much the same way as you’ve done with your urban homestead? i hope you’ll consider it.

    thanks for your work. i commend you.

  8. Nancy Kelly says:

    I am glad you are home safe and sound and busy!

    I so understand you must get heartsore sometimes living in LA, when sometimes the most beauiful days are just a little brown with smog and smell a little funny. Because Phoenix is like that and I am heartsick sometimes for crisp fresh air.

    But maybe you are needed there more. Do you guys go through all those dilemmas about where you could do the most good? You know what I think would be a challenge is modeling organic farming, not in someplace like Oregon or California, but someplace like Iowa or Nebraska where (I imagine) it is believed that a living cannot be made by farming except through spraying tons of pesticides.

    Anyway I echo the comment above, if and when you make the transition, your fans will want to hear about it!

    PS, I have wondered about what you mean by one of the things listed in the “past steps” column – “unschooling”? Curious about whether that is like “home schooling”?

    Take care! Nancy

  9. Anais says:

    Greetings Nancy

    Thanks for the warm welcome back.

    It’s true that there is certainly a dilemma – people like you or us are needed in an urban environment to set an example to be becons amongst the darkness (or smog).

    However, seeing first hand the devastation and every day situations of pre-Katrina New Orleans has certainly given us an eye opening experience what things could be like if any type of diaster (man or nature made) was to affect a metropolitan area.

    We have also dreamed going back to the land, living off the land yet instead of waiting around we decided to take this opportunity to learn necessary skills that would help us learn to survive – doing what we could with what we had right now.

    So we are/will continue to walk the path wherever it may lead.

    Now to your question on unschooling. For years we were homeschooled through a correspondence course which provided books and curriculum and were given tests which were sent in and graded.

    After awhile it got pretty expense to have four kids homeshooled. So for the rest of our education we were unshooled.

    There are websites now dedicated to this form of eduation ( & )

  10. Melinda says:

    Hi Anais,

    When we were there on Tuesday, I had no idea you had just lost Peggoty – my condolences to Jordanne!

    Very interesting to hear your thoughts about your vist to New Orleans. It does kind of put everything in a different perspective, doesn’t it? It’s great that you were able to help some of the people in need.

    Wonderful to experience your path vicariously – thanks for letting us all be a part of your lives and path….

  11. Anais says:

    Hi Melinda

    Thank you for your expressed sympathy regarding Peggotty’s passing.

    We are certainly blessed that we are able to share our path with others.

    Looking forward to being a part of your film project.