What a difference a week makes! Fall weather has once again descended on the Southland.   One week we are sweltering and the next cool, overcast and DRIZZLE?
Oh, but this cooling trend won’t last long. Next week a Santa Anna is expected to blow in drying everything out and bringing hot temperatures.   This up-down rollercoaster weather pattern has been prevalent throughout the year. Very strange how it flip-flops around from one extreme to the other in a matter of weeks and even a day or two. Hey, this is Southern California, there isn’t suppose to be any weather.

So today it’s on with the light sweater and next week the sweater will be back in the closet.

Unfortunately, we were so busy helping a friend move last night that we didn’t get a chance to catch the weather about the chance of drizzle this morning (and again tomorrow) so didn’t have a chance to prepare and tarp the plywood. Hopefully it’s not too bad.

Looking Back

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.~ Theodore Roosevelt ~

My, how times flies, especially this year.   Plans, plans, plans.  We started out the year with lots of Big P’s (plans). Like putting in the compost toilet, hatching bantam chickens and ducks to increase our flock, putting in the greywater system, etc., etc.. Well, things don’t always turn out as planned and right now it wouldn’t be prudent to tackle such projects when there’s a big job that needs to be finished – the roof!   Every day, we plod onwards, keep moving forward on the path of active change as we try live an conscious, low impact, self sufficient life. Some days we are successful and some days we aren’t. Sure we fail and falter sometimes but a least we are on the journey and that’s what counts.

Trying to remain true to the urban pioneer spirit by doing things ourselves, that means things take much longer than using the yellow pages for help.

Besides the “Water & Waste” projects that have been our mantra for ’06 and we’ve faced the fact that we’ve “come up short.”   We thought we could complete all these projects this year, but because we’ve tackled more than we can handle this year — like the compost toilet (not yet installed), the grey water pond/bed (started), rain catchment/harvesting (taken the first step by puttin’ on a metal roof, next gutter and finally looking for compact, “box/rectangle” cisterns — round takes up too much valuable space on our small property), it looks like the projects will carry over into ’07.   

However, it’s good to go over projects that we have accomplished this year…

A quick overview:
1. two goats
2. revamped outdoor sun shower
3. removed 20′ x 30′ concrete slab in backyard
4. expanded the animal enclosure
5. started the grey water area
6. built a garden and feed shed (with reclaimed wood siding) what would we do
without it?
7. clay pot irrigation (great water saver)
8. redesigned backyard garden (still needs tweaking)
9. more preservation of the harvest (three shelves full!)
10. weekly bread baking (one less store bought item)
11. joined a co-op (hooray for bulk foods)
12. winemaking
13. new website – part 1 (part 2 still to come)
14. video brochure
15. unplugged the kitchen (down to only one plug in appliance – energy efficient
16. powering down
17. energy & water conservation
18. roofing – removed 7 tons of asphalt shingles, etc
19. made a permeable patio in front of garage
20. acquired some new clients for our produce
21. candlemaking
22. expanded back bathroom for compost toilet
23. moved/redesigned lodgepole arbor/trellis
24. built a bamboo fenceline trellis

and hopefully by year’s end…25. metal roof26. wood stove27. bike blender. awaiting new ( not yet unveiled ) prototype fromNate 

Bike Repairs

We received theflatbed cargo trailer last week! Now we can pick up our bulk co-op food, deliver more of our clients orders, and take the goats to the park.

With our bikes being over 10 years old it takes work and tlc to keep them in running order. Justin has a passion for bikes. He’s been repairing and fixing bikes since he was a teenager. The cellar is full of bike parts of every shape and size to can. Justin is known far and wide with the folks in the neighborhood, especially in the summer time when kids come to the house and yell “Justin” and then ask if he could patch or pump flat tires, fix brakes, handlebars, warped wheels – what have you. Most of the time the payment is asking the kids to say “please” and “thank you” (making it a point to teach politeness, common courtesy and manners to kids when this sort of language is so strange to them) .

Whatever is wrong with a bike Justin (and even Jordanne) can fix it.   Jules has taught us that it’s not about buying something new (that’s an easy way), skill and character come in keeping something old and maintaining it so it can last for years.   With so much “throw-away” in our society these days, it’s been a valuable lesson.

So if you are ever in the neighborhood and get a flat tire or need something adjusted – just give Justin a holler.

No Comments

  1. Nancy Kelly says:

    What a long list of accomplishments! Do you folks ever rest? You should be so proud of what you have done.

    I admire your commitment and your focus on your purpose so much. (Also your energy!)


  2. Wendy says:

    I think what you’ve done is amazing, and even if you didn’t achieve all of your goals, it’s just like you said, at least you are on the journey, and that’s what counts :).