‘The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too.’ – Luther Standing Bear

Mixed edible flower boxes, meyer lemons

Winter Garden

With the holiday’s approaching our orders for mixed edible flower boxes pick up. Our clients like using the herbs and flowers to decorate their dishes and food platters.
Winter time for us locavores means citrus time in So Cal – sunshine and oranges (sorry for making many of you folks jealous this morning).

Keeping Warm

Now that most of the country has been touched by winter-like weather. What’s your “power-down” tip for keeping warm?

Here on the urban homestead we don’t ( & never had) have central heat (no we haven’t used our new wood stove yet but we will soon) here are some heating suggestions:

1. it’s all about layers (socks, leggings, scarf, extra sweater, hat, gloves)
2. sleeping bags (for those really chilly nights throw a sleeping bag on top of your bed covers – does the trick!)
3. hot water bottle (or warm up bricks (?) like Laura Ingalls use to do to put at the foot of the bed to warm those tootsies)
4. do physical work outside and when you get inside it feels much warmer
5. let the sun shine in – open blinds, curtains
6. hot drinks (tea, hot cocoa)
7. bake bread (nothing beats a warm kitchen with the smell of freshly baking bread)
9. lap blanket
10. secure windows, prevent drafts etc.
11. housecleaning – that gets the blood moving
Of course this list needs to be adjusted depending on what part of the country you live in.


Surprise: Not-so-glamorous conservation works best {CSM}

…When high school science teacher Ray Janke bought a home in Chicopee, Mass., he decided to see how much he could save on his electric bill. He exchanged incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents, put switches and surge protectors on his electronic equipment to reduce the “phantom load” – the trickle consumption even when electronic equipment is off – and bought energy-efficient appliances. Two things happened: He saw a two-thirds reduction in his electric bill, and he found himself under audit by Mass Electric. The company thought he’d tampered with his meter. “They couldn’t believe I was using so little,” he says.
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  1. Stephanie Griffith says:

    Hi Guys. I like your tips for keeping warm. Of course up here in Minnesota we have to have the heat on, but every little bit helps. One thing I am considering making for our house is insulated curtains to keep out the draft. I am also thinking of making one of those rolls you stick in front of the closed door to keep the draft out.

  2. Teri Pittman says:

    We are living in an unheated trailer in the Washington state Cascades. (We’re not crazy–just didn’t move up here in time to build the porch for the woodstove.)So here’s a few more:
    Sleeping toques–we both wear knit caps to bed, along with thermals. It’s important in winter to keep your midsection, head, hands and feet well covered.
    Shawls–I like knitting shawls and I can’t imagine going through winter without one. I can sleep under my biggest one. I have some short shawls to wear in the front of the trailer, where there are a few drafts by the door.
    Cardboard–for other trailer dwellers, you can use cardboard on the floor for additional insulation. We wintered in Spokane, WA one year and put about six inches of it on the floor.
    Wool clothing–wool is insulating even when wet. Make one of your layers wool if you can. Cotton, on the other hand, has NO insulating value. A sweatshirt will not keep you warm.
    Fuel up–if you live in a cold climate, breakfast is a very good idea. It’s hard to stay warm when you don’t have any fuel to burn.
    Hope to have that stove in place in the next week or two. The stove burner does warm things up, but nothing beats wood heat.