Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and attend to your herdsProverbs 27:23-27

Dances With Goats

Fairlight’s (our dwarf Nigerian) picture is featured on aNigerian Dwarf Group which is maintained by these helpful folks   (take a look at thehelpful baby goats – sooo cute )

Speaking of baby goats, one day in the future we are going to have to think seriously about breeding our goats so we can eventually have some fresh goat’s milk. Right now, we are letting the goats enjoy their childhood.  There’s already a prospective beau line up for their “services,” sheesh ,their “dating” life is better than some people’s…

Blackberry & Fairlight checking out the living room

Who Let the Goats Out?

The goats (especially Fairlight) enjoy letting themselves in the house when someone forgets to close the backdoor. They like to explore all the rooms and act as if it’s their house, too.   Silly goats.

Even though Fairlight is 1 month younger than Blackberry she’s a head taller [because she’s a Nigerian (40 lbs 23″ tall ) and Blackberry is an ultra tiny African pygmy (25lbs and 13″ tall ]. She(Fairlight)is the ring leader and a little more mischievous and is the stubborn one of the two. They’ve learned commands like stay, down, let’s go, leave it, etc.

Blackberry is quick to obey the commands and loves to please; however, Fairlight is a little slower. Oh, sure, she’ll obey the command but in HER own time.   Fairlight has a bit of sass about her, hence we’ve added “Lady” Fairlight to her name.

(fyi: no, they don’t mess in the house; actually they are very, very clean animals and, so far, have had no accidents).

In the Kitchen

Now that the figs, blackberries, elderberries, peaches and apples are all done – eaten or preserved– now it’s guava time! We made delicious tropical guava syrup from strawberry guavas.

We are still harvesting a few blueberries and are pleased with the crop we got this year. Hopefully, the blueberries will continue to thrive and the harvest will increase over time.

Eventually, in the next few months, the perennial herbs will need to be cut down. So, before the onslaught of herbs, I am trying to see if we can find space to dry even more (away from the dusty roof work) than before (like to have extra to perhaps sell or give as gifts). Ever since I was a teenager I have been drawn to the healing power of herbs (every member of the family has his/her little niche and this happens to be mine). I practically read every herb book in the public library during my homeschool years.

This week I’ll be drying the berry leaves (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and elderberry) and peach leaves for teas that are beneficial for internal cleansing and woman’s health.   Our chaste tree is blooming and waiting on harvesting the berries.  

Jordanne’s ear infection lingers on from our return to the ravaged city ofNew Orleans (most likely bacteria caused from the mold/condition in the bathroom she was cleaning) last November, so with winter coming it’s a good idea to get that cleared up. Anyhow, with the stressful past few months, it’s about time for a good herbal detox.

So much to do! Makes our head spin (hurt) sometimes.

In the Garden

The garden is taking on a whole new look, it’s a new cycle/season here on the homestead. After having gardened on this place for over 15 years we still are learning to adapt to the changing landscape (edible landscaped since the early 90’s) as our garden matures. We have made many improvements in the backyard and there’s still more to be done and new techniques to try.   In some ways we are bit impatient and can’t wait till next Spring (to see if we can’t better ourselves) but are glad for the slowing down of the season and look forward to what this fall and winter will bring.

We have tons of saved seeds and over the winter will have to go through our stash of seeds that we’ve been collecting for about 5 years now. Many, many seeds were harvested, dried in paper bags and labeled (hopefully!) and are in need of sifting/winnowing and packing for later use.

Speaking of seeds, we were contacted by a fellow in Florida, who’s a plant breeder. He was interested in buying Mexicola Avocado seeds from us since he was unable to find anyone that was selling this variety. So far we’ve sold him 60 seeds and more to come! This is great -you eat the avocado and sell the seeds! We’ve also received a bunch of emails requesting chilacoyote seeds.  Justin has been wanting to get into the seed and plant business and this has been a good start… perhaps, one day, we’ll have a nursery similar to ourgreat, great grandparents.

The banana trees are setting fruit and there are a few pomegranates, too!

Water Wise

Until we are able to put in a gray water system, the guys severed the bathroom sink pipe. All water now drains into a 5 gallon bucket below the sink which can be used in the garden or to flush the toilet. Back in 1995, So Cal went through water restrictions because of a drought and I remember we would use a pitcher to take out the bathwater from the tub into 5 gallon buckets and haul them out in the garden. Now, the outdoor shower is a lot easier.

Around the Urban Homestead

Clementine, our bantam cochin, has gone broody – she’s all frazzled and very vocal (what we gals like to say is that she’s has a bad case of female hormones – yep, she’s got that wild look in her eyes, so watch out). Now, if she’d only decided to go broody in summer then she could have hatched some eggs for us. Well, we hope she has another case of broodiness come spring so that we can expand our flock.


A plate full of issues: Food expert tries to raise consciousness about what we eat {Post Gazette}

When Michael Pollan, author of this summer’s bestseller “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” criticized Whole Foods’ CEO John P. Mackey for importing out-of-season asparagus from halfway around the world instead of locally grown produce — a more energy-efficient and environmentally sound practice — Mr. Mackey decided, after a much-publicized Internet debate with Mr. Pollan, to start supporting local farmers in his stores.The number of food-related challenges is daunting, however, and most of them can be found on our nation’s farms, which have evolved from smaller, family-owned enterprises to vast corporate-owned entities, Ms. Reichl said.On a visit to a friend in drought-plagued South Dakota this summer, Ms. Reichl learned he was selling his ranch and “getting out,” like so many family farmers under pressure from developers and agribusiness interests. Suicide rates are climbing in rural areas and have been linked to the difficulties of making a living on the family farm.Then there are questions about the safety of genetically modified crops, which may contribute to narrowing biodiversity and encourage herbicide-resistant “superweeds” and the risks in eating food containing insecticides and foreign genes, she said. Farm fertilizer runoff from factory farms pollutes lakes and rivers. Biofuels made from crops may sound like a promising alternative to fossil fuels, but many small farmers suspect they’re a Trojan Horse for agribusiness interests that want to establish massive cooperatives growing Brazilian switchgrass and sugar cane to make biofuels while pushing out crops grown for food.
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Wildfires release 15 times more toxic mercury

New data suggest wildfires release 15 times more of the poisonous element into the air than previously thought, more than every U.S. coal-fired power plant combined. And those emissions could double again as the boreal forest grows hotter and drier.
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Drought may eclipse Dust Bowl

Global warming could — in the coming decades — bring Colorado and neighboring states 12-year droughts more severe than the 1930s-era Dust Bowl, says a study that Boulder scientist Martin Hoerling presented Tuesday.
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  1. James Newton says:

    I happend to see this on and thought you guys might be interested… It’s at least of interest to those of us who view coffee as a medical requirement rather than a recreational beverage.

    The unroasted coffee is a little less expensive but less available as well.

    Now, my understanding is that coffee plants require a minimum temperature of 65F, max of 70F, and can grow on trellises. I am not aware of anyone doing it in California, but it would be fun to try. They say it does best at high altitude, but coffee is being grown in Hawaii with some success. With the max yield being 800-1400 kg per hectare or 0.0163852915 pounds per square foot it would take 61 sqft to grow a pound each year. Not exactly cost effective, but fun to think about.

  2. Wildside says:

    Hi again! I was here yesterday simply smiling at your goofy house goats pics — and kept that smile until this AM… Thought I should let you know.

    Thanks for sharing the photos and stories of your charming urban animals as always! You prove it can be done.

  3. tara says:

    You’ve written a bit about installing a metal roof. Can you explain the benefits? (I tried to search your site for an earlier post, but all the links send you to the home page???)