Lodge pole trellis

A warm tropical “pineapple express” has descended on the southland bringing showers and occasionally torrential downpours. Already by afternoon our rain gauge measured over 1″ of rain! The storm is expected to linger till tomorrow dumping more, much needed, rain.   Late Friday another storm is expected.

The lodge pole trellis structure that we constructed back in 2001 has finally been dismantled. Now that the concrete has been removed and there is more ground, the trellis looked out of place as if it were jammed toward the back of the property.   The guys carefully dismantled it.   It will now relocate it in a more centrally positioned area that will cover the broken concrete walkway that skirts along the perimeter of the garden.   The removal of the concrete has really played havoc with the set-up of the backyard. Now that we have ground in which to plant and erect structures, we are totally revamping the whole look of the backyard.   It’s a little sad to see, a bit of nostalgia. But good things are in store for the backyard and it will be neat to watch it slowly transform back into a paradise.

Also, with all the new things happening in the backyard, our harvest this year will probably suffer due to the redesign. That’s one of the reasons we put off taking out the concrete as we knew that our yearly 6,000lb harvest records would suffer. But there is a growing certainty that with the concrete out, in a year’s time we could match or beat this 3 ton record.


As you can see from our calendar our outreach program has been very, very quiet lately.   Much has to do with the weather being so unpredictable and our being so busy and a few other personal things that needed attention.   But this time off has allowed us to take a much needed breather and spend time to ourselves, allowing us to deepen our commitment to living a more sustainable life.

Last summer we introduced what we coined a “Self-Sufficiency Series” of events and workshops to help others gain the skills necessary to become independent. We invited skilled folks around the southland to put on workshops to share their skills with others.

We’d like to be host to this “SS” series again and much more, but, in a few months, we are faced with having to have a new roof put on our home. We pulled the permit in January and the city gives a 6 months time frame. Unfortunately, this coincides with the months that are ideal for community outreach programs held here at PTF.   Sure, we could find someplace else, but we are spoiled with the environment our facility provides, a far cry from a closed in conference room with AC and artificial lights.   It’s often remarked that our  homestead is like a different world, a peaceful place far from the maddening crowds.   We hope the construction won’t be too much of an incovenience which will allow us to plan for a series of events and workshops.  

I already have a full page chock-a-block full (2 columns) of events that we’d like to put on here at PTF.    We purchased a few new great documentary films (TBA) and are in negotiation to obtain a few more that are newly released.

Of course, we could, with our skills that we have gained over the years, host a variety of workshops from cooking with a solar oven, knitting, crocheting, using/making olive oil lamps, backyard chickens/ducks, soap making, candle making, gardening, beekeeping, biodiesel, seed saving, making a profit in your own backyard, and much much more.  

These past few months we’ve come up with many great ideas that PTF could be a part of, but juggling that aspect with life here on the homestead will be a certain challenge this year but a challenge worth tackling.   We may not be able to do all that we hoped, but all we can do is look forward.


We were invited to attend a screening of the End of Suburbia in Eagle Rock the evening of April 1st. Jules will be giving a power point presentation after the EOS film to give people solutions to the problems the film poses. The lady putting on the event was generous/kind enough to offer to pay and came up with a great arrangement that had never offered to us before.   She thought it would be great if folks attending could contribute towards a purchase of a sustainable project/item here on the homestead that would be used as an example for others who are interested in reducing their impact on the planet. So we gave her a list of things that would be a valuable addition to the urban homestead.

Firing up the cob

It was good to get back into using the cob oven. However, the cosmetic coat of plaster still needs to be fixed from the rain damage a few months back. Once the temperatures warm up we’ll get around to wetting the oven and giving it a good recoat of plaster.

I spent much of Monday afternoon baking (bread, granola, rice pudding, croutons and dinner rolls), finishing just before the rain drops started to fall. Nothing beats freshly baked bread from the oven with a smidgen
of butter. Yum!


  1. KJ says:

    Hello – I’m a new reader and I would enjoy seeing this documentary about you when it comes out, but what it is called? Sorry if you mentioned it already and I skipped over it.

  2. andrea says:

    hi ~ where is the april 1st screening going to be held? i’m very intersted in attending but couldn’t find any info about it by googling. thanks!

  3. Anais says:

    Hi KJ

    Welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

    The documentary will be called READY OR NOT?

    It won’t be available to the public for some time because it first has to make its rounds at certain film festivals.

    If and when it’s available we will keep you posted with details.

  4. Anais says:

    Hi Andrea

    This is a home sreening of the film. I have sent you the details in an email.

  5. Jeff says:

    First, do you have a listing somewhere of the films that you have shown over the years?

    And second, do you have a sketch of your place showing the layout of everything. I have a hard time visualizing how everything fits into that small space. It would also be helpful for those that are planning a similar effort to think about how the various functional spaces integrate.

  6. Anais says:

    Hi Jeff

    Thanks for your questions.

    Films we have show are:

    End of Suburbia
    Kilowatt Ours
    Greening of Cuba
    Fat of the Land
    Veggie Van
    French Fries to Go
    The Future of Food

    There is a “garden sketch” already on the site at located on the “Facts & Stats” page

  7. Jeff says:

    Thank you, Anais, for the film listing and for the great layouts. That is exactly what I was looking for.

  8. Anais says:

    Your welcome Jeff

    One note, these sketches are a bit outdated (2003) since then the concrete and driveway have been removed. 😉