Blow out another candle!

Today will be just another day here on the urban homestead with chores, gardening tasks, preserving and harvesting to do.

But it’s not just a regular ol day.  Today is a special, slightly sentimental, day here on the urban homestead.  Though momentous in a way I am going to keep this entry short and sweet.

Can you believe that it’s been eight years since the first entry was written here at LHITC on July 16, 2001

(Just to clarify PTF has been online since 1999 and in 2000 started featuring the best agriculture, environmental and sustainable opinions, stories, links and news of the day but the actual online documentation of our personal journey to live a more self reliant life here in the city came a year later).

That makes LHITC almost as old as Google (by a few), older than Myspace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Like Ma Ingalls would say “Gracious!”  (or at least I think she said that)

With encouragement from Farmer D, I started documenting our family’s urban homesteading journey before there was even blogs (or the word “blog”in the vocabulary)   Back in the days, everything was done manually with prehistoric html coding.  I cringe each time I remember the barbaric conniptions we had to go through to archive entries.

After the GMO contamination back in 2000 we were upset/angry and Farmer D proposed we protest not on the streets (there was a big rally down in San Diego) but by living a revolution.   I remember thinking to myself “I’ve been living like this my whole life, who’d be interested in our gardening adventures, low impact lifestyle habits, etc would we really make any waves.” Why not just pick up a sign?”

Well, so much for my doubts.

For awhile it was lonely, being the first urban homesteading site/blog on the internet, there really wasn’t a roadmap or other examples.  But no longer!  These last few years we’ve seen a surge of urbanites striving to live a more sustainable, self reliant life.

By throwing out one little pebble, we can now see evidence of the huge influence LHITC has had on the urban sustainability movement.

Ok, I said I was going to keep it short, so….

I could rundown a a couple dozen, or more,  LHITC hightlights from these past eight years but haven’t a clue where to start – there’s just too many.

Instead, I am going to make two wishes.

One,  I am going to turn the tables this birthday put the spotlight on you our readers.  This time I am going to step back and let you tell us what your favorite post, part or how long you’ve actually been visiting us.  Lurkers are encouraged, to well, no longer lurk.

We’d like to improve and do a few upgrades to the journal this year with easier search features, even an entire photo gallery.

And here’s where my second wish comes in.    If this site has helped inspire you to not forget that PTF and LHITC could use your continued support so that we can be here another year and the year after that.

It’s been an amazing journey, one we couldn’t have done without the help and support from our readers.


  1. Cindie K. says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary!!! Your journal has been so inspiring to me for the year and a half that I have been reading it. We did not put in a garden this year, and as I read about the development and harvesting of yours, I experience vicariously the joy of growing one’s own food. Your daily entries remain a part of my daily rituals. Thank you for all you do!!!!

  2. Tracy says:

    Well happy birthday/anniversary!! I’ve been reading for almost as long as I’ve been gardening, so maybe 5 years? It’s been really wonderful and inspiring to see how you incorporate so many edibles into a beautiful yard. In fact, I’ve been inspired to do the same in my garden and we’re already reaping the rewards with zucchini, strawberries, cucumbers, and many herbs. I just wish we could garden year round here!

    Congrats on another successful year! Keep up the great work.

  3. Djuna says:

    Congrats! I am a newbie to visiting your blog; I found it maybe a month and a half ago. I love reading about the current happenings, it always fills me with an industrious satisfaction and excitement to get home from work so I can get back to my own homesteading!

  4. Candace says:

    You deserve all of the praise you get and more as you are an inspiration to so many people, including myself. I don’t remember how I found you, but I have been reading your blog for a few months. I have attempted to grow a garden in my back yard for several years without great results, due to lack of adequate sunlight. My neighbors’ yards on both sides of my house are filled with huge oaks and pine trees, so I virtually have no control over the situation. I was getting so frustrated with everything that my husband and I actually started looking for a new house. Even though I love my home and didn’t want to move, I was willing to sell it and move to get a better garden. My lightbulb moment was realizing I could use a part of my front yard (even most of my front yard is shaded most of the day, once again, the neighbors) and your website turned on the light for me. Unfortunately, the lightbulb moment came too late for spring planting, but we have mapped out several beds and I do plan to use them for some fall gardening, and then use them full force next year.

    Other things I’ve accomplished this year for which I am very proud and to which you contributed is becoming the owner of two chickens, looking around me in nature for foraging opportunities, and preserving everything I can get my hands on. This year I picked 14 lbs of wild blackberries and now know the location of a wild untended fig tree. I can’t wait for the figs to ripen.

    My suggestion is the photo gallery.

    I have a wish list for the peddler’s wagon and my b-day is upcoming, so hopefully I can order some things soon.

    Thanks so much for helping me see the light!

  5. Di says:

    I don’t have ONE favorite post, the whole blog and websites and sister site (FG) is just too much to pick ONE. My favorite thing about the blog is the photo’s of the garden. Seeing the seasons change and what you achieve. Especially considering I’m not that far away in Simi Valley and would love to harvest as much as you guys, but slow and steady wins the race!
    Thanks for EVERYTHING you do, and for being such an inspiration!

  6. ~~Melissa says:

    Cheers for all of you. You’ve certainly given me oodles of inspiration. I’ve been coming here since your very early days when my internet connection acted more like a coat hanger with a hand crank. It’s been wonderful to see your message flow across this big, old world.

    This is for Jordanne (don’t show the goats or who knows what will happen next):
    “goats sheep surfing”

  7. Deb Pun Discoe says:

    Aloha from Hawaii! Happy Anniversary ~ Hau`oli la Ho’omana’o! My favorite post was June 9, 2008 “Citified Farm Animals” where you treated Sairey Gamp for bumble foot using items found in most household: apple cider vinegar, epsom salt soak, neosporin ointment. Your post gave me guidance (& hope) treating my lil Buff Orpington who had bumble foot in March 2009. I added tea tree oil with the epsom salt foot soak and change her dressing daily for three weeks. Thanks for posting useful info on treating animals. My husband and I are champions for “food not lawns.”

  8. Val says:

    I had heard about this family a year or so ago that grew all of their food on their own place in Pasadena…..I did not know you had a website until I ran across an article about the Dervaes Family in an issue of Mother Earth News this spring.
    Loved the photos of the gardens, and gave me the needed boost/inspiration and direction to take my garden from a good garden to an ever loving high producing garden and convert one more area from lawn to food. I owe that inspiration to you the Dervaes Family.
    You have taught me to really look at space differently in the square inch gardening section.
    What else….gees I could go on and on. Your site and knowledge I am sure has spurred on many an Urban Farmer…always wanting to do it, just needed the guidance.
    Farmer D, Farmess A, Farmer J and Farmess J YOU ALL ROCK!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LHITC!!!!

  9. Isabel says:

    Congratulations on your “blog” anniversary. I can honestly tell you that you guys have changed so many aspects of how I do things on a daily basis. First, I have to tell you that I grew up in a third world country, where many things are done in “homestead” style out of sheer necesity. My family owned a comerical micro farm for many years, where I spent many of my weekends and HATED it (if only I knew then). I grew up wanting everything that modern life gives and I didn’t have in a third world country. I married an American and moved to the states and embraced everything that was contrary to my upbringing (with the exception of morals). I fell in love with electric appliances, many trips in the car, super stores, and “made in anywhere” things that allowed me to live my life surrounded by stuff. As time went on, I became more aware of the harmful effects of my lifestyle, but didnt really know how to change it, and when I did, I thought that living a sustainable life was only for the “well to do” who could afford the costly green products. I even tried to garden, only to run away from the weeds. However, since I found your website last fall, I have been able to make so many changes that have been inspired on seeing how it can be done, so well, and so frugally. I have since sucessfully developed a sizeable garden, which I am planning on extending through the NorthEast winter; have returned to making most meals at home, including ice creams and breads; have developed a system for drying clothes outside and washing some by hand; traditional and vermi-composting; growing only eadible folwers in addition to vegetables; sawing; solar drying of food; decreased paper products usage to bear necesity; bartering; have developed gardens for 2 of my neighbors to get them started on growing their own food; growing food trees in containers; buying rabbits; etc. The funny thing is that I am not even a home-owner; we are homestead renters who are trying to keep the limitations from becoming obstacles and roadblocks. Again, you have been a great inspiration in helping me put all of this in motion and going from wanting to doing, even when I work outside the home, rent and live in the cold north-east. The homegrown movie is being screened in the RI film festival and I can’t wait to see it next month.

    Thanks and best wishes…..begginer farmer I.

  10. Dirtlover says:

    I just love reading your blog, and have REALLY enjoyed the FG community!!
    Happy Anniversary!!
    AKA Dirtlover on FG

  11. Mary Hysong says:

    I’m really not sure how long I’ve been reading LHITC, but probably 7 or more years.I love the pics of your garden and would love to see more about how it is layed out, how you plan successions et. I want a close up shot of how your tomato trellis is put together. I want to see more details / plans on how your earth oven is put together [like the firebox & smokestack, et] When ever things are feeling impossible around here I am newly inspired by your latest entry & photos. this year you have really inspired me to get back to where I was when I lived in TX, producing most of my own food. Dairy animals will have to wait until I can afford predator proof fencing of a larger area, but in the meantime there are chickens & rabbits and a whole lot of food. Yet as I look around my yard and compare to yours I realize I have not yet begun to max out the potential of the space I have to work with.

    Keep up the good work! As Dr. Deepak Chopra said “The choices you make today will ripple through a thousand tomorrows.” I’m so glad you made the choice to ‘go public’!

  12. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday, PTF! I’ve been a reader for a couple of years – since 2006 or so. I found your site while researching “small” homesteads. I live on a quarter acre suburb lot in southern Maine, and my husband and I had never planned to make this our permanent home, but a series of events made us finally realize that moving wasn’t going to be an option for us. We knew that if we really were going to be self-sufficient, even partially, it would have to be done right where we were.

    I was pretty convinced that it could be done – that we could be mostly self-sufficient – even on as small a piece of land as we have, and so I started searching the Internet, because I wanted to see if anyone else had been successful at homesteading such a small lot.

    I found you :), and it was because of you that I have come as far as I have with my homesteading efforts. You gave me the inspiration to give it a try, because even though I was sure it could be done, everyone else I knew told me, in not so many words, that it was impossible. Most felt I was a little crazy and that I would just end up disappointed.

    The best part, however, has been my husband’s 180. When I first started making big changes, he wasn’t very supportive. Then, when I started making those changes without spending any money, and those changes actually us SAVED money, he really jumped on board with me.

    Now, the company he works for is in “flux.” His salary has been reduced by 25%, and we currently do not have health insurance. But it’s not a big deal, because we’ve learned to live with less money.

    And it’s all because I found the Little Homestead in the City and decided to create my own nanofarm on the other side of the continent ;).

    Thanks for your guidance and inspiration!

  13. ce says:

    Congratulations on your longevity. I have enjoyed seeing your progress since I found your site. It is nice to know that others are living a life of choices rather than just following the herd.
    I recently read an online article about your project and it was written in the UK. In it Jules stated that you are looking for land and are concerned about water. Have you considered the maritime pacific northwest? Look around Centralia. There is proximity to market, an abundance of rain and land. Happy hunting.

  14. loïse says:

    Hello. I found your site about 1-2 years ago and visit almost every day. We are a frugal family, three generations living in one house, trying to be as selfsufficient as possible by growing all of our own vegetables and more. But since you are some steps ahead of us, we’re learning from what you’re doing. So, thanks for this lovely site and all the information you’re giving us.
    Greetings from The Netherlands

  15. DoubleD says:

    No single entry to point to with fondness… it’s all pretty dang good and topical to my interests. I do love the garden updates via photos.

    Happy anniversary and keep up the good work!

  16. Qian says:

    Congratulations! A friend in Berkeley just this week linked me to your blog. I’m a young composer and activist in the transgender and queer communities and am recently considering alternatives to the artist’s day job.

    I’m much encouraged by your successes. Thank you.


  17. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    Happy Birthday to LHITC!!!

    I’m not sure how long I’ve been reading to be honest… maybe a couple of years. When I first found y’all, I read back into the journal quite a few pages (oh about 30 or so) and couldn’t wait to show dh and others the site and y’all’s little garden oasis.

  18. Kathleen Brown says:

    Wow! Since I started reading your blog several years ago, I left the suburbs in Temecula, CA to live on the oldest Indian Reservation in the U.S. Here on the Pamunkey Reservation in Virginia, we have built a simple and efficient house and are growing a huge garden. Last year we planted over 100 trees and shrubs. We are trying to live more self-sustainably and find your website extremely inspiring. I talk about you folks to other people as if you are family! Thankyou for all your ideas and sharing so many beautiful photos. We love our new life here in VA, and I can honestly say that reading your journal gave me the courage to make the move across the country and embrace rural life! Thankyou!

  19. Erik in Minnesota says:

    well i’ve only been following this journal for the past month or so, but that’s the longest i’ve ever followed any online blog. so you’ve got to be doing something right, or at least interesting.

  20. Janice says:

    Congratulations!! I’ve been following your blog for about 5 years now. I started out desperate to change my lifestyle. It was the typical Rat-race that included the 1 1/2 hour communte each way, sitting in an office for 8 hours. I was sick of it. I wanted out. At that point, I didn’t think I could get out unless I moved far away, then I found you while looking for “self-reliant living” on the web. I was floored by what you have been able to do with so little land. It changed my whole perspective of everything this society is.

    My favorite posts were your Flash-Back Fridays. Very very cute!

    Congratulations again, and cheers to many more!

  21. Sue says:

    Congratulations! I love your blog. I found you when I moved about 5 years ago. A big old house with a big side lot. I live in a very urban area on a 4 lane busy street too! So you have inspired me to not worry about the traffic and location and to live the low-impact lifestyle. I love your food pictures since one of our ways to reduce is to cook at home more. Oh and the animals….if I could talk my husband into a goat, we’d have one in a minute! 🙂 Thanks so much and also thank you for the Freedomgardens site!

  22. Nic Griffin says:

    Hi there
    I just found your site today! I was searching to see if there is UH in Houston and it came up because of “Ruthie”‘s response to an old thread. Anyway I am visiting Houston for three weeks and want to see what folks here are doing.
    I was inspired most recently by my friend Ruby’s project in Oakland CA the Institute of Urban Homesteading. Then the lightbulb moment was picking up last September’s Houston Chronicle after days of post Hurricane reduced circumstances to discover the markets had taken a huge dive.
    Since then I have sought out some materials and am currently really enjoying Kelly Coyne’s and Erik Knutzen’s book which I took out of the library. Can’t wait to get home to my tiny back yard and see what else I can get up to. I’m proud to say this is the first year I had a winter harvest of greens and a second planting now doing well. Actually I also harvested the Basil and made yummy pesto. Small steps but they feel good.

    I’m impressed that you guys have been doing this for so long and will explore the site more.
    Please let me know how to hook up to Houston folk doing this.

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