Winter crops

Warm Wishes

Warning bragging post ahead.   Doors thrown wide open, shirt sleeves, brilliant blue skies, towering palm trees, a comfortable (warm) 85 degrees, and orange citrus hang like decorative ornaments throughout the sunny southland.   Sorry, hope I didn’t spoil your day!

The spoiling winter weather makes it tolerable to live in the land of polluted air (though it has been getting better!) sig alerts, crowded freeways, spoiled stars — weather couldn’t be finer here in lala land.


To all those who kept the Peddler’s Wagon wheels turning this gift giving season. We appreciate your support and business. 

The hottest items on the Peddler’s Wagon this season were the lovely ollas, low impact solar ovens, useful 2008 moon calendars, reusable water bottles and handy kitchen composters.

Answers From The Urban Homestead

Would you and Jordanne consider offering a cookbook? I would love to see your recipes (it would be helpful!). Perhaps you would consider an e-recipe book emailed for a donation? – Becky

Thanks Becky for your positive compliments. Appreciate your moral support.   That’s something that’s been on weighing heavy on my brain and to do list for quite awhile now.   I hear that suggestion quite often along with “have you considered catering or selling your baked goods?.”    Actually, catering /baking would be nice however, with all the insurance and health issues I’ll think I’ll pass, although my sister and I will do small jobs for trusted friends.     An urban homestead recipe book would be swell and with the new journal there will be a category* (see post below) for recipes so that readers can easily refer back to posted recipes.

The problem is for most stuff I make, I usually don’t measure or if I find a recipe I tweak it here a little there a little. One fine day, I am going to have to start putting all those tweaks in writing.   I’m also a bit self conscious and wonder “who would want to pay for simple recipes especially with all the hundreds of thousands of wonderful cookbooks and great online recipe resources to choice from”   As for me, I have only bought less than 4 cookbooks my entire life. The handful of other cookbooks that I have were salvaged in back of a restaurant and a few were gifts from relatives so I would have to ask myself would I buy my/our own cookbook.   There’s a lot that I wish to do and what I can manage to do. Hopefully the new year will be a less chaotic one.

Paying For Mistakes

They say life’s mistakes come back to haunt you….

It’s remarkable to look back and realize that PTF was the very first urban homesteading” blog”/ site on the internet. PTF started documenting our journey back in the medieval days before there was even such word as “blog.”   It’s great to see the development of online urban sustainable efforts.Seven years ago when we started this documented online journey of a urban family trying to live off their land, there was no such thing as blog sites.

So for nearly 4 years posted journal entries in html format. Well, the new journal (we’re using WordPress) can’t understand all that extra coding. I did my part to add to this mess by not spending time to make sure my entries didn’t contain any unnecessary coding crap.   So now I spend what hours I can squeeze in removing all the html coding from seven years worth of entries.    If someone has a better way please let me know – save my right arm and my mental sanity. Please! Ok nuff kidding around. Yeah, so there’s a dark side but it’s also been enlightening to go back down memory lane.   For one, going back in time has brought back quite a lot of memories and am humbled by the experiencing how far we have come. Re reading stories about our first chickens, ducks and “to do list” or when we challenged ourselves to to grow 6,000 lbs from our 1/10 th acre garden.    Also, I can see how the writings and entries have gotten better and better each year — well, that’s my opinion anyways.    The post are still not where I /we want them to be, yet but they are certainly an improvement.   One thing good that will come out of this mess, is that we will be implemented categories into the new journal format. Allowing readers to easily access posts regarding certain steps we have taken.   We will be taking time to put all seven years worth of postings into the new journal categories. Which I can then easily refer to when I mention something from the past seven years.  Neat huh?   If we’d had foreseen the future of the journal we’d have set it up differently. When I start complaining about the work Jordanne reminds me that I was the one who said “we don’t need (no stinkin’) categories.”   Sheesh, how idiotic of me, should have listen to my little sister.

Here’s a question for you readers, like to hear from our veteran/oldest readers.   Are you still with us? When did you start following the PTF journal —


It would be great for readers alike to hear your thoughts on how these musings have made an impact in your lives. Or speak up! Here’s your chance to be honest,  if you are bored stiff or contented with such simple (even long winded) ramblings and would like a bit of spiciness and you are looking for more “younameit” or would like for PTF to focus on this or that then let’s hear some feedback.  

The PTF journal and site’s success is based on our readers so we do appreciate your support and value your feedback. 2007 is winding down and we so look forward to another year, sharing our journey with you. “Traveler there is not path, paths are made by walking… “Let’s walk!

:: Field Hand Appreciation ::   SS $50  donation. and a card that said

“Dear Dervaes family,

Best wishes for love and happiness in the coming year. Keep up the great work. You have inspired so many”

Thank you for very cute card and lovely sentiments for that we are truly grateful. We appreciate your support.  Many blessings to you in the new year.


  1. Glynis says:

    I think I began reading in about 2002. I commented on the PVC trellis system on a garden website, posting a link. Jordanne emailed me giving me a bit more insight into the structure. The personal contact had me hooked because I knew you were such caring people.
    My trellising is now EMT and rebar since I can get it for free or low cost and a friend will deliver it. Hoping another friend can make me some long lasting wooden structures in the near future!

    I appreciate all your work, it has inspired us to take small steps now, and think about huge leaps for the near future.


  2. Patty says:

    I just found you this year, and I’m glad I did! 🙂

  3. Amber says:

    I’ve been reading for about 2 years now. My husband and I and our 2 kids (6 and 2) are steadily following on the path. We put in about 350 sq. ft. of raised beds in the fall of 2006 and grew almost 400 lbs of produce from it this year. In 2007, we put in a 400 sq.ft. strawberry bed (we eat a lot of strawberries), 2 peach trees, a cherry tree, and an apple tree, another 350 sq. ft. of raised beds, and prepped another 400 sq.ft. of frontage between the sidewalk and street to be planted this spring. The plan for this year is to get to 1000 lbs of food from our .25 acre lot, set up rain barrels (we already have the barrels – just have to get them linked together and put in place), build a trellis fence for grapes and other climbing foods (beans, peas, etc.), put in 1 more apple tree, 1 cherry, 2 plums, some blueberries, and some raspberries, build cold frames to use this fall, and not go crazy amid the projects! Our progress is slow because I have a 50 hr./wk job and the kids are small, but every step helps and makes us feel better about where we are. There are plans to replace our roof with a metal one, install solar panels on the south side of the house, and maybe do solar hot air for winter heating (we live in Kansas so winters are COLD!!).

    Also, if you copy the HTML code into wordpad or Microsoft Word, you can probably do a Find-Replace for your HTML tags and save yourself some work. For example, you could FIND:”BR” and replace it with Enter-Enter (if you click on “More” then “Special” you can select all the special characters like Tab, Enter, etc.). I’ve had to do something similar and that trick saved me some serious time! Hope it helps!

  4. brad says:

    To avoid having to strip out all the old HTML tags, open your old posts in a web browser, then copy and paste the text back into your editor. That way, you’ll just have the text, and you can add back the small bit of formatting that you lose without having to deal with all of the old html dreck.

    Thanks for all you do. This continues to be my favorite stop on the internet.

  5. Malcolm says:

    If you’ve access to a unix/linux box, it’s a few lines of perl, and the entire thing could be automated (and done in a few minutes). Or just drop me a line, I’d be happy to help.

    To answer the other question, I’ve been reading for about a year, and just bought my own place. So next spring we start planting. 🙂

  6. Robb says:

    it may be possible to pull out all of the HTML using some Text Editing tools I have. If you send me a copy of one of your posts, I can give it a try.

  7. Wildside says:

    Hmm… I’m guessing I became a regular visitor around January of 2005 or a little before? I was searching for info out there on kitchen gardens and somehow got directed to your site which was exactly what I was looking for & more!

    Time flies.

    Thank you for sharing yours.