MODERN DAY URBAN HOMESTEADER

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Here at the PTF urban homestead not only does one have to deal with everyday urban homestead life – there’s the ongoing outreach efforts.

I know many of our LHITC readers would like more postings of daily happenings here on the urban homestead. I ditto your sentiments exactly! However, this year we have committed in expanding our outreach (which we feel will inspire and help even more people – at the ground level in communities across the world) So with that on the agenda and until Jordanne gets the Freedom Garden community blog and rss feed plugin, I’ll be posting FG announcements here.

We have a lot on our plates at this time, so please bear with us as we grow through, once again, some growing pains. Like any project that’s in its infancy, lots of care and attention are needed to be given to it until it’s able to walk on its own (and we hope that can happen with your commitment and involvement!).

Thank you for those who have written and offered positive feedback and support. Your comments mean a lot to us, and we appreciate them. We still have some other exciting projects to go (in the works) – so stay tuned.

In the meantime, life on the urban homestead grows on…. and, hopefully, I can get around to sharing such stories soon.

Like Estella stuffing her face full of bugs and getting a case of chicken hiccups. Or pictures of all the beautiful volunteer pumpkins and squashes that Justin has “tagged” (excuse the LA ghetto slang). The state of the garden is so lush that you are going to need a machete just to get through. Planning for the state of our water future here in the West. Stuffing our faces full of fresh fruits – strawberries, peaches, grapes and apples! Rescuing an abandoned puppy, handling our clients’ orders, getting ready for another film shoot (today). Keeping on top of crop rotation and succession plantings. Sketching out the urban homestead social network site, wrapping up Freedom Gardens, finally getting around the upgrading the main PTF site with more in depth urban homesteading information, getting ready for our monthly gathering on Saturday (yeah!), answering emails, handling the upcoming event reservations, doing some connecting, setting up another volunteer to our staff (welcome K!), tallying the costs of our daily meals and much, much more.

Where do I even begin to formulate all the happenings into readable content?

Hmmm, how about I just hang out the animals. So, I’ll be out back, under the shade of pomegranate trees, just chillin’ with the critters, collecting and uncluttering my thoughts. Perhaps a coherent post will formulate out from the jumble…. Or perhaps our readers can help! What would you like to read about?

Comments(44)

  1. Eric says:

    I saw a sponsored link in Gmail for freedomgardens.org. How cool is that! I’m looking forward to the coming updates (no pressure Jordanne) and more people people signing up from the South East USA!

  2. Eric says:

    I saw a sponsored link in Gmail for freedomgardens.org. How cool is that! I’m looking forward to the coming updates (no pressure Jordanne) and more people people signing up from the South East USA!

  3. katecontinued says:

    I am grateful that your family didn’t just hunker down and enjoy the little paradise you all have made. Instead you are all working hard to share its secrets, its steps and its bounty with the world. Thank you.

  4. katecontinued says:

    I am grateful that your family didn’t just hunker down and enjoy the little paradise you all have made. Instead you are all working hard to share its secrets, its steps and its bounty with the world. Thank you.

  5. ~~Melissa says:

    I always enjoy your photos: any images of life (and growth!) on your homestead and any commentary which accompanies it.

    While I realize you are very busy and have specific goals in mind (which I whole heartedly support), something I’m interested in is the how-to and why details.

    For example,
    -which locations you choose for which plants and why,
    -how you manage waste/compost,
    -what plants like to grow together and ones that don’t,
    -when you build garden structures: what specific materials are used and how/why you designed it that way.
    -How do you keep track of what’s needed when? Distribution of work between the four of you…

    In other words, anything that could help me, the reader, figure out how to do similar things where I am. I realize to document it could be as work intensive as doing it!

    Related to this, I’m always interested in lists and schedules, how you decide (or how your day decides) what you’ll work on when, logical task flow. What works, what doesn’t, struggles, goals, aspirations…

    Or, just what you’ve been doing which is fine with me. 🙂

  6. ~~Melissa says:

    I always enjoy your photos: any images of life (and growth!) on your homestead and any commentary which accompanies it.

    While I realize you are very busy and have specific goals in mind (which I whole heartedly support), something I’m interested in is the how-to and why details.

    For example,
    -which locations you choose for which plants and why,
    -how you manage waste/compost,
    -what plants like to grow together and ones that don’t,
    -when you build garden structures: what specific materials are used and how/why you designed it that way.
    -How do you keep track of what’s needed when? Distribution of work between the four of you…

    In other words, anything that could help me, the reader, figure out how to do similar things where I am. I realize to document it could be as work intensive as doing it!

    Related to this, I’m always interested in lists and schedules, how you decide (or how your day decides) what you’ll work on when, logical task flow. What works, what doesn’t, struggles, goals, aspirations…

    Or, just what you’ve been doing which is fine with me. 🙂

  7. Di says:

    Melissa has some great suggestions which I’ll ditto! lol!
    I think you hit on a few things in your post though Anais:
    – succession planting, how much you need for a family of four, how you do it.
    – favorite heirloom tomatoes (I know that you are bound to have favorites)
    – trails and errors made during your journey. What worked for you in your garden, what didn’t
    – your raised beds, what size, and why? How much room between beds?
    – do you keep a gardening journal? what’s in it? How would you suggest a beginner start?
    – did you plan the garden initially or just let it do as it pleased.
    – how you decided what to plan for the seasons

    ANything that you’ve learned along the way that could help us out would be much appreciated, you all do a fantastic job and are so inspiring!

  8. Di says:

    Melissa has some great suggestions which I’ll ditto! lol!
    I think you hit on a few things in your post though Anais:
    – succession planting, how much you need for a family of four, how you do it.
    – favorite heirloom tomatoes (I know that you are bound to have favorites)
    – trails and errors made during your journey. What worked for you in your garden, what didn’t
    – your raised beds, what size, and why? How much room between beds?
    – do you keep a gardening journal? what’s in it? How would you suggest a beginner start?
    – did you plan the garden initially or just let it do as it pleased.
    – how you decided what to plan for the seasons

    ANything that you’ve learned along the way that could help us out would be much appreciated, you all do a fantastic job and are so inspiring!

  9. Andrea says:

    Melissa touched on most of my curiosities…especially the distribution of work. Is Justin in the kitchen whipping up meals alongside you gals, or is it a ‘mans work, woman’s work” sort of thing.

    Also I can’t help but wonder how old you ‘kids’ are… you seem so young, but so knowledgable. I totally understand if you don’t want to share that information with us! LOL.

    How does this lifestyle affect your social lives? I can’t imagine bringing home a beau to meet my dad, who, oh Yeah, is a self-sufficient eco-pioneer! Watch out for that pitchfork! Those are some big shoes to fill, you know?

    I know those are some terribly nosey questions, but they’re things I’ve wondered.

  10. Andrea says:

    Melissa touched on most of my curiosities…especially the distribution of work. Is Justin in the kitchen whipping up meals alongside you gals, or is it a ‘mans work, woman’s work” sort of thing.

    Also I can’t help but wonder how old you ‘kids’ are… you seem so young, but so knowledgable. I totally understand if you don’t want to share that information with us! LOL.

    How does this lifestyle affect your social lives? I can’t imagine bringing home a beau to meet my dad, who, oh Yeah, is a self-sufficient eco-pioneer! Watch out for that pitchfork! Those are some big shoes to fill, you know?

    I know those are some terribly nosey questions, but they’re things I’ve wondered.

  11. Boston Frank says:

    Thought I would pass along a website with some interesting gardening ideas…Mainly, building a different style of garden called a Key-Hole Garden. An organization called Send a Cow helps villagers in Africa make these gardens when they cannot supply the village with a cow.
    It is a great idea and I bet it could be arranged to make a nice design in a yard…Also, if built high enough, you would not have to bend down to garden in soil if you had bad knees or back.
    Here is the link…
    http://sendacow.org.uk/schools.asp?active_page_id=272

    Have a nice day

  12. Boston Frank says:

    Thought I would pass along a website with some interesting gardening ideas…Mainly, building a different style of garden called a Key-Hole Garden. An organization called Send a Cow helps villagers in Africa make these gardens when they cannot supply the village with a cow.
    It is a great idea and I bet it could be arranged to make a nice design in a yard…Also, if built high enough, you would not have to bend down to garden in soil if you had bad knees or back.
    Here is the link…
    http://sendacow.org.uk/schools.asp?active_page_id=272

    Have a nice day

  13. Daphne says:

    I’m with Melissa. I want to know the nitty gritty details about what you do, and what works well and what doesn’t. Things that didn’t work are often more of a learning experience than what does.

  14. Daphne says:

    I’m with Melissa. I want to know the nitty gritty details about what you do, and what works well and what doesn’t. Things that didn’t work are often more of a learning experience than what does.

  15. Nancy Kelly says:

    More about the puppy please! Photos? Is he a keeper? I love animals!

    Nancy

  16. Nancy Kelly says:

    More about the puppy please! Photos? Is he a keeper? I love animals!

    Nancy

  17. yvonnes i Sweden says:

    I think you are doing a great work and I don’t know how you can manage everything!

    -Something I would like to read about is if you have a greenhouse and how it looks like. Maybe you don’t need a greenhouse in California.

    -How do you manage your worms…are they inside or outside? I am very interested in vermiculture myself.

    Thank you!

    Yvonne

  18. yvonnes i Sweden says:

    I think you are doing a great work and I don’t know how you can manage everything!

    -Something I would like to read about is if you have a greenhouse and how it looks like. Maybe you don’t need a greenhouse in California.

    -How do you manage your worms…are they inside or outside? I am very interested in vermiculture myself.

    Thank you!

    Yvonne

  19. Laurie says:

    Anais, it seems to me that you are Too Busy >doing these things< to write out the wonderful details that people would like to know. Even though I’d like to know the answers to these requests too, for now – the busiest season you have – I’m happy just to hear the outline of what you are doing: how the weather is affecting you, your crops and your animals; what’s being harvested; the challenges and rewards that come along; and to see the gardens change over time through your beautiful photos. When it’s winter and you are inside by the woodstove – that’s the time for elaborate details about how things are/were done! I am totally amazed at how much you do every day…if only I could accomplish so much. Enjoy your break under the pomegranate trees with the goats!

  20. Laurie says:

    Anais, it seems to me that you are Too Busy >doing these things< to write out the wonderful details that people would like to know. Even though I’d like to know the answers to these requests too, for now – the busiest season you have – I’m happy just to hear the outline of what you are doing: how the weather is affecting you, your crops and your animals; what’s being harvested; the challenges and rewards that come along; and to see the gardens change over time through your beautiful photos. When it’s winter and you are inside by the woodstove – that’s the time for elaborate details about how things are/were done! I am totally amazed at how much you do every day…if only I could accomplish so much. Enjoy your break under the pomegranate trees with the goats!

  21. Cindy says:

    It is so great to hear about all the things going on with your homestead. My own journey to simplicity and homesteading journey is growing in spurts. I have finally figured out that, in SW Florida, this time of year is “planning time” for putting in my garden in Sept or Oct – opposite of how it was where I was raised in Indiana.

    Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from doing some container planting. I’ve even managed to eat a small salad made with some heat resistant leaves I found!

  22. Cindy says:

    It is so great to hear about all the things going on with your homestead. My own journey to simplicity and homesteading journey is growing in spurts. I have finally figured out that, in SW Florida, this time of year is “planning time” for putting in my garden in Sept or Oct – opposite of how it was where I was raised in Indiana.

    Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from doing some container planting. I’ve even managed to eat a small salad made with some heat resistant leaves I found!

  23. KK says:

    A lot of folks want to know about what plants do well, and they’re asking you in Pasadena, for that kind of info…But you have to realize, when you’re in Florida, or Ohio, or even where I live in Northern Cal., that each location has it’s own set of variables. Talk to some local “old-timers” and one of the better nurseries in your home-towns that can answer those kinds of questions! That way, you won’t bother poor Anias, et al, about these things…sure, it would nice to know about other techniques that are universal to all us “homesteaders”. But if you get to know your fellow nieghbors who are gardening, you not only learn some great advice/techniques, you also help reclaim where you live. People talking and getting to know eachother, rather than people sitting in front of tv’s and computers!!!!

  24. KK says:

    A lot of folks want to know about what plants do well, and they’re asking you in Pasadena, for that kind of info…But you have to realize, when you’re in Florida, or Ohio, or even where I live in Northern Cal., that each location has it’s own set of variables. Talk to some local “old-timers” and one of the better nurseries in your home-towns that can answer those kinds of questions! That way, you won’t bother poor Anias, et al, about these things…sure, it would nice to know about other techniques that are universal to all us “homesteaders”. But if you get to know your fellow nieghbors who are gardening, you not only learn some great advice/techniques, you also help reclaim where you live. People talking and getting to know eachother, rather than people sitting in front of tv’s and computers!!!!

  25. Susan says:

    Ditto what has been said, but I am also interested in watering- besides the tanks and ollas, what are you planning. I think we are all waking up to oil prices, but I think water is going to be the shortage in the future.

  26. Susan says:

    Ditto what has been said, but I am also interested in watering- besides the tanks and ollas, what are you planning. I think we are all waking up to oil prices, but I think water is going to be the shortage in the future.

  27. Darren says:

    I’d love to see photos and commentary on one page of a single plant (or group/guild, or garden bed), from germination through to harvest and composting the remains (with dates!).

    Lots of web sites show you how to sow seeds, how to transplant, how to harvest, etc. But I haven’t found any that show a single plant throughout its entire lifecycle.

    There are little nuances I think this could show, such as repercussions of decisions in thinning out seedlings, pruning, staking and tying up plants, their fruit bearing period, planning for succession, etc.

  28. Darren says:

    I’d love to see photos and commentary on one page of a single plant (or group/guild, or garden bed), from germination through to harvest and composting the remains (with dates!).

    Lots of web sites show you how to sow seeds, how to transplant, how to harvest, etc. But I haven’t found any that show a single plant throughout its entire lifecycle.

    There are little nuances I think this could show, such as repercussions of decisions in thinning out seedlings, pruning, staking and tying up plants, their fruit bearing period, planning for succession, etc.

  29. D~ says:

    As others have mentioned, I would love to know more about seasonal plantings and timing.

    Most of all I just want to say that when you are at a loss for words, your photos alone are amazingly inspirational!
    Thank you for all that you do and all that you share. You have brought an incredible awareness into my life and I am truly grateful!

  30. D~ says:

    As others have mentioned, I would love to know more about seasonal plantings and timing.

    Most of all I just want to say that when you are at a loss for words, your photos alone are amazingly inspirational!
    Thank you for all that you do and all that you share. You have brought an incredible awareness into my life and I am truly grateful!

  31. Sue says:

    I love your journal. I never seem to get tired of animal pictures.

  32. Sue says:

    I love your journal. I never seem to get tired of animal pictures.

  33. Ellen Christian says:

    I’d love to see more of your day to day activities. What do you do each day & how do you do it differently than our average person? I’d love more photos of the inside of the house – maybe highlighting any handmade, off grid or unusual items. I want to know how I can do what you do here in Vermont on my two acres. I think it’s great that you are focusing more on outreach but sadly I am way too far away to be able to attend your functions. What I can gather from this blog and other sites online is the only way I can figure out how to do what you do here. I am looking forward to all your future posts & pictures!

  34. Ellen Christian says:

    I’d love to see more of your day to day activities. What do you do each day & how do you do it differently than our average person? I’d love more photos of the inside of the house – maybe highlighting any handmade, off grid or unusual items. I want to know how I can do what you do here in Vermont on my two acres. I think it’s great that you are focusing more on outreach but sadly I am way too far away to be able to attend your functions. What I can gather from this blog and other sites online is the only way I can figure out how to do what you do here. I am looking forward to all your future posts & pictures!

  35. Christine says:

    I have raised both milk goats and Jersey milk cow. What I would like to know, is, how you feed your goats, what, how much and how offten. Since they are mini’s they would probably eat allot less then reg. sized does. I noticed from one of your pictues that you feed greens in a plastic milk container. What are the greens? Do you feed a grain supplement, how often. Also, how do you keep the smell down? Do you have the animals on cement, or on sod? Do you lime? Things like that. Do you worm the goats? Do you bathe them? Lots of questions, but when you have a rainy day to write! No hurry! Are the goats bred yet, if not, then when? Thanks so much for every thing. Sometimes I get to feeling like I’m the only one who wants to live like this, but then I look to you guys, and you are farther along then we are now.We were more prepared, but moved, and now we are starting all over. That’s exciting in itself. Lot’s of extra work though…. Again thanks allot! God Bless You and Yours! …C

  36. Christine says:

    I have raised both milk goats and Jersey milk cow. What I would like to know, is, how you feed your goats, what, how much and how offten. Since they are mini’s they would probably eat allot less then reg. sized does. I noticed from one of your pictues that you feed greens in a plastic milk container. What are the greens? Do you feed a grain supplement, how often. Also, how do you keep the smell down? Do you have the animals on cement, or on sod? Do you lime? Things like that. Do you worm the goats? Do you bathe them? Lots of questions, but when you have a rainy day to write! No hurry! Are the goats bred yet, if not, then when? Thanks so much for every thing. Sometimes I get to feeling like I’m the only one who wants to live like this, but then I look to you guys, and you are farther along then we are now.We were more prepared, but moved, and now we are starting all over. That’s exciting in itself. Lot’s of extra work though…. Again thanks allot! God Bless You and Yours! …C

  37. Di says:

    Well my reasons for wanting to know what they are planting and what is working for them is entirely selfish. I’m in So Cal too according to googlemaps I am 42 miles away. You can bet your butt if I am ever of need to head down that way I’ll be calling to see if they are available for a tour! lol. In fact now I see they are ONLY 42 miles I may make a special trip at some point.

  38. Di says:

    Well my reasons for wanting to know what they are planting and what is working for them is entirely selfish. I’m in So Cal too according to googlemaps I am 42 miles away. You can bet your butt if I am ever of need to head down that way I’ll be calling to see if they are available for a tour! lol. In fact now I see they are ONLY 42 miles I may make a special trip at some point.

  39. Ingrid says:

    Like many others I have lots of specific questions for everyone at PTF, but, as Laurie said in a previous comment, I know it is difficult for them to answer because they are so busy living the path. If it is any help to those of you who are also in So Cal, here is a link to a planting schedule I found online:

    http://www.digitalseed.com/gardener/schedule/vegetable.html

    Also, if you go back and read in detail the archives to the PTF site (about 8 years worth I think), you can glean information answering lots of the questions you have. I keep a file on my computer where I put bits of information, arranged by category, pertaining to vegetable gardening, food preserving, composting etc etc. whether I need the particular information at that time or not. When the need arises, chances are I already have the information handy. I also add information as I glean it from other gardening sites, books, and personal experience. (usually lessons learned from my failures in the garden – even failures are valuable!)

    They also have a nice selection of helpful books available in the peddlers wagon on the PTF site. You can get a great book and support PTF at the same time!

    Thanks again to the Dervaes family for sharing so much with us – I especially love the photos! Everything looks so lush and green and the animals, well, I just want to hug those goats and maybe a chicken or two as well! I am so grateful for your inspiration.

  40. Ingrid says:

    Like many others I have lots of specific questions for everyone at PTF, but, as Laurie said in a previous comment, I know it is difficult for them to answer because they are so busy living the path. If it is any help to those of you who are also in So Cal, here is a link to a planting schedule I found online:

    http://www.digitalseed.com/gardener/schedule/vegetable.html

    Also, if you go back and read in detail the archives to the PTF site (about 8 years worth I think), you can glean information answering lots of the questions you have. I keep a file on my computer where I put bits of information, arranged by category, pertaining to vegetable gardening, food preserving, composting etc etc. whether I need the particular information at that time or not. When the need arises, chances are I already have the information handy. I also add information as I glean it from other gardening sites, books, and personal experience. (usually lessons learned from my failures in the garden – even failures are valuable!)

    They also have a nice selection of helpful books available in the peddlers wagon on the PTF site. You can get a great book and support PTF at the same time!

    Thanks again to the Dervaes family for sharing so much with us – I especially love the photos! Everything looks so lush and green and the animals, well, I just want to hug those goats and maybe a chicken or two as well! I am so grateful for your inspiration.

  41. Beverly says:

    Ditto with what everyone has said. Just keep writing so we can keep reading and learning! Also love the animal photos the best, but enjoy all the photos you post.

    One thing that did come to mind is:
    What would be your top 10 gardening books that you consult?

    This is my first garden is several years, and the first one that I’m trying to do organic, and I’d love to have a few good reference books. How to battle bugs? Succession planting, composting, etc, etc, etc.

    Love PTF!
    Beverly

  42. Beverly says:

    Ditto with what everyone has said. Just keep writing so we can keep reading and learning! Also love the animal photos the best, but enjoy all the photos you post.

    One thing that did come to mind is:
    What would be your top 10 gardening books that you consult?

    This is my first garden is several years, and the first one that I’m trying to do organic, and I’d love to have a few good reference books. How to battle bugs? Succession planting, composting, etc, etc, etc.

    Love PTF!
    Beverly

  43. Hannah says:

    The how tos are my favourite. I love learning from what others are doing, recipes too. And photos seeing everything growing, and the community stuff you have happening.

  44. Hannah says:

    The how tos are my favourite. I love learning from what others are doing, recipes too. And photos seeing everything growing, and the community stuff you have happening.

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