Yesterday, we went in and checked out our resident bee hive and found that the supers were loaded with honey. Guess it’s all that citrus here and around that’s creating a good honey flow. Our street is right off a major street called ‘Orange Grove’ which, back in them days, was actually groves of oranges. But there are still a few trees left in the many of the surrounding properties.

Spring is a highly active season for bees, so you must be on top of things or things can get a little out of hand. There are a lot of things involved when it comes to beekeeping and one is always learning how to deal with these little insects.

The bees were a bit more agitated then normal, since it was a very warm day and they had lots of honey to protect. Anyhow, Jordanne was there helping out and taking photos/video without a veil and got this love bite from one of the bees.

We kidded her about it and she, being a good sport, took our ribbing in good nature. I told her, “Move over, Octo-mom”  and Justin dubbed her “Angelina Jordie.” One of the benefits of beekeeping is that you get lip injections for free, giving your smackers that most desirable look (well, in Hollywood, that is). Smile!

Ah, the joys of urban homestead life!   Forgot to add that there’s the good, the bad, the ugly and considerably FUNNY side too!

Speaking of backyard bees and the urban homestead lifestyle just this past year we are seeing the UH movement growing like wildfire.

Can’t believe how far this revolution has come into the mainstream. Eight years ago when we/I started “blogging” there was no UH sites, blogs, nadda on the internet and now there are tons of blogs, countless books, articles and websites devoted to UH. Hopefully the movement/trend will stick around longer than the “back to the land movement” in the 70’s when only a few had willpower and passion to stick it out.

Actually, we are finding more and more people jumping into the waters without proper research or understanding and find themselves drowning with problems and questions.

Our “have it now, extreme makeover culture” is breeding a bunch of people who think this lifestyle can happen overnight or in just a year when in fact it takes patience, common sense, passion and dedication for the long haul.

They, naturally excited, run out and buy a goat or chicken, duck, bees without doing any prior reading or research and then call us either having to deal with a sick or dying animal or not knowing what to do at all – what to feed it, how to house it. etc.  Or wanting to grow their own food, dig up their front yards without proper planning and consideration of their neighbors.

Our concern now is that this tidal wave will leave a wake of many sick, dying or even abandon animals once people realize the time, patience and resources necessary to care for bees (which SWARM and now have issues with verroa mites), goats (that can get bloat or have pregnancy issues), chickens, ducks that can have a slew of health problems like sour croop or get egg bound.    It reminds us of the baby chick, cute bunny buying frenzy around Easter this sort of “rush out and be an urban homesteader” is the downside to this pioneering movement which is sadly having unfortunate ramifications.

Urban homesteading is not just about growing your own food, it’s an entire lifestyle choice and you have to be prepared to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly that comes along with it – 24/7/365+


  1. 1916home.net says:

    My, what big lips you have 😉

  2. Andrea says:

    Snort! God love her, hope she’s feeling okay.

  3. C says:

    Don’t nock the “back to the land movement” you might be surprised at how many of us are still aroung. I’m 57, but I’m not done yet, and you should see my kids, which are starting to take after me, finally! LOL I never got into bees, though they interest me. I know a guy who raises allot of them, I just might work with him alittle to see what’s up and take the plunge! Love the pictures! C

  4. Susan says:

    I think the main problem with the ‘back to the land’ thing was that it was taken to such extremes by many of the people doing it. Instead of working toward complete self sufficiency (if such a thing is ever possible) bit by bit, they jumped in with two feet, living in a teepee with no running water, no garden, no backup, etc. And many of those people still had to have jobs, to pay the mortgage, and of course they got burned out.

    No, I think the urban homestead is the way of the future, and is really just continuing a thousands of years old tradition from our shared past. It is the ‘middle way’ which is both economically and emotionally sustainable. And even then, I agree with you that doing it a little at a time is definitely preferable to jumping in with both feet all at once!

  5. Nancy says:

    Re the “Have it now – Extreme Make-over culture” – this reminds me of a class that is being taught by the Permaculture Guild, no less, here in Phoenix, advocating the use of several smothering applications of Round-Up to get rid of Bermuda grass. I went to the class, and the more I thought of it, the more it appalled me. Way to support Monsanto! In the name of creating an organic garden! What happened to the good old-fashioned method I used (digging it up) that worked fine, but was darned hard physical work – so much easier just to spray, don’t you know. And it is faster to spray! The American sickness – “We want it and we want it NOW.” I totally agree with you, a life and a garden evolve gradually.

    Keep up the great work!!

  6. Jordanne Dervaes says:

    Oh geez… up close and personal to the thousands of people who read this blog.

    Someone should have told me to wipe off the baking soda on my lip (baking soda and water takes the sting out of, well, a sting).

  7. Paul Gardener~ says:

    Ouch Jordanne, I hope it feels better soon.
    I think you make great points Anais. I have a tendancy to go full out on something when I am inspired to action. This is one of those tasks that I’ve had to make myself pull back from just slightly. Oh I still have high aspirations mind you, I’ve just learned that they will not all come in one season. Every year I make my goals for that season and try to master them. The next year I add some new ones. If I bite off too much I get the “drowning” feeling and it overwhelms me.
    I began down this path before the economy crapped out, and I look forwardt o enjoying it long after it comes back so each year is just an investment in the future.

    Thanks for you/your families leadership and inspiration.

  8. Chiot's Run says:

    So true. It’s best to start out small and add a few things each year. I’ve been wanting chickens for many years, but we have none yet. We’re happy to buy our eggs from a small local farm. We are finally getting bees this year though and are very excited about it. I do have a history with is as my dad & grandpa were both beekeepers.

    I have found that the best way to incorporate new things into your routine is to add them one at a time. When they become easy and you have a good knowledge of how to do them easily withouth too much hassle, you can finally add another new things. This year I’m adding cheesemaking to my weekly to do’s as well.

  9. David King says:

    I guess The Learning Garden got started only a year after your homestead! Right after we got off the ground, I found a quote that is on the bottom of all my emails now and it reminds me, that a garden takes place on its own time, not mine: A garden, where one may enter in and forget the whole world, cannot be made in a week, nor a month, nor a year; it must be planned for, waited for and loved into being. Chinese Proverb

    And the ‘we want it and we want it NOW’ has been a part of this country since a way long time back. Animals, plants and all parts of nature have suffered because of this chronic lack of consciousness that infects us. Change, like a garden, also happens slowly and, as our current lifestyle becomes increasingly less doable, I pray we see this impatience wither away.


  10. Darren (Green Change) says:

    Here in Australia, we had the “sea change” phenomenon, where people moved out of the cities to coastal towns for a more relaxed and less stressful pace of life.

    That was followed by the “tree change” phenomenon, where people left the cities to move out to the countryside for a healthier, less stressful pace of life.

    Now, we’re seeing a “green change” phenomenon, where people are not moving, but rather trying to retrofit their houses and live more sustainably (growing vegies, keeping chickens, collecting rainwater, etc). The benefit is that the change is gradual, people can keep their jobs and their social networks, yet their living healthier and helping the planet. I think this is pretty much the same as the “urban homesteader” phenomenon you’re seeing, although not everyone is aiming for self-sufficiency.

  11. SuperMom says:

    Thank you so much for posting about this. It is definitely something that needs to be said and talked about more often.

    I get so frustrated reading through blogs or forums where people do just what you say… buy chickens or goats or rabbits or whatever and bring them home without even having a place set up for them to go into on their arrival. Without knowing the first thing about how to feed or care for them.

  12. Michelle says:

    I have been reading your blog for about a year and a half and have been very inspired. I have had a small garden for the past two years and this year I just expanded it by about 300 sq ft or so. It’s raised beds…so it’s not totally full. But it’s growth! We also got four chickens 3 weeks ago and we LOVE them. What personalities! They are still in their warm box, happily learning to peck and scratch and perch. The chicken coop out back is almost done…it will be done this week. Just in time for them to head outdoors. My point is that I agree with you…it took a LOT of reading, a LOT of research, and even MORE reading before I felt comfortable bringing home baby chicks to eventually provide us with fresh eggs. I think people forget that they are living beings…not fads. Thank you for sharing your knowledge…I’m not ready to tear out my lawn yet…but I am doing a little more each year!

  13. Janice says:

    Jordanne, I hope you feel better soon. Boy, that one is a doozy!

    Anais, I agree with you. I hope people take it easy and not jump in without knowing what to expect. I was inspired by your family to start on a path towards a more self-sufficient life, but realize there are limits. I waited about 3 years from the time I discovered your site (2004 I think) to actually be able to start gardening(2007). We would eventually like to have bees, and chickens, but that will come later; when we’ve gotten a good handle on the gardening. (there’s plenty of things that can go wrong just with plants, let alone animals!) then we’ll work on the other things. We’ve got a long way to go, but we keep telling ourselves, “the Dervaes didn’t do it overnight either, so why should we expect ourselves to?”

  14. Shirley says:

    OK, I have not read every word of these comments, only skimmed through. So please forgive me if this has been said.

    Plantain grows wild everywhere and must be in your area, maybe even a volunteer in your yard. Picking a leaf, chewing it, and putting it on the sting as a poultice will relieve the pain and swelling. It will also draw out the stinger if applied at the time when the stinger is still there. This poultice is also good for cuts, scrapes, and other insect stings.

    Hope this info helps.

  15. Jan says:

    Jordanne – Hope the swelling goes down quickly. Just think how great it is to be a homesteader in the fact that a bee sting is an occupational hazard.

    I so agree with everything in this post. I have been wanting chickens for a year or so. I have raised them before along with goats. I miss them so very much. They are good pets. I have been waiting just to make sure the coop will go one place and not be moved. Also want to make sure they have a BIG area to roam in.

    HAve a great day!!

  16. 1916home.net says:

    Jordanne is a babe no matter what her lip looks like. Its just that simple.

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