Enjoying nature

Yesterday was an ideal spring day to hike in the mountains, it’s been awhile since we been hiking since the past couple weekends has either been raining or had chance of rain The hillsides were vibrant with new growth and masses of colorful wildflowers brighten the lush green carpet of wild grasses.

Saturday’s weather was slightly overcast and cooler than Friday – perfect hiking weather. As we hike along the stream we spotted a few pairs of mallard ducks peacefully paddling in the sream and occasionally we heard the croaking of frogs that made the day even more special to be serenaded by such calming, natural sounds.   We are blessed that this peaceful environment is only a little over 5 minutes away from our house, what a way to spend an afternoon.


Today was the last day of filming for the students at USC who are making the documentary which our family/project is a part of. They wanted to get a few shots of daily life on the homestead and arrived bright and early (a little before 5:30 am).     The director said she got lots of gardening footage on the last visit and wanted to patch in a few more homesteading activities. First on the agenda was filming us eating breakfast by oil lamp with homemade granola and a bowl of homegrown blood oranges, then it was outside to catch a bartering transaction between a friend of ours who brought some avocados and dried jujubes in trade for our duck eggs and bag of freshly picked salad greens.

Bulk staples

Next, they wanted some action so Jordanne got on the bicycle grain mill and ground some flour that will be used to make bread tomorrow in the cob oven. We also rolled a couple of beeswax candles. I showed them how we use our hand washer, line dry clothes and stash of bulk staples and canned peaches and marmalade (only a few jars left!).

Justin showed them how we saved seeds and the file cabinet drawers filled to the brim with brown envelopes and glass jars of seeds and last but not least and interview with Jules on his thoughts about what this project has meant to our family. One of my favorite quotes of the day is when he said “we’re living it!”   Those walking this path aren’t “talking ’bout” but “living the revolution,” a revolution that will bring about change.

Chatting with them afterwards the crew figured they shot about 5 or so hours of footage here on the homestead and only 10 minutes will be used.   This documentary will début May 6 on the campus of USC and the director informed us today that we are allowed to invite 20 friends (let’s see here, going down the list – who to choose?). After that initial screening the film will hopefully make it into selected film festivals and hopefully here for a screening at PTF.

For all you West Wing fans (yeah, we are pretty upset about the sudden termination of this series) you might be interested to know that the director that has been putting together this “ready or not” documentary partially filmed here on the PTF homestead, also assisted with tonight’s West Wing episode  (“Welcome To Wherever You Are”).


Blooming blackberries, arugula bed and first fruits

The blackberries are blooming (a bit early I may add) and the peaches and apples already have decent fruit set. The eva’s pride peach branches are covered completely with tiny almond shaped green fruit. Could it be a good year for peaches, in a few months we’ll certainly find out.

The raised beds are lush carpets of different salad greens, deep dark broccoli and sweat snow peas and onions.   Today we planted more tomatoes, beans and other warm weather crops and potted up seedlings into 4″ pots so they’ll be ready to go once the beds need replacing. How we love spring!

Bottle bed

This afternoon, it was time to put back the bottle bed that had been taken out when the guys expanded the animal enclosure. There are so many bottles that are in thrown away out the restaurants that we deliver to.   Most of them recycle the bottles, but I snatched a few of the light green and blue bottles to make colorful borders through the garden.   I only have enough bottles to do one bed, good thing because the other bed across the walkway will have to wait while we figure if we are going to be building a goat house or not.   Now what to plant in the new bottle bed, I’m thinking either bright light swiss chard – the colorful yellow, red and pink steams would look stunning behind the green bottles.


Fixing your eyes without glass/contacts.

Reading a recent post from theCar Free Family about vision therapy, I remember when one of our family members began to have eye trouble. I would like to share with our success with such alternative therapy.

When Justin was nearing teenage years, he started having trouble reading/seeing things far away.   Jules has had to wear glasses most of his adult life, but didn’t want one of his kids to be dependent on having to see an optometrist and the burden of wearing glasses or contact lenses.

We thought it best to try a natural, holistic approach to just rushing him to see an optometrist so we visited our local library to see what we could find. We found a few books on correcting your eyesight without glasses. Reading through the book Justin took up exercising his eyes – through techniques like palming/sunning and various eye exercises using the Bates method (see below) even using pinhole glasses which Jules uses to this day to watch TV, Over time, Justin’s eyes strengthened and his eyesight improved and we are happy to say years later he is not in need of glasses or contacts.

Natural Vision – A series of simple exercises may free you from wearing eyeglasses

Eyeglasses can be quite the little fashion accessory, but wouldn’t you rather have clear vision than sporty specs? You can, and without resorting to LASIK scalpels, despite what your business-minded ophthalmologist may tell you.In the early 1900s, an astute eye doctor named William Horatio Bates realized he was regularly prescribing increasingly stronger lenses to patients whose eyesight never improved but, rather, grew increasingly worse. Sound familiar?The pioneering doctor created the Bates Method, based on the view that, in many cases, glasses cover up the symptoms of a problem rather than address its cause. Bates believed that, like any set of muscles, eye muscles can become stiff or atrophied. Stress, unconscious mental or physical strain, and the habit-forming muscle tensions of early vision problems can all contribute to poor eyesight because they slow the flexibility of the eye muscles used in focusing.
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  1. claire says:

    glad you had a good days hiking. I notice that about filming, they once came to stables where I worked and the yard was on the television for three minutes! they were there for days and we spent one whole morning deciding on the right ‘colour’ of horse to have looking over the stable door, a grey one eventually as she showed up better. their catering van was very generous with cakes though, so that was good. do you think the film will be available to opurcahse as its unlikely it will be shown here.

  2. Anne says:

    I agree, you have to be living it. I consider this the same as a new language, you can only really learn it by immersion in its principles. the garden pictures are absolutely fabulous…your spring is way ahead of ours I have to say. the daffodils here have been straining up all week to grow taller and….it has warmed up a bit. The blanket is coming off the bed and the seeds are beginning to grow.

  3. Liz says:

    I’ve been enjoying your site for quite some time, and just wanted to say “thank you” for being such a presence (both online and in your community). We may not be as far along on the Path as you are, but we’re trying to make a positive difference (although sometimes I *do* have my setbacks!) in our little corner of the world. Keep on being an inspiration (and even those 10 documentary minutes will make a difference to countless people!).

  4. chris brandow says:

    how are you guys set up with your blackberries? I am planning on ollalieberries on a trellis that I can loop them around. I will have to wait for over a year to get the fruit, but it is worth it to me.

    any suggestions are welcome.

  5. Nate says:

    Thank you so much for the vision article. I’ve been so sick of my contacts and constantly going back and forth paying to see an optometrist. I’m going to give these exercises a try…

  6. Anais says:

    Hi Claire

    Yeah, it’s amazing how much hours of film they need for a couple minutes. The film crew said that they had sooo much that it was hard to slim the content down in the editing room. They said that they had enough footage for at least double what the run time of this documentary will be (30 min)

    Good question. The director said that it first will make the film festival circuit and that’s when the hope they can snag a distributor.

    I’ll keep everyone posted on any developments.


  7. Anais says:


    Thanks for your comments. My sentiments exactly. There is so much to learn from each day, life is certainly never boring.

    Thank you for your comments about the photos. I love taking pictures and with the warmer weather the camera is a constant companion.

    Happy Spring!

  8. Anais says:

    Thank you Liz.

    Your positive comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to leave us such feedback as it truly makes our day and journey the ever more pleasant.

    We, too, have setbacks! I could list a few (er page full!), but I try to remain positive – that’s all one can do right?

    Glad to hear from another traveler.

  9. Anais says:

    Hi Chris

    Thank you your question. Our blackberries are growing “wild” on a recycled metal trellis that runs along the fenceline in the front yard.

    The area receives adequate hours of sunlight and the bushes are heavily mulched to retain moisture.

    The variety is
    “Tropical Blackberries” which are very hardy and productive with huge fruit.

    We purchased our plants from Exotica Nursery in San Diego.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Anais says:

    You are welcome Nate. Glad to help others break free from this crutch.

    My brother, Justin, vision has greatly improved with such exercises and I hope your’s will too.

    Please keep us posted.


  11. Maya says:

    Hello Anais, happy spring for everyone at PTF. How I’d like to be in your team there…look at the garden 🙂 I never really grew up having a garden, but your sustaiable lifestyle is very attractive to me now as an adult who knows better. But it seems like it’s easier to just ‘joining’ in than starting everything myself 🙂 Wonderful opportunity you guys have, and bravo…good luck always. Your posts and pictures have been very inspiring to me

  12. Anais says:

    Greetings Maya

    How’s everything in France. Are you affected at all by all the protestors? Pretty amazing to see the masses of people in the streets.

    Happy Spring to you too! Glad you enjoy the photos and post, we are blessed that we are able to share our journey with you.


  13. Laurie says:

    I just LOVE that bottle idea! Thanks!

  14. Maya says:

    Hi Anais,

    No, I’m not affected by all the protestors since I live in a smaller town called Antibes. Nice is a next bigger town, so there’s been manifestation there and also other big and smaller cities through out France. It’s wonderful to see esp. the younger crowd defending their present and future job opportunities (no more precarity) and stopping the ‘abuse’ of big companies, gov’t and etc.

    My Fair Trade boutique is surviving the first 3 months, but these past three months have not been the high season here in Antibes. I’m expecting better turn out starting Easter to August. If I can make pass that…my business will go on for the better. I’m hoping the best…Now I’m waiting for my summer collection to come soon 🙂

    We bought an apartment in a 5-story building, and it’s quite big for the two of us. We’re still renovating it, and we’ll be having a Green Room where we’d like to have interior garden. I need to learn more about what type of plants that are good for interior, I’d like some small bamboos, banana tree, ivy-like plants etc. Any suggestions? the Green Room would be filled with a few bamboo furnitures too…about 15-20m2. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated 🙂 I’m so excited to be able to have a Green Room…(wish I can do more on the path of sustainability, but I have no clue where to start, except what I’ve been doing so far). Sorry for the long comment…

    ’til next time, peace and love,