Gals and Goats


We took the goats on a short hike to the Upper Arroyo. The afternoon was quite warm (for the goats) so we stopped at shady “Teddy’s Outpost” and let the goats climb the hillsides, rocks and Jordanne even gave them a lesson in crossing streams. Fairlight didn’t have a problem crossing the stream; however, Blackberry was a bit more cautions and needed a little more coaxing and encouragement.

One of the main objective of the hike was to collect acorns (forflour) and yucca leaves (forsoap) but we were having so much fun with the goats the foraging was forgotten.

PTF Outreach

We’ve been in preliminary correspondence with a local herbalist who we hope will present a basic “kitchen” herbal medicine workshop sometime in the future (learn how to make tinctures, salves, syrups, etc.).   Trying to figure out if we should schedule such a workshop for a winter session or wait till spring.

Speaking of workshops, we also contacted a winemaker in the area, but haven’t heard anything back yet.

Also, stay tuned for details for the upcoming details of the “100 Mile Harvest Potluck” in November … we hope to have a special guest.

It’s Almost Here!

Received a call from the woodstove folks in Hermosa Beach. The stove is expected to arrive on Wednesday!


This morning we picked up over a dozen hay bales from one of our upscale clients (they had a party over the weekend). We are still using up the last bunch we picked up from them a few months back (think it was like 18 bales sometime in summer)   On Wednesday we are going to be picking up another 10 or so bales. Best to stock up when you can. Anyhow, can’t turn our backs on natural mulch and,best of all, it’s free!

Duck Sitting & Dating Service

We’ll be babysitting Dixie and Dawn’s (our two Khaki Campbell) two sisters come December. Their “parents,” a young couple who live in Sunland, will be traveling to Florida for the holidays and usually leave Lela and Lola with us to watch while they are away.

However, on this visit they may be introduced to a dashing young male Khaki Campbell. The bachelor lives with another friend of ours in South Pas (sheesh, ever since we got Khaki Campbell’s over four years ago seems like everyone now has one). The couple in South Pas has too many ducks (after falling in love after seeing our little duckies– the next spring they bought over 16 ducks and another dozen or so the following year) and they are wanting to find a good home for this fellow. So it may be high time our girls and their sisters meet and get to know this young fella… and perhaps little duckies will follow.   And you know what means? We’ll have to find good and loving homes for any extra little duck guys and girls.

I wonder how the male duck will fit in amongst the peaceful cohabitation of the ducks and chickens we now have – they live peacefully together so it should be interesting to watch this reality show play out.

Your Turn

Now that another year is coming to close and, with PTF passing a six year milestone of journal postings over the summer, we’d like to hear from our readers and even you lurkers out there. We’ve been blessed that we’ve had a chance to openly share our journey to offer inspiration to fellow travelers along the way.   By posting here on the journal we are able to share a bit of our daily lives, our hopes, passions, concerns with you.  
It’s been amazing to see how far and wide this website reaches — over 100 countries, readers come from all walks of life, different religions and political views .   Earth stewardship and the simple life erases (or should erase) all sorts of political, religious or class divides.

When people do meet us, one question most asked is “whose the one who writes the journal?” Of course, I answer “I do,” but have to clarify that I am writing the thoughts, ideas, concerns, conversations for EVERY member of the family who doesn’t have time to post his/her own thoughts or daily happenings (well, not that I have time either!) I am just the “pen” or “voice” for all.  

There’s so much to write about, we don’t even get around to everything like deeper issues or personal feelings (rants!) about things that bother us or what affect us.   Besides, the journal is more about telling you, our readers, what we did today, our success and struggles with a few personal opinions thrown in here and there.  

Let’s try something different today. Instead of “me” writing this post, let’s hear from you.  

Tell us how are we doing – any suggestions. comments good or bad (don’t be shy) to help us improve this site and journal.
Of course, we have our own ideas that would improve this site: finish part 2 (the “how to” section), perhaps resuscitate‘The Path’ newsletter (which in all the new projects and shuffling fell by the wayside), expand the online store to help cover cost of site’s upkeep and support the outreach programs, and perhaps find someone that would like help build the‘Trail Guide’ source (although this section of the PTF site was a good idea, sad to say, never really took off – can’t understand why)
OK, we spoke our peace now your turn.
Thank you.


  1. Mick Lind says:

    I commend you on your website. It has greatly inspired me. It’s also given me the idea to track my progress in reaching my own goals on a blog. I’m at a very transitional stage in my life so many of the things that you are doing are not practical for me yet. I am doing what I can and am always looking for new ideas. Thank you to the Dervaes for sharing your ideas and your lives with us.

  2. Liz says:

    Your site seems great to me… I just read the journal, and like seeing the projects you all have going on. We have a lot of the same philosophies, but you do a better job documenting for your site all the things you do.

    One question about your duck/chicken cohabitation: how did you introduce them? Were they raised from chicks together? Are they housed together? The reason I ask is that we have six ducks (all female) and I’ve been trying to introduce a young hen to their flock over the past week. It’s not going all that well and I wondered if you had any tips. (the most recent posts on my blog are about the introduction if you’re interested). I appreciate any advice you may have! Thanks!

  3. Wildside says:

    Of course you know I am a huge fan of this journal and site. Even if I don’t come every day or read all posted or plan to take action on everything that you offer here.

    Speaking to that, one reason the ‘trail guide’ might not have taken off the way you want is that the front page seems more than a tad bit overwhelming. You’ve got a lot of good info to share, but, personally, it’s simply too much for my eyes to take in all at once. Too many choices! For example, when I look at it I just don’t know where to start so I put off that worry til another day (meaning, I feel incredibly indecisive so decide to come back later). Others may feel the same way.

    Also, it seems like you are referring to it by many different names rather than just one… That may be confusing to others also.

    Now that I have a direct link to it from my blog (my sort of ‘bookmark’), I do really plan to come back from time to time and see what all you have there.

    I hope this has been constructive feedback rather than just me rambling! (As I am prone to do…) You guys are amazing!

  4. Shy Canadian says:

    I am one of those lurkers, and am stepping out of the shadows to tell you that you are doing a wonderful, wonderful job. You (and your site) have been a constant source of both inspiration and practical information. We can’t all afford to sell our homes, leave our jobs, and build that offgrid strawbale home on the idyllic organic farm – but we sure can take steps to make our suburban homes more like yours. Thank you, thank you thank you! You’re my daily dose of hope for a better world, and you’ve certainly influenced me to make changes my life and my house.

  5. Esther says:

    Hi Dervaes Family! Some five years ago I read the following book, I was wondering if you are familiar with it:
    This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Dye Gussow.
    If not, she is one of the pioneers of your lifestyle and worth to read her book. Since decades she is advocating for local food vs. 10 days old veggies from the otherside of the world. She is homesteading in NY state.

    Anyhow, to get back to your question: your website is a great source of inspiration and information. PLease keep it up!

  6. Julie in FL says:

    I too lurk behind the mask of anonymity. Living in south Florida, I am blessed with abundant sunshine for drying clothes (although my upscale neighbors think I’m crazy). I’ve started a container garden, a compost pile, and turned my excessive palm tree droppings into mulch! I’ve learned that my ½ acre cul-de-sac lot has poor drainage, which is why the Cyprus tree in the backyard has been sending up knees! I’ve been reading about solar panels and wonder if they can work as well in the tropics as they do in the desert. I’m still investigating environmentally friendly ways to get rid up the most abominable creatures to move up from South America, the fire ant. And through it all, I look to your site for evidence of what each baby step can accomplish. Your site is wonderful and inspiring. I wish that the list of steps taken on the right side of the home page were links to the archives where you shared your decision-making processes and trials dealing with the topic.

    Keep up the good work – you are truly inspiring the country and the world!

  7. gerry medland says:

    I’m scribbling notes on the backs of envelopes,mainly to do with all the things I have learned from my constant visits to The PTF site,Improve,re-work,re- instate,yes all those things may be possible,what is glaringly important to me as an avid reader,is the value of the content on so many aspects of being an ‘urban pioneer’ as DETAILED through the pages of PTF.Thank you so much for your example and hard work and sacrifice of time to bring those values to us.Dont burn yourselves out,please.

  8. Lara in Australia says:

    Just stumbled across your wonderful site, and the dream is in me. My husband and I are still planning for our first home (still renting now), and we both hope to one day follow your path. Thank you for a wonderful resource – I will be reading every post from now on!