Butterfly enjoying artichoke

The butterflies are back for the summer, visiting the flowers, flitting from one to another.

Our emotions are still a raw after Moonshadow’s passing (thanks to all who wrote, it’s greatly appreciate during this dark time), but life goes on and there is work to be done as we move further in our journey.

One of the many things we learned from this circumstance is that we realize that urban homesteading here in Pasadena isn’t an ideal situation – for animals. Because we don’t have any males around, animals that we do raise to be healthy are unable to produce offspring  we can enjoy.  The animals – chickens, ducks and bunnies– are all living a dead-end life and, basically, it’s unnatural.   When we loose the rest of the animals to old age or illness, we will then have to start all over again.  Purchasing the animals from a hatchery or pet store, always starting anew.  What good is that?  There is no way to pick out the healthiest animals and raise even healthier offspring to continue their lineage.   

Last week was a busy week. The guys have made considerable progress on the deck. There’s lots of work needing to be done in the garden – harvesting, watering, etc. 

On Friday we harvested 100lbs of tomatoes!  Sunday morning, a photographer (and his friend) hired by the Natural Home & Garden magazine, came to snap some photos for the upcoming article about PTF (should be in the Nov/Dec issue). The photographer used a  $50,000 camera for most of his shoots.  I can’t fathom there could be  a camera that cost as much as two cars – unbelievable!    We went through the photo shoot in a daze because of the situation with Moonshadow, so I am not sure how it went or how well we looked. 

On Sunday afternoon there were many tasks to be taken care of.  Justin brewed another batch of biodiesel, I peeled some peaches, Jordanne did her weekly cleaning of the animal area, Jules planted and tidied up the yard and worked on his “Post Petroleum” presentation for Sol Fest.
Packing day

Ray came by on Friday to do some surgery on the oven – replacing a marble piece that cracked due to the intense heat and also made improvements on the oven door. We still have to put one more layer of plaster on the dome and plaster the bottom, then cover the plaster with boiled linseed oil to give it a protective coating.  Hopefully that will all happen this week and then the cob oven will be completed!

Thinking along the Post Petroleum line: This year’s Sol Fest has a new workshop tent  “Preparing for the Post-Petroleum World”.   If one really thinks about it, in a post petroleum world would PTF travel 400 plus miles (one way — 800 miles roundtrip) to attend such a gathering?   Nope. I don’t think so.(Perhaps we could bike there?  We figured it would take about 10 days — one way).  Really gets you thinking.  Right now it’s so easy to get around and go places and get this and that.

The post carb lifestyle will be so topsy-turvy, it’s scary to even start to dissect our way of life into smaller and smaller pieces. We may have to learn to do without a lot of what we have come to depend on as normal.  What’s scary is we don’t even know if we, ourselves, are ready for what’s in store.    Right now we do our best to wean ourselves off our dependence(and we ain’t perfect). Sometimes, instead of taking painfully small steps, one seriously considers doing something drastic and unplugging the life-supports all together.  


  1. Liz says:

    Every day when I drive home from the gym I think about it being the last day when I get to splurge like that. And I am not even in the same league as y’all. You’re doing wonderful things. Even if it isn’t perfect.

  2. gerry medland says:

    Hi folks,
    Your collective example inspires so many and your hard work now will be a model blueprint for post oil,in essence it is an unfolding blueprint now.I ‘speak’ to those who will listen(few)As we on this side of the pond have grown complacent and beguilled by corprate business.There is another way!You guys prove that everyday!No amount of thanx will suffice to repay the debt we who listen,owe you who speak!Keep on travelling!

  3. Simon, UK says:

    I think you’re absolutely right about the need for male animals. I was very sorry to hear that you lost such a well-loved pet in Moonshadow, but nature was just doing her thing – recycling a sickly animal and thus improving the remaining genepool. If the lifecycle of your animals included new births, the inevitable deaths would be easier to handle.
    Those tomatoes look great!

  4. Nancy says:

    First of all, I love what you are doing, your commitment, your energy and your consistency. I heard of your website through “Farmer Greg, Urban Farmer” here in Phoenix, from whom I took a class of fruit trees and who also offers biodiesel classes. I have somewhat of an urban farm myself, with fruit trees and a veggie patch and used to have chickens.

    I think it is very important that someone preserve the knowledge of how to do the old crafts,so that in the post-petroleum world, when we need those crafts, the knowledge is not lost.

    But, re: the post-petroleum world- I have thought and read about this probably much less than you, but one article I read said that the transition would likely be very gradual, with no real change in my time (mind you, I am 50!) or even my children’s time. And that the transition would be characterized by ever higher gas prices more than anything.

    I guess my question is, if the world changes very little in your time, will you be disappointed at preparing for something that did not happen? Or do you find satisfaction in the life style itself? And if you lacked the kind of apocalyptic vision you seem to have, would you be less motivated for change?

    I am interested in your thoughts but I know you are very busy and sometimes life itself leaves us no time to ponder life!


  5. Anais says:

    Thanks Liz, Simon, Gerry and Nancy (welome!) for your comments.

    Liz – it’s definitely a eye opener once you start disecting your life. You may enjoy this essay I stumbled upon the other day titled “I Pencil” which traces the “genealogy of this simple object.

    If something a basic and “simple” as a pencil has complicated roots imagine what other necessity items much be like!

    Simon – One day our goal is to have a larger place where the complete circle of life can take place and can enjoy the “offspring” of our animals (making death must easier to accept)

    Nancy (welcome to PTF!) Thanks for posting. Very good questions, I have passed your thoughts and inquiries to Jules and he will respond to them when he can.

    There are certainly many guessimated predictions on when the “collaspe” will happen or how it will happen. Either way peak oil or not, the earth is in peril and we all will eventually have to change our ways and lives if we are able sustain life on this fragile planet.

    I would say the “apocalyptic” outlook spurs us to keep reducing our footprint and strive to maintain a sustainable lifestyle and in the meantime gain knowledge to withstand anything “bad” that happends along the way.