Film crew

Sunday was a busy day! It ended up that the folks filming ‘Escape from Suburbia‘ didn’t show as expected. It was for the better, since we had our hands full with another film crew from USC taping the documentary ‘Ready or Not‘ ( premiers sometime in May). Even though it was a long and exhausting day (10 1/2 hours), the USC folks made everyone feel at ease and they were a very pleasant group of folks to be around.

We did get a call from Greg Greene, director of the End of Suburbia, who said that even though they were unable to make it to the homestead they hope to send another guy out within the next few months.

While being interviewed for Ready or Not‘, the director asked a few tough questions. For example: How would we go about protecting our place/food, would we consider guns?   Conscious city folks who have gardens (even one fruit tree) or are a part of a community garden will have to grapple with this issue.

This thought is always in the back, in the corners of one’s conscience. It’s scary to think about it, but one can’t be overcome or paralyzed by fear. We have to still continue to do what we have to do, learning new skills, conserving, and hope, however optimistic this may be, for the best transition possible.   Yeah, I know, this sounds a bit fairytale-ish – but possible.   My grandfather used to say, “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.” We are hoping for the best, but have to consider preparing for the worst (by inspiring others, showing alternatives and continuing our journey of self-sufficiency).

Another was, what if bird flu was detected in our area, what would we do with our chickens and ducks? Another tough and difficult question and there are many angles to consider. We are against government interference, like with New Castle and hoof and mouth disease, which kills even healthy animals that could be naturally resistant to such an epidemic. If you had a flock or herd of animals and among those that were infected and died, a few survive. That’s the one you want to breed since it proved to be resistant to such an outbreak. Otherwise, with the mass killing, you never get the chance to select the strongest that survived to breed the next generation, giving you stronger and healthier stock/flocks. There’s much debate on this subject, and I barely even scratched the surface on this issue.

Also there were other issues to consider that the film will touch on, like stock piling supplies. It’s great principle to think about no matter what the situation (earthquakes, flu pandemic, whatever) The Mormons stockpile one year’s worth of supply for the entire family.

Storing food is an important part of becoming self reliant. Help your family become self- reliant by beginning or improving your own storage. read more

Having supplies (herbal first aid kits, herbal medicines, food and water) would be something that we would need to do and we’ll definitely add this project to our “to do” list.

These subjects are definitely worth an in-depth post.

Smashing oranges

Moving on from doom and gloom subjects…

The rain over the last few days has really given the plants a tremendous boost and, hopefully, there is more rainfall on the way. Everything is much greener.

On Sunday, even with all the commotion, we did get a bit of work done. Tomatoes and cucumbers were planted in seed trays and more green veggies were transplanted into raised beds. And the guys even did a bit of roofing on the garden shed.

Nasturtiums are blooming, thanks to the recent rains! Our clients will be trilled to hear, since in the busy season, they order upwards of 100 plus boxes (50 count each) a week from us.

Today, we had to harvest the rest of the blood oranges from the tree since the orange trees were starting to bloom again. The harvest weighed in over 100lbs!   Would anyone like some blood oranges?   I may have to send out an email to see if anyone wants these gourmet treats.

Guavas are ripening and we harvested a few pounds. Tropical treats in February! I know. Sorry.   There are some of you folks who are snow bound. But the high cost of living here are our “taxes” for having such good weather. There is a price to pay.

The backyard is still under-construction as we juggle on the projects that we have on our plates. But, it’s slowly transforming into a totally different garden. No more concrete (25′ x 20′ ft slab – gone), no more containers (only a few left). This will definitely help with the water situation. 

Monday night was the pick up for the local co-op from Azure Standard. If you shop wisely, there are some great deals on bulk items. Our favorites buys are 1 gal of raw honey for $18 and organic chicken feed that’s only $15 for 50 lbs (can’t get any organic feed anywhere around here this cheap).   We also pick up a few bulk staples like organic flour, rice and dried beans every other month or so.   While waiting for the truck to be unloaded, I got to talking with a friend and customer of ours who talked about the benefits of raw cheese and looking for a local place which supplies goat’s milk.   We would like to go back to eating raw cheese and goat’s milk. We kids grew up on raw goat’s milk we don’t have a goat (right now) and their milk is the best substitute for our occasional diary cravings (besides, of course, soy).

Zoom, zoom

Raw goat milk, though sometimes a bit harder to find for the consumer, is the better choice for the health conscious human, than typical pasteurized cow milk, readily available at every grocery store in the country. Pasteurization… kills desirable and undesirable bacteria or organisms.

Another process that cow milk must go through before retail is homogenization. Homogenization is the process in which fat globules are broken into a smaller form to keep it suspended within the milk. This process eliminates the natural separation of the cream rising to the top. Goat milk is naturally homogenized. It does not have to go through the homogenization process. It doesn’t separate naturally. The outcome of naturally homogenized milk allows greater ease of digestibility. Digestion of goat milk is faster because the fat globules are much smaller than in cow milk. read more

We like to get goats again, perhaps dwarfs, sometime in the future.  Goats are so cute, don’t you think? Besides, giving meat, milk and even mohair,  these critters may be useful in the future for alternative transportation . Wouldn’t it be neat to see folks running around on goat carts?


  1. shannon says:

    HI anais

    we would love to come up and get some blood oranges from you!!!! Trade you some soap! We had to pygmy goats here for a while. they were great except for the striping of all the fruit trees. We now have a dedicated space for them in with the pig. maybe it is time for some new goats!!! It sounds like the film crew was asking some really good tough questions. We like to think about our lovely gardens etc. but how many of us want to face the dark side of this problem. Thanks once again for the great info.


  2. Jerri-Ann says:

    Nigerian Dwarf Goats are the dairy version of the Pygmy Goat, which is built like a meat goat. The NDGs give a lot of milk for their size.Also I was told their milk is close to sheeps milk in richness. And they are very sweet goats- the does are only 17 to 20 inches tall!

  3. Joanne Poyourow says:

    When you speak of guns, and defending your fruit trees, it brings to my attention the difference between self-sufficiency with a survivalist outlook, versus the independence and self-realization of sustainability. The first is of the “save our own” mindset, presuming that society is going to completely crash and we want our own family to survive.
    But Sustainability implies that we can guide all (or a preponderance) of society toward a lifestyle where what we use/harvest/extract from the planet is in balance with what we can grow/create/compost/put back. In other words, we’re striking out on a path where our behavior is that of leader to others, and we coax a community to come along. We’re working with others, rather than in defense of our personal little niche.
    I wish you had had a chance to see David Holmgren (co-founder of Permaculture concept) in Santa Barbara last August. He drew an energy curve (based on page xxix of his book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability), showing energy use and population climbing at a steep rate from about the year 1500 to now. In his book, he then shows a steep crash. But in the Santa Barbara lecture, David Holmgren explained how in departing from this crest there really are 4 options. One he described as the “techno-fantasy” – what I think of as the Star Wars / Star Trek future – with energy consumption (from fantasy sources) continuing to rise steeply from here into the future.
    The second option he called “green-tech stability” which is what many mainstream environmentalists visualize, which would basically be a plateau at our current rate of energy consumption. Man-made machines and contraptions would be the saving grace – hydrogen cars, solar panels, etc. Holmgren described this as “least likely”. Realize that this scenario attempts to merely substitute “green” tech for our conventional, with the ultimate goal being to perpetuate our current (extreme) level of consumption.
    In another option he described the massive crash, which begins with the techno fantasy, then crumbles into chaos, with very little salvaged out of global civilization. This is the version the survivalists are banking on.
    The last option he called “earth stewardship.” The future well-being of people will depend upon a renewable resource base (water, soil), with less and less energy required as we move into future generations. Permaculture would be the “technology” for this descent culture – a gentle decline “like a balloon.” He said the symbol of this solar age would be a tree (Permaculture) rather than a solar panel (green stability version).
    When I read your comments about guns and fruit trees, it brought these scenaros to mind. Only through reaching out to others, and bringing along the entire broader community, can we hope to achieve the “earth stewardship” scenario. You are a leader, at Path To Freedom, an example of where we’re all headed. But in order for “earth stewardship” to work, we must find a Place for all within the framework, even for those who would otherwise be the looters of those fruit trees.
    It is possible. Realize that thousands of people are working on the issue, each from their own angle. Some work urban sustainability, including issues of inner city toxins and social marginalization. These issues too, are part of Sustainability. In fact, they are part of Permaculture, the bigger picture of Permaculture, a Permanent-culture. Look at Holmgren’s Permaculture flower in his book, or on his website at the bottom of We must bring along each petal of the flower in order to achieve societal sustainability. It’s a big job, but it is not impossible, with so many thousands worldwide working on each petal. So listen to Grandpa: “Expect the best,” and let’s make it happen.
    I created a vision of Holmgren’s gradual energy descent, an illustration of what the transition of our whole society toward Sustainability could be like. In my book, I work with Holmgren’s Permaculture Flower, projecting positive change in each petal. I did this by researching what environmental and social change is already under way, in each of these petals, or realms of society. The result is so possible; we only need to create it.

    (EDITED: sorry we don’t allow advertising)


  4. gerry medland says:

    Hi Anais,
    thanx so much for a really thought provoking article!If the Blair government record on Foot and mouth is anything to go by,we on this side of the pond,will see a mass cull of all fowl,infected or not!Should the worst happen then I have to comply with the law of the land even though I know the law to be wrong!These will be difficult decisions and I shall think hard and long before coming to any decisions!

  5. Anne says:

    Really thoughprovoking post here Anais. I like the idea of having a years supply of food but in practice would need to declutter a lot to find space for it. I think I will add this to my list of things to do…it seems never ending and continually inspired by your efforts. Thank you for that.
    Bird flu is on my mind too, and I share your concerns about the ways it is dealt with. It makes me shudder.
    There is a risk here that by being different we will be overrun with people who want to survive and who will see self reliant people as a target. But we must not add to a culture of fear but only hope that before that happens we have inspired enough people to take small steps towards their own survival.

  6. Juli says:

    I’m very interested in the blood oranges and will ask around here (NE FL) to see if they’re available. I’m glad you mentioned them again… I needed the reminder.

  7. Peggy W. says:

    When ever there is a shortage of anything, people can get ugly. I don’t think it is possible to prepare for every possible scenario. If a person develops skills and can think out of the box, that person is much more prepared than someone who does not or will not develop skills.

  8. Wildside says:

    Here’s a link for info that you might be interested in:

    Hmm… Goatweb was back this morning! (Not sure why it hasn’t been working [at least that’s the case for me…])

  9. marie says:

    I don’t think you sounded like you would resort to guns. From my observations, there appear to be 2 schools of thought. The first believes in the ability of man to recognize the better way and to choose to go that path. It believes that the transition to a new lifestyle will be made by choice and that others will also join in. It is a philosophy based on the innate goodness of man.

    The second school of thought looks at the history of man and sees that changes in society were usually brought about by force or upheaval. It takes into account that human nature is resistant to change and is resistant to admitting that one’s choices (in this case one’s cushy lifestyle) could be wrong. In the light of this second vieewpoint, we should consider that the future ahead could possibly be a very dangerous and tumultuous time in human history, especially if one factors in all the possible scenarios that might “force” people to change (national economic insecurity, collapse of society’s infrastructure, terrorism, etc.) Then all bets are off as to the innate goodness of man and I am afraid it will be each man for himself mentality. No one knows for sure how they personally will react in a crisis. So this scenario is frightening.

    Just thought I would add this.

  10. Anais says:

    Hi folks,

    Thanks for all your great comments.

    About Goats: we really want to get some and the Nigerian Dwarfs are the breed we are most interested in.

    Gerry: it’s truly a shame how the situation was handled with the foot & mouth diesease. I agree, one has to comply with the law, especially if there is a chance the disease may spread to humans. It’s tough and I hope and pray that we(you) will never have to be in such a horrible situation.

    Joanne: Thanks for your comments. However, I was in NO way promoting the use of guns to protect ones food supply/garden or being selfishly hording. I guess this is what happens when my posts are incomplete and done in a hurry.

    The director of the film said that some people that she had talked to about our homestead said something to the effect that we couldn’t survive and would have to protect ourselves with guns. The fact is that some other folks were saying that we would have to… because some of them would and that’s scary. Jules had a good answer to the question about guns. He basically said he hopes that it never comes to this and hopes that enough people will change to make this a smooth transition.

    About my grandfather’s advice “preparing for the worst.” This is balanced wisdom that applies to any area of life. We can personally prepare. Learning more skills so we don’t have to depend on outside sources, so if everyone became more self sufficient, we wouldn’t have as many problems. Change creates the “ripple affect” By changing yourself, you start the ripple outwards and hope that others will be affected by your change.

    Let us continue to be good stewards of the earth together.

    I hope this clarifies things up. 😉

  11. Anais says:

    You’re welcome Juli.

    Good luck in your search. I hope you find a source for these lovely oranges.


  12. Anais says:


    Thanks for your comments. I agree, before we ever think of carrying guns we will carry trowels, knitting needles, spoons, shovels, seeds, etc…

    Creation to battle destruction.

  13. Anais says:


    Thanks for your post.

    I agree, even for us, we still need to declutter.

    We live in a pivitol point in history and we hope that others like yourself will join in taking small steps.

    Having been to NOLA and seeing the disaster take place on TV and going personally to see the devistation… there is still a bit of fear, but that soon goes away when you wake up and see all the work ahead. Work here on the homestead continues to gives one hope, hope of a new day and hope for the future.

  14. Anais says:

    Hi Shannon

    Sounds like a good deal to me. I am beginning to run low on my homemade soap. It’s about time I start making some.

    But, I would love to trade oranges for soap.

    When will you be coming to Pasadena? LMK


  15. Erin says:

    Dear Anais,

    I agree with you about the value of raw goat’s milk and raw cheeses, but are you sure of the health benefits of soy? After reading the info available at about soy, I’ve had to rethink its value in our diets.


  16. Anais says:

    Hi Erin

    Thank you for your comment and bringing up the debate about soy in our diet. I have know for sometime about this and am also rethinking the amount of soy, especially in a vegetarian diet, that we eat.

    Thank you again for brining this up.