Big Ideas

We received a call the other day fromSUNDANCE ‘Big ideas for a Small Planet’. They were interested in thetoilet lid sink that our online store carries and thought we were the manufacturer. Nope, but we definitely have one in use here on the urban homestead. I gave her the company’s contact info and so perhaps those of you who have cable and watch the new green channel on Sundance will see the toilet lid sink featured.

What’s unique aboutePeddlersWagon.com is not only are we carrying sustainable and practical goods but we use (most) of these goods here on the urban homestead. We are working on a little icon (“PTF Picks”) that will show the products that are being tried and used here by real life eco urban pioneers and homesteaders.

Putting Foot Before Book

Interesting title for a post? Well, I’ll explain.   This sustainable journey which started back in the 1970’s (check out the originalrural homestead in New Zealand where we lived without running water, used an outhouse, drank rainwater, and grew our own food, had goats, chickens, and bees) and seven years after this urban homestead project was sown, “Where’s the book?” folks have constantly wanted to know.    Well, to us it’s all about walking the path before “talking” and, like they say, “actions speak louder than words.”

This year, however, it seems more and more folks (writers, publishers, etc.) have been writing to PTF–and guess what is the subject of the emails? — a book, no doubt.  

The bookless path we choose certainly is not one that most folks take, and I think that path/choice makes/made PTF so unique, especially in such a “high” profile situation as ourselves.   Over these last seven years on the long and winding road, we’ve put our feet first on the path to change before a book. Especially since so often we hear and read of folks who have written books who’ve stated that their family, garden, or sustainable project has suffered for it. We couldn’t afford to let that happen with the urban homestead while it was young, growing and developing (baby steps)… there was too much to do!

Hopefully, now the urban homestead has matured and can walk on its own, leaving us more time to take on more challenges…

We’re Living It

Seven years ago when we decided that the very best way to protest against the poisoning of our food and the wasteful and consumer driven society was to live the revolution. So instead of protesting on the streets, our protest was about how we choose to live.

Asking the vital questions about where our food, water and energy come from and cutting as many of the ties that bind us to a life of dependency.   To be as self sufficient on a city lot as we could… well, seven years later, here we are.    And to see the urban homestead movement spread across the country/world is even more amazing how PTF has touched so many lives.   A few folks we’ve touched have taken time to write. Telling us how this site has changed their life… they were going one way and did a complete 180 reversal. A few reported they even quit their jobs and have moved to the country.   Others have written us about how they are doing as much as they can in their apartments or even smaller sized lot than we have.   I guess we’ll never really know to what extent PTF has influenced the modern urban homestead movement, but I can take a wager a guess that the influence is much bigger than we can even imagine.   Urban homesteading has grown from  an obscure, underground movement to join with the green movement. All thanks to issue like peak oil and global warming which are making folks aware that change needs to begin now. No matter where you are, what you do… all it takes is ONE STEP.

Our personal journey is still ongoing, there’s so much to still do and learn.   As grandpa Dervaes always said, “If you cease to learn you cease to exist.”    Such a non static lifestyle forces us to be flexible and make changes if not hourly then daily.   There’s no one department; everyone learns to multi, triple, quadruple task.   I am sure they don’t teach you THAT skill at school.    Just when you think you can’t juggle more or your brain is about to explode due to overload … out pops another challenge or task that’s thrown into your lap. Your choice is drop the whole lot or get better at juggling.    I like to tell folks that I ought to join the circus!

This year we’ve seemed to gone through a growth spurt.   Some years seem to be the same while others stick out as your having grown light years — matured.
We are humbled and honored to have shared this journey, this path to freedom with you these seven years.

Deep Impact

One family, one website, one journey touching and changing lives. Goes to show you the power of ONE.

Just had to share a letter from a recent reader and fellow traveler…. real life, real people, real change

Dervaes family,Thank you so much for your website and for doing rather than preaching.I have, for years, put off ‘cleaning up my act’ because I wasn’t in the’right’ place. But you’ve shown me that by ‘doing something’ no matter where Iam is better than not doing it at all.I’ve always day dreamed about having a hobby farm so that I can getback to a ‘better time’ but a light bulb went off when I saw and read yourjourney. I realized that by not ‘learning’ and putting into practice some of whatI’ve read and dreamed about doing. I wouldn’t know what to do with the hobbyfarm even if I got it one day.So I’ve started in my own backyard. My vegetable garden isn’t very bigright now but I’m increasing it’s size every year and I am starting newhabits so that if that ‘one day’ dream happens, I’ll be ready for it and the worldwill be a slightly better place until I get there.One step at a time. That’s my new moto. I thank you for my light bulbmoment.Keep up the good work.Regards,DH – Canada

Has PTF touched/ changed your life. Share your stories with our readers – give them encouragement to take the first step!

Fresh From Our Garden… to Your Table

Just last week we received a call from a local country club chef. He informed us that the club members voted to try and make the meals served there more local and organic. Guess who they called, none other thanDerVaes Gardens.   Of course because of our limited supply we can’t completely supply them with everything; however, they will make special dishes made exclusively with our produce and will feature them on the menu highlighting the fact it’s locally grown not but a few miles away.  

Their first meal with the fresh, organic homegrown produce was such a hit. We heard that one of their club members is a food critic writer for a major magazine, and she completely raved about the meal.


Under the sun { Baltimore Sun}

In the heat of summer, a solar oven saves energy as it cooks food to fill your stomach
A thought occurs to me now and then, when I turn on a burner and watch a ring of blue flame bloom underneath a pot: If I didn’t have easy access to gas, electricity or even firewood, how would I feed myself?There are millions of people around the world who have difficulty getting their hands on cooking fuels like wood or coal, let alone natural gas.But a growing number of people are cooking with an abundant, clean power source: nuclear fusion – or, in other words, the sun. This summer, I became one of them. Using some scrap materials and plans I found online, I built a solar oven whose temperature gets up to 240 degrees. It bakes potatoes, roasts vegetables and slow-cooks meat – all while sitting on my front lawn on a sunny day.
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Drinking farm milk may cut asthma risk (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Consumption of farm milk appears to reduce the risk of asthma and allergy, according to findings from a European study.”All the children drinking unpasteurized farm milk and eating other farm-related dairy products showed the same level of protection against asthma and allergies, regardless of whether they were living on a farm or not,” lead author Dr. Marco Waser, from the University of Basel in Switzerland, said in a statement. The benefits were greatest when consumption of farm milk began during the first year of life, he added.
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Chemical Found in Plastic Linked to Reproductive Disorders (Treehugger)

(BPA) — a chemical commonly found in hard plastics — has for the first time been linked to female reproductive disorders in a strongly-worded statement released by 38 scientists and published online in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. The compound, which is used in a variety of consumer items such as polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, microwave oven dishes and sports bottles, often seeps from containers and enters the bodies of humans.
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  1. Nancy Kelly says:

    Thoughts on the book – write it!

    I am sure you have heard of Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I read it, and have read blogs, etc., where people said it really made them think and realize. Which is great. But Kingsolver is a wonderful fiction writer and I thought her talents would have been so much better spent in writing a novel!

    So in other words, I guess, I thought her book was off purpose (my opinion, of course I don’t know what she considers her purpose). A book by you folks would be so incredibly on purpose! Because your purpose, as I see it, is education as much as gardening. If that were not so, you would not do the website – you would not participate in Earth Days – you would not give your wonderful seminars.

    So write it! It is probably already written in this website! And all the photos are ready!