PTF Spotlight

Look for a 90 second piece about gardening on Dec 14 & 15th on Time Warner Headline News San Gabriel Valley. They interviewed and questioned head urban farmer, Jules Dervaes, about gardening and growing food in the city. We don’t have cable, but if we get any further details we’ll post them.

She’s a beauty


Sissy’s turned into a gorgeous golden laced bantam cochin. Her comb is so big and red that, at quick glance, should looks like a wittle wooster… little rooster.

After raising over a bunch of chicks this spring for fellow urban homesteaders and backyard chicken lovers , we had our pick to choose our small backyard flock from the bunch.  

During the first weeks, we set up brooders (cardboard boxes) in the middle bedroom/craft room.   After 3 weeks, we them moved the chickies into the garage.   Nothing out of the ordinary, I know, but here’s the story…

Since we had to clear out the middle room for the long carboard boxes, we had to stack stuff towards the perimeter.   Our room (the girls’) room is adjacent to the middle room so we were able to keep watchful eye on the chicks through the night.     So three weeks later and we move the chicks out to the garage. Now, it’s been three days since we’ve moved them and I am in the middle room doing whatever I am doing and I hear something. Funny, it must be the mother instinct because when raising animals you pick up noises other folks really don’t notice.     So my heart leaps, I hold my breath and then stop moving, intently listening for that sound again. A few seconds go by, nothing and then a little peep.    How could this be? Is there a chick still in the room?   I hear the peep again. I flip on the light get down on my hands and knees and see if I can find this little lost chick..

Sure enough a chick emerges out from behind the boxes.    I couldn’t believe it had survived that long. Even more surprisingly was that it hadn’t made a sound the whole time it was there. Jordy and I practically sleep nearby and can hear any noise that comes from the room (even our two cats didn’t even alert us!).    What’s even stranger is that chicks this age go absolutely nuts when the brooding light goes off or they are isolated from their buddies. Normally they start peeping their heads off in alarming fashion.   Well, certainly not this chick. It was perfectly quiet which anybody whose raises chickens would know is quite odd.

I picked it up and it look fine. No signs of stress, anything.  I immediately cupped the chick in my hand and ran out to the garage so it could join the others and get some food and drink.   The little chick at once settled in with the others and we made sure to pay special attention to this one for the next few days.

It would another few weeks before we knew if we could keep this chick. We first had to determine what sex it would eventually be and knowing that we could only keep hens we had a 50-50 chance. When it grew into a pullet we were happy! Because she’d stay here on the urban homestead. Still, it is a wonder how she even go out of the box, but yet again there had been an similar incidence before when a chick “went over the wall” — escaped. But as soon as it realized it was alone,  boy, did that chick let you know it’s scared and lost. The peeps get higher and higher in decibels till you come running to see what’s up. Well, that’s normally what happens.. Presently, that silent chick, who went through a bit of ‘HARD TIMES’ has grown into a gorgeous feathered resident of the urban homestead and is aptly known as one of the characters of this Dickens novel —Sissy.  

Only One Week Left

On Dec 14 the GROW THE FUTURE™ widget closes for the fiscal year. A huge thanks to all those donated, we appreciate and are humbled by your ongoing support. As you can see, we only reached 65% of our goal (so far) which is somewhat of a disappointment and makes us slightly doubtful of the future.   But then again we still have a week left. Besides, just as it is with gardening, every year the sower has faith the next will be even better.

Once this widget retires, we’ll be setting the 2008 goal for (blank?). Once we determine the goal for ’08 I personally am going to try my hardest to see if can successfully reach this goal, so I hope you continue to enjoy the journal postings.   Actually, I was thinking as I sat breaking down the numbers that if every reader donated just a $1.00 a month we could have reached the goal this year. Yep, just a $1.00.  Well, of course, Paypal takes a percentage ( ~ 20 cents I think) and that would need to be factored into the amount. But I thought that fact was quite interesting.

Another way to support PTF’s growth spurt is through the online store – PEDDLER’S WAGON. At PTF we are committed to keeping this site free of ads, banners, etc. An idea to which some of our readers have said they wouldn’t mind — commercial ads that is. Instead of implementing outside ad sources, we’ll be doing our own advertising with our affiliated site — PEDDLER’S WAGON. I am going to see if I can’t work on some smart little ads that we can place on the journal since sales this month have been incredibly slow.

Big Storm

After three incredibly gorgeous, sunny days with temps in the upper 80’s there’s a huge winter storm heading our way. It’s expect to bring 3″ to the local foothill communities (that’s us!) and snow in our local mountains (that would be a treat!) That’s the amount of rain we received all last season. Can you imagine that?   What a blessing this rain will be if/when comes.    If it’s a cold rain storm, which it looks like it is, it may be that we finally breakdown and use the wood stove (burning wood scraps and non native eucalyptus) to warm up the front these rooms just a bit.   We find, the JOTUL F100 works quite well.  After the initial firing for a few hours, the heat will radiates for many hours afterwards.

No Comments

  1. Becky L. says:

    What a beautiful lady chicken and a wonderful story. Our animals add so much to our life! My daughter and I were discussing how much our animals meant to our family.
    I love the fact that by “urban homesteading” we can still provide that kind of interaction with animals and nature to our children!
    Thanks Anais for always being such an inspiration!

  2. Stephanie Griffith says:

    The $1 a month comment is helpful to me. I always want to donate, but we are on a tight budget and I always think that I will do it when I have a bigger chunk of money to donate. That never seems to happen. 🙂 I can spare a couple of bucks a month, though. Good idea!

  3. LaVonne says:

    Anais, I think you made a typo about Paypal charging 20 cents per dollar donated. It’s 1.9% to 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. Not sure what determines 1.9% vs 2.9%, though… probably larger amounts are charged the lower rate.

    Keep reminding people about the dollar a month idea — it’s a great one. Doesn’t Paypal allow you to set up subscriptions? I think you’d find a healthy percentage of your readers would sign up for it. I sure would.

  4. Britta says:

    I loved the Sissy story!