Smoky sunrise

The week started off with record breaking heat wave which really through people, plants and animals alike for a loop. We don’t expect it this hot so soon. As the hills above Pasadena burned ash descended on the urban homestead – covering everything with a grey powder. Not very good on the eyes and lungs.

Thanks to those who left comments of concern, we were well out of any danger. But it’s still scary none the less.

While we were roasting under an unusual heat wave, one acquaintance wrote that they expect 1-3″ of snow where they were (out East). The dramatic difference of weather pattern leaves one wondering if we are once again feeling the effects of climate change.

Cob oven, clay pot irrigation bed filled with herbs and vegetables. (Left) Containers with potatoes growing

Using all growing space available. Driveway turned into an edible garden (tomatoes and strawberries)

Justin plants tomatoes using ollas as irrigation

Homegrown strawberries. First of the season. It’s jammin’ time!

Kitchen countertop overflowing with homegrown delights.

How Does Our Garden Grow

The garden’s picking up. Farmer D tallied the totals for the month of April and our harvest total for this year is 1,130 pounds. Only 9,000 more to grow!

The urban farm production is slowly creeping upwards. This week on the veggie front harvested more potatoes (~ 10 lbs) and the snow peas & broccolis producing a second flush of spears. On the fruit front, loads of delicious strawberries (~12 lbs) are ripening and the loquats (~15 lbs) are ready for picking.

It’s official! Canning season has started here on the urban homestead. Time to dust off the empty canning jars and restock the pantry with homegrown, home preserved goodies.

Justin mixes up his weekly batch of EM to spray the garden and animal enclosure

Greenhouse filled with trays of soil blocks and seedlings

Seed sowing, transplanting and plantings are growing on a daily basis. This week more tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, eggplants were planted in various raised beds and containers.

Farming is in full swing here on the urban homestead. Every available empty space is full of flats with soil blocks and baby seedlings are everywhere. The garden is teeming with plants. Spring fever is heating up.

City chickens

Proud mamas … minus the papa

The Animal Farm

We have a batch of broody chickens (4 of them) who cluck around, fluffing and ruffling their feathers – all on a mission to hatch those phantom eggs. Quite a funny sight to say the least.

Bella had a relapse with sour crop early this week. So we once again put her on our “special sour crop curing” recipe which cleared it up immediately.

We also received word that some fertile duck eggs that we sold to someone who was interested in raising ducks are now hatching. How exciting. Wish we were there to see the magic. I’ll have to inform Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy that they are now officially parents to nearly a dozen balls of fluff.

Social gathering – growing community in our own backyard

On the Homefront

Everyone’s busy with each of our different projects we are working on. Besides the everyday homestead lifestyle, we are working on a few other “outreach” projects which we hope will be finished soon.

Thanks to all who showed up on Tuesday for the “impromptu” potluck. We appreciated your taking time off your busy weeknight schedule to make this event such a success!

Farmer D re-aggravated his ankle so he’s been hobbling around. This urban homesteading lifestyle is a team effort. Everyone works towards making things run smoothing so when someone is out of action, the rest pitch in.

Solar ovens cooking dinner

Homegrown sunbaked potaotes…. yum!

With the longer days and warmer temps the sun ovens have come out of hibernation and are helping us cook up low impact homegrown meals.

Left Behind

P.S. For those of you who are interested our lost PTF sign that we accidentially left behind at one of the Earth Day festivals was, unfortunately, never found. So if you by chance see a homemade wood/twig sign laying in the street around Wilshire or a dumpster please give us a call.  FYI – there is a reward to be offered 😉

Out & About

Farmer D will be giving roughly a 2 hour presentation tomorrow at Ten Thousand Villages on Lake Ave in Pasadena (11am)

All and all it’s been a busy couple weeks. It’s May already? April – she just flew by. Stay tuned for a day in the pioneer life… and much more!

In fact, on Sunday I hope to finally getting around to posting our homestead meals ( 2 weeks worth now) and even more photos.

No Comments

  1. ValP says:

    Great to here what the Dervaes’ are up to! Glad all is well.

  2. Emily B says:

    How interesting you have had tempertures so high when we have had temps so unusally low for this time of year in oz. We had frosts in april, a first in years!
    Just a quick question why do you leave the leaves on your loquats? I usually just pick off the fruit and then cook it up, are you storing it? Is it to stop it bruising or to keep it from going brown (buggers aren’t they how quickly they go brown!) You have me wondering.
    Also do you have fruit flys? Our guavas, loquats and any stone fruit are servely infested with them, but I have never seen you mention them.
    Thanks as always, for your great information and inspiration, Emily B

  3. Nick says:

    What variety of strawberries do you grow, and do you need to net them to keep birds, possums, etc from eating them? Also, are any of the strawberries sold to restaurants or do you eat them all yourselves? I rarely buy them in the supermarkets nowadays because they are usually almost tasteless.

    Nick (fellow Pasadenan)

  4. Kory says:

    those potatoes need a little new york salt potatoe treatment!

    fill that pot with water and 1 cup of salt, let them cook up until tender and drizzle a little melted butter when they come out.

    Those delicious looking new potatoes deserve no less, now if you’ll excuse me, I have my own potatoes to plant.

  5. Ginny says:

    Wow! Great post. It is nice to know what’s happening around there and have such good pictures to look at and be inspired by. I have my boxes and I am going to build my first solar oven, soon. Thanks!

    In Christ,


  6. Kristi says:

    Hi again, I love cooking in my solar overn. I recently enlarged my front garden by putting down cardboard and pine straw mulch. I’m liberating my yard a little at a time!

    I love your gatherings that you have. Are they impromtu? or is this part of a regular thing? It must be so much fun to share with people who appreciate what you are doing. I wouldn’t mind doing something like that myself.


  7. amy says:

    Love all the photos of what you have growing everywhere. I can’t wait for warmer weather here in WA. I also am loving your driveway that’s planted too it’s great! Most people seem to use their driveway to park their cars because their garages are too full of “stuff.” Very inspiring to see plants where gas guzzling cars are usually parked in other’s homes. 🙂 Thanks for all the continuing inspiration.

  8. Carolyn says:

    How will you be preserving your loquats? Canning, or made into jams and jellies? Do you share recipes?
    Thank you for a wonderful site. It makes my day.

  9. Dagny McKinley says:

    We also had extreme weather this week. Went from sixties to a snow storm. The ski mountain isn’t even showing brown patches yet. That usually happens in March. Pics of the gardens look amazing.

    Dagny McKinley

    organic apparel

  10. Susan says:

    Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts. The pictures are wonderful……..how envious I am!! I live in Northern Michigan. We can’t even THINK of gardens yet! Thanks so much for your website!
    Susan Schmitz

  11. Anais says:

    ALL: Thanks for everyone’s concern. Great to be a part of such a wonderful online community. Glad we can keep connecting and inspring.

    CAROLYN: The loquats will be made into jam and frozen to use in the future (good in cobblers, strudle as an “apple subsitute”)

    KRISTI: Glad you are enjoying your solar oven. The ovens are really neat to use aren’t they?

    EMILY: We don’t have to worry about fruit flies for awhile. July-August are the worst time for fruit flies here on the urban homestead since there’s loads of peaches that seem to attract their attention.

    NICK: We are strawberry hoggers. Yep, we keep most of the strawberries to ourselves – freezing, canning, eating fresh. We don’t have much trouble with animals eating them (for the moment); however, our two goats like to sneek a few!

    The variety that we are growing are SEASCAPE

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