WINTER?


Goats helping with the plywood, checking our their new ride

Yesterday the sun didn’t come out at all and the same forecast today.   It’s damp chilly and we had to shut some of the windows in the house that have been open all summer long. We even brought out the light blankets to put back on the beds. It’s weird, because the forecast is calling for normal temperatures –  heating up once again next week. 

After urban homestead chores, garden work and a bit of roofing, we worked till past dark (a little after 8 pm) putting up the tarps on the roof and stacked plywood because the forecast called for drizzle today…

The goats and other animals are having trouble deciding if they should grow their winter coats. Last month when we had a “cold” spell and the goats coat started to thicken and then when it got extremely hot and humid they started to shed. Now with it being cold again then hot again, poor things don’t know what to do. We certainly are flabbergasted at this year’s weather pattern, talking with long time Sol Cal residents, they too, have never seen anything like this. Wonder if this is a sign of things to come because for the global warming crises and near tipping point that’s in the news these days?   When nature’s rhythms that have been played out for thousands and thousands of years are out of tune and striking a wrong cord the symphony no longer is playing beautiful music – instead it’s chaos. I know we’ve been posting a lot about weather – but the weather is worrisome to us urban farmers.

Posting will be short and maybe irregular in the upcoming week. We will try to post at least daily but can’t say since this coming week we are going to be extremely busy.

It’s major cleanup time of the garden. Lots of stuff to compost and really give the yard a good cleaning up in preparing for fall/winter. Actually with the cooler weather made it very pleasant to do all the “heavy” work in the garden. So we are enjoying the cooler weather while we can.

With everyone busy working like ants yesterday we didn’t have time to fire up the cob oven so we could make our weekly bread loaves, instead we used our gas oven. One thing I miss about baking in the cob/earthen oven is the smell of fresh bread baking that lingers in the house. It was nice to come in late yesterday evening, walk into a warm kitchen with fresh baked bread ready to slice and slather with butter and homemade jam.

This morning over 30 geese flew directly over the urban homestead (and have been for years since we must be on their migratory path) in v formation heading south … winter is just around the corner.

Continuing from yesterday, here are some other accomplishments that I missed in the last 12 months or so :

1. trip to New Orleans in November to help clean up

2. first ever “100 Mile Potluck” in Los Angeles

3. used the sun shower instead of indoor bath (record 2 months)

4. used sun oven more often (cooking with the sun for over 10 years )

5. bi weekly homemade yogurt (learned years ago, one less packaging, pre-made item)

6. in the summer returned to our monthly shopping plan (food bill $200 – $400 per month)- record still holds at 8 weeks.

7. topped 600 gallons of homebrewed biodiesel since we started in January 2004

8. car free days – average 3 a week/less than 4000 miles a year

9. slow food dinners with friends

10. reducing food miles

From Our Hands to Yours With Pride

Our artisan leatherwork is highlighted in the Sept/Oct issueMountain Living Magazine. Our entirely hand made (cut and laced) candleholder (left) and fruit bowl (right) are our creations. After  ~ 15 years of having started a home craft industry it was pretty neat to see our work recognized. In the early to mid 90’s our leather and yarn works were sold in 5 stores in Old Towne Pasadena. Business was good – meaning we were holding a little above even ( JCrew even copied our design for a money clip).   Well, Old Towne turned into a mass of chain stores and the “mom and pop” specialty stores folding. Our edible flower, herb and produce business was just starting to take off in ’96 so our handwork business took a back seat and still is while we’ve worked at becoming more self-sufficient (the PTF site arrived on the scene in 1999).   We do makes a few salesonline, but we don’t push the business much like we should. Maybe this is the start of something…… We still haven’t even gotten around updating and revamping our handcraftsite that we started work on 2 years ago (it’s about 75% finished) – just too many things on the plate these days. *sigh*

No Comments

  1. Esther says:

    Hi! I was wondering why you work with leather/hides if your family is vegetarian? I’m not 100% veggie myself and still buy leather shoes etc. I try to minimize it though….
    btw, the weather forecast said it would be warmer this weekend.

  2. gerry medland says:

    Hi Anais,
    the weather on this side of the pond continues to play havoc with my chooks and ducks,chooks laying one week,not the next.Ducks the same.Heavy rain thursday,dry yesterday,cloudy and overcast today(sat)Veggies all over the place,seasons gone to pot!

  3. Wildside says:

    Thank you so much for the kind sympathy card I found in my email inbox this AM…

    It means a lot to know you care.

  4. Anais says:

    Hi Esther,

    Thanks for the questions – it is a good one.

    Yes, we are vegetarian (for health reasons). I’ll try to explain:

    Styrofoam, plastic, pvc, vinyl, ‘pleather’ etc are all modern and new to the environment since the industrial revolution and are generally all petroleum based and create dioxins pollutants. (See the documentary: Blue Vinyl – http://www.bluevinyl.org). Yes most can be recycled but if they aren’t, they don’t decompose and are polluting/killing the oceans, etc.

    Leather, in general, is a natural, organic, biodegradeable, re-usable, renewable product that is very durable and has countless of uses. Leather has withstood the test of time and has been used for thousands and thousands of years by cultures/people all around the world. Many Native Americans cultures were hunter/gatherer lifestyles based on meat and leather of the buffalo,deer, etc. They killed animals but had the perfect/right balance and respect for the nature, environment, etc. Yes some leather tanning/manufacturing require chemicals (options today aren’t simple and clear anymore).

    The same thing can be said about wood and the lumber industry – yes there is abuses (i.e. clear cutting) but no, there is nothing wrong with wood in general.

    Hope this helps and explains where we are coming from.