Photo courtesy: VH1

Guess with all the folks buzzing  about “how excited they were to see us” on

VH1 You’re Cut Off with host Laura Baron: The “Allure of Manure” – watch full episode

Figure, it’s about time we put our two cents in.

Actually, none of our family has even watched the entire “You’re Cut Off: The Allure of Manure episode” piece that aired Monday, but friends and folks are commenting & adding their thoughts about the piece.  So far, the reviews have been positive.  Of course, there has been some snarky comments on the net about our hygiene and shoes, or rather, the lack of.

Living in the most media concentrated cities on the planet, you never know who’s going to call.    We go about our business and, sometimes, out of the blue,  some network calls/emails us.  For various reasons, we turn down more than half of the media requests we do get.   Last fall we were approached by a “Reality” TV show to be a location shoot for an episode about a bunch of “spoiled rich girls” roughing it.  Of course, we aren’t too  keen on  “Reality” TV shows – as they usually are far from even being REAL.    Heck, we don’t really watch TV, and have our hands full with our own life.    Certainly, we were leery ( values are important) but, from what the producers said, they wanted the girls to experience farm life and we certainly have a farm life here in the city.  Plus, they were going to pay us.  Cash, really?  Sweet!    This is the FIRST time we’ve been paid for being on TV.  Donations are at an all time low, so we thought this would certainly help pay for the monthly web hosting fees and keep this site going and ad free for another year.  Yeah, guess you could say we did it for the money, because we did.  Money that went into the non  profit bank account that funds all of our  ‘free’ websites and outreach.

We made sure to meet with the producers before the filming to  go over our questions, making sure there wasn’t going to be any “funny business.”  They alleviated our concerns, and it was simply a day in the life on an urban micro farm.  All they wanted the girls to do was step in our shoes for the day – that was easy enough and finding something for them do wouldn’t be hard.

Host Laura Baron welcomes the girls to the urban homestead

The filming day came and, boy, what a crew (here’s some “behind the scene” pics)!  Everyone  commented how beautiful and peaceful the homestead was.   And they sure did film a whole lot of stuff.    Justin, Jordanne & I each had a group of girls to “mentor” for the day.   Unfortunately, they left a bunch of the stuff that happened on the urban homestead on the cutting room floor… like canning, biodiesel, doing laundry,  operating front porch farm stand and bartering for goods for our dinner didn’t  even make the cut (I would have like to seen all that since I spent most of my time in the back yard with my group of girls).

You can see from the first scene, the apprehension on the girls (and our faces!) about the whole thing.  But in the end, everyone and everything went quite well and believe it or not, the girls actually did get some nice work done.  Thanks, ladies!    One of the film crew  commented after filming that this was the first time  where all of  the girls “acted normal.”  No drama really, just some good old fashion work all in good fun.   The group of girls I had (Marcy & Aimee),  had a fun time in the kitchen.  Yammering away about shoes (no shoes),  movies and exchanging beauty tips, they both were fun and witty to work with.

Photo courtesy: VH1

Of course, the goat on the loose gave us quite a scare.  I didn’t think they realized that the front driveway gate was open, when our Fairlight (aka “Peaches” is her nickname)  got excited by all the action and made a run for it  (this clip made it on TV Replay “Marcy Can’t Corral A Goat”) .    I’m left wondering if the gate was left open on purpose…. For the DRAMA!!!!   Guess my goat tackle will live in TV infamy.  Thankfully, there wasn’t any traffic.   Now, that could have been ugly.

Photo courtesy: VH1

Dinner in the back yard was the most lively –everyone was chatting, laughing and having fun.   Wish they had showed more of the goings on there of our making pizza in the cob oven with topping fresh from the garden, along with hand cranking some homemade strawberry ice cream and bartering with our friends for some home brewed beer.

Special thanks to all of our friends who helped us out and were good sports to put up with everything.

Oh, and if you so care to choose to watch the  episode , remember “Reality TV” is not really Real.

One of the girls, Marcy, on her “Marcy Minute” had a nice recap on what she thought of the whole experience.

I keep teasing her on Facebook asking “Who Let the Goat Out?  Who? Who?”.. oh, and that I DO wear shoes in public!

Suppose I’ll have to bring a pad and ink next time we go on a goat walk so “Peaches” can sign autographs.


  1. Ron Surface says:

    Awesome write up Anais! I don’t watch MUCH TV either, but I am going to have to see this! – I mean, I consider you all part of my family too…!!! Have a good day…[!]…

    • Anais says:

      @Ron Surface: Thanks. It’s hard to write about everything so glad you enjoyed the recap. Like I said, wish the segment could have been LONGER but it was too boring for TV 😉

  2. Andre' says:

    I thot I coined the term “Micro Farming”. I liked, “One of the film crew commented after filming that this was the first time where all of the girls “acted normal.” That’s because it IS normal. Living in cities where people have to let the garbage piles go to 6′ and quarter block long, is gross ! There tend to be far more bed bugs, roaches, noise, urine, crime, where they go to over priced restaurants to buy salads YOU guys grow for them, isn’t “normal”, nothing against the lettuce greens. Everybody should be doing what you guys are doing. But do you expect from a country where Joisy Shore is the number 1 show ?


  3. Lydia says:

    I would like to say that I saw the VH 1 episode. I had never seen the show before so you can imagine my surprise when I saw my fav family on! I have been following ur family for quite some time now and totally love everything you do and stand for.
    I did not like all the “snarky” looks and comments made by the girls and thought that they were pretty rude and self centered. (Which I believe is the reason they are on that show).
    I pity them and hope that one day everyone will see the beauty in self sufficiency. I also hope that folks will learn to respect all people despite any differences. Embrace Peace!

    • Anais says:

      @Lydia: I am surprised how MANY folks saw the show and we’ve didn’t even tout it! The girls were actually quite nice and quite typically “city girls.” TV “splices and dices” comments and looks so words and actions aren’t really true to life. Sorta “hyped up” you know. Marcy, the girl who let the goat out, had a really NICE video recap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scTqJL8xEvE

  4. Kit McGlinchey says:

    What a contrast of cultures between the “girls” and the family ! I think the experience of “the homestead” was illuminating for some – lost on a few – but they were all astonished at the logistics of living real life. It had to have made them all think, at least momentarily, about something other than themselves. Good job, Dervaes Family !

    • Anais says:

      @Kit McGlinchey: Thanks! This show definitely reached another kind of “audience” and, even better, perhaps they will consider making a few, small changes. 😉

  5. Heather :) :) :) says:

    Wow…fantastic write up. I’ll make sure and watch this episode later today. I’m glad that they paid you. It helps out your family…you all do awesome things, and for me at least, I’m super blessed by what you all share here on the website 🙂 🙂 🙂 So that’s a good thing 🙂 🙂 Okay, your goat on the loose was hysterically funny (I’m looking at the photo, haven’t seen the video yet)…but I’m glad everyone was okay and that there was no traffic!!! Congrats!!! Maybe it’ll bring some more traffic your way to your website, too!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂 🙂

  6. Julia says:

    Great post. I don’t watch TV but I used the link to watch part of the show. The girls I am sure learned a lot. I am sure it was difficult having them in your home, but your efforts to educate them will pay off. I know I have been educated from your sites and look forward to when my micro-farm is finished. Thanks for all you do.

  7. Stacy says:

    I’m so glad that you posted and shared a link to the show. I saw it advertised and of course recognized your family and the Urban Homestead but missed the show. It seemed far fetched to me to think these girls were really so shocked at your way of life. Thanks for letting us know how things can be misconstrued by the editing process. I wish the whole program was spent sharing more clips from their time with you! By the way — all of the inner beauty of your family is exhibited outwardly in all we see. Thanks for allowing another glimpse into your urban homestead life. Who knows what was shared during the filming that may have changed any one of those young women’s futures.

  8. Timothy says:

    Thanks for the link! My wife and I were in the hospital having our third beautiful baby and saw this advertised. We don’t have cable or a satellite dish, so I figured we would juts miss this one. Glad to be able to see it!

  9. Robert Guy says:

    Thank you for sharing your lives the way that you do. I have enjoyed following news of your home and life style since I first found out about you over the Net. It is your family’s undertakings that inspired me to convince a friend of mine to let me use part of his back yard for a raised bed garden. I haven’t watched television for many years and the clip on VH1’s site was a useful reminder of why, that inevitability of ‘TV “splices and dices”…Sorta “hyped up”’. But what so many people come to think of as acceptable or normal is the images they’ve been brought up on from that audio-visual link to their minds. It reminds me of Noam Chomsky in his Conversations With History interview at UC Berkley: “…’He lacks concision.’ Which is correct, I agree with him. The kinds of things that I would say on Nightline, you can’t say in one sentence…I think that’s a terrific technique of propaganda. To impose concision is a way of virtually guaranteeing that the party line gets repeated over and over again, and that nothing else is heard.”

  10. Dan Langhoff says:

    Great story. I couldn’t sit through the whole VH1 video, but did enjoy the section of it that dealt specifically with the urban homestead.

    I do have one question for you though. In the video there is a segment where the girls are collecting worms from the vermiculture bin to give as treats to the chickens and ducks. Do you find that the worms breed and replicate fast enough to allow you to give an excess of worms to your animals? I have a worm bin that has I started last summer and is progressing well, but I do not find that I have extra worms that I could pick out to give to my animals, they all seem too precious in order to keep my composer working.

    Here is a picture of my worm bin set-up, do you think I could occasionally pick out some worms as food or just leave them be?


    I try to find that balance of providing enough fruit, vegetable and paper scraps for the worms to be happy, but not too much to overwhelm the worms and the overall composting system.

  11. Melina says:

    I had never heard of the show (don’t have cable)and it’s not one I would seek out. A bunch of spoiled, self-important divas is not my cup of tea. I did watch from your link and was, as usual, very happy to see you guys doing what you do best. What a contrast, and how gracious you all were to allow them to muck around in your lives. (I realize the income is always handy) I wonder if any of them were really touched and if any of them really “got it”. I know my own kids talk big about admiring what we do, but then continue to live their own mega-consumer lives.

  12. Louise says:

    Doing something for the money has a negative connotation, but I think sometimes it’s justified if you don’t compromise your values, which I don’t think you did. In fact, you reinforced your values by exposing those girls to an alternative lifestyle in a positive manner! And like you said, the money goes towards good things.

    All’s well that ends well with Fairlight. Glad she made it back safe and sound!

  13. martin, outer hebrides says:

    I am very happy that you are still succeeding with your urban homestead.I think that a huge number of people would like to move a little bit away from the citified life and more towards a greener life, but feel unable to do so. When people see what you are doing, they see an (excellent)example that it CAN be done. Through the programme, more people know that people like yourselves exist and that there are ways to get green. The more people know about you and others like you, the more people will start to move back to a sustainable,healthy lifestyle. Well done!

  14. Jeph Cater says:

    I looked for the show online and i have to say, it gives hope to all those dreamers of becoming a Urban farmer, because if they can do ti why can’t other people, right?

  15. Allyn says:

    Not a big TV person, and definitely not this kind of TV, but I agree that you were all more than gracious with the ladies. I LOVE that you mentioned that there are actually studies showing that not wearing shoes is better for your feet (whether or not it was met with ignorance). Anything featuring your way of life is just golden to me, and I am so glad this reached an audience who probably don’t go out looking to learn about urban homesteading and sustainability.

  16. Dr. John Michael Christian says:

    Wonderful write-up.. I really enjoyed it. I don’t watch TV so I’d never heard of the program, but at the very least I would like to think that it may have planted a seed in viewer’s minds about what is possible with urban living and that you don’t necessarily need to live on acreage to live sustainably.

    To my way of thinking you folks are the epitome of how to live right, and you have my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude. IMO this is exactly what is needed in the U.S today. My upcoming new home will be off the grid with an organic garden and greenhouse or growing dome, as well as a bio-diesel vehicle with a brown gas dry cell add-on (If you haven’t heard of that I have info on another of my websites at http://www.hhoautogas.com).
    Thanks again and best regards,

  17. AlizaEss says:

    I didn’t see the episode but wanted to post my support for you all doing the show. It’s hard to support small-scale farming financially, so I say go for it. It’s very telling that urban homesteading is starting to reach mainstream culture! Congrats on yet again breaking boundaries and being frontiers in the field.


  18. Kim Campbell says:

    I watched specifically so I could see you all in action. I have been reading your site for several years now. Love you guys!!

  19. ragnarok android indowebster says:

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