I am an Urban Homesteader! Jules Dervaes can kiss my (_|_)

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Monday, February 21, 2011 2:16 PM

That's right! I said it. I am an Urban Homesteader! I practice Urban Homesteading on MY Urban Homestead in Oakland, California.  And no self-righteous egotistical arrogant bastard down in Pasadena is going to take that from me. 

This is the lifestyle I have chosen to live.  And I did so long before I ever heard of you or your little homestead or paid any attention to your PR machine.  You can bet every little detail of your life is going to be dragged through the ringer because of this.  The whole process of Discovery during the legal proceedings should be quite interesting.  And you better have accounted correctly for every single non-profit, church, and outreach copper penny or the IRS will be all over your ass!  We're watching your every move now.  So go ahead and edit your Internet sites to try to erase certain aspects of your history or this scandal.  Archives show the truth.  You might try reading your own website and taking some of your own advice.  Just sayin...

Today is a big day in the Urban Homestead community.  It's our day of solidarity.  A day we make a stand and blog en masse about our own Urban Homesteads and Urban Homesteading in general.

For some excellent reading, might I suggest you take a peek over at Take Back Urban Home-steading(s), the blog roll there, and the event page for the Urban Homesteaders Day of Action.  You will find links to all sorts of wonderful blogs, news, and pictures from the 4,235 (and counting!) members who have joined this group since Thursday, 2/17/11, when all hell broke loose in our community.  Every thing you could possibly want to know about the this issue can be found by browsing the above links. 

I have chosen not to devote my blog entry for the day to the mucky mess above.  It's been raining here in Oakland over the past week, and I already have enough muck to deal with in my barnyard, thank you very much.  This morning I took a nice hot bath and contemplated exactly what I was going to write about.  Yes, I needed to blow off some steam in my own words.  But rather than devote more than a paragraph or two to that anger, I decided instead to pick up my camera and document what's happening here at Havenscourt Homestead now that we have a small break in the weather.  

First, an update on my drought tolerant front landscaping.  If you haven't checked out the video of this transformation I have posted, you really should.  It's quite amazing what a bunch of people can do in one day.  I decided to post some pictures to show how it's progressed.


I planted a cover crop of peas this winter, but what's come up is a gazillion volunteer sunflowers. I'm letting them go as my bees love them and they are a good source of pollen right now. But when my seedlings are ready to transplant, they may just have to go.

 I dug up my strawberry pyramid patch and my herb garden.  I divided the crowns and kept the new young ones.  The older ones had been in place for a couple of years and the harvest was starting to taper off.  After amending the soil, the young crowns were replanted.  So far, so good.  In a few months, you'll barely be able to see the pyramids.

Delilah is expecting today and I'm hoping beyond hope that this time she'll decide to kindle inside the nest box rather than on the wire.  I lost her last litter because she didn't use the nest box. 

I noticed yesterday that she was attempting to build a nest outside of the box.  So I put in a second nest box in that area and only put a little hay in it.  She's been jumping back and forth between them as well as around the rest of her cage.  We'll see what happens.

I believe I mentioned the muck earlier.  The entire barnyard is one big muddy mess.  The goats hate it.  The ducks love it.  And the chickens are having a hay day with all the little worms that are coming to the surface.  Can you say SCORE!!!  Yes indeed, they are eating well today.  And when PB successfully found and downed a particularly juicy tidbit, she then promptly decided to take a rest/roost on the hammock.  Ah, this is the life. 

My little ducklings are no more.  They're big beautiful ducks now.  And they are having one hell of a lot of fun in their makeshift temporary wading pool.  They are earning their pirate names, that's for sure.  Just look at the waves they are generating on the high seas!  They go from "I'm singing in the rain" to "Mud mud glorious mud" to "Little Ducky, you're the one.  You make bath time so much fun".

The Cara Cara and Blood Oranges are going strong. I've been picking a couple a week to eat at lunch. Nummy!!!


The orchard has started to bloom.  About half the trees have buds and the other half are in bloom.  They are doing quite well in the protected side yard.  They get all the rain and none of the wind.  So the blossoms aren't blowing away like so many other trees I've seen in the area.

The bright pink blossoms on the Anna Apple tree are so vibrant and beautiful.  I could take pictures of it's blooms for an hour and still find a new composition. 

In contrast, check out the white blossoms on my Burgundy Plum which is in full on bloom.  If half of those blossoms get pollinated, I'm going to have one hell of a bumper crop.  Mmmm... plum jam!

"Love is in the Air!"

Well, sort of.  Nali is in standing heat today.  Which means Sammy is paying her extra special attention.  I happen to know that Bentley, one of Sarah's bucks from Castle Rock Farm, is taking a little vacation here in town.  Oh, it's soooooo tempting.  But I have other plans for her, so 'ner shall the two meet. 

Sammy's all grown up.  Check out how big he has gotten!  He is quite the character too!  Love him!

 His sister Lulu is officially FAT!  She is due on March 15th, so she's really REALLY starting to show.  She's developing her little udder and it's soooooo cute.  I'm working with her daily on the milk stand so she'll get used to me handling her and be easy to milk once she freshens.

I was trying to get a picture to show how big around she is, but I just couldn't get one I liked.  But upon review, I pulled out this one.  Check out Snow in the background for a size comparison.
Of course, those babies (hopefully plural) developing inside of her are making her mighty hungry.  Whereas the other goats are out soaking up every little bit of sunshine after a week of rain, my little Lulu is inside the barn happily munching her way through a flake of orchard grass.  I give her some extra protein twice a day to keep her healthy and happy.

Since becoming pregnant, her beard has grown quite a bit.  I think it's super cute and hope it continues to develop.  Her pops, Mr. Lincoln, has quite the set of whiskers.  She has truly developed into a beautiful doe.  I'm so happy that she picked me out, even though she was reserved.  I swear, she didn't get into that lady's lap or show any attention to the woman that had reserved her just because she had fallen in love with me and just knew I'd come back for her.  The admiration was mutual from the moment she ran up to me.  Although now there is no way I could tuck her under my jacket and steal her away. 

 And let's not forget Snow.  She may not be pregnant or attempting to be so right now.  But she's about due to be in heat again as well. 

I love this picture of her.  This morning she kept following me around and looking up at me as if to say "Hey!  I want to be in pictures too!"  She is super photogenic and loves to pose with the most adorable expressions on her face.

Love this silly girl!!!!

Back inside the house, I decided it was time I posted a picture of my cheese cave.  I've become hooked on making hard aged cheese.  I bought a really nice wine cooler last summer and have been having a blast ever since.

Starting at the top, from left to right:
  • Farmstead Cheddar
  • Traditional Cheddar (or what's left of it!)
  • Derby
  • Swiss
  • Gouda
  • Havarti
  • and another Farmstead Cheddar which just happened to be 6 weeks old and ready to slice into! 

Yes, in honor of the Urban Homesteaders Day of Action today, I decided it was finally time to slice into one of my Cheddars.  Can you say YUMMY????  Absolutely delicious!!!  Thank you Snow and Nali for providing me with such wonderful rich milk!  I love you!!!!

And just think... it's cold out today so I won't be doing any work in the garden.  I have two gallons of fresh goat milk in the refrigerator.  I think it's time I make another cheese.  Hrm... what to make?  Colby perhaps? 

To all my fellow Urban Homesteaders out there, friends old and new, keep up the good work.  This is truly an amazing community.  And I am damn proud to be a part of it!  I look forward to reading your blogs about your Urban Homesteading activities on your own Urban Homestead, where ever it may be.  If you're ever planning a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, drop me a line.  I'd love to invite you over to see the place, share some stories, and taste some cheese.

15 Response to "I am an Urban Homesteader! Jules Dervaes can kiss my (_|_)"

Heidi Says:

Kitty, I had no idea that was your license plate. awesome. i've got to see those ducks! can't believe they are full grown. ute will be amazed. and i'm soooooo jealous of your cheese cave. i need to get one. been looking on craigslist, but haven't found exactly what i'm looking for. you go, urban homesteader!

(btw, if the press ever decides to dig up "the hidden years" http://web.archive.org/web/20080310011302/http://thehiddenyears.org/, that will be interesting to watch.)

Kitty Sharkey Says:

DELILAH DID IT!!!! WOOHOO!!! I just went out to check on her and found a big pile of fur inside one of the nest boxes. My first thoughT was "Yes, she's going to do it right this time." And then I saw movement! The little pile of fluff is moving! YEAH!!! Not sure if she's finished yet, but YEAH!!! BUNNIES!!!

Liberal Lucy Says:

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog!!! I'm going to cuddle up under my warm blankies tonight and start at the beginning! THanks so much for this most awesome post too!

Kitty Sharkey Says:

Thanks, Lucy, for visiting. I hope you enjoy your relaxing evening. Once you finish reading my blog, be sure to check out all the others on the blog roll noted above. Some amazing people out there in the urban homesteading community!

Chard Lady Says:

Wonderful pictures, and the cheese!

meg- grow & resist Says:

Oh wow! Your ducks are adorable! What kind are they? I really would love ducks! (Our abundance of nasty slugs would disagree!)
I'm glad you posted the picture of the pyramids. Cool!

Pamina Says:

Great photos! And love the cheese cave too ... one of these days.

Kitty Sharkey Says:

Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments. The cheese is delicious!

Meg - they are Welsh Harliquin ducks.. er.. I mean pirates. Their names are Mary Reed, Anne Bonnie, and Captian Jack Rackham.

El Gaucho Says:

Great photos, thanks so much for posting them.

Kate Says:

Your post-- especially the pictures-- is so inspiring. I live in SF... and while I am pretty craft/diy/frugal, I long to grow my own food-- thanks for making me feel like I can, small outdoor space and all.

Anonymous Says:

Our contribution to Urban Homesteading movement www.denverurbanhomesteading.org - you can monitor how we cancel the Dervaes trademark. Copies of documents and laws are available there and we continue to add more. Dervaes has no as much rights as they claim.

Erin Says:

How did you learn to make cheese??

Irina Says:

Motion for Summary Judgment to cancel trademark URBAN HOMESTEADING is filed October 6, 2012 – copy is available on our website http://www.denverurbanhomesteading.org/ or USPTO website.

Anonymous Says:

Both EFF and DUH's Motions for Summary Judgment were thrown out!

Daddy Says:

The Pasadena family has become the "Monsanto of Homesteading". That is a stigma that needs to stick