Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Get Huge Savings With a Creative Budget

With gas prices getting only higher it seems like everyone is tightening up their financial belts in a big way.  We thought things were tough before, and then the gas prices go up even higher!  Currently my family spends $400 on gas per month, yikes.  We have only one bread winner in the family at the moment, so we are becoming frugal experts, (or so I like to think!), these days.  Growing our own food on the homestead is definitely helping us in saving costs on groceries, but we're being forced to come up with very creative solutions for cutting our costs down lately.  I'm really glad I was raised by parents and grandparents who knew how to stretch a dollar right about now.  Here are a few creative solutions we have come up with for ways to cut down on costs, many of which also lesson our energy foot print, interestingly enough.

Ron is going to take the bus to and from work.  His ride will be extended by 1/2 hour each way, but it will save us around $100 per month.  It's also easier on the planet, great side effect.

We're going to be brown bagging it for school and work.  We're guesstimating that will save us around $100 a month as well.  Now we're up to a surplus of $200.

I'm planning on making snacks for the kids and I'm not exactly sure what the savings will be, but I'm estimating around $50 per month.  We're also planning on making a lot more meals from scratch.  I would guess we're talking around $100 in savings total.  This will be better for our wallets and our health!

When the car breaks down we trade services with friends.  Recently a friend offered to trade fixing our car for some truck loads of horse manure for his garden.  Instead of buying new wood from the lumber store we often are given re-purposed wood from friends for building on the homestead.  You would be amazed how many people are willing to trade, or give away used materials if you just ask!

We just switched from a cable company to a dish, which is saving us around $50 per month.

Growing our own veggies is probably saving us around $50 per month, at least, in produce costs.  When we start canning the savings will only go up.

Generally we shop at a local discount grocery outlet quite a bit, and avoid the Safeway stores and the like.  I estimate this saves us around 1-200 per month.

We used to spend probably around $100 per month on entertainment.  Now instead of going to a movie we rent one and have movie night at home, have friends over for dinner, or enjoy nature.

We're focusing more on using less energy - both electrical and otherwise.  We actually saw our PG&E bill go down by about $50 when we were more aware of turning off lights, using less water, etc.

The total savings here is about $500 per month!  It's amazing how easy it is to save when you take the energy and effort to make it happen.  At first the sacrifice can be tough, but once you're used to it you actually enjoy consuming less.  Life has so much to offer apart from material things, and you enjoy the important things more when you have less.  I think you actually gain a whole lot more by streamlining your life, and many of the choices you make help the earth.

So what about you?  What are your creative budget secrets?

Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) Two Month Re-Cap

The Take-Back-Urban-Home-steading(s) facebook page that I started just had it's two month anniversary last week.  We're now 7000 strong, growing daily, and the momentum of the movement we created is continuing to gain speed.  I still wonder sometimes how little old me, a housewife of two, ended up starting such an amazing place for urban homesteaders to gather, share information, network, and fight injustice.  I feel like this thing literally fell into my lap; things like this don't come along often, and I've been around long enough to know that when it happens there is a good reason.  The universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, has smiled down on me and I'm enjoying the ride this page has presented for me.  I've met so many amazing, interesting and fantastic people, from well known authors and writers to home grown folks such as myself;  it's pretty cool.  There are also great challenges that go along with the page and at times I feel like it's a demanding two year old, but as with children the pain is worth the pleasure.  I've never volunteered for a more worthy cause, so I wouldn't change the way I've gone about any of this even though at times I've questioned and second guessed myself.

The page has become a two pronged focus:  We started out as a protest to the Dervaes family trademarking the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading", but somewhere along the way we realized we were a community of urban homesteaders.  When this happened I'm not exactly sure, but before I knew it people were sharing their tips on vermi-composting, chickens, good urban homesteading reads, zoning laws, and the list goes on.  There came a point when I thought this kind of community would have been better organized on a web page; facebook just seemed an odd place.  But then I saw people networking, sharing information and blogs, connecting with other relevant fb pages, and the web of information was spreading;  There was no doubt about it, facebook was the perfect venue for this community.

In the background of all of the garden tip sharing looms the legal battle we as urban homesteaders are up against.  It's always there, like a bad rash, and as much as many of us would like for it to be a non issue, it is.  In the mist of it the urban homesteading community has been beyond supportive, and after seeing the positive force we have become I have no doubt in my mind that we will win.

We're not quitters, and from what I can see we have actually brought more public attention to urban homesteading than those who are attempting to trademark our community.  Recent articles about urban homesteading were published in the New York Times and LA Times.  Deanna Duke of Crunchy Chicken, was just listed as one of Tree Hugger's Green Lifestyle Experts.  She was one of the instigators of our page, and in her bio for Earth Day she discusses her plans for her urban homestead.  Go Deanna!  I think we've created a buzz around urban homesteading, and I predict we will be seeing more in the media about it in the future.  If that isn't a huge accomplishment I don't know what is!

Hre is a re-cap of what we've accomplished in the short two months the page has been in existence.  Get ready, the list is long!

1.  We've grown to 7000 in just 2 months, crazy.

2.  We've been in many on line publications including:  GristBoing Boing (twice), BlogHer, Triple Pundit,
     EFFLA WeeklyOC WeeklySF Bay Guardian, and many others.

3.  We've raised funds to help the Denver Urban Homesteading, (A Denver based farmer's market cooperative who had their facebook page pulled due to the Dervaes' actions, resulting in thousands of dollars in financial losses to their vendors), file a petition to cancel the supplemental trademarked term "urban homesteading."

4.  We've helped advertise and spread the word through action days to support Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen's book  "The Urban Homestead: Self Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City", and Rachel Kaplan and Ruby Blume's book:  "Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living." The publishers of "The Urban Homestead", Process Media, along with the EFF has formally petitioned to cancel the trademarks on both terms.

5.  We had a massive blogging action day, in which over 200 bloggers spread the word about urban homesteading.

6.  We did an urban homesteading action You Tube Day, where around 50 urban homesteaders took videos of themselves on their urban homesteads.

7.  We've raised nearly 2400 signatures on our petition to the Dervaes to remove the trademarks.

8.  We've become a community of urban homesteaders who share information, network, raise public awareness about urban homesteading, and fight the Dervaes' attempts to trademark the terms that define our movement.

9.  We've raised awareness about the Dervaes' family's actions:  Trademarking the terms urban homestead and urban homesteading, sending out 16 cease and desist letter to libraries, publishers and authors using the terms in print, having facebook pull pages with the terms in them without notice, and now putting up new web pages and blogs with different titles than they previously had, (if you don't dig a bit you wouldn't know they are their pages.)

10.  We continue to spread the word about our movement through the media and facebook, and won't give up until we get back what is rightfully ours.  WE ARE URBAN HOMESTEADERS!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homestead Update

It's high time for a homestead update!  We finally finished the chicken coop and run last weekend, but still have details such as trim and paint to finish up.  Our chickens had out grown their indoor box, so we had to get them moved into their permanent residence asap.  The coop project took much longer than anticipated, mainly due to all of the rain we've been having, so if you're planning to build a substantial coop/run be sure you give yourself a good two months of time!  But, I must say it's totally worth it in the end!  We love the almost finished result, and the chickens are clucking with delight out there.  Here is a re-cap of what's going and happening around here:

Here she is, pretty much done!  The chicken's door is pulled by a string from the outside of the coop, and closed shut by a board.  When they finally figure out that going inside of the coop at night is a good idea we won't have to go into the coop every night.  Just a push of the board and they're shut in for the night!

All six ladies:  Henrietta, (Ameraucana), Ophelia, Penelope, (Buff Orpingtons), Jacquelin, Peepers and Snowflake (Coo Coo Marans.)

The starts are coming up like crazy!  I just took pics of a few of them, but there are lots more coming up including spinach, chard, onions, kale, broccoli, bush beans, and carrots.  Thanks to the advice on Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) page we've put screens over them so the cats aren't using the beds for a litter box.

Lettuce (Above), Peas (Below)

One of our apple trees, (the Dwarf Gala), is putting out gorgeous little blooms.  This is the first year we've had apple blossoms!

We have four ornamental trees and they're full of beautiful pink blooms this time of year.  This one is the flowering cherry.  We have another one of these and two flowering plums.  Sure wish whoever put these in had put in fruit trees instead...ah well! 

What's going on over at your homestead?  What's growing, both animal and plant life?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Please Vote For Me For Top Eco Friendly Mom!

So I ended up joining a contest over at Circle of Moms a few days ago, thanks to a few fellow urban homesteading bloggers who twisted my arm into it...well, truth be told I was pretty willing to do it, it looks fun and I've been able to find some super eco groovy blogs over there.  The top 25 moms with the most votes will be featured on Circle of Moms, how cool is that?  I'm down in the 50's somewhere, so I doubt I'll shoot up to the top in a day, but it could happen!  You can vote once today and once tomorrow for me.  If all of my followers did that I'd have around 200 votes! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Welcome Home Chickies!

We finally had a break in the rain today and worked like crazy to get the chickens' run wired and secured - it's rough, but finished enough to move the chickens in!  The poor things were starting to become very cramped in their box and it was time for them to get out into their permanent home.  Just as we were finishing up the rain started, phew!

They went straight away to pecking and scratching.  It was like Christmas chicken style!  One of them found a gigantic fat worm and was running around the pen with it.  She couldn't stop to eat it because every time she did one of the other chickens would chase her, talk about funny.

Henrietta was a bit hyper at first, darting around like a wild thing, but she's finding her groove now.

We got the run secured enough for now, it's rough, but it will keep the chickens in at least!  We still need to finish up the trim, add shingles over the nesting boxes, and paint the coop.  Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.  I talked Ron into not adding panels to the right hand lower part of the run, so we can see the chickens from a distance in the run.  I like seeing them through the chicken wire;  I admit it, I'm in love with these little ladies.

Here is the chicken door and ramp.  Ron added a string to the door which can be pulled from the outside of the coop.  The door is then barred shut with a long piece of wood that is accessible from outside of the run.  Pretty smart, eh?  I like how he put shingles on their ramp.  They're nice and "grippy" so it will be easy for them to climb it.

We put this rooster bell up on the coop because every hen house needs a rooster, don't ya think? :)  I also have a smaller one I'll add as well.

Derby cat wasn't very happy that he had been evicted from his nesting box house, poor kitty.  He managed to  jump on the roof of the run and was trying to squeeze through the area Ron was closing off, crafty cat.

Here's to many years of cooptastic happiness!  Welcome home ladies!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spinach Green Smoothie

I've mentioned the fact that I'm a green smoothie fanatic before, haven't I?  If not here is the evidence!  One of my good friends got me hooked on them about a year ago, and since then I've been pretty much addicted to them.  I usually put kale in them, but since our kale is just starting now I used some hearty spinach that has miraculously made it through winter.  Kale is jam packed with nutrients, which is why I generally use it, but spinach works too.  I doubled my recipe today because my little guy was super hungry and he loooves green smoothies.  Here is my old stand by green smoothie recipe:

Base:  2 c organic soy or rice milk,

2 c spinach, (or kale) greens:

1 c peaches:

1 cup frozen mixed berries: (For flavor and to hide the green color from the boy.)

Blend in blender or Vita-Mix (preferable)

The finished product!

He wouldn't let me take a pic of him eating his green smoothie, but here he is after drinking every last drop.  That is one happy little guy!

So what are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cool Urban Homesteading Guy Blogs

I thought it would only be fair to share some of the great guy blogs out there, since there really are some fantastic ones you don't want to miss!  Even though the brunt of the blogging is done by women, some of the guys are doing fantastic jobs.  There are only a few really well known guy urban homesteading blogs that I have seen, but I'm still looking for more.  Here are some I have come across that I really enjoy:

Urban Organic Gardener - A blog by Mike Lieberman.  Mike is an urban homesteading activist like myself, so I love to read his take on urban homesteading current events.  He rocks balcony and porch gardening and posts fantastic recipes.  From his fb page, this is his personal interest: "Empowering people to make better informed choices about the decisions that they are making on a daily basis and how those decisions possibly effect their health and the environment."

My Earth Garden - A blog by Michael Nolan:  The Garden Rockstar.  Michael co-authored the book "I Garden: Urban Style."  His blog runs the gamete from great garden tips to fabulous recipes, and his photography is always fun.  Michael also has a facebook page:  The Garden Rockstar.  

The Noodle Book - A blog by Nick Strauss.  Nick is a great writer and has covered the whole urban homesteading trademark debate well with his "An Open Letter to the Dervaes Family" post.  His wife Erica has an awesome blog as well, Northwest Edible Life.  They're an urban homesteading blogging duo.

Rob's World - A blog by Rob Johnson.  "Cooking, gardening, community, home improvements, junk art, green living and the decisional rant."  Rob's cool, check out his blog.

Adventures in Food Land - A blog by David Offutt, the Gastronomic Gardener.  David encourages gardening and cooking and his blog is mainly a cooking blog, filled with great recipes with garden fresh veggies.  

It All Started With Tomatoes - A blog by Luis Tobon.  He does a great "Weekly Farm Update" with garden pics and DIY projects.  Very cool. 

Funny Farm - A blog by Duane Marcus, an organic gardener and teacher from Georgia.  He lives on three acres and grows in mass.  If you want to learn how to grow check out this guy's blog.

Highly Uncivilized - A blog written by a guy named Brad K.  I can't find his name on the blog anywhere, hmm.  Anyway, his blog covers green topics and urban homesteading and it's super cool.  

Kevin Kossowan - From the cellar, wild, garden, local farm - I found this blog through several links, a happy accident.  Kevin takes beautiful pictures, and goes into great detail about his urban homesteading.  Check his blog out, it rocks. 

Outfox Farm - A blog written by Rodney Collins.  Rodney's blog talks about urban homesteading on his property and sustainable living.  

Do you know of any good guy urban homesteading blogs? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Urban Homesteading Gender Roles

Here's my awesome urban homesteading hubby cooking up a mean spaghetti sauce with fresh garden herbs and making home made whole wheat sour dough bread the other night.  Someone once called Ron a Renaissance man, and it's true, the man can accomplish anything he attempts, and better than most.  Add to that the fact that he's wicked smart and a very hard worker, which makes for a power horse of creativity and production around here.  Truth be told he's hard to keep up with, but I manage.

Honestly, I'm not crazy about cooking, as much as it pains me to admit it.  I "tolerate" cooking.  I think it's more of a time issue;  by the end of the day I'm wiped out after driving my kids to and from school, dance class, and doing errands and the like.  The last thing I'm excited about by then is cooking up something from scratch.  Now that we've discovered cooking with home grown veggies and fresh herbs gone are the days of throwing a store bought marinade sauce over chicken and baking it at 350 degrees for an hour.  There is no going back, period.

The other day Ron asked me to cook and I told him it would be a "sauce on chicken" night.  He said forget it and rolled up his sleeves, cranked up NPR, got out the cast iron and went for it.  I have my specialties, generally Thai cuisine such as sticky rice and magoes, pad thai, and the like, but overall Ron does the lion's share of the cooking lately.  I'm learning slowly and adding to my cooking skill set, really I am.  However, I don't have the natural sense and talent for cooking that he has.  He just seems to intuitively know which herbs to use, how much to use, when to use it, and his dishes always turn out delicious.  I see no need to change the status quo around here anytime soon.  In fact, I really need to start posting his recipes here:  "Ron's Recipes"....has a ring to it don't you think?!

I've been thinking a lot about women and men's roles in the home in current society and their roles in the whole urban homesteading movement as well.  It seems like our movement has much more tolerance for role reversals since we're doing our own thing on our land "our way" anyway, so who cares who does what?  I've noticed though that most of the urban homesteading cooking blogs are written by women...actually most of the blogging is done by women in fact.  The urban homesteading facebook page I started is comprised of about 70% women and 30% men, which shows me that women are most likely the biggest presence of urban homesteaders on the net.  But I would estimate that a lot of men are out there doing the work; it's like that with Ron and I anyway.  He does the brunt of work out in the garden and the kitchen in fact, and I'm totally fine with it.  I get to photograph it, blog about it and research it endlessly.  I'm always telling him about the latest gardening idea I've read about and how we can get it done effectively, or letting him know which local classes are being offered.  He's going to an aquaponics class in a week or so, per my recommendation.

I'm the one who takes the lead with the sustainable end of things as well, making sure we're doing things as eco-friendly as possible, shopping at thrift stores, searching blogs for ways to balance the grocery budget so we can afford organic food, etc.  Then the artistic side of me is at work in the garden as well, painting things and doing mosaics like crazy on every flat surface....well, not every flat surface, but you get the idea.  Ron will bring home some free item and I'm all over it, figuring out a way to use it in the garden creatively.  I'm the healthy eating proponent around here as well, pushing my healthy eating agenda on the entire family, pour souls.  I love my green smoothies, and have figured out ways to hide the kale flavor in fruit smoothies so BOTH kids love them - huge accomplishment.

I've designed a children's clothing line in the past and used some up-cycled fabrics in my clothing as well.  I love to sew and craft, and have been trying to incorporate hand made items into our lifestyle as much as possible.  I made a fabric birthday banner a while back that I hang on our birthdays.  I love the simplicity and functionality of it, and the fact that it's not made out of plastic!  I know I have a long ways to go with sustainable living, but it's my main focus here on the homestead these days and I'm proud of the progress I'm making lately.

Yesterday I scored this amazing vintage hand made farm landscape needlework at an art trade from my gym.  The piece I traded it for wasn't nearly as stunning, but a trade is a trade!

So what are your roles on your urban homestead?  What are your thoughts on gender roles on the urban homestead?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Free Scores Week

This week has been a "free scores" week for us big time.  Today Ron brought home this awesome industrial 50-60's era cabinet from the hospital, score!  We've been needing something like this for the kitchen, but hadn't gotten around to buying it yet.  Vintage and re-purposed items have an eclectic charm is like no other new item you can buy at the store, and whenever one comes our way, (especially if it's vintage), I'm a happy camper.  The other day he brought home a bunch of plastic laundry baskets, plastic large food containers, and some glass jars that were in the free pile at work.  Sometimes when I need some storage item I just wait until he brings it home from work rather than buying it new from the store.  

So many of our friends have given us items for our garden.  In fact this weekend our neighbor gifted us with three raspberry plants, freakin' awesome!  One of Ron's bosses has given us loads of re-purposed boards and plywood which we're using for raised beds and the chicken coop.  Once we put the word out that we like re-purposed materials we were literally inundated with free stuff.  I think we're going to need to go through all of our stuff and re-gift a bunch that we're not using.  We're collectors, yes we are!  

Some elbow grease and wala - cute kitchen cabinet!  Our stereo is perched up on the top for now.  We love to listen to the radio when cooking, cleaning, etc. so it's perfect.  We may also use it for a coffee/espresso bar.  Ron ran a coffee shop at one time, so we have all of the coffee making gear that never seems to have a proper home on the counters.  

I finally have a spot for most of my (free) canning jars!  They've been sitting on the kitchen table for weeks now, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.  Problem solved!

Raspberry starts.

Free boards which are being put to use on the chicken coop.

The best score of the week by far is this massive pile of drip line irrigation tubing.  Ron had seen it on the side of the road for days, and finally scooped it up.  These are not cheap, and all of the connector pieces were attached which makes it an even better score!  Now the raised beds will have a drip irrigation system.

So what is your latest free score for your urban homestead, and where did it come from?  Plants and live stock count!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken Update & Coop Progress

I've been meaning to put up a chicken/chicken coop post for a while now, so here it is finally!  The chickens are doing great and are getting HUGE!  It seems like they double their size every week or so.  They're about a month old now, and we're ready for them to move into their's more like our noses are ready, lol!

Here is Henrietta, our one Ameraucana chicken.  She is super tame and mellow, and will let the kids hold her for hours.  I wish we could have bought one more of these, but they're tiny egg layers and we wanted better producers.  Her eggs will be a nice green color though, which I'm looking forward to!

Ron made a deluxe chicken condo box the other day.  He works in the materials department at the hospital so he always has access to tons of boxes.  He couldn't find a large enough box for them, so he connected two with a little door and they seem to love it.  We also throw compost into their box so they can eat worms and scritch and scratch around.  They love it!

Introducing the ladies:  Penelope, Snow Flake, Peepers, Ophelia, and Jacquelin.  (Henrietta not pictured.)

The coop and run are almost finished!  So far we've framed, roofed and walled the coop, made the ramp and ramp door, and done the run framing.  Ron is now putting the wire on the run and making the run door.  We still need to make and install the nesting box door, frame the coop in, shingle the roof, reinforce the bottom of the run, and paint the coop.  I didn't realize what a big job this coop would be!

Ron put up this fence border to keep out predators.  It's great protection, but the down side is that you can't see the chickens unless you're standing right by the coop.  We're going to put sticks and branches up in the run, so they will probably perch up there during the day some.  We're debating whether to move the coop out some, making the run bigger.  Also, the cute window is now obscured behind the run.  Ron created the run around the coop to conserve yard space, which totally makes sense.  Ron's functionality and my aesthetic are waging a little battle right now.  We're working on making a compromise that we'll both be happy with.  Since the coop is visible by one of the only windows looking out over the yard/garden I really want to be able to see those chickens clucking around during the day.  What to do?  Decisions, decisions!  Any ideas are welcome by the way. :)  I know some of you must be coop experts by now!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Proverbial Compost is About to Hit the Fan

After weeks of declarations of innocence from the Dervaes clan the evidence is finally presenting itself, or as some would say, the compost is hitting the fan.  Rebecca Kaplan, one of the authors of Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills For Sustainable Living, had just announced that the book was being released to the public when Jules Dervaes' lawyer fired off a threatening letter to the publishers.  Here is an excerpt from the letter:  

"Although my client has attempted in good faith to resolve this matter amicably and without litigation, because you have indicated that [publishing company] is unwilling to comply with our requests, Dervaes has no choice but seek protection of its rights in court.  Unless we receive written confirmation by the close of business on April 1, 2011 that [publishing company] will comply immediately with each of the demands detailed in my letter of 2/16/11, (and a subsequent more formal agreement detailing those terms,) Dervaes intends to seek an injunction, along with any damages and attorneys fees, against [publishing company]."

The demands detailed in the 2/16 letter were basically that Kaplan and Blume were not allowed to use the words "urban homestead" or "urban homesteading."  They were graciously "allowed" to use the terms homestead and homesteading however.  

For weeks the Dervaes have claimed up and down that they were not suing anyone, which for the time being was true, but it was obvious by their actions that they were headed down law suit lane.  They denied sending out cease and desist letters, accused bloggers of spreading "misinformation", and have continued with the same party line for weeks now.  I never bought it, never for a minute.  It was obvious by their tone and actions that they would take whatever actions necessary to own the words that define a movement.  I have seen a serious lack of integrity on the part of the Dervaes in the past few months. 

I started the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) facebook page as a protest to the Dervaes trademarking the terms 'urban homestead" and "urban homesteading."  I have been amazed at the incredible support and community which has formed in such a short amount of time through this page.  We have banned together to support one another, and with true grit and determination I believe we will get back the words that define who we are.  I believe that we have waged this battle so far with integrity and purpose, while the other party has not.  Here is a little summary of some of the things we have been up against:

The Dervaes' accusations that the blogging community has put out "misinformation."  From the Dervaes Blog: "These last few weeks, the blogosphere and certain media outlets have been full of unfounded and false reports that have led to a smear campaign against members of our family."   This is absolutely not true.  Any of the urban homesteading blogs or media I have seen are representing the facts correctly, and have gleaned their facts directly from the Dervaes' websites, blogs, etc.  Not long after this declaration came from their website "media outlets" such as Boing Boing, Blog Her, and the SF Chronicle, and Grist reported much of the same information, interesting isn't it though?   
We didn't send out cease and desist letters.  When you send out letters to 16 organizations, libraries, publishers, etc. that tell publishers, authors, and web pages not to use certain generic terms in print, that is a legal cease and desist letter, so yeah, you did send out cease and desist letters. 

Go ahead and use the terms in your blog.  Sometime after the initial cease and desist letters, and the hundreds of blogs posted in the blogosphere about the issue, the Dervaes suddenly said it was ok to use the trademarked terms in blogs!  They had already told Rebecca Kaplan who has a blog associated with her book Urban Homesteading, not to use the words anywhere in print.  So what are we supposed to believe?  This kind of inconsistent speech is not helpful, or honest in my opinion.  

Plagiarism. The Dervaes put out a post about plagiarism, then it was discovered that they themselves had plagiarized information for Freedom from Michael Nolan's blog "My Earth Garden", as well as the fact that the information on the plagiarism blog had not been cited correctly for the internet.  They did admit they had not cited the information from the Freedom Gardens site, and apologized, but the fact remains that they were accusing others of something that they themselves were guilty of doing.  They only corrected the error when they were caught red handed.

Steaming Pile of Compost.  "We will not  [nor it is our intention to] squelch the use of Urban Homestead or Urban Homesteading nor will we go about hindering this movement by those who are living the lifestyle.  We are Urban Homesteaders and appreciate those who are lending their actions and words of support. We are extremely grateful and we encourage others to spread this lifestyle with pride."  Really, you don't want to squelch the use of urban homestead or urban homesteading?  I don't think I need to say much more...this one is a no brainer. 

Friending people from the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) Page.  The Dervaes decided it would be smart to come over to our page and friend up with people.  For all of their declarations of innocence this was the last straw.  It was a desperate move on their part to try to win back favor from a group that they have alienated.
So what can you do to help fight against this injustice?  Go buy the Urban Homesteading book, join the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) page, and spread the word about our cause! 
There are other publishers being represented by the EFF now, and we raised funds for the Denver Urban Homesteading to petition to have the trademark removed from "urban homesteading."  We also have helped get over 2000 signatures for an on line petition to the Dervaes to remove the TMs.  Not that it will change their minds, but it is good proof that the urban homesteading community is not in support of what they have done.