Poem for the Day: A Promise to California, by Walt Witman

Big Sur, CA surf photo shoot with Dand Richardson May 24-28, 2011.

A promise to California,
Or inland to the great pastoral Plains, and on to Puget sound and Oregon;
Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain,
to teach robust American love,
For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you,
inland, and along the Western sea;
For these States tend inland and toward the Western sea, and I will also.

It’s About Time: Recognizing Our Most Precious Resource

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Here on Our Urban Farm, we like to do a bit of occasional introspection amidst the rural landscape of our Los Angeles postage stamp-sized plot of dirt. As such, and aided by our half century of living on this planet now upon us, I personally decided to put some serious thought into what I find most valuable in life. Not to take things lightly, I asked friends, my wife, and others whom I respect for their own definitions of value and found respectable answers ranging from kids and family, relationships with God, higher learning, physical health, and even money. While I find all of these answers valid and their accompanying explanations more than adequate to justify them, none of these thoughtful elicitations (nor any combination of them) seemed to resonate with me. Continue reading

This is What Happens When You Decide To Create Your Own Food Security

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By on Growing Food, Yardening

If you’re fed up reading labels in the grocery store trying to find some real food that won’t kill you, I feel your pain. Not to worry, there is a solution and it’s awesome. The truth is, you don’t need to depend on food corporations or the government to keep you healthy. Why would you want to anyways?

Click here to continue reading this article on Grow Food – Not Lawns.

This Dream Home Only Cost Them $22,000. Just Wait Til You Go Inside…Wow!

In our quest to minimalize, we are always looking at the future of our living arrangements. As it stands (and once our son moves away to college in three years), we plan to move into our back apartment unit, renting out our main house to effectively eliminate our mortgage and give us the flexibility to travel and live a more stress-free existence. This article on Distractify has us rethinking things…

It only cost the Morrisons $22,000 to build their dream home.

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Continue reading

Sadness In A Miracle

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Since my last post on our ongoing care situation with Anita Dong-Miller (my mother-in-law), a few radical changes have taken place, some good, some not so good, and even a few downright heartbreaking. To recap, we brought Anita home in November of 2013 to live out her final months in our care as she struggles with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Now well into our fifth month of providing round-the-clock diaper changing, administration of medications, feeding, bathing, and exercise, Anita’s radical mood swings finally became too much to handle, resulting in a reduction of said meds and entry into hospice care. Continue reading

In Care of… Anita Dong Miller

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By Ian Denchasy

In November of 2013, we made the decision to bring Alicia’s mother home from convalescent care to live on Our Urban Farm. Our main motivation was her doctor’s diagnosis that Anita (her real name) was losing her battle with the triple-headed monster of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia and would soon (within a few months time) turn for the worse and end her stay in this life. Continue reading

2014 Garden Refresh… Time to Thin, Clean, and Replant

With spring suddenly upon us – at least according to theWP_20140301_002 calendar as we really don’t have traditional winters here in Southern California – we decided to combine our minimalistic approach to our outdoor spaces, cleaning out all the old leaves, furniture, and general clutter inhabiting the backyard, area behind our laundry room, patio, and side entrance on the south side of our property. Out went the old plastic lawn chairs, corroded fire pit, and rusty smoker (retrieved by the unseen curbside pickers in the middle of the night), leaving behind only our patio table and matching chairs, chicken coop, and propane BBQ. Our vegetable boxes also remained, but they survived the cut due to both their productivity and attractiveness (and they occupy former lawn space). Continue reading

Minimalism Update: Progress – Finally

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“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates

In the spirit of our newfound passion for less, here’s an update on where I’m at in implementing minimalism into our cluttered household… Continue reading

Our Journey Into Minimalism, Part 2 – Our Bedroom and Living Room

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Our bedroom – post minimization.

In our quest to minimize our household (as detailed here in a previous post), we decided to take a room-by-room approach, starting with our bedroom. This is logical for two main reasons; first, it’s the furthest room back, bordering our backyard, so initiating our house purge here and working forward is a great plan of attack. Second, with both of us susceptible to allergies – Alicia especially – doing a major cleaning and paring of dust collecting items in the room we spend almost one third of our lives in is good from a health perspective. As an aside, our bedroom had become a collection point for dozens, if not hundreds, of small memorabilia items ranging from buttons of our son in his Little League Baseball days, Burning Man schwag, no longer worn jewelry, piles of paper, old clothing, and unused fixtures. Continue reading

Five Great Movies You (Probably) Haven’t Seen

Looking for an alternative movie to watch in 2014? Here are a few of our favorite under-the-radar films from the last couple years. All are available for free or low rental fees on either Amazon Prime and Netflix.

1. Monsters

After a NASA deep space probe returns from a mission and crash lands in Mexico, strange (and giant) life forms start propagating all over the country, causing the borders to be closed and its inhabitants to be quarantined from the rest of the world. The only way in and out of Mexico are by exorbitantly priced, infrequent water ferries that only run for six months out of the year. Enter two individuals, Samantha and Andrew, who (through a series of unfortunate incidents) miss their boat and are forced to hitchhike up the middle of the Mexican countryside to the Texas border (sound familiar), trying all the way to avoid the giant alien creatures blocking their path. Continue reading