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

Refreshing: Grapefruit Honey Ginger Soda

Though it may be chilly outside, I think the beginning of the year is an excellent time for a glass of homemade grapefruit ginger soda. I came up with this recipe when my partner swore off commercial soda, and after months of holiday indulgence, the light and tangy fizz is most welcome. The soda is sweetened with honey, not sugar, and the ginger provides a note of warmth for winter.

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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

Paring Down… Our Journey Toward Minimalism


One of the main goals of Our Urban Farm – in its reality – is to live as naturally and holistically as possible within the framework of our busy metropolitan surroundings. As such, and in keeping with our action-oriented plans on installing vegetable garden boxes, rainwater catchment containers, and drought tolerant landscaping, we’ve now begun the process of minimizing our material possessions in anticipation of a serious life change coming up in three years. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration – Parts 3,4, and 5

Exactly one month after starting my Aristocrat Lo-Liner restoration project, I’m finally seeing some real progress and looking forward to the day she will once again roll the highways in all her vintage glory. I can’t say truthfully that I haven’t had my doubts throughout this whole process, but with the walls going up and everything fitting properly, my self confidence has received a much needed boost and I actually believe I’ll be able to complete the entire restoration within the next 3-4 weeks. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration – Part 2

20130818_122009 In part one of my ongoing restoration project (involving our 1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner camper/trailer), I discovered that simple fixes on 50 year old things are rarely that; and unfortunately what I hoped would be a repair confined to one corner of the camper turned out to reveal damage throughout the entire structure. This had me peeling off the outer aluminum skin piece by piece (held in place by about a million rusty staples), pulling out the entire kitchen area in the front, and removing the bed supports which had pulled away from the outer walls. Once exposed, I discovered wood rot along almost the entire bottom half and undersides, with further damage up each corner to the ceiling. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration Begins…


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Our 1964 Lo-Liner just prior to tear down. Behind it is a 1950’s Shasta canned ham trailer being restored by our friend, Joe.

The end of summer finally sees us undertaking a much needed restoration of our little 1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner camper/trailer. We acquired it three summers ago via our friend Joe – aka The Secondhand Answer Man, who found her sitting in a garage in the north end of the San Fernando Valley, for $600.00. Since then, we’ve taken several trips, including a few to vintage trailer rallies as far as Pismo Beach, and some friends even towed it to Burning Man last summer for a christening of playa dust. Continue reading

My first mini bike project…

Azusa mini bike teardown.

Azusa mini bike teardown.

After moving into our little Mar Vista home back in 1997, I noticed an old mini bike sitting in our neighbor’s yard. It turned out to belong to the homeowner’s live-in son-in-law, who had it when he was a kid back in the late 1960’s. In fact, I myself owned one very similar as a 7 year old boy in the early 1970’s and learned the basics on how to rebuild small engines using my mini bike as a tutor, so to speak. When running (though highly illegal), I remember not only the absolute joy of riding it, but the satisfaction that came from building it myself (they came in kits back in those days). Continue reading

Flying the Coop: Why urban farmers should do research before raising chickens


Robert Garrova/KPCC

From KPCC Radio, Los Angeles.

Keeping chickens in Los Angeles is really nothing new, but with the rise in popularity of “urban homesteading,” more and more Angelenos are deciding to raise chickens in their backyards. Continue reading

May’s Urban Garden of the Month…

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Location: Superba Ave., Venice, CA.

In 2006, Venice’s Mark decided that his lawn was both “a waste of time and water.” He proceeded to convert it over the following years into a fully functioning vegetable producing wonderland. “I had zero idea what I was doing when I started,” says Mark, “But even the mistakes are fun.” Continue reading