amazing sisters: farm city + these days in french life

Last year when I read the fantastic book
Farm City about Novella Carpenter's urban farming experiences on an empty lot in Oakland, I was inspired to follow in her footsteps: start a vegetable garden, eat what I had planted and grown, raise chickens, start canning... I probably won't raise pigs any time soon (Novella raises two over the course of the book), but all of those other items are potentially doable in the back yard and kitchen of the house we've bought and are moving into very soon.

After reading Novella's book I googled her. Naturally. I visited her site,
Ghost Town Farm, and looked at the Farm City photos on flickr. From here, I found her sister's photos: These Days in French Life. I've been following Riana's similar experiences living off the land for a year now, and I am enamored. And humbled. Here's the list of how she and her husband and daughter "live slow":

A little bit about what we are doing and have changed in our lives over the past two slow years
Gardening and raising animals on borrowed land in the city

Freegans- Dumpster diving
Foraging in season and in harmony of nature
No consumer shopping for the last 2 years
Rebuilding a stone house from the 1700’s
All Eco and/or recycled materials
Growing 25 % of our produce
Freegan and Foraging the other 75 %
Bartering and trading

Food Preservation/Storage:
-root cellar

In the Kitchen:
- cooking from scratch on an antique wood burning stove
- yogurt making
- bread making
- cheese making
- sprouting

-kombucha and Kefir drinks
- cast iron cookware
- no dishwasher, refrigerator or microwave

Our Limited Food Choices:
- buying in bulk organic: meat, local honey, raw milk and flour
- local roasted coffee beans

Raising Animals:
- chickens (eggs/meat)
- rabbits (meat/manure)
- dwarf/pygmy goats (milk/manure) coming in spring

Composting Methods:
- vermicomposting
- composting food, garden and green waste

Energy Conservation:
- "powering down"
- cut energy usage to 1/3 of before

200kWh per month for three people
- rechargeable batteries
-no AC or central heat
-no ironing or hairdryer
-wood burning heat with recuperated wood
-water heater off for three days a week
-line drying clothes
-washing machine: 30 minute Eco wash
-deep freezer A rating
-LED lighting through out house

Homemade Non-toxic Beauty Care Products
- toothpaste
-vegan deodorant and soaps through trades

Biodegrable/Non-toxic Cleaning Products:
- vinegar
- baking soda
- lemon juice
-olive oil
-homemade washing detergent

Natural Health Practices:
- homeopathy
- herbal remedies
- prevention
-Universal health care helps

Water Conservation Efforts:
- low flush toilets
- reusing bath water to flush toilets wash floors
- baths together
- limit toilet flushings
- limit baths/showers – twice a week
-greywater to water plants

Living Simply:
- making use or do without
- bartering and trading goods and services
- 3 annual shopping trips for organic meat
- recycling, recreating, or redistribution
- repairing, fixing, sewing and remaking
-making food for others and giving to charities

- no central heat
- woodstove that uses scrap wood
-and pipes heat into the bedrooms

Home Projects:
-mud cob wall
-hemp insulation
-recuperated wood ceiling
Amazing (these sisters), right?

Riana posts mouth-watering photos of amazing meals, shots of their farm house in various stages of renovation, and pictures of their lovely growing girl. So take a look.

Happy Saturday to you!

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