Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘St.Louis’

HOMEGROWN Life: What Planet Are You From?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

With Earth Day right around the corner, I figured I’d write a bit about a very special planet to me:  my Planet Jr.

Invented before the turn of the twentieth century, I consider the Planet Jr. (and other similarly-styled wheel-hoes) to be one of the most revolutionary agricultural inventions in history besides the tractor.

Constantly researching tools and implements, Justin started getting interested in wheel-hoes last fall.  He started searching local swap meets, Craigslist, eBay, and other sites for one (or more) to purchase.  We’ve since acquired a couple Planet Jr.’s.  A little rough around the edges when we bought them used, Justin’s since given them makeovers, and they look good as new.

The beautiful thing about the Planet Jr. is that it relies on manpower, not fossil fuels.  While many growers and gardeners rely on gas-powered tractors or tillers, the Planet Jr. can cultivate almost endlessly based on the push of the person standing behind it.

Not only is the man-powered Planet Jr. a sustainable choice for cultivation, but it’s also a sound choice.  Literally.  As in, push power means there’s no motorized engine adding to our urban setting’s already high level of noise pollution.  (There’s something deeply displeasing about the roar of lawnmowers, weed-eaters, and other gizmos in the warm-weather months.)

If you’re in the market for people-powered garden machinery, consider wheel-hoes like the Planet, Jr.  Not only can you find plenty of people selling them online, but there’s also an entire blog dedicated to helping people design and construct their own wheel-hoes.

“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008.  Together, we grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri.  I don’t have children.  I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”

HOMEGROWN Life: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011






Tom Petty was right, waiting stinks.

Waiting for goats

I’m finally caught up on sleep after waiting all weekend for two goats we share with friends out in the country to give birth.  Starting last Friday, I travelled out to their property and kept a vaginal vigil: bundled up in layers, with a bucket as my chair, and putting my ears through their own personal hell as small-town country music played (the same songs repeatedly, I might add) on the only radio station I could tune, I sat there waiting… and waiting… and waiting for those goats to pop.  I only had a total of 5 hours sleep from Friday evening until we travelled back home Sunday night so I could get ready for my 9-5 work week.  I stayed up because I’ve never witnessed a kid being born and I really didn’t want to miss it.  Disappointingly, as of the writing of this Homegrown post, nothing has happened yet.

But by golly, they sure looked ready to give birth: Their poo is all wet and strung together with mucus, their vulvas are pretty red and swollen (and I swear they’re dilated, but what do I know), they’re standing and sitting and standing and sitting and never seem at ease, they’re nesting in the straw, and making sounds like they’re in tremendous discomfort.

However none of this matters because the does were allowed to run with the buck freely, and we never bothered with ultrasounds or other fancy-schmancy veterinary tricks, so there is no real way to pinpoint exactly when each one got pregnant, and thusly, there’s no real way to approximate when each one might give birth.  Tick tock, sisters.

All we can do is rely on their behavioral and bodily cues to help us guess that they’re probably going to give birth “soon,” but “soon” seems quite relative considering I’ve been staring at goats all weekend to the point where I freaked out and thought one’s water broke when it was really just pee.  Whoopsie.  Point is, they could give birth tonight, or they could give birth a week from tonight – there’s no way we can be accurate enough to know.

I’m prepared and on-call, though.  I alerted my boss that I might have to take a vacation day to witness the miracle of life, and my husband and I have our overnight bags packed.

I suppose I should take all this waiting in stride… I mean, once the kids are born, Justin and I will be so busy helping out with milking and nursing duties, in addition to taking care of our own homestead, that there won’t be any time left to wait!



Danielle Yellow Tree

“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008. Together, my husband and I grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri. We speak publicly about urban farming, sew, and make our own toiletries.  I don’t have children. I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”

Party Fowl: Chicken Diapers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Our friend and HOMEGROWNer Danielle faced a dilemma recently when her boss invited her over for Christmas cocktails. “Bring your S.O. and your dog, too!” the boss said – some entertainment for her kids, Danielle assumed. Upon telling her boss that the dog did not play well with kids, the boss shrugged and said “bring the chicken, then!” Danielle’s hen, Bill Murray, now had a cocktail party to attend.

Danielle’s boss had met Bill Murray at the HOMEGROWN Urban Country Fair last summer in St. Louis, and she and her family had even sent a thank you card to Bill for the eggs she laid for them. Of course, poop in the living room never entered the boss’ mind when she extended the invitation, but Danielle took initiative and Googled the solution. Behold: Chicken Mom, Suzie and Phillip:

Yes, it’s ridiculous. No, Danielle, does not dress up her animals or push Bill Murray around in a stroller. But, when using our animals as a way to educate people about the sources of their food, being a tidy and well-mannered house guest is only proper!

Entrepreneur Magazine thinks that chicken diapers may also be a burgeoning cottage industry. What do you think?

Oh, and Danielle says that Bill Murray is going Commando.