fun and Misadventures of Homesteading in Suburbia

   Jul 29

Dragon Carrots First Glimpse

So started thinning out some of the overgrowth of the Dragon Carrots we planted. I thought we could show a few for fun. They are really tasty, a very strong “carrot” taste if that makes sense. Red skinned with a deep orange center they are really colourful, when they are proper for harvest we will take some more photos.

Dragon Carrots

Dragon Carrots!


Considering the odd weather we have had I am pleased that we are actually getting any yield from our little patch. I hope things have finally settled and we will be able to post even more results of our efforts.

   Jul 04

Grilled Naan with veg

Summertime screams for barbeque recipes so let’s start off with something exciting. This grilled Naan with vegetables is an excellent way to use up any vegetables that might be on the way out. Trim, dice, and throw it on!

This isn’t a recipe so much as a guide, so I am not providing any measures or exact timings. Just try it out and add your own flare.

For the pictured “pizza” I used:

  • Diced red and yellow peppers
  • Tomato
  • Diced onion
  • Chopped sauteed Chinese Broccoli
  • Fresh shredded Mozzarella
  • Chopped garlic
  • Oregano and Rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


When doing this type of cooking you want indirect heat (flame opposite of the food). Basically we are turning the BBQ into an oven, so we can bake without heating up the house! Brush your Naan lightly with olive oil (or use infused oils if you want). This will help keep the Naan from sticking and help it crisp up.

Heat up the BBQ to at least 350 with all burners on so we get the grills nice and hot. Then turn off the one side you will cook on and adjust the hot side so the grill stays around 350. Place the Naan on the cooking side so they get a few grill marks (turn as needed). The indirect side should cool down enough to not ruin your Naan, but each grill is different use your judgement.  Put your toppings on the Naan and close the grill. I like my Naan crispy so I like to “bake” them longer adjusting the flame as needed. You should turn the Naan around every so often to get even crispiness on the edges.


Serve hot and enjoy.

Average Prep time : 30 mins
Average Cook time : 30 mins



Grilled Naan with vegetables

Grilled Naan with vegetables


   Jun 25

Reclaimed Harvest

So we tried an idea we saw and replanted some used green onions and they grew! So from now on all our green onions will have a second life, a two for one if you will.

Reclaimed Green Onions

Reclaimed Green Onions

They harvest really well and taste great. We basically cut the onion down to the “white” part and replanted them. You should try it yourself really nice way to stretch your dollar.

Almost like store bought

Almost like store bought

   Jun 20

The early birds!

Well it seems we have a few eager arrivals in the garden. A few radishes have popped up and decided to harvest them a little earlier for fun. These are from seed stock we purchased through We are still watching over the beets and carrots. This is our first year trying their stock and I must say we are not at all disappointed.


Early but tasty!


   Jun 18

Certified Organic does not mean Pesticide Free

Organic Pesticides

Some of you may already be aware that there has been an obvious upsurge in the availability of organic produce in your local supermarket chain. To me, there is no possibility of an organic farmer being able to supply large chains without the use of pesticides. This is my stance, my opinion, my belief. I did some research and indeed I appear to be correct. Below are examples of “Organic Pesticides”


  • Pyrethrum – derived from a type of from Chrysanthemum called Chrysanthemum cinerariifoliumThis toxin is indiscriminate, it will kill both harmful and beneficial organisms.
  • Nicotine – Yes Nicotine. It is extremely toxic to insects, but also to mammals/fowl. It is not normally used in agricultural settings
  • Rotenone – derived from seeds and stems of several plants. Effective against several pests including mites, beetles, and aphidsThis is highly toxic! In some cases worse than its synthetic couter parts. Fish, all mammals (including humans) and fowl.

I accept that large scale agro farmers cannot turn a profit without the use of some pesticides. There are times that choosing to use an organic pesticide can make the difference between a good yield or financial ruin.

My complaint is that many hide behind what I believe is deceptive marketing jargon deployed to fool consumers into paying more for a perceived “safer” or “better for you” product.

I am by no means an expert in chemistry or biology, and admit perhaps some of the information is invalid or biased. Please feel free to do your own research. When in doubt, ask your local market or Green Grocer for the full details on any produce.


   Jun 10

Beets, radishes, and tomatoes. Oh my!

Despite some of the awful weather we have had some luck and our plants are beginning to show.  Baby RadishI thought we could share some of the newest members of our garden. The organic radish and beets were started from seed are doing very well all things considered. It was a little touch and go between the frosty nights in May, and the evil raccoons insisting on   walking   through the freshly planted garden.Baby Beet

We purchased the tomato plant pictured from our local supermarket as a supplement to the heirlooms we started from seed. They are slowly recovering from the frost but they may not make it.

 I am hoping that the beets will be very successful, I have a family recipe for pickled beets that I am waiting to try out and I will definitely share the recipe and fun with you all. The radishes are a great item to have in any garden, they are very hearty and don’t take long to grow to harvest. Sometime I’ll just pluck one out and give it a quick rinse and munch away while working on the garden (yum!).


   Jun 04

A Small Start of Garden 2013

So Rob and I have been embarking on various small aspects of self sufficiency and homesteading over the past couple of years, some of which have been applied more to our work life more than our home life.

We have like most suburbanite neighbourhood dwellers have built and maintained a small hobby garden over the past couple of years, though admittedly we have not yet perfected its size or organization, however we have vowed that this year will be our last “unplanned” gardening season.

This year in particular we had both psyched ourselves up to develop an extremely well organized and efficient garden, with an award winning layout for manageability and harvesting.  Unfortunately there were a few snags that got in our way.  For one, there was work life.  As we both work in the IT field, and are often on the clock 24/7, unfortunately we have not had a consistent amount of time to devote to the garden build as we had hoped.  In addition, both Rob and myself are plagued with some health issues that sometimes stand in the way of physical productivity.  I have a knee that is problematic to say the least, and as a result of such knee issues, I added a broken foot to my spring/early summer plans.  Rob has been tremendous by helping to do a lot of the physical work I usually handle around the house.  He filled in by doing more of the errands, housework, and also helping me, as I have done for him during one of his kidney stone recovery sessions.  So this year, we were not blessed with the free time and physical abilities to construct the numerous ideas we had in mind for our garden.

We had hoped to expand the garden and construct some decent fencing, cages and other such methods to allow for our climbing veggies as well as to build something more than a store bought cage for our tomato plants.  Last year we grew 7 tomato plants, and they did so well we harvested busshels of tomatoes well into the fall.  The tomato plants were so strong and vital, they were actually more like trees.  The stems were more like small tree trunks some of which were over 2 inches thick.  They spread through the fence into our neighbours yard and proceeded to yield large amounts of tomatoes on that side too!  Truly something that may have been record worthy.

This year has also proven to be one of the more bizarre ones for weather as well here in southern Ontario.  Im not sure how professional farmers would weigh in, but the weather has definately thrown off the planting dates of our garden.  We have had near freezing temperatures on one day and then reached record highs the next.  It was almost surreal.  So this year we have decided to forgoe the “elite” garden of efficiency and sort of improvise our planting and layout in the hopes of still having a successful year.

So I thought I would share a small sample of our starters in a picture.  This does not reperesent all of our planting, merely a small portion.

There will be more pictures to come, but Im sure our setup will be far surpassed by many fellow gardeners this year, although if last year was anything to go by, we may just have to pat ourselves heavily on the back for our prize tomatoes and maybe let the neighbour kids build a house up in our “tomato trees”

We look forward to posting more pictures and sharing our stories with everyone.

Table of Some Starters

   Jun 03

Welcome to

Greetings and welcome,

We are Rob and Mike.  A gay couple living in the suburbs in Ontario.

For many years we have been striving to get back to our roots so to speak.  Both of us have been raised in a family where gardening and farming was very much a part of daily life.  We have a small home, with an average / smallish back yard and we would very much like to work towards a lifestyle whereby we live healthy, happy with a lot of hard work.

We are relatively handy around the house.  We do many of our own home renovations and repairs, and we are quite good at re-engineering things for our needs, and for cost effectiveness.

The purpose of this blog is to share our experiences as we try to slowly transform the day to day rat race into a lifestyle off the grid as much as possible.  We hope to share with our followers, tips, tricks and our experiences both good and bad.  Our readers can feel free to learn from our mistakes, and perfect from our methods and maybe have a laugh or two along the way.

Our journey into the life of self sufficiency started, I suppose, from our parents — specifically our dads.  Both of our dads have throughout their lives have had a little more than a small home herb garden going on.  We have both seen our dads expand their gardens and spend time re-engineering things to suit their purpose and I guess thats where we get this from.

Rob and I have been together for over 15 years.  We work in the IT industry, and for many years, lived the apartment life in the city.  A few years ago we purchased a house in the burbs – largely to put some of our handyman talents to good use and to explore the world of backyard homesteading.

Another large portion of our inspiration is derived from a TV series from the 70’s in the UK called “The Good Life”.  The premise of the show is that Tom – a suburban dweller is fed up with the mundane routine of the ratrace and decides to take a leap and give up the 9-5 for a life of self sufficiency in his moderate suburban home.  Although its a sitcom, it does explore very well, the obsticles of such a lifestyle as well as the rewarding feeling that comes from the success stories.  Its a very funny show but also very inspirational.

Since watching that show both Rob and myself have decided that we would also pursue such a lifestyle, except instead of jumping into it, we would slowly evolve the plan bit by bit.  What started as a small home garden (as many suburbanites may have), is gently moving towards a get off the grid, mentality.

For the past few years we have slowly constructed a modest garden of our favourite vegetables.  We are learning how to optimize and maintain the garden.  In addition we are employing methods for a greener life (ie lower our carbon footprint as they say now).  We employ recycling methods, which include composting, recycling with our local city waste management, and also reducing waste.

We also are striving to revise our former throw away mentality.  We re-use products that are no longer functional for one purpose, and attempt to waste nothing.  We save yoghurt containers, egg cartons, plastic food containers etc and use them for planters.  We splice plants, and re-use old pots, buckets etc.

Anyways enough of the intro.  In the coming weeks we hope to post a sort of dear diary of our day to day struggles, hurdles and obsticles.  We hope our followers will enjoy seeing our experiences and maybe we will ultimately create our own little sitcom online 🙂

Thank you,

Mike and Rob