Our very first homestead was a 700 square foot house in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood of southeast Portland, Oregon. The 1927 house was painted the dullest light-grey you can imagine and surrounded by patchy lawn. What I saw the first time I set eyes on this meager plot of land was loads of potential for a budding homestead.
Over the course of eight years we transformed this beat-up house into a much-loved home. It started with sheet mulching the entire front and back yards, building our first chicken coop and planting the first round of edible trees and shrubs. Every year I would cut and divided my favorite perennials, add new plant species and train the fruiting vines.
We painted the house red and added some colorful accent trim to draw out the historic character of the home. We replaced aging infrastructure systems with energy-efficient upgrades to make this home environmentally sustainable from the inside out.
We added a pergola to the center of the garden, which became the “heart” of our homestead. Many late summer evenings were spent out there with loved ones watching the sunset over our thriving food forest. Our beloved garden even graced the pages of Country Gardens magazine in their Spring 2013 issue, just a few months after we had welcomed our first child, Juniper.
Not long after, it felt time to pass the torch of our starter homestead onto another eager young couple. Gardens are living things that continually change over time. It will never be the same when we finally said goodbye, but the memories we made there will last forever.