homestead-eggs

What Makes a Homestead

“What makes a homestead?” is a question I have been asked a lot over the years. Most definitions have a common theme: it’s a home attached to the land. My belief is that your perception is what makes your home into a homestead. Here are some examples of how our home life is integrated into… Read more »

fairy-garden

How to Build a Fairy Garden Planter

This spring I began adding nature play “stations” throughout the homestead to make our outdoor space feel even bigger. I created a series of small fairy gardens at these stations using simple materials with Juniper’s help. They were easy projects to do together and have made a fun addition to the homestead. Our homestead has different use zones:… Read more »

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Seed Starting Calendar

It’s important to start out the growing season with a plan for when and where you are going to grow your crops. I shared the “where” portion of this plan in my 2016 Vegetable Garden Plan, but take a look at my seed starting calendar to see “when” to plant in the Pacific Northwest. This calendar shows when… Read more »

march-willow-buds

March Morning Inspiration

  “A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.” — Aldo Leopold. Good morning lovely readers! I wanted to plant a little seed of inspiration for you today. These early spring days are unpredictable, but I encourage you to grab whatever sunlight… Read more »

evergreen-sunshine-blueberry

Favorite Edible Evergreens

Winter is the perfect time of year to size up the evergreen structure, or lack thereof, in your garden space. Evergreens are often overlooked and unappreciated, leading the otherwise fullest summer gardens looking sadly bare during the cold months. Consider adding an assortment of these wonderful, edible evergreens to your homesteads. Bay leaf tree (Laurus… Read more »

leeks

February Homestead Chores

February is beginning to look less like winter and more spring every day! There are still lots of chores on my to-do list before the month is over. Here is a rundown of what we should be working on at this time of year. Assuming you are not still under a foot of snow, that… Read more »

2016-garden-plan

2016 Vegetable Garden Plan

This year my vegetable gardening plans are bursting at the seams! I poured over seed catalogs this winter, put in a huge seed order from my favorite suppliers and spent way too much time planning out every plantable inch of our homestead. The result is this colorful diagram that shows what will grow where this season… Read more »

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2016 Seed Order

I spent the cold dark days of winter pouring over my seed catalogs and dreaming of spring. The flowering quince are just ready to bloom, which tells me it’s time already to start seeds (Portland is in USDA zone 8). Making my list and checking it twice #seeds #homesteadplanning A photo posted by Renee Wilkinson… Read more »

cast-iron-book

Book Review: The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook

Is there anything cozier than a cold winter morning curled up with a mug of tea while you pour over recipes from a good cookbook? That is how I have been spending my weekend mornings this past month. I borrowed several cookbooks from the library, but one in particular has stolen my heart: The New Cast… Read more »

leaf-mulch

Building Soil Quality with Leaves

Most of us are constantly working on increasing the soil quality of our gardens – both the soil nutrients and the soil structure. Either we’re starting a new garden on less-than-ideal soil or we’re trying to build the soil quality back up after previous crops sapped nutrients from the ground or winter rains compacted the soil…. Read more »

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  • leaf-mulch

    Building Soil Quality with Leaves

    Most of us are constantly working on increasing the soil quality of our gardens – both the soil nutrients and the soil structure. Either we’re starting a new garden on less-than-ideal soil or we’re trying to build the soil quality back up after previous crops sapped nutrients from the ground or winter rains compacted the soil…. Read more »

  • Christmas

    Year of Gratitude

    As 2015 draws to a close, I can’t help but acknowledge what a tremendous year this has been. I feel cheesy talking about being blessed, since it’s becoming such a cliche. But as my friend Brigitte says, “it’s not like your favorite kombucha is on sale and you feel blessed… your mom is alive and… Read more »

  • solstice-crab

    Celebrating the Solstice

    Celebrating the Winter Solstice is my escape from the holiday frenzy that reaches it’s peak about this time. I am excited to see my extended family come together for Christmas in a few days, but the Solstice reminds us to slow down, savor and celebrate the simple aspects of our beautiful life. Here are some… Read more »

  • solstice-tree-pinecone

    Holiday Solstice Tree

    Our holiday traditions have evolved over time, as they should. The childhood season of presents has given way to a season of simplicity in adulthood – quiet hours, comfort foods, making warm memories with family and friends. It’s less about the “stuff” and more about celebrating the season of the Winter Solstice. Our annual holiday tree is a reflection of… Read more »

  • thanksgiving-beds

    Goodnight Garden

    Juniper and River were both sleeping inside as Jay puttered around the house, so I seized the moment by taking solitary refuge in the garden. We have had a handful of cold, hard frosts now as fall makes way for winter. What a wonderful way to spend my Thanksgiving, working outside on the homestead to clean up… Read more »

  • chanterelles-frozen-cups

    Preserving Chanterelle Mushrooms

    This fall I spent more time hunting chanterelle mushrooms in the woods than I spent in our own garden. The combination of foraging for wild food, hiking for hours and simply being outside among torrential rains and giant trees made me feel more than alive at an otherwise sleepy time of year. I ended up with baskets full of… Read more »

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    Hunting Chanterelles

    The end of the garden season signals the beginning of the mushroom season, which certainly takes the edge off of the end-of-season gardening blues. Wild chanterelles begin growing all over the Pacific Northwest in September and continue through November. They are a great “beginner mushroom” because they are very distinct looking, so you can’t confuse… Read more »

  • Juniper with some of her favorite veggies: a small bucket of cherry tomatoes and freshly pulled carrots

    Last Harvest of the Season

    After so many years outside cultivating my urban homesteads, I have developed a good sense for temperature.  I don’t need to scan the weather report obsessively – I can usually just feel when it’s getting cold enough to threaten frost or warm enough in spring to remove row covers. Portland has experienced one of the warmest… Read more »

  • pumpkin-cookies

    Pumpkin Recipe Round-Up

    I’m that person… the pumpkin muffin, pumpkin scone, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-everything-person. This delicious and versatile squash is the quintessential sign, smell and taste of fall. As our days get shorter and nights get colder, here’s a round up of my favorite pumpkin recipes to keep you warm and well-fed.   Pumpkins are fun, easy to… Read more »