Making Perfect Apple Chips

I have always loved drying the fruit harvest and with little kids we consume more of these goodies than ever. It’s a healthy, naturally sweet snack that you can munch away on without worrying about additives. And drying fruit doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time or money. A bulky dehydrator can tuck away in… Read more »


It’s That Time of Year

Fall… the crisp colorful leaves, the brisk mornings, that smell after a fresh rain… And of course, the canner. It’s a permanent fixture on our stove at this time of year while the dehydrator keeps a steady hum on the homestead. I have been busy, which is an understatement. Our ten heirloom tomato plants keep… Read more »


Planting the Winter Garden

The harvest basket is reaching the brim and the temperature is suppose to reach 90 degrees today, but believe it or not we are overdue to plant the winter garden! There are lots of vegetables we can grow in our mild winters, but they need enough time to get established before the winter chill sets in…. Read more »


September Garden Update

The harvest basket is over flowing on our homestead – finally! Squash is meandering through every open corner of the garden. Juniper is still finding ripe strawberries from our everbearing plants that carpet the planting areas. Bees are humming from one echinacea flower head to another. This is the homestead I have been dreaming of since we first… Read more »


Our Life with PKU

We knew that Baby River was special the moment he entered our lives, but we didn’t know he was extra special until he was six days old. That is the day when we got the call that his newborn screening test came back positive for PKU. Coincidentally, that is exactly how old my now 15-year… Read more »


Recipe: Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes

Finally our heirloom tomato plants are ready for harvesting! We are running through our regular list of ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes, but just found one more to add to the mix: homemade pizza topped with fresh tomatoes. Get ready for something delicious and easy. I found the pizza dough recipe on aptly named “Quick and… Read more »


Harvesting Onions

I planted two different varieties of onions in early spring along the perimeter of our raised beds: red onions and Walla Walla sweets. You know it’s time to harvest onions when the greens start to die back, which usually happens in late summer. That means the plant is done sending it’s energy from the greens down… Read more »


Simple Backyard Nature Play

Our homestead garden plan includes a small area reserved for an evolving nature play space for our little ones. We didn’t have a budget to work with, so most the play elements were based on what we had on hand. It’s a flexible space that can change over time as the kids grow and their interests change. That… Read more »


Problem-Solver: Sunshine Blueberries

Some of my fondest childhood memories were made among a berry patch. We grew raspberries, blueberries and strawberries on the urban farm where I was raised. Blackberries grew along a neighbor’s fence and we would cut them back just enough to keep them on their property, but within reach when the berries were ripe. In… Read more »


Welcome Baby River

“I think I had better go lie down. I think that may have been a labor contraction…” I was standing in our garden next to the raised beds talking with my Dad about the garden. Contractions had been getting more and more frequent for the last week, but had yet to turn into real, belt-tightening-feeling… Read more »

  • german-pancakes-finished

    Egg Recipe: German Pancakes

    “So many eggs!” I hear that from first-time chicken keepers often at this time of year. All of that waiting for baby chicks to get old enough to lay eggs finally pays off when they are about six months old. With a new flock of 3-4 hens, you can easily go from zero to almost… Read more »

  • bathroom-remodel-towels

    Rustic Modern Bathroom Remodel

    We bought our small house a year ago – a cosmetic fixer-upper in the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland. It’s high time for an update on how we’re turning this 1950’s ranch into a rustic-modern-homestead space. I posted a while back about Juniper’s bedroom facelift, but let’s move on to the smallest room in our… Read more »

  • juniper-three-blueberries

    First of the Season Berry Picking

    I had the pleasure of spending a recent sunny morning at a nearby farm picking berries with my friend Denise and my 3-year old Juniper. It’s been an annual early-June tradition since long before Juniper was born and each year this day marks both the kick-off the u-pick season and also the passage of time…. Read more »

  • Assortment of heirloom tomatoes - mostly slicers

    My Favorite Tomato Varieties

    What is it about our love and obsession with tomato varieties? Seed catalogs respond by offering dozens and dozens of varieties to choose from. And plant developers are cultivating new and unusual strains every year to feed our desire to find the next great tomato. My method for choosing tomato varieties focuses on reliability, production, flavor… Read more »

  • covered-tomatoes-inside

    Planting Tomatoes Outside

    Everyone seems to have a different rule of thumb on when it’s time to plant their tomatoes outside. Some wait for Mother’s Day. Others swear by the first week of June. One my local growers was even recommending folks in the Portland area move them outside in late-April, due to our unseasonably warm spring. The… Read more »

  • protected-raised-beds

    Cat-Proof Raised Beds

    Vegetable seeds have been getting gently tucked into the garden beds for several weeks now, but neighborhood cats have been a major problem. They see this seemingly “empty” area of fine textured soil and think it would make a great litterbox. Adding composted steer or chicken manure to your beds is one thing, but cat poop… Read more »

  • finished-teepee

    Bean Play Teepee

    Long before I had a kid, I always had bean teepees in our garden. I didn’t have a lot of existing vertical space in full sun for growing beans, so I would collect long branches and pop one of these up every spring. They add a really fun, vertical element to the summer garden when… Read more »

  • blue-crop-flowers

    Mid-Spring Garden

    The early spring blossoms have faded, but the garden is still growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a little snapshot of what’s catching my eye on the homestead in mid-Spring. Several new perennial herbs have been planted – either in ground or in pots. Springtime is a great time of year to plant them,… Read more »

  • spring-old-growth

    Spring Adventures

    It has been a busy, busy spring on our homestead! Here is a little snapshot of what our life has looked like over the last few weeks. Juniper turned three! How did that happen? Thanks to some sweet well-wishers, she now has a new wheelbarrow, watering can and bean seeds – all awesome ways to encourage little… Read more »