spring-fava-bean-shelling

May Homestead Chores

Spring is turning into summer in a blink this year and the homestead is in full swing. Here is a rundown of some seasonal chores we do every year in mid-Spring to prepare for the warm months on the horizon. A little extra time spent now will keep your garden so much more manageable this… Read more »

wood-chip-mulch-front-yard

Using Wood Chips in the Garden

Spring is an excellent time of year to add wood chip mulch to your garden, before summer kicks your homesteading into high gear. We just got finished spreading a fresh batch of wood chips around our homestead to cover all of our planting beds. It was a big job, but the payoff of using wood… Read more »

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 »

Latest
  • 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 »

  • october-tomatoes

    Last Call for Tomatoes

    This weekend or next may be the last call for tomatoes for the season, so break out the canner, freezer bags, dehydrator or whatever you preserving method of choice is. Tomatoes do best with nighttime temperatures above 55 degrees, but overnight temps in Portland are more consistently in the low 50’s at this time of… Read more »

  • juniper-picking-2

    My Proud Mama Moment

    I had one of those overwhelmingly proud mama moments recently that I have to share. Juniper and I spent the morning of my birthday harvesting fruit for the Portland Fruit Tree Project. They help local fruit tree owners maintain their trees in exchange for donating the fruit to the Oregon Food Bank. If you volunteer… Read more »

  • apple-chips-nom

    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 »

  • fall-canned-tomatoes

    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 »

  • winter-planting-arugula

    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-harvest

    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 »

  • pku-feet

    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 »