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 »

seed-starting-labels2

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 »

late-season-harvest-2

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 »

Latest
  • nature-play-party

    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 »

  • sunshine-blueberry-ripening

    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 »

  • river-birth-7

    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 »

  • bedroom-area

    Bedroom Facelift

    I’ve started a little trend lately here of taking you on a tour of our house, a year after move-in. Let’s continue to another room we gave a facelift to: our quiet and calm bedroom. This was less reno and more facelift because everything we did was simple cosmetic changes. The room had a yellow… Read more »

  • living-room-whole-room

    Living Room Facelift

    The mid-century home we bought a year ago had solid bones, but fabulously outdated interior spaces. Every room came with it’s own unique patterned wallpaper and a thick layer of beige carpet. It was hard to imagine we could polish this into a gem, but we took a leap of faith and snapped the house off the market…. Read more »

  • pathways-curving

    Crushed Rock Pathways

    Hardscape pathways in the garden can turn an otherwise messy space into a cleanly organized area. It’s one of those garden elements that doesn’t seem as sexy and fun as building a pergola or raised beds, but it will make a major impact in the overall visual appeal of a garden. Over my years of… Read more »

  • blueberries-prepped

    How to Freeze Blueberries

    When I was growing up, we always had a whole shelf in our freezer devoted to frozen blueberries. Around early July our family of six would visit the same local blueberry farm to u-pick about a hundred pounds of berries. All of us kids ended up with berry-stained hands and bellies full of fruit as… Read more »

  • blueberries-basket

    U-Pick Blueberries

    Spending early July u-picking blueberries is a family tradition that goes back as far as I can remember. Growing up, our family of six would all pile into the car and head to the same local family farm to stock up on berries for the year. This year, not even the full pregnant belly of mine could… Read more »

  • backyard-beds

    Backyard Update

    When we bought our house a year ago, the backyard was a blank slate save a rotting shed and a massive apple tree stump. It looks like a very different space just a year later. Although still a newly planted garden, I am so excited to watch this space grow into an edible jungle over… Read more »