mama-junebug-coloring

A Big, Big Project

It’s been year of change for us here on the homestead! At home, we are busily transforming our new space into a homestead. At work, I decided to leave my job last fall and am now blissfully happy balancing residential projects with creating nature-play spaces for Learning Landscapes Design. Life feels very full! But our biggest project… Read more »

evergreen-huckleberry-buds

Winter Awakening

I love the quiet of winter and stillness of it all. The cold and rain forces us inside, pleading with us to slow down. Yet in between rain showers there are signs of late-winter life and a hint that spring is closer than we might think. You can find varieties of heaths and heathers to bloom at anytime… Read more »

play-kitchen

DIY: Upcycled Play Kitchen

Juniper loves to help – in the garden, in the kitchen or wherever we happen to be. So when my Aunt T called me from a thrift store and said, “There’s an old cabinet here that could really make a cute play kitchen…” I just had to say yes. And so began a do-it-yourself Christmas… Read more »

egg-basket

Lighting the Chicken Coop

To light or not to light the chicken coop? For many chicken keepers, that is the wintertime question. Chickens and other egg-laying creatures (like ducks) take a hiatus from producing eggs in the winter – and it’s natural for them to do so. The decreased sunlight tells them it’s not a good time to make… Read more »

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, by Michael Judd

Planting Near Black Walnut

Every garden has its unique set of challenges, which is part of the reason I love garden design so much. There’s always a new problem to wrestle with in creating the perfect urban oasis. One particularly pesky problem is trying to plant near an existing Black Walnut tree. These trees are giant, strong, majestic specimens… Read more »

seeds

Spring Garden Prep

There might be snow or ice on the ground where you live, but it’s already time for some spring garden prep. Here are a few productive ways to get started: Decide What to Grow Think about what you buy most frequently from the grocery store and grow that this year! Even better, think about what… Read more »

torrey-pines

Beating the Winter Blues

It’s wonderful living in the temperate rain forest that is the Pacific Northwest, but the rainy days of winter do take their toll come January. Here’s a few tips to help you beat any winter blues that might be creeping up. Get Away This year we were fortunate to take a winter escape down to… Read more »

christmas-eve

Holiday Recap

Here is a little peek into what our Christmas celebration looked like this year. It started with a lively and wonderfully chaotic massive meal with my family. Not often do me and my three siblings get to be together, so it was a riot. And our band of kids loved bouncing off the frenzied energy… Read more »

solstice-swag-arrangement

Winter Solstice Swag

You might be facing a daunting coming weekend – the last one before Christmas. It’s frenzied, rushed and every minute counts to finish shopping and check everything off your holiday to-do list. But take a moment this Sunday, December 21st, to observe the winter solstice. It’s the shortest, darkest day of the year. For me,… Read more »

fireplace-finished

DIY Fireplace Redo

Our remodeling to-do list is about a mile long ever since we bought our fixer-upper house this summer. With chilly temperatures outside, I’ve finally had a good excuse to stay inside and knock a few off the list. This past week: rehabbing our cosmetically-challenged fireplace. A fireplace was on my “must have” list for our… Read more »

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  • feeding-chickens

    Toddler Homestead Chores

    Having regular chores was simply part of life growing up on my family’s urban farm. Everyone in our family, both big and small, had their jobs and it gave us all an immense sense of accomplishment to pitch in. Although Juniper is only two, she already has her share of chores on our homestead that… Read more »

  • garden-dusk

    The Sentimental Garden

    This week we have officially moved onto our new homestead and new folks have moved onto our former homestead. I’ve planted over a dozen gardens, but this one is sure hard to say goodbye to. Goodbye lilac. I always envisioned this tree as a version of myself in old age – tough, gnarled and yet beautiful…. Read more »

  • compost-innoculate

    Lasagna Compost

    It’s almost time to close the chapter on our former homestead, as new folks are ready to move in. I just couldn’t help but break a sweat one last time to get into shape before they take over stewardship. The spring vegetables had bolted to the sky. Groundcovers were eagerly encroaching on the pathways. The… Read more »

  • temp-coop-crooked

    Crooked Coop

    We recently moved into our new digs, but it hasn’t quite felt like home without clucking in the backyard. This weekend the chickens made the move to the new homestead too – finally! In a few weeks the chickens will have a nice, permanent chicken coop. But until construction is complete, we needed to construct… Read more »

  • sage

    Edible Groundcovers

    I’m excited to begin the design process at our new house and grateful for the blank slate yard that gives us a fresh start. The garden will likely emphasize edibles and I’m compiling a list of favorites. Here are some of my favorites. Thyme is a tough, evergreen ground cover. Cultivated varieties come in tiny,… Read more »

  • Our new house - ready for transformation into a homestead

    The Homestead is Moving!

    Eight years ago we moved into a little bungalow on a 1/10th of an acre lot in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood of SE Portland. We put a lot of elbow grease into polishing this house into a loving home.  But the tine has come to start the next chapter with a new homestead. We scored big… Read more »

  • spring-veggies

    May To Do List

    It’s that time of year when the garden needs help transitioning from spring to summer. Here is a rundown of my current to-do list for the garden: I densely planted the vegetable beds in early spring with the intention of pulling out the cool-weather crops when the temperatures heated up. That will make room for… Read more »

  • Our house in 2014

    Front Yard – 2014 Update

    We’ve lived in our little house for about eight years, but the front yard was the last garden I really put much effort into. In the fall of 2012, I finally took the time to draw up a landscape design. It was based on perennials from the backyard that would be easy to cut and… Read more »

  • crocus

    Flowering Perennials for Clay Soil

    Clay soil doesn’t have to mean your garden is destined to be anything less than amazing. In fact, there are so many great plant options that I’m doing a whole series this week on flowering perennials, shrubs and trees for clay soil. I wrote a recent post about ways you can improve your clay soil structure… Read more »