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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 »

Juniper-harvesting

June Garden Update

June is bringing lots of dry, hot weather to Portland and the garden is responding! I am now watering everyday, which seems just too early in the season. But on my evening garden strolls I was noticing dry, curled leaves. Our entire garden is filled with berry bushes, fruit trees and vegetables so it’s crucial… Read more »

front-yard-allium

Front Yard Update

It has been a year since we bought our new homestead and about six months since the front garden was installed. Time for an update on how it’s growing and some lessons learned! The concept was to design the front garden as a prairie. Our neighbors have two massive Coast Redwoods in their front yard, which… 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 »

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  • closet-reading-nook

    Juniper’s New Room

    It has been about three months since we moved into our new digs and I can finally say that at least one room looks the way I want it. Everything else – inside and out – is a work in progress and in some degree of construction. But let’s not focus on that overwhelming fact…… Read more »

  • Orchard-harvest

    Portland Fruit Tree Project

    Since I am gardenless this season after our recent move, I am completely dependent on local farms and generous friends to help fill our harvest basket. I was delighted to discover a local non-profit called the Portland Fruit Tree Project just as harvest season began to roll in, which has kept us up to our… Read more »

  • distressed-vintage-dresser

    DIY Distressing Furniture

    Distressing furniture doesn’t mean your furniture is feeling panicked. It’s a term used to describe the process of making furniture pieces look weathered – also called shabby-chic. I’m in the process of going room by room at our new house to try to blend a homestead feel into our new digs and Juniper’s room is my… Read more »

  • tree-skeletons

    Painting a Mural

    I did a lot of laboring over Labor Day weekend! Our new house is a cosmetic fixer, complete with old carpet and wallpaper in every room. Everywhere I look I see a new project, which has been overwhelming. So my new method to this madness is to finish one room at a time. Juniper’s room… Read more »

  • sedge

    Decorating with Botanical Prints

    The boxes are all unpacked and the garden design is done – soon to be installed this fall. In the meantime, it’s time to start the cosmetic makeover inside our house. I don’t want my love for nature to stop at the door, so I spent some time and a little money on second hand… Read more »

  • Print

    How to Design Your Own Garden

    Plant design is one of my passions and part of what led me down the road to landscape architecture. You would think the opportunity to design my own homestead from scratch would be easy-peasy, right? Wrong. As it turns out, designing my own garden is a challenge. I don’t have that fresh perspective that I… Read more »

  • mom

    My First Quilt

    This has been a very unusual summer on our homestead. We are still getting settled into our fixer-upper house and busily working on garden plans. But perhaps the most important part of this summer was receiving the devastating news that my mom’s breast cancer has spread to her brain. In an instant, my image of… Read more »

  • finished-shed-chicken-coop

    Chicken Coop Shed Combo

    We’re slowly working on getting settled into our new homestead, which came with a dilapidated shed in the backyard. I specifically recall the house listing stating “shed has no value”. Although it was a major eye sore, I saw the potential for both garden tool storage and a sturdy chicken coop. A local contractor rehabbed… Read more »

  • pea-seeds

    Why Practice Crop Rotation?

    It’s time to start planting your fall crops. I know, I know… it seems crazy to think about winter when it’s a bazillion degrees outside, but it’s true. Before you start sowing seeds though, be strategic about where things get planted by practicing crop rotation. Put simply, crop rotation means you plant each type of… Read more »