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 »

Christmas

Year of Gratitude

As 2015 draws to a close, I can’t help but acknowledge what a tremendous year this has been. I feel cheesy talking about being blessed, since it’s becoming such a cliche. But as my friend Brigitte says, “it’s not like your favorite kombucha is on sale and you feel blessed… your mom is alive and… Read more »

solstice-crab

Celebrating the Solstice

Celebrating the Winter Solstice is my escape from the holiday frenzy that reaches it’s peak about this time. I am excited to see my extended family come together for Christmas in a few days, but the Solstice reminds us to slow down, savor and celebrate the simple aspects of our beautiful life. Here are some… Read more »

solstice-tree-pinecone

Holiday Solstice Tree

Our holiday traditions have evolved over time, as they should. The childhood season of presents has given way to a season of simplicity in adulthood – quiet hours, comfort foods, making warm memories with family and friends. It’s less about the “stuff” and more about celebrating the season of the Winter Solstice. Our annual holiday tree is a reflection of… Read more »

thanksgiving-beds

Goodnight Garden

Juniper and River were both sleeping inside as Jay puttered around the house, so I seized the moment by taking solitary refuge in the garden. We have had a handful of cold, hard frosts now as fall makes way for winter. What a wonderful way to spend my Thanksgiving, working outside on the homestead to clean up… Read more »

chanterelles-frozen-cups

Preserving Chanterelle Mushrooms

This fall I spent more time hunting chanterelle mushrooms in the woods than I spent in our own garden. The combination of foraging for wild food, hiking for hours and simply being outside among torrential rains and giant trees made me feel more than alive at an otherwise sleepy time of year. I ended up with baskets full of… Read more »

chanterelles-drying

Hunting Chanterelles

The end of the garden season signals the beginning of the mushroom season, which certainly takes the edge off of the end-of-season gardening blues. Wild chanterelles begin growing all over the Pacific Northwest in September and continue through November. They are a great “beginner mushroom” because they are very distinct looking, so you can’t confuse… Read more »

November-Juniper-Harvest

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 »

Latest
  • 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 »

  • spring-planting-helper

    Early Spring Outside Planting

    I love early spring planting! You can’t plant just anything – the warm season crops still need to wait for the last frost to be well past. But in many climates you are safe to plant cool-weather crops like onion sets, potatoes, shallots, peas and others. “Plant your peas on President’s Day” and “Plant your potatoes… Read more »

  • seed-packets

    Early Spring Indoor Seeds

    Early spring has officially arrived and it’s time to start planting the garden. Seeds should be started indoor pronto, so it’s high time to get organized and get to it! I started my seeds a couple weeks ago inside under a grow light. In past years I have made newspaper seed pots, which then get… Read more »

  • companion-planting

    2015 Vegetable Garden Plan

    It’s time to plan those vegetable beds! Spring is around the corner and thoughtful planning now allows you to maximize the amount of vegetables you can fit in your space.  Think about what produce your family eats most often and make sure to include those in your plans. Also, consider factors like crop rotation and companion planting… Read more »

  • raised-beds

    Building Raised Beds

    It took a village to pull it off, but we finally have some gorgeous, new raised beds! The planning started a few months ago when I finished our garden plan, which included four 4×8 raised beds for intensive vegetable growing. I wanted the beds to match the style of our mid-century home with thick, horizontal… Read more »

  • asparagus-crowns

    Growing Asparagus

    Asparagus is an adaptable, hardy vegetable that is also a rare perennial vegetable – meaning it will come back year after year to produce a harvest. It does best in climates with either cold winters or dry summers. That includes most areas of the country, so it’s likely you can grow this delicious vegetable on… Read more »

  • 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 »