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 »

backyard

Garden Installation: Part IV

The backyard has taken shape! The concept for the backyard is to create an edible food forest. It’s similar in design to our former homestead – working in layers to add edible ground covers, shrubs, trees and vines – but I added a few new components like a nature-based play area to accommodate our growing family,… Read more »

plant-staging

Garden Installation: Part III

The front yard is officially 100% installed! First came irrigation installation (although not in the front yard), then sod removal and soil prep. Finally, massive plant order arrived from three different nurseries and the first frost of the season was looming on the horizon. As a landscape designer, I think my favorite day of a… Read more »

front-sod-removed

Garden Installation: Part II

With irrigation construction complete, the next phase of our garden installation was site preparation. All that sod had to be removed and it was time to address the soil nutrient and structure needs of our new digs. I’m a big fan of taking pictures through all stages of your homestead’s growth. So this is your… Read more »

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    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 »

  • 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 »