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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    2014 Vegetable Garden Plan

    Every year I draft a garden plan for our four raised beds that will take us from spring into the fall. I try to balance a good crop rotation with companion planting to maximize our space. I am please to report that this year’s plan is ready for sharing! Companion plants are plants that pair… Read more »

  • clay-soil

    How to Improve Clay Soil

    Having good soil structure is crucial for growing a healthy garden, but most of us are not blessed with perfect humus (see pie chart below). Often we’re starting with poor soil structure that we need to keep amending over time to achieve that perfect blend of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. Recently I helped… Read more »

  • finished-detergent

    DIY Laundry Detergent

    How is it that I have never posted my recipe for homemade laundry detergent? I started making my own homemade laundry detergent about a decade ago, tweaked the process over time, let the recipe evolve and even included it in my book Modern Homestead: Grow, Rasie, Create. It just takes a few simple ingredients and… Read more »

  • seedlings

    April To Do List

    April on the homestead means the lilacs are just starting to open up, our fruit trees are flowering and there is enough weeding to keep an small army busy. Here are some things on my homesteading to do list this month: Weed, weed, weed! Propagate woody perennials Transplant groundcovers and small perennials Direct sow vegetables… Read more »

  • tulips

    Yes! Spring!

    To my dearly beloved Spring, I say yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Welcome to my garden, Spring. I have missed your clean smell after a heavy rain. I have missed the lushness of your flowers. I have longed to see real live tulips once again greeting me after a long day at work. The… Read more »

  • spring-row-covers

    Spring Row Covers

    We are in the middle of a cool, wet spring which is very typical for the Pacific Northwest. Although you can plant several crops outside right now (kale, chard, lettuces, broccoli, etc), most vegetables won’t grow too much until the weather warms up. Thankfully, I have a trick for planting my vegetables outside a little… Read more »

  • spring-brunch

    Fritatta Three Ways

    The chickens have announced the arrival of spring with about fifty-thousand eggs. We’re averaging 4-5 eggs a day, which means the pressure is on to eat all those gems up. My favorite go-to recipe for any meal is a delicious frittata using any other ingredients I have on hand. I love frittatas because they are… Read more »

  • rainbow-chard

    Spring Planting

    Spring fever is in full swing and it’s time to get the first round of vegetables into the ground. We recently prepped our garden soil for the season with a thick layer of homemade compost. Juniper and I were both very excited to finally be able to move our vegetable starts into the ground. We… Read more »

  • spring-soil-prep

    Spring Soil Prep

    Before you get spring planting fever, take the time to replenish your garden soil first. It’s the best way to ensure you have an excellent harvest this year. Great soil makes a great garden, and it’s something you have to keep cultivating year after year. Vegetables draw lots of nutrients from your soil, which is… Read more »