pku-feet

Our Life with PKU

We knew that Baby River was special the moment he entered our lives, but we didn’t know he was extra special until he was six days old. That is the day when we got the call that his newborn screening test came back positive for PKU. Coincidentally, that is exactly how old my now 15-year… Read more »

fresh-tomato-pizza

Recipe: Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes

Finally our heirloom tomato plants are ready for harvesting! We are running through our regular list of ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes, but just found one more to add to the mix: homemade pizza topped with fresh tomatoes. Get ready for something delicious and easy. I found the pizza dough recipe on AllRecipes.com aptly named “Quick and… Read more »

onions-curing

Harvesting Onions

I planted two different varieties of onions in early spring along the perimeter of our raised beds: red onions and Walla Walla sweets. You know it’s time to harvest onions when the greens start to die back, which usually happens in late summer. That means the plant is done sending it’s energy from the greens down… Read more »

nature-play-party

Simple Backyard Nature Play

Our homestead garden plan includes a small area reserved for an evolving nature play space for our little ones. We didn’t have a budget to work with, so most the play elements were based on what we had on hand. It’s a flexible space that can change over time as the kids grow and their interests change. That… Read more »

sunshine-blueberry-ripening

Problem-Solver: Sunshine Blueberries

Some of my fondest childhood memories were made among a berry patch. We grew raspberries, blueberries and strawberries on the urban farm where I was raised. Blackberries grew along a neighbor’s fence and we would cut them back just enough to keep them on their property, but within reach when the berries were ripe. In… Read more »

river-birth-7

Welcome Baby River

“I think I had better go lie down. I think that may have been a labor contraction…” I was standing in our garden next to the raised beds talking with my Dad about the garden. Contractions had been getting more and more frequent for the last week, but had yet to turn into real, belt-tightening-feeling… Read more »

bedroom-area

Bedroom Facelift

I’ve started a little trend lately here of taking you on a tour of our house, a year after move-in. Let’s continue to another room we gave a facelift to: our quiet and calm bedroom. This was less reno and more facelift because everything we did was simple cosmetic changes. The room had a yellow… Read more »

living-room-whole-room

Living Room Facelift

The mid-century home we bought a year ago had solid bones, but fabulously outdated interior spaces. Every room came with it’s own unique patterned wallpaper and a thick layer of beige carpet. It was hard to imagine we could polish this into a gem, but we took a leap of faith and snapped the house off the market…. Read more »

pathways-curving

Crushed Rock Pathways

Hardscape pathways in the garden can turn an otherwise messy space into a cleanly organized area. It’s one of those garden elements that doesn’t seem as sexy and fun as building a pergola or raised beds, but it will make a major impact in the overall visual appeal of a garden. Over my years of… Read more »

blueberries-prepped

How to Freeze Blueberries

When I was growing up, we always had a whole shelf in our freezer devoted to frozen blueberries. Around early July our family of six would visit the same local blueberry farm to u-pick about a hundred pounds of berries. All of us kids ended up with berry-stained hands and bellies full of fruit as… Read more »

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  • 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 »

  • irrigation-experts

    Garden Installation: Part I

    Construction has begun! We are in the muddy process of transforming this little house into a homestead. Everyone’s boots have about five inches of mud under them and our backs are getting a work out. The first phase of most residential landscapes is irrigation installation, which is now complete! Our former homestead did not have in-ground… Read more »

  • spring-crocuses

    Fall is Planting Time

    Fall is the best time of year for planting trees, shrubs and many perennials – including all those fabulous bulbs and tubers. Mother Nature will keep them watered and comfortable for several months, giving them lots of time to get established. Temperatures are cool and the ground is usually soft from autumn rain. Everything needs… Read more »

  • nature-play-hollow-log-adventure

    Exploring Nature Play

    As a landscape designer, I’m endlessly fascinated with outdoor spaces. How do we make them accommodate our need to grow food? To entertain? To support native wildlife? Rainwater? Beneficial insects? The list goes on. But my latest fascination is all child’s play – or rather, nature-based play. Nature-based play is an emerging concept in the… Read more »

  • canned-tomato-sauce

    Preserving Tomatoes

    Tomato season is just about to come to a close and I’m just a few pints and quarts away from being okay with that. Here is how I have been busily preserving the tomato harvest this year. First, dry them! You can leave the skins on or off depending on your preference. Sauce tomatoes work… Read more »