spring-fava-bean-shelling

May Homestead Chores

Spring is turning into summer in a blink this year and the homestead is in full swing. Here is a rundown of some seasonal chores we do every year in mid-Spring to prepare for the warm months on the horizon. A little extra time spent now will keep your garden so much more manageable this… Read more »

wood-chip-mulch-front-yard

Using Wood Chips in the Garden

Spring is an excellent time of year to add wood chip mulch to your garden, before summer kicks your homesteading into high gear. We just got finished spreading a fresh batch of wood chips around our homestead to cover all of our planting beds. It was a big job, but the payoff of using wood… Read more »

homestead-eggs

What Makes a Homestead

“What makes a homestead?” is a question I have been asked a lot over the years. Most definitions have a common theme: it’s a home attached to the land. My belief is that your perception is what makes your home into a homestead. Here are some examples of how our home life is integrated into… Read more »

fairy-garden

How to Build a Fairy Garden Planter

This spring I began adding nature play “stations” throughout the homestead to make our outdoor space feel even bigger. I created a series of small fairy gardens at these stations using simple materials with Juniper’s help. They were easy projects to do together and have made a fun addition to the homestead. Our homestead has different use zones:… Read more »

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Seed Starting Calendar

It’s important to start out the growing season with a plan for when and where you are going to grow your crops. I shared the “where” portion of this plan in my 2016 Vegetable Garden Plan, but take a look at my seed starting calendar to see “when” to plant in the Pacific Northwest. This calendar shows when… Read more »

march-willow-buds

March Morning Inspiration

  “A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.” — Aldo Leopold. Good morning lovely readers! I wanted to plant a little seed of inspiration for you today. These early spring days are unpredictable, but I encourage you to grab whatever sunlight… Read more »

evergreen-sunshine-blueberry

Favorite Edible Evergreens

Winter is the perfect time of year to size up the evergreen structure, or lack thereof, in your garden space. Evergreens are often overlooked and unappreciated, leading the otherwise fullest summer gardens looking sadly bare during the cold months. Consider adding an assortment of these wonderful, edible evergreens to your homesteads. Bay leaf tree (Laurus… Read more »

leeks

February Homestead Chores

February is beginning to look less like winter and more spring every day! There are still lots of chores on my to-do list before the month is over. Here is a rundown of what we should be working on at this time of year. Assuming you are not still under a foot of snow, that… Read more »

2016-garden-plan

2016 Vegetable Garden Plan

This year my vegetable gardening plans are bursting at the seams! I poured over seed catalogs this winter, put in a huge seed order from my favorite suppliers and spent way too much time planning out every plantable inch of our homestead. The result is this colorful diagram that shows what will grow where this season… Read more »

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2016 Seed Order

I spent the cold dark days of winter pouring over my seed catalogs and dreaming of spring. The flowering quince are just ready to bloom, which tells me it’s time already to start seeds (Portland is in USDA zone 8). Making my list and checking it twice #seeds #homesteadplanning A photo posted by Renee Wilkinson… Read more »

Latest
  • Valiant Attempt

    I made a valiant attempt this year for a nice holiday, and I think that is commendable considering the circumstances. We had all the making for a wonderful holiday: we were celebrating at home this year, dozens of Christmas cookies were on hand, plans for an intimate family gathering were all laid out. The snow… Read more »

  • Snowed in Chickens

    Different people have different ways of dealing with cold weather and chickens. Some build coops better insulated than our old house. Others wire the coop with electricity so they can run heat lamps out there. My feeling is that their molting process in the Fall equips them well for colder temperatures, as they grow in… Read more »

  • Snow Delay

    It’s a winter wonderland in Portland right now. Yesterday we made tremendous progress with the driveway using pavers. I had about 1/3 of the concrete blocks set into place when it just got too cold, with this biting chill in the air, for me to continue. I assume that 90% of the time when snow… Read more »

  • Diggin the Driveway

    One big step in our future driveway project is now complete: the driveway has been fully dug out. It took a couple weekends, but we finished up right before the rains came in. Rather than feeling very satisfied though, I am feeling really annoyed. Our older neighbor Dan stopped by for a chat while we… Read more »

  • Returning My Key

    This weekend was long, relaxing and wonderful – with one exception. Sunday was my last day as a member of Radius Studio, the ceramics studio I have been a partner at for the last four years. It was in the back of my mind all weekend, the dread of moving my stuff out of the… Read more »

  • Technical Difficulties

    There are a few changes to the blog I wanted to mention. First, I managed to setup expandable lists in the Archives tab at the top of the page. If you hover over a month, you should be able to click to expand and see the day of the post and titles of the posts… Read more »

  • Zimtsterne Cookies

    Some friends held their annual German Beer Party last weekend, so to get in the spirit I made some German cookies. I tend to like things a little less sweet than the next guy, so these little Zimtsterne cookies were perfect. They are almost a cross between a cracker and a cookie. The dough was… Read more »

  • Eugene Envy

    I used to live in Eugene, Oregon, back in my college days and it’s a lovely town that will always hold a piece of my heart. Recently I spent the day there visiting some old friends and walking around my old stomping grounds. Here are a few pictures to share, since I am short on… Read more »

  • Garden Karma

    This weekend I have been contributing to the world of garden karma. Sometimes we take, and sometimes we give back. I spent two lovely, brisk autumn days giving back but walked off with more than I had walking in. Yesterday I spent a few hours at my lovely friend Denise’s house out in St Johns… Read more »