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 »

Latest
  • Busy Week

    It’s been almost a week since my last post and it grates on me to go that long without writing. Unfortunately, it has been a really tough week at my day job. I do a relatively good job of not bringing work home with me, meaning I don’t think about it once I leave the… Read more »

  • Blueberry Fields Forever

    It was another gorgeous Friday afternoon spent picking berries after a long work week. My friend and I snuck out of town early and over to nearby Sauvie’s Island. There is a wonderful blueberry farm out there that grows about ten different varieties. This evening we were picking Blue Ray, which are giant bushes heavy… Read more »

  • The Joiner Updates

    In a flurry of adventurous ambition, I volunteered to help out at a few different events this summer. There was the Foster-Powell (Fo-Po) Garden Tour. Then I signed up for the Lents Farmer’s Market. And finally the 5th Annual Tour de Coops. All of these are events here in Portland. The Fo-Po Garden Tour was… Read more »

  • July Harvest

    There is a produce bonanza in the backyard, which I happily discovered upon return from vacation. I did a fair job last year of incorporating the harvest into our meals, but I knew I could do better and this summer is off to a great start. I have been picking the greens (lettuces, arugula, collards,… Read more »

  • About

    Since childhood, I have always had a fondness for having my hands in the earth. I was lucky to be born into a family of gardeners – it’s just simply in our blood. But I was also born and raised in the city, and will always feel connected to urban life. I am lucky to… Read more »

  • Home Away From Home

    As I mentioned in my hasty post this morning, I just returned from a lovely week in Oklahoma visiting family. My in-laws live there and that has been a wonderful opportunity to explore a part of the country I never knew much about. My fourth of July could not have been more picturesque or more… Read more »

  • Back Home

    As I sat at the airport a week ago today, at 4:30 am, I ran through everything in my head: Did I turn the soaker hoses off? Yes. Did we remember to lock the back door? Yes. Did we leave a clean towel for our house sitter? Yes. Did I write something on my blog… Read more »

  • Six Random Things About Me

    I have been tagged by Laura over at the (not so) Urban Hennery. Here are the rules: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on the blog. Write six random things about yourself. Tag six people at the end of your post. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving… Read more »

  • Garden Tour

    The Fo-Po Garden Tour was a lot of fun, and it was some serious motivation for us to get things wrapped up and the yard looking good! We met some really nice people and I am always happy to talk about plants with anyone who will listen. There is so much to recap… where to… Read more »