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U-Pick Blueberries

Spending early July u-picking blueberries is a family tradition that goes back as far as I can remember. Growing up, our family of six would all pile into the car and head to the same local family farm to stock up on berries for the year. This year, not even the full pregnant belly of mine could… Read more »

backyard-beds

Backyard Update

When we bought our house a year ago, the backyard was a blank slate save a rotting shed and a massive apple tree stump. It looks like a very different space just a year later. Although still a newly planted garden, I am so excited to watch this space grow into an edible jungle over… Read more »

Juniper-harvesting

June Garden Update

June is bringing lots of dry, hot weather to Portland and the garden is responding! I am now watering everyday, which seems just too early in the season. But on my evening garden strolls I was noticing dry, curled leaves. Our entire garden is filled with berry bushes, fruit trees and vegetables so it’s crucial… Read more »

front-yard-allium

Front Yard Update

It has been a year since we bought our new homestead and about six months since the front garden was installed. Time for an update on how it’s growing and some lessons learned! The concept was to design the front garden as a prairie. Our neighbors have two massive Coast Redwoods in their front yard, which… Read more »

german-pancakes-finished

Egg Recipe: German Pancakes

“So many eggs!” I hear that from first-time chicken keepers often at this time of year. All of that waiting for baby chicks to get old enough to lay eggs finally pays off when they are about six months old. With a new flock of 3-4 hens, you can easily go from zero to almost… Read more »

bathroom-remodel-towels

Rustic Modern Bathroom Remodel

We bought our small house a year ago – a cosmetic fixer-upper in the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland. It’s high time for an update on how we’re turning this 1950’s ranch into a rustic-modern-homestead space. I posted a while back about Juniper’s bedroom facelift, but let’s move on to the smallest room in our… Read more »

juniper-three-blueberries

First of the Season Berry Picking

I had the pleasure of spending a recent sunny morning at a nearby farm picking berries with my friend Denise and my 3-year old Juniper. It’s been an annual early-June tradition since long before Juniper was born and each year this day marks both the kick-off the u-pick season and also the passage of time…. Read more »

Assortment of heirloom tomatoes - mostly slicers

My Favorite Tomato Varieties

What is it about our love and obsession with tomato varieties? Seed catalogs respond by offering dozens and dozens of varieties to choose from. And plant developers are cultivating new and unusual strains every year to feed our desire to find the next great tomato. My method for choosing tomato varieties focuses on reliability, production, flavor… Read more »

covered-tomatoes-inside

Planting Tomatoes Outside

Everyone seems to have a different rule of thumb on when it’s time to plant their tomatoes outside. Some wait for Mother’s Day. Others swear by the first week of June. One my local growers was even recommending folks in the Portland area move them outside in late-April, due to our unseasonably warm spring. The… Read more »

protected-raised-beds

Cat-Proof Raised Beds

Vegetable seeds have been getting gently tucked into the garden beds for several weeks now, but neighborhood cats have been a major problem. They see this seemingly “empty” area of fine textured soil and think it would make a great litterbox. Adding composted steer or chicken manure to your beds is one thing, but cat poop… Read more »

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  • Sunday Bliss

    Today I had the pleasure of doing some of my favorite things. We begin our morning bright and early with some delicious coffee. Then a trip to the local farms on Sauvie Island with my lovely friend Denise. We make a great combo because neither of us is ready to quit after just one farm…. Read more »

  • Crowing Hen

    It’s about time for an update on my crowing hen, Pearl, after all that hoopla last week. Pearl’s crowing seemed to get more frequent each morning. The first morning I heard one crow. The next morning, five crows. Finally after five mornings of this, we heard eighteen crows. There is a Woodburn livestock auction every… Read more »

  • Summer Recipes

    If you use Twitter and have been following my recent “tweets” you will notice a few late night pesto batches being made. We all know that the more basil you pick, the more basil your plants produce and the less likely they are to flower and go to seed. About every other week, or every… Read more »

  • Saving August

    The month of August in our garden means produce bonanza. This year I vowed to preserve the bounty better than years past. There have been three books on preserving that have been constant fixtures in our living room, where I thumb through recipes planning how to make the most out of our garden. In case… Read more »

  • Pearl’s Video

    I woke up again this morning to crowing. This time a little more of it than the last two mornings. I didn’t think to use my digital camera to make a video until the crowing stopped. BUT, then she started again about 30 minutes later. So here is the video of Pearl crowing. She crows… Read more »

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    Unbelievable: Update

    I found the culprit this morning: Pearl. I can’t really explain it except it appears Steve taught Pearl to crow before he headed out into the sunset. She crowed three times again this morning, but nothing since then. It’s so hard to explain rooster noises without sound… Maybe I can find some way to record… Read more »

  • The Unbelievable

    You are not going to believe this, because I can’t believe it myself. Guess what woke me up this morning? Just guess. A wild, seemly impossible guess. Crowing. Just to give you a sense of my disbelief, here is what ran through my head as I heard those three little crows. And this absolutely, honestly… Read more »

  • august-062

    First Egg

    This evening I had the delight of discovering a fresh new egg from one of the younger ladies. It’s hard to say without stalking the hen house whether it was Maude or Florence, but either way I am very excited. Unfortunately the little egg had a little hole on one end. I think this can… Read more »

  • steve

    Farewell Steve

    I am looking forward to a Sunday evening when I am not butchering livestock in my backyard. For the past week I have been trying to find Steve a new home. And to no avail. Sadly, you only need one male for every 20 something females in multiple species, and chickens are included in that… Read more »