Goodnight Garden

Juniper and River were both sleeping inside as Jay puttered around the house, so I seized the moment by taking solitary refuge in the garden. We have had a handful of cold, hard frosts now as fall makes way for winter. What a wonderful way to spend my Thanksgiving, working outside on the homestead to clean up… Read more »


Preserving Chanterelle Mushrooms

This fall I spent more time hunting chanterelle mushrooms in the woods than I spent in our own garden. The combination of foraging for wild food, hiking for hours and simply being outside among torrential rains and giant trees made me feel more than alive at an otherwise sleepy time of year. I ended up with baskets full of… Read more »


Hunting Chanterelles

The end of the garden season signals the beginning of the mushroom season, which certainly takes the edge off of the end-of-season gardening blues. Wild chanterelles begin growing all over the Pacific Northwest in September and continue through November. They are a great “beginner mushroom” because they are very distinct looking, so you can’t confuse… Read more »


Last Harvest of the Season

After so many years outside cultivating my urban homesteads, I have developed a good sense for temperature.  I don’t need to scan the weather report obsessively – I can usually just feel when it’s getting cold enough to threaten frost or warm enough in spring to remove row covers. Portland has experienced one of the warmest… Read more »


Pumpkin Recipe Round-Up

I’m that person… the pumpkin muffin, pumpkin scone, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-everything-person. This delicious and versatile squash is the quintessential sign, smell and taste of fall. As our days get shorter and nights get colder, here’s a round up of my favorite pumpkin recipes to keep you warm and well-fed.   Pumpkins are fun, easy to… Read more »


Last Call for Tomatoes

This weekend or next may be the last call for tomatoes for the season, so break out the canner, freezer bags, dehydrator or whatever you preserving method of choice is. Tomatoes do best with nighttime temperatures above 55 degrees, but overnight temps in Portland are more consistently in the low 50’s at this time of… Read more »


My Proud Mama Moment

I had one of those overwhelmingly proud mama moments recently that I have to share. Juniper and I spent the morning of my birthday harvesting fruit for the Portland Fruit Tree Project. They help local fruit tree owners maintain their trees in exchange for donating the fruit to the Oregon Food Bank. If you volunteer… Read more »


Making Perfect Apple Chips

I have always loved drying the fruit harvest and with little kids we consume more of these goodies than ever. It’s a healthy, naturally sweet snack that you can munch away on without worrying about additives. And drying fruit doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time or money. A bulky dehydrator can tuck away in… Read more »


It’s That Time of Year

Fall… the crisp colorful leaves, the brisk mornings, that smell after a fresh rain… And of course, the canner. It’s a permanent fixture on our stove at this time of year while the dehydrator keeps a steady hum on the homestead. I have been busy, which is an understatement. Our ten heirloom tomato plants keep… Read more »


Planting the Winter Garden

The harvest basket is reaching the brim and the temperature is suppose to reach 90 degrees today, but believe it or not we are overdue to plant the winter garden! There are lots of vegetables we can grow in our mild winters, but they need enough time to get established before the winter chill sets in…. 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 »

  • 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 »