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 »

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  • Cornelius

    Let’s Hang Out This Saturday

    Planting season is upon us! There are baby chicks to pick up! Your garden soil needs fresh compost! And I want to meet you! These are all excellent reasons for you to stop by and say hello to me while I hang out at Wilco’s garden store in Cornelius this Saturday, March 15th. I’ll be there… Read more »

  • Florence and Maude in their glory days

    Reluctantly Sentimental

    I am sad to say that old Florence has passed away. We raised this Rhode Island Red from a baby chick several years ago, she graced the pages of my book and delivered a steady stream of eggs for us through much of her life. She worked hard on our homestead before settling into retirement… Read more »

  • florence-vet

    Our $85 Geriatric Chicken

    Last fall our six-year old hen Maude passed away. It happened quickly – she lost weight and became lethargic in just a couple weeks. We tried nursing her back to health, but she passed away just a couple nights later. Chickens can live to be 7-10 years old, so we thought Maude’s passing was a bit… Read more »

  • warm-water-birdbath

    Winter Wildlife Care

    Snow and ice blanketed our fair city, which puts a strain on wildlife as well. Critters expend more energy trying to stay warm and forage for food, when winter doesn’t offer a lot of options. Thankfully many neighbors have bird feeders for our local feathered friends, but fresh water can be scarce when the temperatures… Read more »

  • icy-hardy-kiwi

    Frozen Garden

    Being homebound all weekend during Portland’s recent snow and ice storm had it’s moments of beauty. Here are a few from the garden. First came the snow – about 6-8″ in a town with few snow plows. The covers blew off my raised beds, which were then blanketed in white. Then came the ice. Freezing… Read more »

  • snowy-juniper

    Snowy Homestead

    Portland’s cold weather kept us housebound for several days. Time seemed to stop as the days went on and on, without the distraction of modern life. Instead, our attention was really focused on keeping everyone healthy and happy – inside and out. Every morning started with a visit to the chicken coops. Their roof had… Read more »

  • old-pearl

    600th Post + One Special Egg

    This marks my 600th post about our little homestead and this morning we received a special, rare gift to help us celebrate: a little blue egg from a very old hen. Pearl, an Americana, was part of our original flock of hens that moved into our backyard in 2007. She was at least two years… Read more »

  • winter-cabbage

    My Favorite Winter Plants

    It’s the end of January and some of my favorite winter plants are on full display. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these beauties, or perhaps they are already growing in your garden. Every winter I am reminded of the magic that is witch hazel. Although it looks fairly inconspicuous most of the year,… Read more »

  • winter-leeks

    January Harvest

    It is mighty quiet on the homestead right now and I’m enjoying every chilly moment. It’s my one time of year to get ahead of the garden. Most of my chores of late include cleaning out dead leaves, setting up new trellis for maturing vines, and working the compost. But there are a few things… Read more »