Certified National Wildlife Habitat

Our urban homestead is now a certified wildlife habitat thanks to the National Wildlife Federation (and a small fee). There is a house in our neighborhood with a metal plaque on one of their large trees stating they are certified, which is what originally piqued my interest.  A couple months later, the fine folks over… Read more »

Backyard Permaculture Layers

The design for our urban landscape is based on the food forest concept stemming from permaculture principles. One of the several important aspects of designing a food forest means utilizing “layers” in the garden. Here are those layers: The canopy (large trees) Low tree layer (dwarf fruit trees) Shrubs Herbaceous Rhizosphere (root crops) Soil Surface… Read more »

Birds in the Garden

Birds are an important addition to the backyard food forest. Although they will steal some of my berries and fruit, they give something back with their guano, insect-eating, and simple beauty. If the competition for my produce gets too severe I will cover the berry bushes with some netting. I am willing to take that… Read more »

Building an Herb Spiral

There are some major projects going on in the backyard right now! Jay is building me an 8′ x 8′ four-post trellis for my hardy kiwis to grow up – aren’t I a lucky girl? He spent the whole weekend on the project: gathering the materials from multiple lumber yards, measuring off the area, digging… Read more »

The Best of Everything

It will be a long time before I top the weekend I just had. My weekend was full of my favorite things: being with my best friend in the whole world, gardening in the sunshine, eating bratwurst at Otto’s, sharing Sunday brunch with friends, taking country drives, playing with ceramics in my studio, tango dancing… Read more »

Gallery of Gourds

Where is my Indian summer in Portland this year? It feels like summer is long gone, but the autumn equinox isn’t even here yet… I think we missed out on summer this year in Portland all together. I remember one week in July that was hot and sunny, but that seemed to be the end… Read more »

Zen and the Art of Backyard Chicken Maintenance

I was at an extended family function this past weekend and there were lots of curious relatives asking about those backyard chickens of mine. One aunt in particular has been mulling over the idea of bringing in a small backyard flock, but she started worrying about the maintenance and upkeep. There isn’t a whole lot… Read more »

Life as an Urban Chicken

Having a small backyard flock of urban chickens seems like such a normal, everyday thing for me now that I haven’t really posted a lot about “the girls”. But some of my readers have asked that I share more stories on the blog about the latest chic news. Now that I think of it, there… Read more »

How to Build Rain Barrels

Are you ready for your mind to be blown my friend? Get ready, cause here it comes. I built rain barrels! Actually I built four of them and it was so easy to do! I actually spent more time in the hardware store buying the supplies than I actually spent putting everything together. I would… Read more »