Sustainability

Workspace View

All summer, I looked forward to my new writing room in the strawbale house we’re building.  I figured it would still need some work, but it would be good enough…

Muddy Road

…and that was the problem. Not maintained, rutted, overgrown on either side, the mile long drive is the only way by vehicle in and out of this abandoned homestead we now spend half the year on….

Urban Homesteading in Portland and Beyond

Urban homesteading is not usually the term I use to refer to what I’ve been doing for the best twelve years or so. I tend towards kitchen gardening or urban farming. And these days, I’m transitioning towards rural food production at Amaranta Farm. But I see those who do call themselves urban homesteaders as allies in the same movement, and I’d like to see that movement grow….

Race for the Pears

It’s that time of year again, when my taste buds give up on peaches and berries and begin longing for crunchy pears and apples (…)

Walla Walla Sweets

In other gardens, I haven’t had much luck with bulbing onions.  Rationing bed space in small spaces, I lavished most of my attention on more flashy vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers,…

The Princess Blooms

Some girls dream of being princesses.  I’ll admit I dabbled in that too.  I used to dress up in rummage store gowns and high heels and parade around with my…

Dealing With My Own Sh--

I’d like to keep this a family friendly blog, but what else should I call it? Feces? Excrement? Waste? Poo? They all sound too distant, clinical or childish. It’s so easy to refer to it in euphemisms when clean water washes it far away, into rivers, oceans, or sewage treatment plants. But when you have to figure out how to deal with it yourself, it turns to shit….

My Remote Office

The dilapidated house is home to many packrats, a frog that lives in the old stove, a few birds, and many wasps. But the phone line goes to the house (and thanks to Jerry’s engineering now goes to the shady side), so that’s where I do my online work. It’s a lovely quarter mile walk from the yurt….

Harvesting Garlic

I planted fifteen pounds of organic garlic last October and finished harvesting it this morning.  Given that my soil needs more improvement (mostly a few more years of working in…

Baby Bitter Melon

It’s kind of ugly and horribly bitter, but the years I spent in Nepal have made it into comfort food — and one I sorely miss.  How shall I prepare…

Cauliflower and Broccoli

Now that I’ve set up a shady place to work, I hope I can cultivate more patience for my dial-up connection.  After all, what’s the hurry?  While I wait five…

I left our yurt and garden in northeastern Oregon a week and a half ago for a brief vacation in central Oregon and a few days in Portland to catch…

I’ve been in Portland the last week, attending a graduation, visiting my son, and catching up on computer-related work.  I’m heading back to the yurt and garden in Wallowa County…

Pacific Tree Frog

In a post several months ago, I pondered where Pacific tree frogs go after breeding in watery places.  I don’t have a general answer for that question, but I found…

A hint of spring weather in Portland this morning gave way to rain, ruining my plans to transplant herbs and clean up the  yard.  So I started tomatoes under grow…

Getting Close to Ireland

The closest I’ve been to Ireland is Conwy castle on the coast of Wales.   It was summer, mid-way through college.  I was in a naive and dreamy stage then, weighing…

A Food Grower's Search For Identity

It’s simple: I like to grow food, eat it, and share it with others.  In the future, I might sell surplus to a local farmers’ market.  Problem is, there are…