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….
With all the rain out over the last few weeks and the challenges of getting the summer garden in, I’ve been grateful for food that sprouts with no effort on my part. I might not want stinging nettles in my cultivated garden, but I like having a patch on a distant corner of our property. […]
Rain. Day before last, it was relentless. We had a reprieve yesterday, and I got some planting done, but most of my garden is flooded and impossible to work. I’m already a week or two behind. In this short season, that could mean a lean year for vegetables. So when I woke at five this […]
I’m ecstatic to be back on our property in Northeastern Oregon. There’s lots to do: organizing inside the yurt to make cooking and storage more convenient, building a spring box and laying pipe to get potable water into the yurt, putting in the garden. And there are many challenges: a muddy road, cars that get […]
On Thanksgiving, we couldn’t bear to slice and roast this huge homegrown potato face. Nor could we boil and mash it. So we pardoned it. I’d like to claim we did it in the tradition of pardons given for poultry on Thanksgiving, but it was nothing that grand. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it in.
A week later, I’m hungry for potatoes but still can’t cut into this one. Perhaps if I set if on a windowsill and let the eyes grow sprouts….
I love how persimmons hang on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
Many persimmons need to be fully ripe before they’re edible. My fuyu persimmons are non-astringent and can be eaten when still crisp. I enjoy them most at that stage. I often grate them and mix them with lime (or lemon), fresh chili pepper, green onion, cilantro and salt for an Asian-inspired salad.
My persimmon tree began as a whip from One Green World and thrives in my temperate Portland garden. They can also be found at my other favorite source for fruit trees: Raintree Nursery. Consult either nursery to learn more about the differences between Asian and American, astringent and non-astringent persimmons.
Growing food this summer in northeast Oregon, I relied on all that I’ve learned over the years from books, conversations, observations, and personal experience. But I probably heard Ama’s voice more than any other….
One of the things I loved best about teaching high school social studies was shaking up students’ perceptions of history. And one of my favorite lessons was in Ancient History. I’d bring in a a jar of beans and a potato with so many sprouts it looked like an octopus (the fact that I always found one in my cupboard could have doubled as a cautionary lesson in the domestic arts)….
Like many who follow environmental and sustainable agriculture news, I woke this morning to tweets and retweets of a Michael Pollan quote: “A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius!” I’m not vegan or vegetarian and suspect the statement glosses over vast differences in the way […]
The cool, clear nights that make autumn so beautiful here in the Blue Mountains also bring frosts that kill tender vegetables. With the harvest spilling over boxes and racks around our tiny yurt, it’s a good time to reflect on what I learned this summer….
I had originally planned to post on another species this week. In fact, I have a backlog of species that have been inspiring and distracting me. But rattlesnakes have a way of making themselves heard above the din of all else [...]
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 friends through our Seattle neighborhood. Princess La Ratte blossoms Now, I have earthier dreams, like growing potatoes — lots and lots of potatoes. It’s not […]
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 organic matter), I’m pleased with the results. Two Northwest heirlooms: Inchelium Red Nootka Rose I’m curing some of the garlic under the roof of the […]
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 my first harvest of these? Karela ko achar? Or fried in ghee? Imagining either makes me dizzy with happiness. Baby bitter melon
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 minutes for a photo to load, I can listen to cicadas singing, wrens scolding, and hummingbirds hovering nearby, trying by to buzz me out of […]
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 up on some work and see my son. I’m eager to get back, especially since our current gravity-fed water supply is not reliable in the […]