Edible Weeds: Blue Mustard

I have been craving sauteed greens lately – and as our stocks of frozen spinach have started to disappear, I’ve been thinking about what’s in the garden. Not the plants we are growing, however, but the weeds coming up between our rows. We ate lots of wild lettuce last year, so I went out to…

Tips: Routines on the Homestead

When we’re on the road, Chad and I like to listen to Great Courses CDs, and one of them we listened to recently was on decision making. Chad wasn’t excited about it when I first told him the title, but he gave it a chance and we both quickly became enthralled listening to it. One…

Yoga: My Home Practice

I live in a very rural location with no access to regular yoga classes. But yoga is one of my great joys in life, so I’ve had to figure out how to keep my yoga practice up, despite my location. When I lived in Charlotte, with access to several yoga studios, my teachers regularly reminded…

Garden News: Summer’s Harvests – 2019

Winter seems like a good time to look back at the past year’s summer bounty and see what did well for us out here in the high desert. Here are some of the highlights: ‘Lemon Boy’ tomatoes. I’m trying to keep my acidic food intake low and these tomatoes are great. They are low acid…

Climate: The High Desert

We live in the high desert in Northeast Utah,  where the winters are long and cold and the summers are short and hot. It’s a continental climate. I first learned about continental climates when I was a student in Finland for a semester. In one of my classes I learned that there are places in…

Garden News: Winter Seed Catalogs and Garden Planning

My spirits tend to get low during the winter – the post-holiday blues, gloomy weather, and reduced outdoors time always get to me. Winter here in NE Utah is long, but I have something to cheer me up and carry me through: seed catalogs and garden planning. By mid-January, there’s a stack of seed catalogs…

Tips: How to Buy Organic Gluten Free in Bulk

If like me, you’re trying to make a simple living by being largely self-sufficient, finances are probably one of your constant concerns. But along with pinching pennies, I also have high standards and I bet you do, too. Everyday I’m trying to find the best ways to save money while still eating high quality, organic,…

The Apricopocalypse

My Two Weeks (Or So) Of Non-Stop Apricots One of the nice things about living on an old homestead is that usually some person, decades ago, was smart enough to plant some fruit trees. Thanks to such past individuals we have an apple tree, crabapples, and a big, mature, apricot tree. The apricot tree has…

Recipe: Make Your Own Milk Kefir

How to make your own milk kefir Knowing how to ferment foods is an excellent homesteading skill whether you’re living on a small farm, in a city apartment, or somewhere in between. Knowing how to ferment will empower you to make your own nutrient and probiotic-rich foods, help save you money, and is also just…

Garden News: First Bean Harvest of Summer – 2019

Growing heirloom snap beans This spring as I planned our garden, I wanted to make sure we planned heavy on produce that would get us through the winter – including lots of winter squash and dry beans. After Chad and I reviewed my plan, we realized that it was VERY bean heavy,

Harvesting Apricots – 2019

Harvesting Apricots in July in Utah We have one mature apricot tree on our property. Mostly every year it blooms a bit early, then a frost comes along and kills all the blossoms off, knocking them to the ground, meaning that there will be no apricots for us. When we noticed the tree covered in…

Tips: How to Keep Track of Your Plantings in a Permaculture Garden

Keeping Track Of What You Plant In Your Garden A few years ago I excitedly planted several varieties of snap beans and dry beans in the same section of the garden. At the time of planting, I marked the different varieties with wooden markers, so I didn’t think I’d have any problem knowing which was…

Quotes: Allowing Nature to Return

“Although it would be highly arrogant of us to think we could actually design ecosystems, we believe that we can create a balanced ecological agricultural landscape by allowing nature to return to the land.” – Darrel Frey in Bioshelter Market Garden

Polyculture Garden in Late Summer

On this last day of August the days are still hot and I find myself longing for fall. The garden is producing beautifully, and everything seems as if it will keep on going this way forever. But I try to remember not to take things for granted – the last warm days, the bounty of…

Composting in the Desert

Anyone who gardens or simply cooks a lot of vegetables quickly finds out – you must have a compost pile! Vegetable waste translates into useful fertilizer and soil very quickly if you compost, so it is a huge waste NOT to create some composting system – not to mention the cost of buying bags of…

Sheepy Poos

When my husband introduced me to his two icelandic sheep, I asked what their names were. He looked slightly embarrassed and told me he hadn’t named them. Strangely, two names instantly came to me, and I asked if I could use them. He kindly acquiesced. So let me introduce you to two of the biggest contributors to…

Desert Garden Design

Over the past ten years or so my husband has been planting a fairly traditional garden. Each year he tills the ground with a tractor then digs out rows to plant his seeds and transplants. With my visions of permaculture I of course wasn’t satisfied with this approach. Tilling with a tractor compresses the soil and also…

Gardening in the Desert

Contrary to what you might think, people can and do garden in the desert. However there are certain obstacles to overcome that those of you in more clement areas won’t have to worry much about. For one thing, we only get about 7 inches of rain a year here. Yes, a YEAR. Back in NC…

Garden News: Cold Frame Conundrum

I have four cold frames that I made using plastic storage bins and two more that use glass with the thermal mass of bricks and stone. These are experimental and so far I’m seeing some clear differences in the results. The seeds started in the thermal mass cold frames are thriving and growing much more quickly than…

Garden News: New Life in Macro – Spring 2017

If you’re a gardener but have never planted from seed before, you really must try it. Every year when I plant seeds there’s always some doubt: they might not come up. And yes, sometimes for various reasons some seeds don’t come up. But most of them do. Suddenly, on their own schedule, they come up, sprouting…

New Cold Frame

Me and my sweetie went a little crazy ordering seeds a couple of weeks ago. When we combined households last year our seed collections expanded dramatically! I added a lot of perennials, herbs and flowers to the mix, he brought a ton of tomatoes, peppers and squash. But somehow, it seemed we still needed more seeds. And…

Starting Seeds

Over the past week or so I’ve been starting seeds in some DIY cold frames which consist of plastic storage bins with a few holes drilled into the bottom. I would prefer to make a glass cold frame at some point, but this will do in a pinch! It’s very exciting to see the first…

A Climate Change

But not the kind you might be thinking of. Last year I moved away from the Southeast where the summers are hot and humid and the winters are mild. It would be considered a temperate forest zone (as opposed to a tropical forest zone – though sometimes it felt pretty tropical!). This is what my…