Herding Chickens

If you had told me ten years ago that I’d spend part of my Sunday herding chickens through a vegetable garden, I never would have believed you. But as I spent part of last Sunday herding chickens through our vegetable garden, something struck me: herding chickens is essentially – perhaps entirely – probabilistic. Gently persuade [Continue Reading...]

Little Monkeys Making Messes

Dirt. Dirt, dirt, dirt. When you garden, a certain amount of outside comes in. Fine. When you cook 2 to 3 meals a day on a stove (in pork fat, no less!) a certain amount of grease distributes in a fine layer over everything. So in my 7 years as a gardener and my lifetime [Continue Reading...]

Monsanto Announces New SoyBee’n Self-Pollinating Soy Bean!

Late month, noted seed and biotech company Monsanto announced the purchase of Beelogics, a company with a product in trial that may help prevent colony collapse disorder in bees.* In related news, Monsanto has successfully built bee DNA into insect-pollinated crops through genetic engineering. Though the technology is currently being trialed on a limited 3,000 [Continue Reading...]

Fall The Wife

I’ve been thinking about this. Fall is my favorite harvesting season. If I had to marry a vegetable growing time of year, it would be Fall. Spring is a virgin. She makes you wait. You want Spring in April, but she doesn’t actually put out until late June. I’m all for keeping it buttoned up [Continue Reading...]

What’s In A Name? The Beyond Organic Backyard Egg Question

My mom was over and asked, “Are your eggs are organic?” “Oh yeah, of course!” I said, “We use organic feed.” But I’ve been thinking about it, and here’s the thing: I’m not sure our eggs are organic. Not really, not technically. I mean, our chickens have a good life. Compared to battery-caged birds they [Continue Reading...]

Homebrew Husband’s Top Ten Homesteading Surprises

Now that you are an urban homesteader, let’s talk about some of the surprises. Yes, I’m sure you knew how rewarding it would be, you expected that sense of satisfaction that only shoveling a quarter ton of fresh compost can generate, that pride that that comes with lacerating your entire torso in pursuit of just [Continue Reading...]

Which Caricature Are You?

People come to gardening for many reasons. Have you ever wondered where you stand in the great big world of edible gardening, environmentalism and social awareness? Well not to worry, we’ve designed this Cosmo-inspired quiz that will lead you to greater self-awareness of your particular gardening caricature. Just answer the following questions and check your results [Continue Reading...]

Pantry Ranting

If I see another perfect, straight-out-of Williams-Sonoma pantry filled with quaint matching baskets and lovely labeled glass canisters full-to-bursting with wholesome looking gluten-free grains I’m going to beat someone over the head with my copy of Real Simple. But perhaps I’m just jealous. You see, my pantry – and I am blessed to have an [Continue Reading...]

No Place Like Home – Appreciating the Urban in Urban Homesteading

I had a commitment in Eastern Washington this weekend which necessitated a little family road trip to the hot, sunny, dry part of the state. When we returned Sunday night, we followed I-90 west, eventually climbing up the Cascade Mountains to the summit at Snoqualmie Pass and returning back down to the cooler, greener side of [Continue Reading...]

Adventurers Of A Corporate Gleaner

Location 47.58 degrees North by 122.155 degrees East: a top secret blackberry patch adjacent to the offices of a major mobile communications provider. Date Friday, August 12, 2011 Time 09:34 local, 16:34 Zulu Mission Initial reconnaissance by the operative codenamed “Homebrew” on Thursday, August 11 revealed an exceptionally large blackberry patch at a previously unsuspected [Continue Reading...]

Householder Haikus – My Weekend In Poetry

Juice of two lemons To ensure a proper set I feel every cut. “Can’t finish the peach. The juice runs sticky, too far down my elbow, mom.” My apricots float They will do it every time Maybe more syrup? (big thanks to Harriet Fasenfest for this one) Met the orchard man Blushing fruit, picked by [Continue Reading...]

I Wish Somebody Would Have Mentioned…

When you prune a hop vine, wear long sleeves. And a ski mask. Those things are mean. There is no such thing as weed free straw. It is possible to have a hard time growing zucchini. It’s not you; everyone had green tomatoes in late August. The best fertilizer is the gardener’s boots. There will come [Continue Reading...]