Heirloom Apples

Each plate holds a different type of apple! There were at least 3 times as many tables as this!

Each plate holds a different type of apple! There were at least 3 times as many tables as this!

Nothing says “Fall” like the crunch of a fresh apple, the smell of apple butter simmering in the crock pot, or a glass of fresh pressed apple cider. But did you know that the apple flavors and textures we are used to only represent a fraction of the variety to be found? You can taste 200 of them at the 6th Annual Apple Festival in Venersborg, WA this Sunday, October 28th, 2012! (scroll down for details)

I remember growing up … Continue reading Heirloom Apples from Friendly Have Rise Farm

Of Leeks and Bees

Leek blossoms with honey bees

So many leeks!

We planted leeks in our garden a few years ago and neglected to harvest all of them. A small gardening “mistake” has turned into a gardening boon! Now, we let them flower and set seed every year because their blooms are so gorgeous. They come up like weeds all over the place! As an added bonus, they attract honey bees and native bees like crazy. With all the talk of colony collapse disorder, I’m so glad that we’ve seen so many honey bees this year!

A leek peaks from behind some dahlias.

Leeks, as a member … Continue reading Of Leeks and Bees

Freezing Raspberries

Fresh raspberries - don't stack them too deep!

Fresh raspberries – don't stack them too deep!

Growing up in Portland, my mom often made me angel food cake with strawberries or raspberries on top for my June 30th birthday! The few years where the raspberries haven’t been on yet for my birthday have been a big disappointment. This year, however, they are producing like mad and have been for weeks!

The house I lived for 10 years had a great raspberry patch the kids grew up climbing through. Leaving that bush was one of the hardest things about moving. I promised the kids that when we had … Continue reading Freezing Raspberries


We’ve mentioned serving a few dishes along with horseradish lately, so I thought I’d show you how to make it, from the dirt to the table! Horseradish has a very clean, hot flavor, that is intense but fades quickly. It’s a great compliment for salmon cakes or roast beef!

Growing Horseradish

That horseradish is almost as tall as my kids!

Horseradish is ridiculously easy to grow here in Portland, OR, and now is a good time to plant it! It grows as a perennial in zones 5-9, and can be grown as an annual elsewhere. If you are in a … Continue reading Horseradish

Spicy Kale

Spicy Kale goes great with sweet dishes like this apple glazed pork chop & rutabaga mash

Spicy Kale goes great with sweet dishes like this apple glazed pork chop & rutabaga smash

Here’s a really easy side dish that packs a nutritional punch and throws a kick in as well! Kale has a bitter note to it, which goes great with a bit of spice. It compliments a sweet dish like the Apple Glazed Pork Chop & Rutabaga Smash shown here nicely!

We’re still pulling kale out of the garden. Kale is much easier to clean than spinach or lettuce since the leaves are held up higher from the ground and shed water more effectively. You … Continue reading Spicy Kale

Out in the Yard


I haven’t been posting much because… well, the weather changed! Little by little, I am turning our dreams into reality and fixing up our own yard. We don’t have lots of cash to pay for labor and materials, seeing as I just finished school and we only started taking clients just a few weeks ago, but I’m not letting that stop me!

The first order of business was getting vegetable garden and work area in the back yard cleaned up. I decided to start on this area rather than the more visible front yard for a few reasons:

The neighbors … Continue reading Out in the Yard

Sustainable Lawn Maintenance

Baby Lawn!

Baby Lawn!

Back in “Lawn, Really?” we discussed the reasons lawn has had such a negative impact on the environment. In “Choosing Lawn” and “Installing the Lawn” we decided on a MicroClover blend and installed the lawn. But now it needs taking care of!

Right now the lawn is still coming up. Here are the tricks we’ll use to maintain a more sustainable lawn, once it has grown in:

Water deeply, only as needed. Lawns should only be watered until the water stops infiltrating. If it’s running off or puddling you’re wasting water! That said, it’s important to water deeply. … Continue reading Sustainable Lawn Maintenance

Installing the Lawn

Graded and Seeded

Back in “Lawn, Really?” and “Choosing Lawn” we decided to make a lawn in an area that I’d sheet mulched, grown potatoes in, and then let go to weed.

When working on the design for our whole lot, we realized that the arbor next to the carport in this area hadn’t been successful because the area was so high traffic, so I took it out and saved the lumber for another project.

Rather than spraying out the weeds, I hand dug them. Since the soil had great tilth, the weeds were actually pretty easy to dig out with … Continue reading Installing the Lawn

Choosing Lawn

Fluer de Lawn

In “Lawn, Really?“, we decided that we needed a place to share meals, relax, and enjoy the sun, and where it should be. Now we had to decide what to use for a ground cover!

Fluer de Lawn

I set out to researching our options for creating an area with the functionality of a lawn. We were especially interested in eco-lawn products, and some flowering lawns can be truly beautiful, giving a meadow feel and blooming in a succession of colors. But the thing about flowers is that they attract bees. Creating habitat for bees is one of our site’s … Continue reading Choosing Lawn

Lawn, Really?

Keyhole beds for veggies

I used to be an anti-lawn crusader. Everywhere I went, the lawn went, too. So when we moved in to our current place, the first thing I did was dig out lawn, sheet mulch large areas, and put in veggies and fruit trees wherever I could. While we didn’t end up meeting all our needs with this approach, the soil is much improved and our fruit trees and shrubs are now starting to produce!

There are all sorts of reasons not to have a lawn. If we’re talking about a standard suburban lawn maintained the … Continue reading Lawn, Really?

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