In my garden, I’ve focused on more integrated play. We have the slide in the hill, swings on the tree, etc. I like to work for easy ways to incorporate areas that don’t take a lot of money or time, and allow for a lot of create play.

My neighbor cut down a tree awhile ago, and I went and brought over some of the old trunk. Right now they are laid out as steps, but it might change later to something else. The kids have had lots of fun playing on them, and even get mom involved. It was simple, free and fun!




kitchenliving room 2living roomdining

Do you know that good pictures of a house are actually rather hard to take? It’s hard to get a sense of a space unless you are really in it.

Lately, my focus has been my home and getting it to a place where I enjoy it. There’s always a strange collection of crumbs, hot wheels and Lego everywhere and I’ve gotten used to that. But I like to have things around me that make me happy to look at, and a space I feel comfortable spending a long time in.

I’m not an interior designer, and I don’t really aspire to be one. But it is fun to design my home in a way that reflects me and my family. Lots of blue and green, not anything too fancy, but a lot of found items that I love. It’s been a fun hobby.


This was the state of the stairs:

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When we moved in, it had a very nondescript runner on the stairs. I never liked it. The runner had both bubbles and peanut butter spilled on it too. Finally one day I tore it off. I was left with this mess, as the previous owner had not bothered to paint under the runner.

It’s sat like this for far too long as we finished other house projects. Gradually, it’s moved up my to-do list and I started to get fun ideas. My younger sister came up for a visit and helped me transform it.



We made rainbow stairs! I was determined to not buy paint, but to use the assortment of random paint I had. We mixed many of the colors, and others directly match paint used on the inside or outside of the house. I’m loving them. It’s quite a transformation from an eyesore to something I’ll sit and stare at.

And when you have a bunch of leftover paint, a very boring stool and a bit of creativity, you keep going and make this:

A few tips: plastic utensils worked well for the splatter paint. We also laid the stool on it’s side after we applied paint to get some nice movement. And I’m glad I keep leftover sour cream/cottage cheese containers. Way to use #253: they work well for mixing paint.


This is what happens when you take weed science in college:
  • My favorite vegetable might be purslane, a commonly hated weed. I think most people think I am very weird because I keep recommending it to others. I have not had anyone try it that didn’t like it though.


  • Peter picked Weeds of the West as his bedtime story. It is probably my most often recommended book to others. Including six year old boys.
  • We had Kids club at the garden. When we needed something to do, I took them on a little nature walk…across the parking lot to look at a large, yellow patch of dodder. Because who wouldn’t want to look at a parasitic plant?


Flower Garden

The garden is starting to take form.


Year two of planting my mounds. Plants were beaten back by hail, but have since recovered. They’ve doubled in size since this picture, taken about a week ago. 

In my front garden, I did hardly anything this year. Perennials I have planted for the last couple of years along with reseeding herbs and annuals have filled in. The fennel has taken over. I’ve got agastache, chamomile, yarrow, calamintha, thyme, columbine, and butterfly weed that are all doing well. All of my perennials are small-flowered and subtle, but many are fragrant and tough.

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The food forest is doing okay. I had one bare root tree that never broke dormancy. Several other plants are not doing so well and have died back. Part of that was user error (like hacking off a grape by accident), but I also think the salts in my soil are a bit high. I’ve been using chicken manure in the garden (as both part of mulch and this area was a chicken run for awhile). I think that has increased the salt level, and wasn’t a good fit for the sensitivity of first-year bare root plants. If I do it in the future, I’ll clean out more of the manure before planting. Right now our flood irrigation seems to be helping flush everything out.

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It’s one problem with permaculture techniques based on wetter climates: they have more water that both decomposes faster and flushes salts out. In the dry and cold climate I live in, many systems have to run a lot slower to be effective. I’ve noticed sheet mulching, hugelkultur take longer to break down, and now that salts in compost and mulch can stick around and must be used judiciously.

I still have a tremendous amount of work to do. And that’s just okay. I think I would be sad if I didn’t have years of projects to still experiment with.


I think this is a purple carrot gone to seed. 


The living room has had traditional blinds since we moved in. I hated them. I had this gorgeous big window and horrible boring blinds in front of it. I’ve browsed curtains before. At a recent trip to IKEA I made myself pick something out.

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curtains.jpgI quite like them. The exposure is all off, just to get a better look at the fun curtains I found.


We finished our remodel! My last step was painting this old door in the bedroom. It has been left outside and had lots of peeling paint. I left it a bit distressed, but not so shabby as it was before.


It’s been over a year of construction. It’s very nice to have it done. We’ve moved in all the furniture and we are enjoying it.

Now we get to catch up on the projects that we’ve neglected: like the holes in the ceiling upstairs. (The roof leaked. The roof has been fixed, but we still need to fix the ceiling.)


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This isn’t exactly the first harvest. I’ve been cutting lettuce for about a month, and I’ve had some herbs for a long time. Many strawberries and peas didn’t even make it inside. Yesterday was the first day I realized I needed to go get a bucket to probably harvest everything.

Garden Planted

Over the weekend I planted more of my garden. Most people talk about planting the garden as a one time event. It really shouldn’t be. I planted my peas back in March, and I’ve been planting stuff on and off since then. Different plants like different temperatures, and spreading out planting times also helps spread out the harvest. I still have sunflowers and melons to plant, plus I’ll come in during late July and plant fall crops. If I remember. I’m not very good about remembering fall crops.

This is the shot of part of the garden where we have tomatoes, cucurbits and beans. My veggie crops are spread out all over the yard, so it’s nearly impossible to get a shot of all of it at once. garden planted.jpg

Fruit trees and strawberries! One peach doesn’t seem to want to grow. Oh well, it’s my only bare root plant that failed to thrive.

food forest 1.jpg

This is after I mowed down all the weeds today. I’ve been mowing and taking note of weeds for a while, and it is interesting to see the weeds in the yard change. I started out with traditional annual weeds. They are still there, but there are also happy weeds. Agastache, sunflowers, cucurbits, yarrow, lettuce, radish, and chamomile have all started to reseed in the yard.

The plan is to seed out clover over about all of it tomorrow, continuing our clover patch we already started. If it all goes well, we should get bees.


It’s not in full bloom yet, but I’m enjoying this flower. Any guesses to what it is? ……..

It’s a carrot flower. I left a few carrots in the ground to see what would happen. The grew about three to four feet tall and started blooming.


I’ve been working in the garden. Sometimes it is hard not to get discouraged. I haven’t been spending a lot of time or money out there, so nothing much has been happening. The weeds are growing.

My biggest regret so far is not mulching more. I want good thick mulch everywhere. It does such a great job of keeping down weeds, building soil, and keeping everything looking decent. I’ve used straw, fall leaves and wood chips and I like them all, and I just want to use more.

The weather is good and my goals is to get the garden ready for spring planting and tackle the weeds, along with other projects we have planned.

Here’s some pictures of the yard right now. Our swale-type beds are almost ready to plant. We have weed free areas thanks to the chicken tractor, new chicks, and a developing food forest.

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