This Cute Raccoon Is Stealing Our Cat Food!

I was out on the back deck reading after dinner when Tom poked his head out the door, looked past me towards the steps, and laughed, saying “Who’s your friend?” We quickly realized that this was the raccoon we’ve seen hanging around our yard recently. Claire and I had spotted …

Preserving Pumpkin (and 2 Recipes)

It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That …

Letting Things Go in the Garden (on purpose)

It’s mid-August, and the garden is taking on its late summer look– a gorgeous, tangled, fruitful mess.  I try to keep some things up:  tomatoes trellised, beans picked, nasturtiums guarded against aphids.  But some things I happily and intentionally let go. I’ve been enamored of Imogen Cunningham’s photograph of Morris …

Autumn Scenes from an Urban Smallholding

I love the idea of a “smallholding.”  It’s a term still used in England, one I re-discovered while leafing through a favorite book the other day, The Freedom Manifesto by Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson (also love The Idler…).  A smallholding is a modest parcel of land, usually just one-family’s-worth, that …

Trellis Whimsies: Bicycle “After” Photo, and Other Experiments

Remember the Bicycle Pea Trellis that I only sort of liked?  I promised an updated photo after the peas grew.  Here’s how it looked in March: And last week:OK, yes, I love it. And while we’re about it with the “found” trellises:  After pruning our runaway corkscrew willow, I saved …

Kitchen Table Seedlings: Watering from the Bottom-Up

Wow.  It is a cold cold cold spring here in Seattle.  Record cold and dark.  Nearly 200 days of sub-70 degrees in a row.  Only five days since January 1 without rain. Today is finally sunny, but there was a light frostiness on the ground this morning.  All of us …

Bicycle Pea Trellis

While loading bikes for the Village Bike Project (great folks!), Tom came across this old frame–a vintage Robin Hood stepthrough from Nottingham, England.  Lovely bike, beyond reasonable hopes for restoration. So he took it home and hid it on the side east side of the house until he was brave …

Eat More Kale: A Kale Manifesto With Recipes

I have received more comments about this shirt than any piece of clothing I have ever owned:  my spiffy, turquoise EAT MORE KALE t-shirt.  People stare, laugh, turn their heads to watch me pass on the street, nudge their companions, make grimmacing kale-is-yucky expressions, and–best of all–stop to talk.  I …

Chicken Tour: Not the “New Black”

We had so much fun being one of the Host Coops on the Seattle Tilth City Chicken Coop Tour this weekend.  It was a warm sunny day, and there was a very strong turnout, about 150 people came through our backyard during the tour hours.  It was great to “talk …

The Spring Garden: Lows and Highs

It’s been a strange spring in Seattle, and all the gardeners I know have been a little off, including (maybe especially) myself.  First, we had a freakishly warm late winter/early spring.  While our biological selves still felt that they should be huddled by the fire sipping tea, the weather was …