I do believe blueberries are my favorite frozen fruit.  Not necessarily my favorite fresh fruit (I think cherries get that award), but there is nothing like pulling out a bag of frozen blueberries in February to re-capture the essence of summer.  Plus, they are the fall-back food for my kids, particularly during teething bouts.

We found a new u-pick farm this summer.  It’s only a few miles away and the berries are inexpensive and plentiful.  Plus the bushes are small enough for our little pickers to help (or help themselves!).  So our job this week is to gather the amount of berries needed to sustain us for the entire year.

Gallons of berries have been frozen, a few pints made into jam, and countless berries ingested fresh off the bush.  (And tonight, I’m going to whip up some heavy whipping cream and just have me a bowl of berries.  Life is good!)

What is your favorite way to eat blueberries?

Are you ready to start thriving?

When I first began this blog, a few months ago, one of my intentions was to share people, places, and experiences that I have found inspiring.  And while I have mostly shared images and descriptions of my children, knitting, and food so far (totally inspiring, right?), today I am so excited to share a bit about someone that I find totally inspiring.  Have you heard of Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister, yet?  If not, let me be the first to tell you how much she rocks.  She’s the founder of, and is a life coach, working with women to create lives that thrive!

I know this might seem to come out of left field  – how does a blog about homesteading relate to life coaching and personal growth tools?  Well, in my mind, homesteading begins with creating a vibrant, peaceful, and happy HOME.  And in order for the individuals in this home to be happy, we need to create lives that that inspire us.  When I am feeling fulfilled as a person, my creativity soars, my productivity increases, and I’m able to totally rock the many diverse tasks go into creating a homestead, from growing food, to making clothing, to caring for my children and husband.

I’m such a fan of lifelong learning, and being a mostly stay-at-home mom, a lot of my learning these days is accessed from the Internet.  While I try to create a balance between technology and simplicity, I have been so inspired by the community I meet online, and by the learning opportunities I’m able to connect with via the Internet.  One of my favorites has been The Organic Tribe.  Now, for full disclosure, I need to say up front that I’m an affiliate for The Organic Tribe. So that means if you click from my site and purchase one of Tara’s products, I have the opportunity to support my family with a percentage of the sale.   But I would share Tara’s work anyways because I think what she is doing is changing the world, helping to inspire people to be thriving, happy, engaged, and connected.

So what exactly is The Organic Tribe all about?  Well here are some words from Tara’s site: “If you believe there is a way to live that makes you and the people you love come alive with passion and joy (even if you haven’t experienced it yet), and you’re pretty sure it means questioning conventional wisdom and living in an UNconventional and organic way, well then…Welcome home. “ (I LOVE THIS!!).

If you join the Tribe, you get access to a ton of goodies, including monthly coaching calls, e-books, e-courses, tool-kits, and access to the Organic Sisterhood (an online forum just for women). Click here for a full run down of all of the benefits of joining The Organic Tribe.

What I have personally gotten out of The Organic Tribe is this:  A place where I can connect with other women about the deepest parts of my life – relationships, parenting, sustainability, life transitions, fears, joys, challenges; a place where I am challenged to think about new ways of being, new ways of parenting, new ways of creating a limitless future.  It is powerful, potent stuff and I love it.

So check out Tara’s site, if you feel so moved.  And feel free to contact me if you want to know more about why I think this Tribe is so beautiful.

The Organic Sister

Have a wonderful day,



Garlic Harvest

Garlic harvesting is a multi-generational activity here on the homestead.  Each July, Brian’s parents escape the Arizona heat to spend the summer in the Northwest.  So for a few months, we benefit from having family close by; sharing meals, sharing the joys of raising children, and sharing the daily chores of the homestead.  As their visit coincides with the annual garlic harvest, we’ve established a bit of a routine: we dig the garlic together, Grandma cleans the bulbs, I braid, and we all share the bounty.

This year we grew an assortment of hard-neck and soft-neck garlic, but it was all from last year’s saved bulbs, so I have no idea what varieties were represented.  What I do know is that our garlic lasts all year long, so we are planting cloves that have been selected for long term storage.  We use garlic liberally in our cooking, of course, but also feed it to our goats to help maintain their health.

The hard-neck garlic harvest begins. Check out the size of those bulbs!

Ella was so helpful!  She has become quite the harvester, and specializes in arranging the harvest in beautifully neat piles.

(These are the soft-neck varieties)

To the porch!

The cleaning and braiding will continue happening into the weekend, at a nice slow pace.  It’s a pleasure to work together to create such a harvest.

Hay Day

This Saturday was Hay Day – the day we make the trek over to our favorite hay grower’s property to load the pickup with a few months’ worth of hay.  I bet it was a real nail-biter of a haying season for the growers, as intermittent rain storms made difficult to time the cutting with a few day stretch of sunshine to dry the hay before baling.

The hay grower’s property is just idyllic; to get there, you drive a few miles outside of town, pass a crystal clear creek, drive over a covered bridge, and around a bend.  Their ranch is nestled at the foot of a beautiful hill, with rolling pastures, stately oaks, big barns, and beautiful gardens.

Brian loaded up his trusty pickup (a 31 year old Toyota that runs on veggie oil!)

Ella and Everett helped.  For a few minutes.

Then Ev got distracted by heavy machinery.  This tractor “ride” about made his day.

He managed to load 28 bales on top of his truck!  When we get home, the real fun begins: rigging up a pulley system to transfer the bales from the truck to the hayloft.

Check out that stunt!

Into the hay loft, where it will be stored.  We figure this amount of hay will last about 3 summer months, when the goats are really only getting hay at night, but are browsing throughout the day.

Doesn’t Sable look appreciative?

Hurray for hay day!

River and ocean

Our pre-July 4th weekend was spent camping on the Russian River, in Sonoma County, CA.  Our friend’s birthday prompted about 40 of our closest friends to gather to camp, eat, and play together for 3 days.  This group of friends is magical.  We all met working together in the mid-90’s on Catalina Island.  Teaching children and living together, we formed incredible bonds that have only grown stronger as the years have gone by.  At least once a year we gather together to celebrate our friendship.  Our numbers have grown as partners, friends, and children have joined the group, and we’ve continued to make memories together.  I feel so fortunate to have this group of friends in my life.

The river was just perfect for playing and relaxing, trying out stand up paddle boards, kayaking, and playing with rocks.

Ella rocked the boogie board, and Everett splashed and poured water from one container to the next for a long, long time!

We stopped off in Northern California on the way home, to get one more day of fun with friends, and enjoyed some great beach time.

We left Oregon on a cloudy, overcast day last week, and returned to the beginning of the Oregon summer.  I’m so excited for the summer fun to begin.