Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

In case you’re like me and tend to wait for the last minute to do things, I thought I’d share the process and results of yesterday’s Easter egg dyeing experiments. Using natural dyes to create beautiful Easter eggs is simple, quick, and can be done with ingredients already on hand! That’s right – don’t rush off to the store.  Just open your fridge, your compost bucket, or your pantry and pull out a few ingredients.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Red wine (a cup for the dye, a cup for you!) – LAVENDER-BLUE
  • Red onion skins – BROWNISH
  • Yellow onion skins – TAN
  • Red cabbage – BLUE
  • Beets – PINK (although mine tend to turn more brown-purple after exposure to air)
  • Turmeric – YELLOW

You will also need white vinegar, boiling water, and a few mason jars.

Let’s begin:Natural Egg Dyes

Easter Egg2 Easter Egg3

1.  Place dye ingredients into a mason jar.  You will need 1-2 large handfuls of onion skins or red cabbage, approximately 2 tbsp of turmeric, or 1 cup of beets. Cover with boiling water.

2. Add 2 tbsp of white vinegar and gently place your hard boiled egg in the jar.  I used white eggs, but you can use brown eggs. The colors will just be slightly different (for instant, the yellow onion skins will create a more reddish tone).

* Many people suggest straining the plant materials before adding the egg.  This is certainly a fine thing to do. I just like the mottled effect that results when the egg comes into contact with the plant matter.

Easter Egg4Easter Eggs1

3.  Occasionally check on the egg, and pull it out when it is the color you desire!
You can create neat effects by wrapping the eggs in a rubber band prior to dyeing, as seen in the photo above.

Check out Pinterest for more inspiration, and have fun!


Instant Gratification

So I went looking for instant gratification, and here’s what I found: Regina.

Regina1 Regina2 Regina3

Regina!  What a great pattern by one of my favorite designers, Carina Spencer.  So unique in its construction: first you knit the band, lengthwise like an itty-bitty scarf, then you pick up stitches from the brim, join in the round, and knit the hat inside out to minimize purling.  It’s warm, it’s cute, it’s a great stash-buster, and best of all: there is no gauge swatching!  Seriously – you just measure and do a little bit of math and you’re all set to knit! (Did I mention it’s also a FREE download).  Go download this pattern now!

My Ravelry notes are here.

* Joining Keep Calm Craft On and Yarn Along

Chicken Books (and a Giveaway!)

The first time Brian and I got chicks, we knew very little about raising animals of any kind.  Newly settled on a 30 acre rental property, chickens seemed like the ideal first farm animal – low entry cost, relatively simple to care for, and of course, the quality of farm-fresh eggs cannot be beat.  When our good friend and land mate expressed an interest in co-owning 10 hens, we began our journey into animal husbandry.

Once again, chickens will be the first animals on our new homestead. While it seems important to build a house and figure out basic living systems before we leap into the same level of animal care we enjoyed in Oregon, I cannot resist a small flock of layers and meat birds.

After thirteen years of homesteading, we have learned a lot about raising farm animals.  Much of this knowledge has been through trial and error.  And while I do believe that direct experience is the best way to learn homesteading skills, there is much to be said for research and education before one begins raising animals; after all, you are taking on responsibility for another living creature. While I wait for the weather to warm a bit before bringing home chicks, I’ve been reading up on raising chickens, and thought I might share a few books I’ve been enjoying.

Living with Chickens:
Everything You Need to Know to Raise your Own Backyard Flock

By Jay Rossier
With a warm, friendly tone, and a no-nonsense approach, this is a great choice for someone looking for an easy read and beautiful, inspiring photos.  I also have read several other books in this series, including Living with Pigs, Living with Sheep, and Living with Goats, and have enjoyed them all. I loved that the author included a chapter on Chickens and Children!

Keeping Chickens with Ashley English
All You Need to Know to Care for A Happy, Healthy Flock
By Ashley English
Ashley English has made quite a name for herself with a series of animal husbandry books (I was especially impressed with her Keeping Bees book).  I like the way she makes animal husbandry seem so fun and within everyone’s reach (which it is!).  Great photos, vignettes of farmers, and solid information make this book a great choice for beginning poultry farmers.

The Urban Chicken
By Heather Harris
Another resource I enjoyed was a recently released eBook by Heather Harris of The Homesteading Hippy. Her eBook, The Urban Chicken is a great how-to guide for folks just starting out.  She includes many photos and wonderful personal stories and tips from her own backyard.  I especially appreciated that she guides the reader from chick to table, illustrating how to piece a chicken, and offering freezing instructions and information on pressure canning chicken meat.  I have never before canned chicken meat, but her instructions are so clear and easy, that I am really excited to give it a try this summer.

Heather has generously offered a copy of her eBook to give away to one Homestead Honey reader.  If you’d like a chance to win a copy, please leave a comment below! I’ll close the comments on Friday.

Congratulations to the winner, Tatiana!

*This post featured on The Homestead Barn Hop, Menagerie Monday at Let This Mind Be In You, and Natural Living Mamma’s Natural Living Monday.

Little Oak

It’s done! I think this is the most lovely sweater I’ve ever made, and it’s a shining example of what happens when you follow directions and do everything right (which is unfortunately NOT usually how I roll when knitting!).  I knit a gauge swatch, I carefully took Ella’s measurements, I adjusted the sleeves and length up a size, I blocked the finished garment.  And it’s fabulous.

So, without further ado, may I present the Little Oak Sweater…

Little Oak 3 Little Oak1 Little Oak2 Little Oak4

The pattern is the Little Oak sweater, part of the Coastal Kids collection by Never Not Knitting. Ella picked out this lovely Malabrigo merino yarn, and the buttons are handmade by my very own husband; they are made from locally harvested Osage Orange wood. (My Ravelry notes are here).

And now I’m off to select an easy, instant gratification project for me!

* Joining the crafting fun at Keep Calm Craft On

What’s Growing

Robins on branches, 70 degree days followed by snow, dirt under my fingernails – Spring is coming!

There is so much preparation, planning, and doing these days.  I finally got around to placing my fruit tree order after spending days agonizing over which varieties and limiting myself to only 20 trees and a few bushes (I ordered from One Green World and St. Lawrence Nurseries).  Some of the highlights are “Arkansas Black” Apple (a fantastic keeper), “Olympic” and “Nijiseiki” Asian Pears, and “Meteor” and “Bali” Sour Pie Cherries.  While I wait for their delivery, I’m reading all I can about fruit tree planting and care (this book has been particularly helpful), and setting out stakes for their placement.

While I have not yet ventured out to the raised beds to direct sow anything, I have started some spring crops on my heat mat, including a wide variety of kale, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and greens.


They are still so tiny!

Most importantly, we’re growing a home!  The summer structure is taking shape slowly but surely.  All nine posts are in the ground, all six beams have been secured, and tomorrow the roof rafters will be put into place.  It’s possible that we’ll have a roof by the end of next week!

Post and Beams

As the structure emerges and our visions for the land take shape, we’re realizing how badly we want to live there.  Although our original intention was to build a non-insulated space for summer use and then figure out another living situation for next winter, now we find ourselves having conversations that start with the words, “how rustic are you willing to live?” or “200 square feet is enough space for our family of four, right?”  It could be completely crazy, but I think we’re both so eager to sink into that space that seemingly impossible situations are now looking somewhat possible.

Teri on ladder

Wishing you a beautiful Monday full of impossible possibilities!

* This post was shared on the Homestead Barn Hop, and Natural Living Monday.


It’s hard to believe that winter has almost come and gone, and I’ve hardly a knitted item to show for it.  This fall, I seriously imagined that I could start and finish a sweater for Ella in time for her birthday on the Winter Solstice.  Nope.  Then, I imagined that Valentine’s Day would be a great goal.  Wrong again.  So I set my sights on a Spring Equinox sweater. And I do believe I may just achieve this goal!

What has changed?  Well, first off all, I finally finished the sleeves.  While I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned and practiced using the magic loop method to knit two sleeves at once, it took FOREVER!  But, the sleeves are the exact same length – something that has probably never before been achieved by this knitter!  (Just check out the sleeves on this sweater for proof!)  And second, and perhaps more importantly, we had grandparent visitors.  The kids so love their grandparents that dear old mama was able to just park herself in the cozy recliner and knit, knit, knit (as evidenced by this photo, taken by Ella)


The pattern, by the way, is the Little Oak sweater, from the Coastal Kids collection. I do believe it may be the most gorgeous item I have ever knit.  The oak leaf pattern was a pure delight, and so motivating!  And when the sweater is complete (next week, I promise!), it will be the most beautifully fitted three-season garment.  I can’t wait to see it on Ella.

What are you knitting these days?

* Joining the fine crafty folks at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On!


An Interview with Dr. Deb Zucker, of Vital Medicine

Today, I bring you the second in my series of interviews highlighting the lives and work of inspirational women.  (You can read my first interview, with Tara Wagner, The Organic Sister, here). I am thrilled to introduce Dr. Deb Zucker, a Naturopathic Physician, founder of Vital Medicine, and most importantly, my good friend!

I have known Deb for almost 14 years, and can easily say that she is one of the most grounded, compassionate, and deeply human people I know. Dr. Deb weaves the lessons she’s learned from her own healing journey, the support of community, and the power of wilderness into her unique and empowering programs.  In Deb’s own words: “Vital Medicine is … designed to empower, support, awaken, and inspire people from all walks of life to create deep healing on every level.”

Welcome Deb! 

Can you tell Homestead Honey readers a bit about your
life and your business, Vital Medicine?

Hi everyone, and thank you, Teri, for interviewing me here!  Teri and I met in Oregon back in 1999 where we lived on the same land putting into practice many of the things that Teri so beautifully shares about in this blog!

Since that time I have gone through an intense personal healing journey that led me to become a Naturopathic Physician and to create my business, Vital Medicine, in 2009.  I currently live in beautiful Bellingham, Washington.  I garden and take walks most days along the gorgeous coastal trails right by my cottage home.

At the heart of my work I serve as a guide for people ready to step into an awakened relationship to health. I’ve developed a paradigm for healing which integrates every aspect of our selves, including the larger context in which we grow and evolve. I offer private mentoring, dynamic group experiences, and unconventional wilderness explorations for both health practitioners and laypeople, alike.

If you’re curious to learn more about my work you can go to  I’ve got a blog, a free homestudy course, and audio clips to download to get more of a feel for what I offer.

How do you balance your professional healing and leadership capacities with your own nurturing, exploration, and self-care?

They feel so intertwined for me.  What I offer to others is a direct translation of how I am living my life every day.  I know a lot of people say that, but I truly experience it.  I see myself still very much on a conscious healing journey that deepens and reveals new things to me each day.  It feels to me like it has been a couple of years now that I can truly say that something has shifted in me on a deep fundamental level (and this is after 12 years of chronic illness and becoming a physician!).  What I have experienced is a level of self love, self care, and compassion that is front and center.  The choices I make in my daily life are filtered through this. I don’t experience the same sense of inner conflict around my relationship with health, the self sabotage and avoidance.  I don’t feel like I have a check list anymore of what I am and am not supposed to do.  It looks different each day, and yet there is a new ground of ease and love there holding how I move through life.  My creativity in my work is born from this.  The reflections and clarity I am able to offer to others on their path is born from this.  The passion I have to support others is born from this.

On your website, you offer the following wisdom: 
“You might think “medicine” is just about bodies, nutrition, and exercise.  This is exactly the orientation I’m here to challenge.  True vitality honors every piece of your self, life, and journey, welcoming them to dance together in creative emergence.”

I love what you share here, and I’m wondering if there was a specific a ha! moment that led you to this wisdom?

There wasn’t one ah ha moment for me in this discovery. What I have come to know has been revealed in my own intense healing journey which began back in 1999 (when I first met Teri!).  I have had long periods of significant fatigue, depression, and a host of other symptoms.  I’ve used my struggles as an experiment, trying out so many different healing modalities and approaches, working with all aspects of myself in intensive ways, while also having that self learning lead me to become a Naturopathic Physician.  I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge and healing experiences of myself and many others in the process.  What I spoke to in that quotation is really something that has come in time, like a veil slowly lifting, a popping out of a world view that I hadn’t even known I was immersed in.  And my experience is that my connection with a new ground of health just keeps deepening.  I’m still on my health journey and still learning every day.

You’ve recently expanded your healing practice to reach a wider audience via your free home-study course, teleseminars, and health communities.  What has been the most exciting part of this expansion?

In widening my reach in this way I seem to be more easily connecting with individuals who are ripe and ready for what I have to offer.  This allows me to be more authentic in my work, taking clients into a whole new territory that they haven’t experienced before, rather than trying to conform to the known models and perspectives.  I am deeply grateful for the ways in which the video chat and phone technologies have allowed me to create such an intimate space with individuals regardless of where they are in the world.  I know many of the people who connect with me in these ways have had difficulty finding health practitioners in their home communities who could hold them with the same kind of depth and wide embrace of all of what is contributing to their health journey.  It feels great to be able to offer my gifts to people who are really yearning for them!

Your upcoming teleseminar,
Nourishing the Whole Self, begins on March 11th.  What do you mostly deeply wish to offer participants in this course?

I wish to support individuals in feeling empowered to become their own expert in their health journey.  I wish for them to come to know themselves more intimately, to know what truly nourishes them physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I wish for them to feel confident in knowing how to adjust their course, make different choices, and shift the state of their experience when what they are doing does not truly optimize their vitality and life expression.  I wish for them to come away knowing when and how to ask for help, with greater discernment in sifting through the myriad of different opinions out there about how to be healthy.  Ultimately I am hoping that participants are able to discover a new ground of health that brings them ease, alignment, and aliveness, stepping out of the paradigms and patternings that keep them in conflict with themselves and struggling to be healthy.

Thank you Deb!


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Deb’s work, be sure to check out her website:  For those ready to leap into a deep journey into awakening to true health, consider joining Deb’s upcoming teleseminar, Nourishing Your Whole Self, which begins on Monday March 11th.

*** I am honored to be part of Deb's affiliate network, which means that should you sign up for her course through my link, I would receive a percentage of the tuition.  This directly supports me and my family.  I fully and wholly support any course for which I am an affiliate.

How to Store Gardening Seeds

A few weeks ago, my good friend, a fellow garden and mom of a toddler called to ask me about seed storage.  Turns out her toddler had “helped organize” and she was in need of a new solution.  We have used the same simple system for years, and it really works well for us, so I was happy to share.  Since I have a bit of a seed buying addiction, having a neat, well-organized way of storing seeds is really important; I don’t want to waste time sifting through stacks of packets!

Some things to consider when you’re storing seeds from year to year are 1) keeping the seeds cool, and 2) keeping them dry.  Seed germination rates will decrease over time, but paying attention to these two factors really helps.  Some people recommend storing seeds in a refrigerator, but who has that kind of space?  I would suggest a cool pantry or another space where temperatures will not fluctuate dramatically.

As for my system, drum roll please … we use a Rubbermaid under-the-bed storage box, and divide it up with cardboard and duct tape, like so:

Seed Storage 2

These containers are just the right height for to store an average sized seed packet in an upright position.  The container is divided into categories, for instance brassicas, solanaceae, beans, greens, cucurbits, flowers, alliums, etc.

Seed Storage 1

Voila!  It may not be the most glamorous system, but it sure works great!

How do you store and organize your seed collection? 
Share your experience in the comments below! 

*This post shared on The Homestead Barn Hop

Doing things that scare me

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has been on my mind a lot this week.  On Saturday, I did something that really scared me – I auditioned for a musical.  Those of you that have known me for a long time know that I adore performing in musicals, and have been doing it for years.  But the audition process never seems to get easier. Particularly when you’ve just moved to a new town and have no local reputation, and the directors don’t already know you and your abilities.

This audition was particularly scary for me because a) there was no dance audition, and b) I had to prepare a monologue. Yikes!!  Dance auditions are totally my comfort zone. Love them.  Plus, dancing is my strength, so it really boosts me up a notch on the audition scale.  Monologues, on the other hand, make me break out in a cold sweat.  Probably because I’ve never “trained” in theater, so I don’t really know how to deliver a monologue.  I mean, I can get online and read tips on “how to ace your audition,” but standing up in a big room and delivering a monologue when the director has just asked you to “be funny” can be kind of intimidating!

Nevertheless, I went, I sang, I monologued, and I did my best. Heck, I even made them laugh a bit.  Who knows if I will actually get the part, but I feel really good.  It’s such a great feeling to push yourself to your edge and to learn and grow from the experience.  And throughout the week of preparation, when my stomach was in knots and I was flitting around the house running lines under my breath and randomly breaking into song, my kids witnessed me feeling uncomfortable about something, preparing carefully for something that was important to me, and following through with actually DOING something scary.  It feels really good to model to my children some of the values that I try to communicate to them daily: “give it a try,”  “do your best.”

What kinds of scary things have you done lately?