Tag: garden

Fruit extravaganza!

Hey everyone! I took a break from blogging this summer, but now I’m back!

Let’s kick off with this great event called the “All About Fruit Show.” It happened today at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

If you ever wondered what a particular variety of apple tastes like, this show is your place to find out. They had over 600 different types to sample! It was overwhelming, but I did come away with a list of 10 that I loved.


Beyond apples, I also got to try my first pawpaw. Did you know they are native to North America? There was also seaberry juice, a whole table of hardy kiwi varieties, quince, pears, and more!

I highly recommend attending! Keep an eye out around this time of year in 2016 for your chance.

Here’s the hardy kiwi table.


And the grapes! I loved a dark purple variety called “Jupiter.” It tasted like a Concord, but it was seedless!


beekeeping in Portland

There are quite a number of Portland resources if you are interested in beekeeping. This is an overview, in other posts I may dive in deeper to particular aspects.

Portland Urban Beekeepers is a group that meets monthly on the first Wednesday of every month (logo above.) They are a great source and wonderful place to start. They also have a Facebook group.

Here is a link to the City of Portland rules and regulations to obtain a permit for keeping bees in the city. This is important to consider. In our urban areas you must get all neighbors within 150 feet of your property line to sign a petition, plus take into account some other considerations for their setup.

Great article by Neighborhood Notes on beekeeping in Portland.

The people at Bridgetown Bees are working on a noble project to breed queens that can overwinter better in Portland.

Bee Thinking makes gorgeous cedar hives. They ship worldwide and happen to be headquartered in Portland.

Ruhl Bee Supply. I haven’t personally been to this store, but it seems cool from the site.

Queen of the Sun is an awesome documentary on the plight of bees in today’s world. One of the directors, Jon Betz, lives in Portland. There’s also a short segment in the film that takes place here. Watch the trailer below.

This last link is not Portland specific, but it is interesting information on apicentric beekeeping. Basically, the idea with this is a hive that is best for bees, not centered around honey production for humans.

I have a hive and lots of supplies, but no bees yet. I’m hoping to start beekeeping in the Spring of 2015. In the meantime, I am learning everything I can!

drip irrigation

Gardening opened up for me when I realized how important a steady, reliable supply of water is to plants. Even with the best intentions and lots of time invested standing over my garden with a hose, they didn’t flourish until I finally installed drip irrigation lines. Not only does it make watering relatively hands-off (after initial setup,) but it is also much more environmentally friendly due to increased efficiency.

I purchased my system components from Home Depot. Any gardening store or large hardware store should carry what you need.

Here are a few really great links to get you started.

Thompson and Morgan (the above photo is from this site)

Irrigation Tutorials (I especially like their diagram of the backflow setup)

Earth Easy (I started with soaker hoses in some places and ended up replacing them all with either drips or sprinklers. I think soakers work well if you have a dedicated water source, but not if you are trying to use them in combination with other types of attachments.)

My garden is flourishing this year with the new system! (photo above)





tiny little door

On a broker’s tour today we saw a beautiful home with a very special detail. We first noticed a tiny little door to the left off of the main bedroom. (Incidentally, I also quite appreciated their shelf with a pillow on it, which I can only imagine is for a cat?) What we found through the door was a crawlspace that had been turned into a sitting meditation room. I love that you have to crawl in on hands and knees… what a great way to bring you into the moment. The rest of the home was beautiful as well. It just felt right.

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chicken chairs



I raise backyard chickens and recently decided to solve a problem with a decorative solution. I had chairs out in the run so that my partner and I could sit back there to hang out from time to time. We love watching their adorable antics. However, the chickens would poop on the chairs way too much. Not cute.

So, I picked up some cheap second hand folding chairs. This way we can fold them when we are not there. I thought, why not add a little chicken silhouette to match the doors of the run? I printed out a guide-image, penciled in a drawing, and then painted free-hand with outdoor paint. I think they turned out great!

As a friend from the Bay Area pointed out, I “put a bird on it,” Portlandia-style. (Shhh — it’s really a documentary!)



I have a cherry tree and an apple tree in my back yard. Both were planted one year ago, so this is the first time that I am training limbs outward to add a level of branches to the espalier. For those of you who don’t know, espalier is the fancy French word for a tree that has been grown flat against a surface. There are quite a number of possible shapes, mine are both simple horizontal designs.

During Spring, I clipped back the main stems just above where I was hoping to get branches. When you do this, the three leaves under where you cut will sprout branches. It was something of a leap of faith, but it worked! However, the new branches grew upward in no particular order (as you can see in the before images.)

I started with the cherry tree. Since there were four new branches, I trimmed one out. Then, I installed a new support cord and tied down the branches that will go out in both directions to be the base of the new level. At the moment they are still somewhat far from the guide, but I will train them closer to the cord over time.

It’s also important to clip out any branches that are growing straight up, interfering with the horizontal branches. I usually leave two or three leaves for a bushy effect. Check out the following diagram.

If you do this every year, you should get a chance to add another row to your espalier each time!