I Have Big Big News!

has some.pngHi there!

You might have noticed that I have been missing in action for a few weeks now.  OK, it’s been more like a month at this point.  But I’ve been working on something pretty big (in-between working on the garden and sowing all the seeds), and I think I’m finally ready to share it with you all!

Nope, I’m not pregnant.  That ship hath sailed.

Nope, we’re not moving.  We’re here at the farm to stay.

Nope, no new dogs, and no other new animals – yet.

The big news is … I’ve made a new website!


HomeandHarrow teaser imageI’ve been working like a maniac behind the scenes, trying to learn coding, SEO, analytics and figuring out everything else that comes with managing an income-earning, self-hosted website.  I still have a lot (so much!) to do, but my hope is that you all will come with me and follow the journey from there.

Now, I know some of you (yeah, I’m talking about you, Jasper!) are probably wondering why I made a whole new website – a whole new brand – instead of just taking Sprout & Sprig to a new platform and converting it into a self-hosted site.  And the answer is simply that Sprout & Sprig started to feel confining.  Like I had painted myself into a very narrow niche.  Sprout & Sprig is a gardening blog, and I want to open my focus and talk about more than just gardening.

I want to write to and build a community of like-minded people; people who care about growing and eating good food, raising animals with compassion, supporting community, natural self and home care, and fostering a deeper, more sustainable and mindful connection with the Earth.

hh 2.pngSo, I started Home & Harrow. I tossed around a lot of name ideas, but ultimately settled on this one.  Home is where you live, and harrow simply means to prepare a field for planting.  I think it pretty much covers everything, from the fields to the farmhouse or the patio to the apartment.  Living well, wherever you are.

Our life journey is all about change, and so I’m embracing my evolution to this space.  My most fervent hope is that what I produce here, from my real-life homesteading dreams and travails, to my harvest recipes and natural home care, will inspire others in their own lives.  Will inspire you.

So please come, take look around, and subscribe if you like it.  I’ll be re-following all of you in the coming days, too.  And please give me any feedback you have.  It would mean a lot to me!

Yay for new adventures!



Snow, Day Two

IMG_2739 (1)Those of you who live in colder parts of the country (or the world) will probably be chuckling under your breath at our “snow.”  There is maybe an inch or two of snow on the ground.  It’s supposed to snow a little more tonight, but I fully expect it all to melt away by tomorrow or the next day.  Knowing that, it’s much easier to appreciate how beautiful it is in the meantime.

IMG_2738Look at the farmhouse in the snow!  Sometimes I still can’t believe that it’s done and we’re here.  It’s so beautiful (although, to be honest, I’m not a fan of the green color on the house and I am trying my hardest to convince Jasper that we need to repaint it RED this summer)!

IMG_2865I was just pruning these raspberries and marionberries!  There were little green buds on them!  I hope they’ll still be there when this melts because I was so looking forward to eating fresh berries this summer.

IMG_2789The girls, of course, are in heaven.  Tromping around, sledding, building snowmen.  Enjoying their days off from school (yes, they cancelled school for this!).

IMG_2841Even Jasper’s been getting in on the action.  And thank goodness for that, because he’s much better at playing in the snow than I am.

IMG_2745I would rather be right here during this brief, snowy interlude.  In fact, I think that’s what I’ll do.

Stay safe out there, fellow Pacific Northwesterners.  And to the rest of you: please don’t laugh at us too hard!

It’s Still Winter

pexels-photo-371574.jpegAll month there has been a decidedly spring-like feeling in the air.

Above-average temperatures.  Growth.  Glorious sunshine!

I pruned the raspberries and the marionberries; I started getting some of the garden out from under cover and ready for planting next month.  I started my seeds indoors; I even planted a grapevine in the greenhouse!

Today it’s snowing.

I think I won’t be planting my peas until March this year.  Just to be on the safe side.

Fickle, fickle February.

Rainy Days, Again

IMG_2426.JPGWriting about the unseasonably warm weather we enjoyed for a few days last week certainly seems to have jinxed it.  The rains came back with a vengeance.  They always do though, this time of year.

And I think I’m going to be OK with it (as long as it stops, to some degree, by spring).  Rains, of course, mean rainbows and feeling snug and secure in our new home, which is neither damp nor cold.  After last year’s temporary quarters in a house that was constantly both of those things, in a year that broke records for being rainy and awful, our state of accommodation this year leaves so much to be grateful for.

IMG_2421There’s still so much to do out in the yard, but in the face of all that rain I’m staying inside.  I’ve got bread to bake and laundry to do.

In all honestly, I’ll probably spend a good amount of time right here at the kitchen table, gazing outside.  Trying to figure out where I want to plant the vegetables in the garden come spring.  Appreciating the form of that graceful old apple tree.  Hoping that sooner or later we can find a spot to store the ladders and all the wood that Jasper wanted to save, and to get rid of the two piles of heaped up metal.  Wondering how much work it’s going to be to remove that old gravel driveway.

It’s not supposed to stop raining anytime soon, so I think I’ll be here for awhile.  That’s okay.  My feet are by the heater, and my thoughts are full of spring.

New Year, New Farm Goals

IMG_1942.jpg2017 was the year we bought the farm.

It was also the year we destroyed and subsequently rebuilt a house (we hired somebody) and upgraded our septic system (we did it ourselves!).  It was the year we took our first big family vacation (to the Redwoods and Disneyland) and bought our first LGD, Rowan.  It was the year we all saw our first solar eclipse and the year that both of my girls went to school full-time.

But it was not the year we accomplished a single one of our other goalsWhomp whomp.

Thank goodness for new years and fresh starts!

Una by fence.jpgMy plan is to write a whole post on each of these goals throughout the year, to go into more detail about the hows and the whys and the progress (if any) that we’re making.  Hopefully, now that we actually live out here we can get more done, and already I see that we’re making little inroads on some of these!  They’re all really pretty simple, but to check any of them off the list as finished would go a long way toward fixing up this old farm.  So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2018:

  • Rent a dumpster (again) and get rid of the remaining junk
  • Build a duck house and yard
  • Acquire some ducklings
  • Paint and shingle the chicken coop
  • Build raised beds and cold frames for year-round salad greens
  • Build and plant a strawberry patch
  • Transplant raspberry canes to a permanent raised bed
  • Prune fruit trees
  • Build a better garden fence
  • Expand garden
  • Clean out the garden shed
  • Clean out the greenhouse
  • Beautify backyard
  • Landscape around house
  • Fence in the lower field
  • Paint, clean out and fix up the wood shop (or, as we call it at present, the ugly old garage down by the road)
  • Cut down blackberries and miscreant alders
  • Begin to build perimeter fence
  • Fix or replace the tractor

IMG_2200I’m so excited for this year!  Excited to finally be in our house, living here on the most beautiful forty acres I could imagine.

Life is good, you guys, and I think 2018 is going to be good, too.  Happy New Year.

Happy Winter Days

IMG_2120The solstice passed this week, and we are finally, officially, in winter.

Although, really, it’s felt like winter for months now.

Living in what amounts to a temperate rain forest, one doesn’t really get seasons as it were.  One gets mild fluctuations.  In September or October it gets a little cooler than it used to be and it rains a little more, and in May or June it gets a little warmer and drier again.  That’s about it.

The morning of the solstice surprised us all though, and we woke up to temperatures  below freezing and everything brilliantly, dazzlingly crusted over with ice!

IMG_1974The girls, who have absolutely no idea what real snow is, thought it was wonderful.  We were having a White Christmas for sure!  They even threw some frosty clumps of grass at me and claimed we were having a snowball fight.  I just went with it, because that’s what you have to do here.  Sometimes frosty or icy is all you get.

And it was a good thing we enjoyed it, because the next day we were back to normal.  But it hasn’t been very rainy this month at all, so for that I am extremely thankful.

In other winter news, our first Christmas on the farm is only a couple of days away now and we’ve been busy making it feel very festive inside the farmhouse.  We’ve gathered greenery and put up the tree and strung lights and made treats and listened to more Christmas songs than is probably good for a person.  But we are happy.  We are excited.  Christmas doesn’t feel like a chore this year!

Instead it feels, rightly, like something we’ve waited a very long time for, indeed.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.  It means so much knowing that you’re out there cheering us on and following along on all the adventures we’ve had so far, and all those to come.

Cheers to a wonderful new year, a happy winter and a merry Christmas to you all!

From the Farmhouse

IMG_1810.jpgQuiet mornings drinking coffee at the kitchen table, watching the chickens feud with the stellar jays outside.

Hands, floured to the elbow, kneading bread dough.

The crunch of boots in the leaves, walking the paths of our woods.

Tucked in close to the wood stove in the evenings, book in hand.

The last two months have felt like such a dream in so many ways.  We moved into the farm house and it immediately felt like home.  So many people were worried that we would feel unmoored and lonesome out here at the edge of the county, in the middle of nowhere as they put it, but that hasn’t been the case.  Jasper and I are a bit hermitish in our own ways, and being out here is calming to our souls.  The neighbors are wonderful and warm and kind, but they’re not too close and there’s not too many.  There are things to do, to keep ourselves busy; there are things to plan for and dream about; there are things to watch, and there are places to wander.

IMG_2012Jasper and I actually toyed with the idea of not hooking up to the internet.  We’ve enjoyed our disconnect, and our girls have thrived without the siren song of Netflix.  But then, I missed my blog.  I missed being able to email people and check on utility accounts.  I missed looking for interesting recipes to bookmark and try out, and we both missed the ability to research things online, especially things pertaining to homesteading or smallholding or whatever this is.  Because sometimes – often – we don’t know what the heck we’re doing, and the internet has been a lifesaver.

And so here we are, connected again.