Saturday, August 17, 2019

Homesteading in Paradise July 2019 Highlights

We spent half of July in Germany to visit my homeland. If you ever wanted to see the most beautiful part of Germany, watch this movie! July on our homestead also saw exploding weeds and garden produce! Abundance!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Homesteading in Paradise June 2019 Highlights

Do you want to see what a real garden and orchard look like in the glory of summer? Well, here ya go: June is incredible on our homestead. Watch and be inspired!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Should I keep doing this? Please tell me.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have wondered where the heck I've been. I have posted every single week for many years, and now it has trickled to about a month.

I got a new job half a year ago - Feminine Power Enrollment Specialist and Global Ambassador. It's a mouthful, right?  What I do is meet on zoom (computer) with women from all over the world to coach them and sponsor them into the advanced and professional trainings Feminine Power offers. 

I've had my own transformational life coaching practice for eight years, and adding on this new position has taken up a lot of my time and energy. I LOVE it. I get to do what I'm naturally good at: connecting deeply with people, in this case women who want to self-actualize and unleash their gifts into the world.

So apart from changing the world, I'm also still growing a large garden. Raising kids. You know, just life. It's all stuff I love to do, and I also find myself struggling to find time for things I used to do, like blogging and creating movies and other content for you.

I'm gonna have to figure out what to do with this blog... Stop it alltogether? Ask you to become a Patron so I can be better supported to continue on with it?

I don't know. I would welcome your feedback and ideas if you want to leave them in the comments. Should I go on blogging? Why? What do you like about it? 

June has been filled with a huge amount of gardening, weeding and harvesting. We are getting so much food out of our garden, it's a delight.

With my new job, gardening is harder, but ever more important for my sanity: after holding deep emotional space for women for half the day, it feels good to get my hands in the dirt and ground myself in this gorgeous space.

And now that summer vacation is here, my kids help me in the garden. Sometimes more willingly than other times, but nonetheless... They gotta help. End of story.

We try to find as much time as possible to play in our gorgeous playground, the Pacific Northwest. Day trips to the ocean (or rather Puget Sound), an anniversary weekend excursion for Steve and me in Canada (hiking, biking and kayaking), journeys to the creeks and rivers in our neighborhood...

If it's outside, and if it involves physical activity, sign us up!

Whenever I get some quiet time, I like to sit and knit. Knitting, just like gardening, is my mental health strategy. Typical type A German that I am, I like combining relaxation with production: getting some practical garments out of the deal is right up my alley.

I finished a very quick-to-knit sweater, because it's bulky, fluffy yarn knit on big needles.

I also knitted another skirt, this time with different colors than the first one I made a couple of months ago.

I'll leave you with images from June: 

~ A Father's Day picture

~ Picking wild berries in the woods with friends

~ And our new chickens that a kind blog reader gifted us after some of our chickens were killed by ravens

PS: Please do give me feedback about what I should do with my blog. And if you want me to keep blogging, please consider becoming a Patron.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sniff with me, will ya?

If you've been wondering what we've been up to, here's what: sniffing flowers.  This time of year is a riot of blooms here on our homestead.  I can't keep up with taking pictures.  Here's a little collage, and I tell you I can't wait for technology that allows scratch and sniff on a computer screen, because you would faint in ecstasy:


On a less romantic note, but just as exciting: we heard wolves howling the other day.  I wanted to keep it a secret that we have wolves here, lest poachers get some dumb idea, but it's all over the news.  Wolves have entered the Western side of the North Cascades, and they are talking with each other.

I'm so excited about this!  Every day, I walk on trails that they tread on.  The only evidence of their existence is scat, a foot print in the snow months ago, yesterday's howling, and my dog Raka's hyper alert and slightly freaked out stance when we sit by the creek.

Poor thing: she has to contend with cougars, bears and now wolves.  Below is a little bear present we ran into the other day.  Can you see how worried Raka looks?  She takes her protect-my-people-and-the-foofy-dog-job very seriously.

The garden (and its slugs) are thriving.  We are eating lots of salad, greens, radishes, chives, asparagus, and soon peas.

It's so hard to keep up with the weeds this time of year, so I enlist my kids with garden work.  They wanna eat, they gotta work.

Especially now that I have teenagers with huge biceps.

I reward them with lots of food.  I can't count the number of times I made rhubarb cake and pie this spring.

I planned on freezing rhubarb, but we are using it so fast, I don't think anything will be left.

Talking of food: salmon berries are ripe, and I already ate some very, very early huckleberries in the forest.

It has felt like my life is all work, what with the garden, getting three kids to and fro to their events (including Kai with track meets), and my job as a Feminine Power Ambassador, enrollment specialist and coach.

So that we don't suffer with overwhelm (too much), we try to take time for play.  We went to the Methow Valley with friends over the weekend, where we got wickedly sun burnt and biked in 90 degree heat.  We also saw a bear.

The weekend before that, we rented an excavator and dug water lines for the new cabin, as well as built huge jumps for Luke's mountain biking.  That kid is so motivated, it's scary.  How far and high can one jump on a bike, and then add tricks like, "Look, Mom, a one-hander and one-footer!"  I'm worried that it's gonna be a no-header soon...

I will leave you with two lovely pictures, one of them my son and his lovely girlfriend at prom.  Am I allowed to freak out how fast my kids are growing up?  Well, rest assured: I am. Freaking out, that is.

How about you? How are you doing?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

This is true homesteading in the Pacific Northwest wilderness - Homesteading in Paradise May 2019 Highlights

I wish I could take you all by the hand and drag you around my yard, so you could shove your noses into all the blooming Old English roses and the delicious honey suckle in my yard.

I love this time of year.  Flowers galore!  Picking veggies from the garden!

I am going to write a blog post soon to show you pictures of all the beauty, but for now, why don't you watch my "Homesteading in Paradise May Highlights" movie.

It will show you the progression of our garden, from planting veggie starts to full on farm-to-table feasting. 

I have to warn you, though: It starts with a shocker.  And it ends with a shocker. Not for the faint of heart.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Two of my favorite rhubarb recipes: German Rhubarb Meringue Cake from my Grandma, and good old fashioned pie

Although I completely gave up eating refined white sugar six years ago, I made an exception this year when rhubarb season rolled around (hint: NOW!!!), because: duh! Rhubarb!

My kids go out in the garden and suck on the stalks raw (NEVER eat the leaves, you know that, right?).  The raw stalks are much too tart for me, so I transform them into the best German dessert that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.  

Since I'm full blooded German, you know this stuff is authentic. Let me first introduce you to my grandma's rhubarb meringue cake.  My mouth is watering as I write this, I swear to you.

German Rhubarb Meringue Cake



~ 600 grams rhubarb (equals 1 1/4 pounds, or equals 4 cups chopped)


~ 100 grams soft or melted butter (equals 1 stick)
~ 125 grams sugar (equals 3/4 cup)
~ pinch of salt
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 2 eggs
~ 150 grams flour (equals 1 1/2 cups)
~ 50 grams round almonds or ground pecans (equals 3/4 cup)
~ 2 teaspoons baking powder

~ some butter to butter pan
~ 25 grams sugar (equals 1/4 cup) to sprinkle over rhubarb


~ 3 egg whites
~ 150 grams sugar (equals 3/4 cup)

You need a 26 cm (10 inch or so) spring form pan.


Preheat oven to 175 degree Celsius (equals 350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Wash rhubarb, dry it off well, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

For the dough, combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Mix it with a hand mixer until the sugar is dissolved.

Add one egg at a time and mix them in each time.

Combine flour, ground nuts, and baking powder, and gradually mix it into the wet ingredients.

Put the dough into a buttered spring form pan.

Add the rhubarb pieces and then sprinkle them with the other 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake on the second lowest oven rack in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, beat the egg whites stiff, then slowly add the sugar and beat until you have a firm, glistening mass.

After 30 minutes baking, spread the egg white mixture meringue on the cake, and if you want peaks to form, kind of fluff it with a fork to make little peaks.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

Let cool inside the spring form pan.

Note that the picture immediately above has meringue that I overbeat. The picture above this one is perfect meringue, with little fluffed up peaks.  They both taste fine, they just look different.

Now for the pie recipe.  My oldest son LOVES this, so I usually make a whole one for just him.  I'm not kidding you.

Rhubarb pie


2 Pie Crusts:

~ 3 cups flour
~ pinch of salt
~ 8 Tablespoons cold butter cut into 1 inch pieces
~ 2/3 cup ice cold water or more

In a food processor: Pulse flour, salt and butter until small pebbles form (about 10 times). Slowly add water until dough comes together. Don't overmix. Divide this into 2 pieces and form into 2 disks (5 inch diameter). Put in freezer for 1/2 hour to chill, then roll it out.

You can also make pie crust by hand instead of using a machine.


~ 4 cups washed rhubarb, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
~ 1 1/3 cups sugar
~ 6 Tablespoons flour or corn starch
~ 1 Tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Put one pie crust into a buttered pie plate.

Combine sugar and flour or cornstarch. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of this onto the pie crust in the pie plate.

Put rhubarb on to of this and spread it out.

Sprinkle remaining sugar and flour mixture over it.

Dot this with small pieces of butter.

Cover this with the second crust and stab it with a fork to create holes for steam to escape.

Bake pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 40 or 45 minutes.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

No words

I don't really need words here, do I? The beauty speaks for itself, doesn't it?

But since I'm not one to swallow my words, here are some:

We've been soooo enjoying spring, with all the blossoming things around us, and the garden thriving, and walking barefoot.

I don't like wearing gloves or shoes when I dig in the soil to plant or weed. I love the feeling of dirt, although I have to admit that stepping on a slimy slug is not so great.

Anyway. At the end of the day, this is what my feet look like.  Also, my face looks tired, because it is. Working in the garden all day isn't as easy as it used to be 25 years ago...

These spring days are so full, so physical, and so welcome after a long, cold winter.  We love sitting at the end of the day, watching the kids frolic outside, helping with chores in the garden, or raking grass, or jumping on the trampoline.

Our friends gave us this trampoline a long time ago when their kids flew the nest.  We we put it over a big hole so it would be on the ground lest someone broke their neck falling off it.  We've gotten a lot of mileage out of that old thing.  The kids love it, and I like it mostly for stretching out on my back and staring up at the sky.

Talking of relaxing: Another favorite thing at the end of the day is sitting on the porch with a glass of our homemade Oregon Grape wine.

Two years ago, we picked 20 pounds of these wild berries in our wild forests and made them into wine, and oh my goodness, I need to tell you: this is the best wine I've ever tasted. Better than the store bought stuff, honestly.

Also, it has a bunch of medicinal properties, so I feel good about drinking it. Ahem.

If you want to try it, come to our Homesteading/Wilderness retreat in August, and you get some.

 Another fun thing this week: driving over the the Methow Valley, just over the North Cascade Mountain Pass on the East.  The road over the pass closes every winter and doesn't open again for six months, and this year it opened super early.

So off we went, because the mountain biking is good in the Methow, and one of our kids is mountain bike obsessed. Since he's homeschooled, we get to do these adventures in the middle of the week when the crowds are almost non-existent this time of year.

Heaven, I tell you. Heaven.

This guy didn't get to go. He was sick. Excuse me for publishing this photo of you with a fever. You're a good sport.

This guy did get to go. Lucky dude.

Become a patron!!!

If you like our blog, please become a patron. What the heck does that mean? As a patron, you give us as little as $1 a month (or as much as $20 a month) to show your support and get exclusive, patron-only content from us. You will get tutorials, recipes, inspiration, and support from us, the homesteading, wilderness and homeschooling experts! You can cancel anytime!

Popular Posts