At 5:24 pm last night, I looked outside, and it was completely dark. For most Americans, the onset of winter and Daylight Savings Time means that it gets dark outside in the early evening. For us, it means it gets dark outside […]


                          In the woods behind the house where I grew up (and where my parents still live), there is a single Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) tree. It looked so exotic and out of place in the dominantly Douglas fir forest. I remember wondering […]

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Henry built our little goat barn during the winter of 2006/2007. He got a truckload of free lumber ripped out of a house getting remodeled, and we spent days pulling nails out of the boards. The cedar siding and metal roofing we did actually buy at a discount, but the whole barn cost less than […]


I love pancakes. In fact, my whole family loves pancakes. A couple years ago, I started making them with the help of some standard recipe (I think The Book of Bread), but over time I kept tweaking, adding, and substituting ingredients until my standard recipe is unrecognizable from the original. These are the kind of […]


Red alder (Alnus rubra) is prolific in the Pacific Northwest. It tends to seed in early after disturbances, mature quickly, and get “overripe” (begin to decay ) when full-grown at about 60 years old. We had four good-sized alders that had started to rot. Four trees weren’t enough to make a full log-truck load, so […]