Sorry the posting has been a little slow around here! Spring has me back in motion and my days have been filling up. Lots of changes around here! But I have seen two tutorials in the past week or so that I am in love with so I want to share them with you. If you make either please send me a picture! I’d love to see your work! The first is a great tutorial on how to build a pallet garden, which is absolutely perfect for small gardens and can really add some vertical interest to your green space.

For the complete tutorial click here to go to the great blog, Life on the Balcony.

The other tutorial was posted on Design Sponge last week by guest blogger Aura Scaringi, who lays out in really great detail with lots of pictures, how to build a string garden, or kokedama. This post has created a new obsession for me so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more about that art form soon! Have fun!


So I’m sharing this story with you via the facebook page of Pistil’s Nursery, who linked to Urban Gardens blog. And I love, love, love this living roof on city busses project by  Marco Antonio Castro Cosio. For the full article, go here. But I have to point out his inspiring dream of turning all the city busses in NY into rolling green scapes, which would create 35 ACRES of additional green space to the city.

I’m so excited to be finally getting to read the second half of Ashley Adams English’s Homemade Living Series, Keeping Bees and Home Dairy. The first half of the series were the books Canning & Preserving and Keeping Chickens, remember? I admire Ashley; her blog Small Measure is fantastic, she has an informative and fun regular column on Design Sponge, and she is all around a sweet generous person. I like that in an author!

What I love about her books is, well, everything. The design is great – from the deceptively simple covers, to the colors inside the books to the excellent photos. There is a consistency in these books that lends a supportive feel to the newbie embarking on bee keeping for the first time, or  to the city dweller about to make their first batch of ricotta cheese. There’s something about Ashley’s work that just makes you feel like she gets it. She gets how to present information so you actually feel like you can pull off whatever project you are reading about. The photos are clear, instructive and well styled – a hard triptych to find!

The books are the perfect blend of super nerd (and I say that with high regard) with a great and somehow not boring at all comprehensive history of beekeeping and dairy farming, and extremely practical salt of the earth type advice and instruction. If you just want to read about these topics you’ll be happy. And likewise if you are wanting to buy the book (here) and then immediately begin building hives or making your own yogurt that day, well you will be happy as well!  Each book in the series also has a bunch of recipes that are drool worthy in the back. Lovely. Another feature that I love is that each book has profiles of beekeepers or dairy makers scattered throughout, and their stories and advice are well worth reading. It’s hard for me to keep this review concise because I feel like these books are so dense and thoughtful that ultimately I would like to point out all the little details. But I’ll let you explore!

The series is published by Sterling Publishing and Lark Press, are hard cover and are extremely reasonable priced. They will be well used, I assure you.

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the ever so lovely and wise Dori Midnight. I feel honored to have received a guest post from her to share with you today. In lieu of her regular full moon letter she has sent the following letter to her West Coast friends.  It is reprinted here in full. I am hoping that Dori will continue to share her insights and adventures here at The Urban Field Guide. To visit her blog for further reading please go here. And please share this letter widely, the content is important and poignant.

Hi West coast friends,

We are living in some intense times- the earthquake and nuclear failings in Japan is just part of it. This is not my usual full moon letter (it’s not the full moon!), but a just little peep about things you can do to help support your body (and spirits) right now. As you’ve probably heard, there may be some radiation moving across the pacific in the next weeks heading towards the west coast from Japan. To keep going, be alive, and not shut down, we need courage, nourishment, and support- make a pot of soup! (and can I be a grandma for a minute and say if you haven’t made an emergency kit, please do?)

I will be posting more recipes and some herbal first aid/community healing basics on my blog this week.  If you have friends or family in Japan or Hawaii, you can pass this along to them too.


I’ve been really loving the LA Times Home & Garden section lately. They’ve had some great stories, and one of their latest about the West Adam’s Community Garden is no exception. The article highlights the work of artist Julie Burleigh in turning a vacant weedy troubled lot into a community oasis, complete with rabbits and worm boxes to provide resources to revitalize the neglected soil. For the whole piece please go here!

I’m not quite sure how I haven’t heard about the project post secret until now. Four years ago Frank Warren created an outlet for people to tell their secrets. He got the word out and invites people to send him their secrets on one side of a postcard. He shares them weekly on his blog, and has even put out a few books with the anonymous secrets he’s received. I’m still wanting to read more about the project, but thought I’d share some of the cards with you, so you too can have a new daily read.

My first Portland snow! Beautiful, big flakes covering the morning with a thick coat of sparkles. By 10am it was all gone. But I have pictures to prove it! I thought the ones below were particularly appropriate for The Urban Field Guide. Rain barrels, old cars, bicycle soup delivery carts, guerrilla knitting, tire swings and palm trees (yes, snow covered palms) all got gussied up this morning.