Potato Fest 2014

by Beth Shepherd
( October 24th, 2014 )

There’s nothing like a potato fresh from the garden, or garbage bin! Yes, that’s right, we grow our spuds inside a plastic garbage can. if you want to learn how to do this yourself, you can read a post I wrote a few years ago, here.

Potatoes 2014

This year’s crop was not one of our finest, but that didn’t stop Little Bird from enjoying the annual fall “dumping.”  After a season of grown, the plants have died back which means it’s time to dump them out and scour the soil for potatoes (Note:You can reuse the soil in flower beds, just not in garden beds where other edibles are growing).

Two buckets of potatoes

Whoop. Whoop. There they go! This part always feels magical to me, because—unlike vegetables that grow above ground—you can’t see tubers growing, so you don’t know what kind of crop you’ve got until the can goes over.

Dumping the potatoes

We always dump our garbage bin onto a tarp. This way, it’s easy to sift through the soil, pick out the potatoes and then pour the soil back in the garbage bins for later use elsewhere in the garden.

Searching for potatoes

Found one! The potato treasure hunt is on.

Potatoes discovered

Into the bucket they go, one by one. I’ll brush them off and store them in a cool, dry place to harden them off a bit (assuming I have enough to do that, otherwise we just wash and eat them).

Potatoes in the bucket


And there goes potato harvest 2014. Until next spring…

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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The Great Pumpkin Hunt: Jubilee Farm

by Beth Shepherd
( October 23rd, 2014 )


Our search for the Great Pumpkin of 2014 took place at Jubilee Farm in Carnation. Ponies, pumpkins and SUNSHINE…what’s not to like about that? Last year our Halloween pumpkin search took place in the rain, but this past Sunday couldn’t have been more glorious.

Jubilee Farm is a real working farm, which is one of the reasons it’s my chosen spot to get our annual pumpkin. This bio-dynamic farm, located in scenic Snoqualmie Valley, has grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and offered meat, free from pesticides and herbicides, for nearly 20 years.  They also participate in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription program, where members of the public support the farm by committing to purchase shares of its produce for a season.

ubilee Farm in Carnation, WA

Our first stop was the pony ride. Five bucks got you a horse, and a person to walk you around for a few minutes. ‘Spice’ was our trusty steed. She was a little blonde Shetland pony and Little Bird was in heaven as the two of them (mama and the horse helper) sauntered in the sunshine.

Ponies at Jubilee Farm

Next up: hayride in a REAL tractor to…the pumpkin patch. You can tell a certain little someone was pretty excited about this part of our adventure. They were packing ‘em tight on the ride but we found a spot on a bale of hay and took a short ride to our reason for being here—picking our Halloween pumpkin!

Tractor ride

Excited about pumpkins

If you plant them, they will come. Fields of orange pumpkins glowed in the sunlight. How would we ever decide which pumpkin to take home?

Pumpkin patch

We searched and searched, clippers in hand, taking breaks for a snack here and a trip to the  ‘nature toilet’ there (as a guide we had in Tibet once called it), until we found THE ONE. Then it was back on the wagon to the barn, where we could wash, weigh and buy our pumpkin.

Dad and daughter hunt for pumpkins

But wait, what was that object we saw, flying through the sky? A pumpkin. Part of the daily routine at Jubilee during pumpkin season is the launching of  pumpkins from their home built trebuchet (catapult). Definitely an audience favorite!

Trebuchet or pumpkin catapult

In addition to ponies and pumpkins, guests can enjoy lunch and snacks (including cider and gelato!), try to find their way through the hay maze, check out the farm animals (I love the running ducks and sometimes there are BIG pigs), stroll around 30 beautiful acres of cropland. And best of all…it’s free (no entrance fee or charge for the hayrides).

Running ducks

There is still time to head on over to Carnation, get a pumpkin or three, and check out Jubilee Farm. The farm is open Saturdays and Sundays through October from 10-5. And the farm is about a whole lot more than pumpkins. Jubilee offers farm talks, harvest tours and more!

Take the road less traveled, Beth


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Photos from Gyumri

by Beth Shepherd
( October 17th, 2014 )

Photos from Gyumri, Armenia show her old world beauty. Not beautiful in the way one might describe Paris or Prague, but with her breathtaking metal downspouts, luminous tuff buildings, and plentiful sculptures, Gyumri has a beauty all her own. Even with the destruction wrought by the earthquake that devastated the region in 1988, fragments tell a story of what once was. Three years ago, I stood amidst it all. And one day I will see her again.

Wood door

Beautiful downspout

Bird on downspout

Gold doorknob

Gyumri downspout

Gyumri foggy morning

Gyumri fountain

Gyumri home museum

Gyumri laundry

Gyumri old wood home

Gyumri ornate door

pink doors green bench

Gyumri puddle relection

Gyumri remnants of an old building


Gyumri sculpture violin player

Gyumri sculpture woman and dove

sculpture woman

Gyumri wall mural

Heron on downspout



Stone wall

Tree and tuff stone in Gyumri

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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