About us

My name is Jenn.  My husband, Gene, and I live on a small city lot, just 38' x 116',  in Tacoma, Washington. Our "urban livestock" include a corgi named Rosemary and 6 hens hatched in 2008 and 2009.  In December 2011 we added our son, Kaelen, to our menagerie.  It's a full house!

Gene and I both work full-time.  I spent 4 years commuting 2+ hours daily by bus, during which my passion for a locavore lifestyle commenced.  In April 2010 I took a job just three miles from home, effectively reducing my commute by 90%.  I've spent my career in higher education, which I dearly love despite its quirks and politics.  My working so close to home has allowed us to get a dog and start a family.

Gene's passion is for performance vehicles, specifically electric cars and motorcycles.  He has helped develop a line of custom electric motorcycles.  Check them out - they're pretty sweet.

This blog is for people who live in a city, have jobs and full-time commitments, follow a budget, and want to support local agriculture.  Maybe you garden, maybe you don't.  I was raised in a family that always had gardens.  Gene lived in an apartment and never did. 

This blog is not written by people who live off-the-grid on 15 acres in rural America, raising 100% of their food and never seeing an office.  Gene and I are typical of many Americans: people who work regular jobs and have Vosges tastes but a Hershey's budget.

Now that we have a little one in our household, the blog will probably shift a little to include tidbits into our lifestyle of living sustainably and frugally with kids.  This isn't a "mommy blog" but it definitely will address those issues as we muddle through them.

Here's a little info about how our passions for local food got started.

Inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's non-fiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I decided that chickens would be cool to get, but never really thought we could do it. Gene saw an article in a magazine about urban chicken coops, and the decision was made. I bought 3 chicks, Gene dutifully built a coop, and we fell in love with the babies.

Three eventually came to mean ten (oops). We only buy eggs during the winter months when the girls are molting.  In fact, at one point we even sold eggs during the summer.  With a geriatric flock, we're struggling with what to do next.  It sounded great to say we were running a chicken retirement home when they were still reliable layers, but now...

Chickens definitely have downsides (such as eating everything, pooping indiscriminately, and digging) but we love them regardless.

Our wedding favorsIt's hard to remember why I started canning. I think it was also due to the Kingsolver book. My first jars were simple jams, then I moved to tomatoes.

An obsession took root and I've since put up hundreds of jars of jams, broth, pickles, pie fillings, vegetables, soups, salsas, and even lemon curd. It's so gratifying to go to my canning shelves and grab something that's homemade and preservative-free. 

When I was pregnant I canned about a dozen jars of chili and beef stew to eat during the hectic early months of parenthood.  It was nice to know that we had that heat-n-eat food available, and that we knew exactly what the ingredients were.

This picture is of the favors from our 2009 Labor Day wedding: homemade jams for everyone!

PhotobucketSomewhere along the line I read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. My house came with a neglected herb garden in the backyard. I eventually ripped it out and planted a kitchen garden, moving the herbs to pots and the front yard. The back garden had some great successes, like bumper crops of yellow squash one year, and some failed attempts such as the eggplant and peppers.

I eventually moved the veggie & herb gardens to the front yard. Why? Chickens live in the back yard and they just love edible plants! There's more sunlight out front and I'd like to think that the edible perennials proved more attractive than my failed drought-tolerant garden.

I have to admit that my gardens have become very neglected since Kaelen entered our lives.  I haven't grown any veggies since before I was pregnant, though I hope to start again in the spring of 2014.