Return of the backyard homestead...

Remember once upon a time, several years ago, when our backyard looked like this?

Remember a cute little couple who spent hours upon hours there tending to their beautiful veggie garden?

Well, things have changed a little.  Here's what the backyard looked like in January...

...and now...


For the last few years we didn't grow as much as we could have, but we do have an excuse - we were sorta busy running a demanding small business and then raising a newborn.  Thankfully, that newborn is now a very active toddler who loves being outside, digging in the dirt.

What's never changed is our dream to have our own farm one day - not in the city, but just outside a small city (Nashville?) - where we grow delicious organic food and host farm dinners at a big rustic table on a patio with white twinkle lights and our children grow up frolicking freely in fields of flowers and horses and goats and chickens.  It's a wonderful, worthy dream, but if we cannot grow food in our small urban backyard in Dallas, we surely won't be able to grow it on 40 acres of land.  Anywhere.

So instead of waiting for a someday dream, we decided it was time to get dirt caked under our nails again.

Here's the grand master plan that Steven drew up for our backyard "homestead":

Much of our recent inspiration came after reading the incredibly fascinating book Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm (featured in the movies Food, Inc. and Food Matters).   Salatin sites, "As early as 1946, nearly 50 percent of all produce grown in America came out of backyard gardens."  A pretty shocking statistic, don't you think?  My mom was born in 1946.  That's not very long ago.

Somehow between the mid-40s and now, convenience began to trump wholesomeness, and growing your own food is mostly viewed as a "hobby" for people who "have time," not as a necessity.

It's not easy.  And I know it's not realistic for everyone to grow all their food in their own backyards these days.  But everyone can plant a few seeds and grow something.  Even if it's just some herbs in a few pots on an urban patio.

So, I wanted to give you a further glimpse into our garden this year.  It's far from perfect, with unrelenting grass sprouts and weeds threatening to overtake our food crops every single day.  Somedays I wish our backyard was an idyllic haven that pruned and weeded itself, but that's not life. We were created to tend the land God created, and I believe that there is a deep satisfaction in doing so.

And most of all, it's ours.  And it will bear food to eat and to share.  And that's something.

Wild cilantro

Lavender flower

Bees love lavender

Trusty red gardening Crocs Teensy salad greens

Red chard



Iris before blooming

Iris unfurling

Clematis vine // Summer squash plant

Persimmon treeTaking a breakWe've already harvested enough greens for a few simple salads, and like the Frances Mayes quote says, it's true. There is something special that happens when you eat something you grow. Maybe it's woven into our very being to be connected to the dirt in a way that sustains us.