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Piston Alley Homestead

Piston Alley Homestead

Note: These photos were taken when the wildfires on the West Coast, Wyoming and parts of Colorado were very serious. The smoke had clouded the skies so heavily that we could stare directly at the sun around dusk. It had a dramatic effect on the light, and lasted about 1 week.


When we found our house on Craigslist, we were intrigued by the fact that it came with a chicken coop. We'd known friends with chickens, but had no idea what it entailed. Adjacent to the coop, was a 20 x 15 garden lot with a fire pit in the middle.

I had grown up with my parents spending hours in their vegetable garden, but I hadn't done much growing on my own. Well, we dove in head first to what turned out to be a true "chaos garden" at it's best.

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I spent about $60 on seeds, organic seedling beds, a watering can, and some cute bronze garden signs. I traded seeds with my friends and had what I thought to be an "epic" selection of vegetables. After reading as much as I could, and consulting my garden gurus (Dad and Sarah) I became a sprout addict. I watched my little plants grow from seeds to 1 inch tall within the span of a week.

Then, I took a vacation.

And all 50 plants died.

So I went back to the garden store and spent another $17. This time, I wasn't so sweet to my plants. I made them stand out in the cold to harden up. I didn't water them incessantly. I didn't stare at them, or sing to them, or talk to them....

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And I guess it worked! Over the next few weeks, I grew 17 plants. I finally put them in the soil right after mother's day and our last snowfall. And just when I thought I had the system figured out, another surprise. Things started to grow - but not just the things I had planted.

We had alien-looking tomatillo plants coming from all angles, and I was harvesting bushels of Nightshade. There were onions, lettuce, and lots of weeds.

Over the next few months, I watched some plants die, some bloom, and some get hollowed out by bugs. But I fully learned to love my "Chaos Garden." It's completely unpredictable, and gives me a peaceful task that allows me to nurture something that will give back. It is also great to know where the snacks for our chickens come from. (Everyday after work I come home and me, Red and Lola eat cherry tomatoes together).

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We take our omelettes very seriously these days. With fresh [free range, GMO free, organic, farm-raised, grain-fed, classically trained, ivy league, pure bred, virgin - actually, royalty-free] eggs in the house, we knew we had to keep the omelette game strong.

My go-to drunk food used to be D.P. Dough calzones, mozzarella sticks, and a gallon of hummus. But now, my drunk ass cooks up homegrown zucchini, sautéed with basil and coconut oil. With a little Tony Chachere's creole seasoning. Drop in two eggs. Cut up a free tomato. And you have the freshest drunk food your stomach will ever hold.

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Rider Profile: Sarah VanTassel

Rider Profile: Sarah VanTassel

Peaks to Plains

Peaks to Plains