Woodland Entertaining Mood Board

In theory, we could do this in the woods at our new home.

When we first moved here, I planned to create outdoor living areas throughout the property to use for different gatherings. That was, until I was hit with the “reality vs. expectation” of spending time outdoors.

The expectation was a beautiful, earthy, moody, woodland gathering vignette to be shared with friends enjoying wine and trendy naked cakes. The reality? Tick bites, swarming mosquitoes, and the desire to throw anything used or worn outdoors into a raging fire, to avoid bringing those pests indoors.

Maybe someday in the future, once we have figured out how to deal with those pests, we can do what I had envisioned. Perhaps that includes the purchase of thousands of quail, an army of bats, or a fire throwing drone (I’m kidding… maybe).


Until then, it remains a dream (more of a nightmare currently). Dreams can be shared though, so enjoy the mood board and if you have any realistic tick and mosquito elimination tricks, please let me know!

Missouri Organic Wineries

I originally intended this post to be a short list of organic Missouri vineyards and wineries. Silly me. Organic wines in Missouri seem to exist only in the magical world of rainbows and unicorns. Probably because of the high humidity and plentiful bugs we enjoy here.

I did find a handful of wineries that practice sustainable viticulture, though not organic. Those wineries are listed below:

Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery They use IPM, sheep, chickens and bats to minimize the need for synthetic controls.
Platte City, MO

Lambs and Vines Winery They spray fungicides only when needed. They use sheep instead of herbacides.
Diggins Township, MO

Mount Pleasant Estates They use IPM and focus on building quality soil to limit the need for pesticide use.
Augusta, MO

Riverwood Winery They do not use fungicides, but have sprayed herbicides between rows in the past. Per their website they are transitioning away from using herbicides.
Rushville, MO

While I was saddened to discover there are no organic wines available in my new home state, I did learn one important piece of information. When planting grapevines in our garden, I should stick with native varieties well adapted to our growing conditions. Norton it is!

Worthy mention: I came across a few articles from 2012 referencing an organic wine produced from grapes grown at Gascony Vineyards, but that wine doesn’t appear to be available currently.

Organic Farms and Orchards In Missouri

Awhile back I did a post about organic farms and orchards near Chicago, my old home town. Now that we are located in Missouri, it is time for a new list.

Organic Farms In Missouri

There weren’t many fully certified organic farms here in Missouri, so I have compiled this list to include farms that follow organic practices, but don’t carry the USDA certification.

Certified Organic:

Blue Heron Orchard Apples and Cider
Canton, MO
McKaskle Family Farm Corn and Rice (Online Only)
Braggadocio, MO
Earth Dance Farms Fruit and Vegetables, Farm School
Produce available at Ferguson Farmers Market
Ferguson, MO
Nature’s Organic Haven Elderberries (Online Only)
Hermann, MO

Not Certified Organic:

Purple Gate Farm Berries, Apples, Peaches, and Honey
Highlandville, MO
Brandywine Blueberry Farm Blueberries
Rolla, MO
Shady Meadows Farm Honeybees, Honey, and Blackberries
Jasper, MO
Restoration Farm Microgreens
Stover, MO
Flower Hill Farm Flowers
Beaufort, MO


Happy Hollow Farm
Jamestown, MO

Dairy and Eggs

Pasture Nectar Farm Grass Fed Raw Milk and Pasture Raised Eggs (Not Certified Organic)
Mount Vernon, MO
Martin Dairy 573-378-7120 Grass Fed Raw Milk and Pasture Raised Eggs (Not Certified Organic)
Barnett, MO
Be Whole Again Farm Grass Fed A2 Raw Milk and Pasture Raised Eggs (Not Certified Organic)
Excelsior Springs, MO
The Old Homestead Farm Pasture Raised Eggs (Not Certified Organic)
Washington, MO
Family Friendly Farm Grass Fed Raw Milk and Pasture Raised Eggs (Not Certified Organic)
Cape Girardeau, MO

Seeds and Plants (Not Certified Organic)

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Mansfield, MO

Farms in IL near St. Louis

McConauchie Manor Farm Raw Milk, Berries, and Honey (Not Certified Organic)
Carlyle, IL

Farms in KS near Kansas City

Chestnut Charlie’s Certified Organic Chestnuts
Lawrence, Kansas

I don’t eat meat, so I haven’t compiled the list to include meat products. For grass-fed meat, Eat Wild has done a phenomenal job compiling a map of Missouri farms.
You can visit their website here: Eat Wild’s Missouri Grass Fed Farm List And Map

A word of caution, I created this list as a shortlist for my own use later, so use this list at your own discretion and do your research. Make sure you contact the farm ahead of time to ensure they are open to visitors, still in business, and still farming organically, before you visit. Things seem to change quickly in the farming world, so better safe than sorry!

If you do notice a change in a farm’s status since this list was compiled (or if you know of a great one that I haven’t included), please let me know and I will update the list.

Happy Harvesting!

Landscaping Decision

garden pathway
Gravel or Sand?

As we continue with our projects around the house we have been contemplating finishing the garden pathways with either gravel or beach sand. One would be more formal and easier to keep clean, but the other would be fun to walk through on our way to the water below. Let us know your opinion in the comments!

Garden Progress – Spring 2019

Garden progress - before
Our Kitchen Garden – Before

Our kitchen garden area in its unimproved state was somewhat embarrassing and scary. Scary because of the bugs really, but that is a post in itself. The garden actually looks better in this winter photo than it did in person. The only thing that I had time to accomplish last season was the removal of weeds on our stone hillside and the addition of mulch and baby lavender plants in a few areas.

Garden progress - before drainage issues
Garden Drainage Issues

While our “waterfall” is beautiful, it currently flows down the stone hillside right next to the home’s foundation and washes a path across the yard taking everything it touches with it. Spring of 2019 has been a very rainy season, which has been both good and bad. Good, because we have had plenty of chances to troubleshoot potential drainage solutions. Bad, because having the front end of your car buried in gravel after the driveway washes out above it can be both annoying and expensive to fix. Particularly on a weekday morning. That is another full post in itself.

We are in the process of creating a splash pool to receive our seasonal “waterfall” and a dry creek to carry it across the yard in a controlled manner. Once the splash pool and dry creek have been completed, I can work my way up the hillside creating a new waterfall path and then we can regrade the driveway above it to direct the water to it’s new route.

garden planning
Our Garden Plan

I mulled over potential designs for several months before we finally took action. Originally, I wanted to do a traditional garden design with low hedge borders and a fountain in the center. Our property, however, did not lend itself to such a garden as both the hillside and shoreline are irregular in shape and beautiful in their own right. Since I would rather work with nature rather than fight it, we went with more of an organic design. In the photo above I had begun digging our new drainage trench and had reworked a few of the stone retaining walls for a more organic feel.

Garden progress - may 2019
Garden Progress – May 2019

Our native soil is a lovely mix of clay and rock, so to grow anything other than weeds we had to import a truckload of topsoil for the planting areas. At this point in the project we had just put our new topsoil in place.

Garden progress - june 2019
Garden Progress – June 2019

The above photo shows the current state of our garden. We have begun to add our garden plants that were grown from seedlings this spring (this was the first time I have ever succeeded at this) and have our irrigation in place. I have yet to cover the irrigation lines because we will be adding a few additional lines in the next few days for a new hedge along our property line and I still need them uncovered for troubleshooting purposes. Our waterfall pool is partially in place, but I need to finish the stonework along the sides and at the bottom yet. I also have a collection of ornamental plants that I still need to get into the ground. Honestly, I think our garden area looks worse now than when we started, but it is a work in progress and most things worth doing take time.

I will continue to post updates to the garden as we make additional progress and give you a sneak peek of the new hedge project once we have it in place. I hope you are all enjoying the last few days of spring!

Lavender Garden Inspiration

Although it still feels like winter, March is finally here. With it comes the relief of longer and warmer days and the transition from winter’s stillness to excitement of the spring and summer seasons. We have so many outdoor projects to do once the weather breaks, starting in our new kitchen garden. Lavender will play a huge part in the design of this new outdoor playground. I can’t wait to get started, but tonight we have more snow. For now, please enjoy our lavender inspiration board and hope for warm weather soon!

Late Winter Plans

As the latter part of our crazy home renovation journey unfolds, I am starting to do the design for my dream closet and our kitchen garden. With the “stressful” part of the renovation now over we can begin to share some of the before and afters and bring you along for the rest of the journey through the more fun projects we have planned. Stay tuned for new design posts coming in 2019 as these projects begin!

For now, enjoy my mood board for the garden projects that we are going to start once the weather breaks.

Thinking Ahead To Spring

Now that the holidays are over and January is already halfway gone, we are thinking ahead to spring and warmer weather. Our first task outdoors now that the exterior construction is complete will be our kitchen garden. We are STILL under construction indoors, but I can see a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Plans for Liskabora’s reopening are underway and I have a lot to share very soon! For now I will leave you with my inspiration board for coastal garden design. I will do a step by step of our actual garden as it begins to unfold.

Organic Oyster Mushroom Kit

Mushroom KitI picked up an organic mushroom growing kit from the people at Back to the Roots to see if we could grow our own oyster mushrooms at home. Guess what, it worked! It will be interesting to see how many harvests we can get.



Overwintered Bell Peppers

Overwintered Bell PeppersI wasn’t sure how our experiment with overwintering bell peppers would end, especially toward the end of spring when the pepper plants looked very unhappy. Once the risk for frost was over, we transferred the living plants to new pots and hoped for the best. A few months later and we have peppers! This experiment was a success!

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