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Happy homestead in West Seattle

The Jamison family cultivates a love of sustainable living at home and online



Kristina and Kane Jamison, along with their son, Ossian, practice sustainable living at their home in West Seattle.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

Think that city living and modern homesteading are mutually exclusive? Not according to Kane and Kristina Jamison. It all began in 2009, when Kane started a balcony garden, killing many plants along the way but also discovering a passion for home gardening. He went on to earn his permaculture design certificate through Seattle Tilth, and eventually founded the Nifty Homestead, an online resource where he, Kristina, and a small team of writers produce articles about all things “homesteading,” including gardening, beekeeping, raising animals, and sustainable energy and building. 

Today the couple continues their homesteading journey in a 1,150-square-foot Craftsman on a 1/7-acre lot in West Seattle with their 7-month-old son, Ossian. Since moving there in 2011, the Jamisons have undertaken numerous projects, inside and out. In the yard they grow, among other things, apples, cherries, grapes, cauliflower, goji berries, broccoli, onions and snap peas. Hundreds of hens and chicks populate a large succulent garden, and a bevy of actual chickens provides the family with fresh eggs. 

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

The Jamisons built what's known as an Earthbag wall to block noise from a nearby street.

One of their most ambitious projects was building a 120-foot-long Earthbag wall to block out noise from the nearby arterial road: This process entails stacking polypropylene bags filled with dirt (instead of sand) atop each other like large bricks, then covering the bags with cement stucco. The couple added a brick cap for a Southwestern feel. 

The Jamisons are excited about cultivating a love for sustainable living in Ossian and any future siblings. Though Ossian isn’t quite ready to start pulling weeds, his parents have high hopes for the future. “Harvesting fresh ingredients for dinner every day will be a big part of family chores,” says Kane. “We're interested in giving our kids a healthy relationship with nature and food, and a big part of that is understanding how food is grown. It is also a great way to teach kids that work and patience pay off.”

As for inside the house, Kane says they’re currently in the process of general updates. “Once that's complete, I think we'll be taking a break,” he says. “That will be close to seven years of big projects, and we're ready for some hammock time.”

niftyhomestead.com

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