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Homesteading at 5500 ft

woman with vegetables
garden with solar panels

Amber Gibbon is the homestead mama behind Rogue Mountain Moments, a 160 acre ranch nestled in the mountains of Southern Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.  The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.

child in garden
homestead in mountain

Hi Mamas! I’m Amber (aka Rogue Mountain Moments) and I’m going to be your overly chatty and long-winded hostess foe Homestead Mamas this weekend. I live with my hubby of 20 years, Zach, and our two daughters Fiadh and Esmé (ages 2 and 15) on a 160 acre ranch in the mountains of Southern Oregon. We also have a 21 year old son who’s currently breathing smoke down at Twentynine Palms, CA where he works as a Combat Photographer for the United States Marine Corps.


As I was saying, we live in the mountains and the ranch is perched at 5500 feet. That means short summers and long winters with lots of snow. We’re also completely off the grid and the road we live on is unmaintained by the county- so it’s up to us (erm, I mean Zach) to keep the 2.1 mile road plowed and accessible. Winters feel long, but we stay cozy tucked up in our cabin. On the other hand, summer on the mountain more than makes up for it.


Over the next couple of days, I’ll tell you about our micro-herd of beef cattle, our old gentlemen horses, the labs, my naughty chickens, the garden, some plant dying projects and whatever else pops up.

I was just out in the garden thinning out my little kale and spinach seedlings and thinking about what it’s like to grow a garden at 5500ft. It can be frustrating when it snows in June and the first frost cam come in September. I planted SIX different successions of basil this season, because each batch got nipped by the cold. My first dahlia bloom just opened yesterday and our hardly Alberta-bred squash plants are finally starting to bear a little fruit. This year we opted not to plant a single tomato and save our valuable space for the crops that DO grow well for us. We’ve found that root crops are best and that we can grow lettuce and greens all summer long- the cool nights prevent them from bolting too quickly.

We also opted to grow our garden in raised beds, which helps us protect the plants from rogue deer, naughty chickens and gophers. We scored about 6 big wooden pear packing boxes from a local orchard and the other 6 through a trade with a friend. They make perfect raised beds- with the added benefit that the sides are boldly emblazoned with the word “SABROSO” which means DELICIOUS and is the perfect declaration for a garden, IMO.

little girl in garden
Rogue Mountain Moments Garden

We fill those boxes with homemade dirt: manure, wood chips, food compost, chicken poop, grass clipping, old straw bedding and any other random organic material that finds its way into the pile. We flip it a couple times a year and by spring we have lovely new rich soil for the garden. These days we’re harvesting taters, onions and carrots, waiting for those darn dahlias to bloom and hoping the squash gets with the program. There’s fresh greens for supper and roots for the pot, so I’m certainly not complaining. But gosh darn if I don’t get a little jealous when I see your harvest pics glowing with stacks of brilliant tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, zinnias, eggplants and more!


Please join us by sharing, continuing the conversation below, and connecting with Amber at the following:

Rogue Mountain Moments Family


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