a slower week

We really haven’t done a lot in the past week and a half because the sun has been shining and we’ve really just wanted to bask in it. We even had a 69 degree day this week!! It’s been total t-shirt weather in February (except now it’s getting cold again and the rains are returning). That and I had an abundance of clients so didn’t have a lot of planting time.

Instead of my usual kick butt and plant at least three or four trees per day in addition to having clients and doing everything else, I’ve been reduced to a tree a day the past few days. I planted a moonglow pear (the white stone will remind me that it’s a moonglow)…

Then I planted the last nectarine. I was completely unaware that that area used to have a lovely meandering stone pathway so had to dig through about 6 inches of rock in order to reach soil. Once I was done sorting all the rock out and planting, I was done with tree planting for the day.

I did, however, get my purple tulips in the ground though last week, finally. They were already sprouting in a vase of water (they where an awesome mother’s day gift last year, a vase with living bulbs and flowering tulips). 

I was grateful I was able to save them to regrow this year. They’re going to look gorgeous next to the to heather plants I put in that area, under the western red cedar by my healing space.

This color! I’m pleased I still have photos of them.

Paul kicked butt as usual and got the whole front of the cabin done (meaning ready for new siding and trim in a couple of months). The whole thing was painted (because the sun hadn’t arrived yet) and later covered in tyvek. These colors remind me of the old house. I kind of want to do cedar shingles on the front only, and regular old style wood siding on the rest, painted green (or a milky coffee/new bark color?). Would that look dumb? We plan to get back in gear this week to get the rest of the floors done. Maybe. Our compost is coming early in the week and we need to start getting things planted, too. We’ll see how everything pans out but now that we’re past the super cold phase of the year, but getting the cabin done isn’t the highest priority anymore.

The yuzu, another apple and the strawberry tree got planted too, as well as an osage orange and a pear which I apparently didn’t photograph. (I’m probably one of very few people that really want to see pictures of every single tree but I know you get the picture. We are almost done though!)

The flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. Crocuses, daffodils, a magnolia tree I didn’t know we had, and the hellebores.

We pretty much took most of the day off yesterday and went to the creek. The part we now call Crystal Beach. Someone, once upon a time, planted daffodils all along the path there.

Along the way we met the most beautiful tree that I can’t believe we’ve never noticed before! It’s the most perfect climbing tree! See cammo Paul climbing down? It has a wonderful view of the farther waterfalls at Crystal Beach.

Those vines make the perfect footholds for getting up and down and I could sit on that branch for hours. (I’d probably have to because I’m much better at climbing up than down.)

Father down the path I found the most stunning crystal, complete with sparkly druzy, laying right on top of the leaves like a generous offering.

I love how they shimmer in the sunlight when wet.

And plenty of smaller beauties. Probably 50 in all, but I only take the ones that allow me to take them. I found so many more than that.

Carnelian, jasper, thompsonite, agate, zeolites, quartz… an abundance of loveliness. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, this entire stone area was under water, as was half the beach.

The sun came out right when we were about to leave, so we changed our minds and stayed awhile longer. It was blissful. 

Off to plant more trees and make another batch of homemade seedy flax crackers. I’m obsessed (with both).

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random musings and discoveries

It has come to my attention that of the eight families that live in this beautiful valley of ours, we have a Huck and two Finns, which couldn’t be more awesome. Chickens outnumber humans by about four to one — we haven’t gotten ours yet so that will increase exponentially (we’ll soon be starting with 18 but that will likely double). There are two recording studios and a stage for music festivals. Everyone joins together in the summers for potlucks and the swapping of fruit and veggie garden abundance, pies, jams, herbs, flowers, eggs, pickled miscellany and other yummies grown or made with love. All eight families are comprised of musicians, artists or both. 

These are just a sprinkling of the reasons why we immediately felt as if we were coming home the day we moved here, even before we were aware of it. We’re really excited to meet everyone that we haven’t yet met — they already sound like part of our extended tribe. ♡ 

We’re trying not to be such busy home bodies and finally ventured west to Elkton, the next town over. It’s cute, and the drive there is stunning.

In other random new, our red hawthorn tree count has now exceeded our ability to keep up. So many new babies! If anyone wants some berries for seeds to plant their own, let me know. We’ll be adding black and douglas hawthorns to the mix soon too. I think I ought to start a little side “thing” called Heartwood Nursery where I sell hawthorn, oak, western red cedar, doug fir and other native seedlings to spread the tree love (because I have so very much free time with all the rebuilding and remodling, my shamanic/healing practice, the farm, cooking for so many hours a day, my art, teaching shamanic and art workshops, greenhouse building and sales, community planning and creation, etc.). Oh how I love trees though!

Speaking of which, we have yet another addition to the tree family: a strawberry tree. Look up arbutus unedo to see better pictures. It’s an evergreen native to the Mediterranean that produces weirdly cool looking edible berries that kind of but not quite resemble strawberries. (They’re not remotely related to the strawberry family, however.) This was yet another amazing gift. We are in awe and the deepest of gratitude for the abundance of gifts we’ve received since moving here! I can’t wait to share overflowing baskets of fruit, veggies, herbs, eggs, berries and flowers with our neighbors and friends. 

With the crazy rains, we now have a pond in the lower field. The ducks and geese will surely be thrilled, though they don’t come until after the chickens. Finn wants to turn it into a permanent pond (as opposed to seasonal) and grow rice here. He’s such a cool kid.

Little did we know that our creek-turned-river would rise even more. We have some serious white water rapids along part of it. Fun!

This is the 2.5 to 3′ sloped rocky hill that goes to one of the larger beaches. I see no rock hounding for awhile…

more farm planning, tree planting and other goodness

I totally miscounted our trees in our last post… the real and true count of new food-bearing trees: 7 apples, 3 plums, 2 peaches, 2 nectarines, 2 cherries, 2 pears, 1 almond. I’ve got it down now. We’re well on our way on our plan of planting 100 trees within our first 5 years here. Between those, the dogwood, walnut and Japanese maple that hasn’t yet arrived (an amazing gift from a wonderful friend!), we’ve got 22 down and 78 to go. Other than meyers lemons, figs and apricots, most of the rest won’t be food bearing.

It’s funny how crooked my pictures always are. The photo above is actually pretty flat land. We had planned on planting all of the trees up by the existing pears and apple (as you can see) but changed our minds after hefting them all into place and rearranging them a few times. I decided that that’s where I want our personal pottager garden instead, up close to the house as it should be.

More hefting…

…until I remembered my awesome wagon (once I was almost done).

Now the bulk of the orchard will be on the other side of the blue tarp on the south and west sides of the upper field (three more still need to be taken over there but they’re heavy and I’m tired). The tarped area is our initial 3000 square foot market garden space where we started our garlic and will have an abundance of heirloom tomatoes, green and herbs planted. It still stuns me how tiny that area looks compared to to rest of our land, knowing that that’s almost the complete area of our old yard in Portland AND that it was technically considered to have a large lot.

Some of the apples were planted between the pears and existing gravenstein and the future chicken coop area, and the plums ate going adjacent to our neighbor’s plums (behind future cabin six) for happy cross pollination and meandering, non-linear placement. I think I’ll put an apple or a pear (or both) next to the chicken coop for a nice shady area, though they’ll be free ranging in the daylight hours, of course. 

With the coming of spring we’re certainly becoming busy bees. I mentioned yesterday that I wanted wooden posts for the chicken fencing instead of using ugly metal t-posts and poof, the husband procured them within a couple of hours. Here are a few of them. Finn and I have some serious prepwork to do before we start cutting them into proper lengths. (No trees were harmed in the collection process — all were downed in the forest or delivered via creek by the generous water spirits.)

And of course we can’t get through February without a greenhouse so that’s underway as well. Eventually we’ll be making affordable greenhouses and kits (etc) to sell in various styles and types: high tunnel/hoop houses, low tunnel, geodesic dome shaped greenhouses, walipinis and cold frames. We’ll likely add in worm farms, composters and other great farm/garden/homestead goodies eventually too… I married a man who likes to be creative and keep busy, so these will be super fun projects for both of us in addition to offering a but of additional income here and there.

Our new bathroom is going to be awesome!! It’s now caulked and primed (above), and the crazy blue color I picked out is in the walls (my camera is lame and can never adequately convey hues, but it most looks like the photos below)… 

We’re still doing a raw wood accent wall but for now it’s all blue. It’s going to look amazing once our cute pedestal sink and vintage towel racks and shelves are in, and the window and door frames and baseboards are installed… and the doors are painted and we get some knobs. Happiness!! The previous owner apparently had an aversion to knobs because there are none on any interior door, oddly. This step of completion means we can now shower for as long as we’d like and don’t have to worry about moisture and drywall. Bliss!

I originally color matched this color with a my blue ball jars to do the wee built in shelf in the kitchen this color but I’m thinking I may revisit that idea. It’s magical in the bathroom but possibly a bit too in-your-face for a vintage cabin kitchen. Anyway, I’ll do a proper unveiling of the bathroom once it’s fully complete. And once I’ve cleaned the shower. (Yikes!)

trails, a big window and a tiny orchard

We’ve been so carefree lately, enjoying the winter and slowing down. Hardly anything has progressed in the cabin and we’re totally okay with that. Winter is the time of quiet, relaxing and rejuvenation, and we’re growing quite adept at it.

We’ve spent a ton of time walking the trails we knew of…

…and discovering or creating new ones that didn’t previously exist to us.

We’ve spent a lot of time at the creek, in the forest and just wandering whilst planning our far-in-the-future cob guest houses, our bigger personal tiny cob house with rocket stove, the retreat meeting/community yurt, our complex of tree houses and other fun things (like a dock with floating platforms for meditation and watery naps).

We’ve also gotten a bit of work done too. A little bit at least. The texturing of the walls in the bathroom is done and looks freaking amazing (thanks to my freaking amazing husband), and are ready to prime and paint as soon as the last bits dry. We’ve been waiting a week for that, but we’re used to waiting. This is a bad photo so I’ll take another after we paint. Excited!

The rotten window frame was worse than we thought but was a much quicker process to fix than anticipated. The first photo is looking under the window to the front patio, through the missing wall. You just never know what can arise from removing bits of load bearing walls but again, awesome husband banged it out quickly and flawlessly. I think we’re doing the next one tomorrow. Or the day after. 

Our tree order was delivered today. Hello instant mini-orchard!! We got 3 honeycrisp, 3 granny smith and a liberty apple, two kinds of plums, a couple of pear varieties, two types of cherries, two kinds of nectarines and an almond tree for the guys. Lots of impending yummies! 

Most are potted trees so we have time to plant them, but six were bare root so that was our today and will also be our tomorrow project. More than likely, I’ll dig and plant while the husband remodels and repairs.

Here is a granny smith, right on the hill that used to be covered in scotch broom.

And here is a honeycrisp right up the hill from granny. They’re great companions, you know. Honeycrisps aren’t self-fertile so need a pollination partner, so granny to the rescue. They’re two of my all time favorites so definitely a perfect pairing in my eyes.

We added a nice rock border with the stones we dug up (this hill is pretty rocky in places), and I think it looks awesome! I’m sure I’ll have to enlarge it eventually but for now it’s perfect. I’ll be planting lavender, sage, rosemary and other aromatics on the hill to keep the deer away from the baby leaves and eventual fruit. They hate walking through “smelly plants” because it messes with their ability to scent preditors. Plus lavender et al are so much more lovely to look at than fencing. ♡

Tomorrow’s planting will be the four remaining bare root apples, and the almond which will go near the walnut that we started from a nut from the hundred year old tree at our old house. The rest will go near the existing gravenstein apple and two bartlet pears, making it a true little orchard. Next year we’ll add three meyer lemons, a couple of miniature kiwis (yep, they grow here), a hazel nut tree and then we’ll move back into expanding our berry varieties. Baby steps. (The picture above is a cherry tree budding at night.)

We need to get motivated and creative to get the greenhouse built within the next couple/few weeks. My dream greenhouse is $8k so totally not happening (it’s glass and not practical and honestly nothing I’d actually ever buy, don’t worry). We don’t need anything fancy but will hopefully have a little something put together for our veggie starts by mid-February at the very very latest. In the meantime, our garlic is growing like crazy! The picture above looks like a small piece of grass but it’s about a 4″ garlic top.

This is our new/current favorite place to relax after rock and crystal hunting. It’s so peaceful and lovely to watch the trees reflect upon the water, right across from the waterfalls. I don’t think this part of the creek even exists in summer. Such a treat! (As is the steelhead our neighbor caught, smoked and shared with us from just below this area.) As always, there’s so much to love and discover around here. 

sleeping in the cabin and other adventures

We haven’t done a blog post in 2 or 3 weeks but that’s because we haven’t done anything around here for 2 or 3 weeks. The husband was offered some work in Portland and then had to go out of town on a few various expeditions and now we have 8 days of company. So, no real progress in the cabin.

Well, a little. 

The bedroom is 100% insulated and drywalled, taped and mudded. We’ll be texturizing walls old lath and plaster style after our company leaves next week then priming and painting shortly thereafter. Since we have company (two adult male humans and a female wolf hybrid), and were trying to shove 5 people and 2 canines into half of a tiny house, the husb and I decided to sleep in the cabin. Above is my view out the window our first morning. (Actually, looking at the clock, I was clearly taking an afternoon company break.)

It’s kind of funny. The nights have been pretty cold so we turned the space heater on high about an hour before we came in, thinking it would be cold. Both space heaters are constantly on full blast in the main house and it’s not super warm. We about fainted when we came in the cabin bedroom. It was a sauna! Having the space heater on low for a couple hours before bed and then turning it off is plenty toasty. The difference is amazing beyond words.

The roof got finished, finally, too. That’s old news, but I hadn’t yet shared. We were missing part of the ridge cap and some rake edge pieces. I can’t really remember what they’re called so, sorry. But it’s done and that is awesome!

We realized after I had posted that picture where I claimed I took a cruddy crooked shot that the chimney *was* actually crooked. That’s all now fixed as well (that’s what happens when you work late into the night, after dark, on the roof wearing headlamps). We aren’t replacing the siding until spring but all colors have been picked, inside and out. That part is my job.

I’ll unveil the exterior colors in Spring once everything is done, but in the meantime this will be the living room wall color. (I’m a jerk and should have written down a photo credit from the above picture. I found it on Pinterest.) 

The kitchen will have white cabinets but I’m going to distress them with a ball jar blue color peeking out from underneath. The built-in shelves will be the ball jar blue. Since we’ll have so much extra, the bathroom will probably be that color as well. It will be one of those slap you in the face with happiness kind of colors.  after having to use so many boring neutral colors in our old house in order to sell it, we’re going a little crazy perhaps. But the beauty of paint is it can always be changed if we get tired of bright happy hues.

We’ve been adventuring as much as ever with the intermittent sun. My best and most exciting find was this arrowhead/projectile. The ironic part is I can spend hours rockhounding, combing every inch of the areas we like to go but on this particular day we were showing Paul’s Uncle and Cousin around the property. The creek was super high and there was only about a 1 foot by 3 foot tiny edge of beach with the high waters being so high so we were turning around to go back. I saw this poking up out of the dirt and had to jump down to get it. I about peed my pants with excitement. I’ve since found out that is about 2000 years old and likely made of either common opal or Oregon honey opal. It’s an extremely rare material for Native American projectiles, I’m told.

Showing the arrowhead first probably makes these less exciting but I was thrilled to find tangerine agate, carnelean and some pretty fantastic zeolite and possible thompsonite pieces.

The carnelian pure fire in the sun, and I’m going to have it made into a necklace.

The husb is the master of finding bones and teeth for me, and found this. It’s an elk tooth.

Here’s the top.

We also started collecting and cutting up next year’s firewood. Yesterday the guys cut up several loads of this size. Thank goodness for the riding lawn mower and cart!

In the process, another new path to the creek was made.

We still live in paradise! It’s crazy to think that no humans have probably been down in this little area for decades. It’s right next to a beaver den, and the gift of aged wood they had nibbled down for us and not used for whatever reason.

Our sweet dog Modoc has been enjoying the company of our new wolf friend Helja. He’s always thought he was a wolf and has carried the spirit of his wolf ancestors.

Helja is 3/4 wolf and an absolutely Majestic being. She was gentle and sweet and so very kind. We sure will miss her when everyone leaves next week! I’d love to have a wolf but I don’t know that that’s a good combination to have with my desired future 36 chickens, 6 ducks, 4 geese, 4 goats, 2 sheep and 2 donkeys. (My list keeps growing and the husb is not very ammused.) We’re actually meeting a new dog next week to potentially add to the family. He is a blue heeler and lab mix and ever so precious. Cross your fingers for us!

I hope you all had a wonderful Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas or whatever you celebrate. We’ve had a lovely break for the most part and will be getting back to things soon. We’ll hopefully have lots to share in then the next week or two.

Happy New Year from our home to yours!!

rising waters and pretty views

The past week was so busy with waiting (see previous post) and healing client appointments that it had been about five days since venturing out around the property. Today we had visitors so we got to walk around for a couple of hours. It was wonderful! 

These two photos were taken in roughly the same place. The first was from about 6 weeks ago when we had a lovely meandering creek. The second is the raging river that we will have for the late autum and winter months.

Here is another comparison… the top two being the left and right at the lower creek, and the bottom photo being what the area has become now after the rains. If I were a fisher or fish eater, I’d spend the rest of the day catching salmon. (I’m not really sure when salmon season is though, so maybe I wouldn’t catch any.) We have trout though too, and bass.

I finally got to meet our moss covered Yew tree during our walk. What a magical being! In Celtic tradition, the Yew is referred to as the tree of resurrection or the tree of eternity. It’s associated with Winter Solstice and was often used as protection from evil. 

I’m not kidding when I tell you there are so many magical trees on this property. ♡ Not just in type but in pairings and location, i.e. oak and hawthorn surrounding the original homes and property lines. I seriously wouldn’t have planted things any differently had I been the planter, except I’d add a few English Hawthorn among the Red Hawthorn (which I intend to do).

We walked up to the upper part of the creek near the waterfalls. These two photos are taken about seven weeks apart and in the same location except that the second is from behind the bramble because the space below isn’t accessible. 

This is the path we’d take if we were going to the place where we hunt for crystals and rocks. It’s now impassable, but we may be able to get down there from the road. That being said, it’s quite possibly underwater too. I imagine we will find so many wonderful treasures when the waters retreat back down!

We took our friends down to our secret love area where we had cleared of half a couple of months ago. This is the place with a huge open area, covered in woven branches and leaves, with winding, tangled branches around the edges in the forest floor.

I can’t wait to see how high the waters rise to decide if we should build a temporary seasonal hut or a tiny cob house.

It was such a lovely morning visiting with our friends. They just left to go drive up the coast and we are planting some things. It is stunningly sunny and warm today.

Oh!! I peeked at our garlic under it’s blanket of straw yesterday and it’s growing. I was joking that now we technically have a garlic farm. By the end of the day, with any luck, we will have both a garlic and blueberry farm. We still have 10 blueberry plants to get into the ground. Yum!!

Happy Green Friday! 😉

roof, rocks, recipe

Holy cow, Sunday was amazing! Paul, Brandon, Jake (and Finn for part of the day) pulled off the two old layers of roof on cabin one, replaced all of the rotten sheathing, did the flashing, completed the roof and tacked down the ridge cap before dark. Well, and into darkness while wearing headlamps, but the point is that they kicked massive butt!

We have a roof!! Paul had already cut and framed in the chimney support stuff through the attic crawl space so all that needs to be done now is the roof on the bedroom addition, finish attaching the ridge cap to both main cabin and addition, and install the chimney. Holy cow, we are so close! B is definitely one of the kings of the universe and is coming back on Saturday to help. We are so blessed to have such amazing friends!

We’ll be tending to the porch roof and adding all new gutters later. Originally we were going to go with a red roof and paint all of the cabins totally different bright colors kind of like a storybook lane. But at the last minute we decided maybe it would be better to blend in to nature and went with this sexy green roofing instead. 

We thought we would get the chimney finished and the wood stove fully installed and burned in by this weekend but… nope. I’m annoyed with Lowe’s (really their vendor — Lowe’s has actually been awesome). We had to special-order the chimney pipe which was supposed to be here on the 1st. No call on the 1st so they say it will be here on the 3rd. No call on the 3rd so they say it will be here on the 7th. I called today and I’m told it should be there by the 17th! Seriously!? No heat for another week and a half? Dang.

We got the water heater hooked back up last night though. We’d had heated water for maybe one week out of the past two months we’ve been here. Pure Bliss! I ordered a short shower curtain rod on Amazon and they sent us the wrong one. Oops! And I couldn’t find our shower curtain hooks but we made do with staples and duct tape. How wonderfully awesome hot showers are! I love our funky set-up. It makes me giggle. 

Jake stayed the night Saturday and we all took Sunday off. We usually take at least half the day off on Sundays but this time we decided we were going to do nothing but explore and enjoy each other’s company.

We went down to the creek on the side of the faery pools and much to our surprise, the water was quite a bit lower than the couple of weeks previous. The sun even came out for about twenty minutes. 

The guys ventured off while I was visiting with a tree and taking photos and Paul returned and said “you HAVE to come with me!”

We meandered through paths and bramble, climbed over fallen logs and duck-walked under others.

This was the first treasure I found before we even got “there”…

At first it looked like petrified muscle to me. I still really don’t know what it is but it’s beautiful. 

This majestic fallen oak marked the entrance to “the place”. 

Oh my goodness! A beach of amazing rocks, crystals, minerals and treasures such as tumbled glass and pieces of smooth antique china.

The three of us hunted and rock hounded until the sky opened up and soaked us to the bone.

We left with our pockets full of the most amazing finds!

I can’t wait to go back! I could seriously live there. Oh, right, we do live there. ♡ There is a whole huge second set of waterfalls as well but I was so obsessed with treasure hunting I forgot to take a picture. Don’t worry, we will definitely be going back within the next day or two.

Lastly, Finn wanted me to share a recipe. We have such a sweet boy! It’s not so much a recipe as it is a means of avoiding waste though. When he makes rice, there’s always WAY too much left over, and left over rice isn’t super tasty, at least plain.

1. Stir your leftover rice so it’s not stuck together in a big clump.

2. Whip a bunch of eggs and mix them together. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper… whatever you want. Grated cheese is awesome too.

3. Fry it in some organic olive or canola oil and butter until it’s all golden brown and yummy.

4. Add something to it to make it a tasty sandwich. Here we have two fried eggs, cheese and a whole bunch of sauteed kale for a good sized breakfast sandwich. 

The guys love it. I don’t really eat grains or carbs pretty much at all but these little rice cake patties are so good I always make myself at least a silver dollar sized one. It works awesome with leftover oatmeal too, with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, diced apple and dried cranberries. We make it topped with fresh foraged berries the first time.