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…

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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!!

lazing on a sunday afternoon 

Just kidding. We don’t “laze”. But if cabin one is done by thanksgiving as we’re shooting for, we’re sooo taking a whole week off.

Since our last post we got the entire South wall down to studs.

We repaired this nonsense where they had removed supports to run the old stove pipe through the wall.

Paul was so quick with that, coupled with the impending rain, I didn’t have time to get any interim photos.

The entire new wall went up with 2000+ nails hand pounded (here’s the inside view). I need to buy him a freaking nail gun and air compressor! I helped, but he did 90% of the pounding. I’m weak sauce in comparison and he goes twice as fast as I do.

And the whole thing was covered in black plastic because we had a half day notice of the freaky storm and no time to get tyvek. This was all Wednesday. Fourteen hours of butt kicking work. We planned to do the top/attic area too but didn’t get that far with the extra amount of support beans and framing pieces that needed to be replaced.

But there’s no more stuff like this in the walls. Or at least that wall. We’ll be starting in on the next wall tomorrow. 

Thursday was stormy and super windy, impossible to do much outside so we picked up our cute wood stove and ran errands. Friday was a guy trip to Portland for concrete supplies, banking and New Season’s Market goodies so not much accomplished around here, except I made an awesome pot roast while they were gone.

We ended up starting in on the new roof yesterday after all. Our amazing friend Brandon, who is the roofer, came down from Portland to help and our neighbor came to help as well. So much of the sheathing was rotten and needed to be replaced but the whole thing got fixed and felted before being covered in a tarp. We will be finishing it next weekend (and probably the weekend after) along with the roof of the main part of the cabin. Yay!!

I should have taken pictures of the backside because it was 98% rotten and got fully replaced.

If anyone wants any Greater Saint John’s Wort in the spring, let me know (a bit different than common St John’s Wort but still medicinal in a slightly different ratio). I dug up about ten square feet this week and have at least a hundred more. I’d like to keep one smaller patch and replace the rest. It looks stunning in the autumn when the flowers change, but we have just too much.

Today, the new range arrived!! We put it in cabin five so we can start using it immediately but as soon as cabin one is done it will live over there until cabin five is done late next year, then it will come back. The main house will have all the pretty black and stainless stuff and the first cabin will get the cute white stove and fridge that came with the property. The 1970s puke yellow stove goes in the workshop for animal glue (bow making) and wax melting/candle making and such.

Going from a camp stove to one functional and one semi functional burner was kind of awesome, but going from that 1970s junker stove with no oven to this is going to be pure bliss! I need to go shopping tomorrow to get all of the ingredients to make our neighbors chocolate chip cookies. And brownies. Look at all those burners! And it has a freaking convection oven! It’s like pure cooking paradise around here (it’s only been here for about 17 minutes so I haven’t actually gotten to use it yet, but I’ll be cooking something tasty within the next hour). We seriously lucked out because it was a $1000 stove that we got for almost half price because Lowe’s offers price matching and Best Buy was having a massive Columbus sale (or “Columb-ass” as our brilliant child says).

It’s still pretty rainy here although we’ve had about a 10-minute pocket of sun this afternoon in which I danced around in the mud and rays. I’m still making the husb take the rest of the day off. Hauling out the old stove, cleaning behind and under it, rewiring everything for the new stove and getting all of that hooked up is plenty for one day after such a crazy week. He forgets to take time off, nutty Virgo guy. I’m great at reminding him to relax and enjoy this stunning beauty that surrounds us and just “be”.

It’s been lovely to watch the waters rise and the creek swell into the river it will become in winter.

This little tributary off the main creek is the same place as the photo above it (though a few feet farther back), taken about seven weeks apart.

I’ve been meaning to take a photo in the same place every couple of weeks to watch the color changes and finally remembered to do so today. I’ll keep it up and share the transition with you. So pretty!!

Happy Sunday! I’m off to cook. ♡

the blessings of neighbors and friends

I seriously don’t believe we could have been blessed with more amazing neighbors. 

This is a shower, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in two weeks. Creek bathing (with Dr Bronners soap) and stove-warmed soup-pot sponge baths have been our cleansing methods since arriving at the farm.

This warm-seated toilet and shower/tub are off their back porch. The “outside” bathroom. Bliss!! We were invited to use it anytime. It was hot and wonderful and such a gift! Skip a real shower for two weeks and you’ll understand. 

The bathroom has the sweetest door and iron slide lock… and it has inspired our future outdoor bathroom (but first we’ll have an indoor bathroom, of course).

Not only are we gifted with bathroom usage, both neighbors are always gifting us with an abundance of hot cooked meals, grapes, fresh laid chicken eggs, made this morning grape juice, home made hemp and coconut oil salve… the list goes on. We cannot wait until we’re more settled and established and can be more reciprocative.

And then there are our friends who come down from Portland to hang out, share meals, camp with us and help with general chored like limbing the western red cedar that was touching the house and stacking the wood for future camp fires.

Our friend Jake was here for three days and helped gut the last bits of cabin one, and stack stuff. ♡ Wood and stones. Dump stuff. He’s got mad skills.

Love our neighbors and friends! 

My mom’s coming today and we’ll get cabin five’s kitchen whipped into shape in no time too. Excited!