planting a homestead, growing a farm

I couldn’t possibly tell you how many things we’ve started in the gardens and greenhouse, but it’s a lot. We’re starting with a more “homestead approach” and planting all we know we’ll eat, and adding to that to branch out into full fledged farm over the next year or couple. I guess currently we could be considered tomato, pea and garlic farmers as that’s what we have enough of started to sell, so far. And orchardist offerings, of course. 

The first meandering bed is growing, nicely lined with fallen logs and limbs, and more gifted from the creek. The paths will eventually be lined with wood chips (oh how we dream of owning a wood chipper!!) and access is easy on each side. In the wider spots I’ve put stepping stones for ease of harvesting so I don’t have to step in the soil or squish things. I say “I” only because there will be no lack of ease for my tall fellas — little ladies tend to have short arms, and I’m not even 5’2″. It may not be the best utilization of garden space but I love it!! Next year we’ll add another heap of organic compost and another log to raise them up a bit more, holding them together with an earthen mixture such as is used in cob or strawbale construction. This is 75% planted already with lettuce, a few varieties of kale, peas, raddishes, carrots, onions and spring garlic, plus borage, dill (next to a blank spot for future cucumbers), marigolds and soon, nasturtiums, etc. It’s still funny to me how tall these look in person and how shallow in photos, but you’ll see… it’ll be great!

Lots of things are sprouting and growing… peas, kale, chamomile, onions, thyme, tarragon, basil and tomatoes. I only just planted cucumbers and dill so those will be soon, and the rest to follow. Hopefully our eight dozen peppers sprout soon — I have big plans for those babies. I’ll take photos when I don’t have to use a magnifying glass to do so. In the meantime, here’s one of our massive pears in bloom. We’ll have a good 872 pounds of Bartlett. We trimmed all the dead junk out of both (And the old apples) and are all so very happy. 

Things outside of the food gardens are blossoming like crazy too. We had one visible bud on this tree a couple of days ago and now it’s covered in big pink blossoms. It’s a Camellia Japonica and it sure is pretty! I dont think the flowers fall off immediately like our other Camellia. It’s funny… I keep talking about making a space inspired by The Secret Garden but it’s starting to become that all on its own. I can’t wait to have the cabin done so we can rebuild the main house into a woodsy faerie house. It’s already in the perfect setting for it. ♡

Part of our inspiration comes from this Jacob Witzling pacific northwest tiny house… or really his building style in general. He’s amazing!! We don’t really have the funds to do the whole house in such stunning wood, but we’ll be thrilled to at least have the front and garage look similar upon approach. I don’t care if the rest is ten different kinds of recycled siding painted a lovely hue of “wood”.

I spent the evening at the creek last night as the sun was starting to set and it lit the trees ablaze with brilliant light. It’s a wonder we get anything done around here with so much stunning beauty to get lost in at all times.

On the way back up to the house, what did I spy but a Fairy Slipper Orchid! And then I noticed they’re actually everywhere along the path. These are and have always been one of my very favorite flowers, along with trilliums. We apparent have those too, but I haven’t yet happened upon any. Regardless, I’m buying and planting some one of these days.

The orchard is almost officially complete. We received a few more trees and have only two apples and a persimmon to plant this week, then the orchard is done… until we get two fig trees and four meyer lemons. The above photo is of a Sweetheart Cherry. Isn’t she beautiful! 

I’ve been juggling between planting several varieties of lavender and rosemary around the periphery of the garden, sowing seeds in the garden and planting a kazillion things in the greenhouse while the husb has been working on the cabin. I’m refraining from posting pictures so we can do a full unveiling but the kitchen has been 100% gutted (drywall, insulation, cabinets, sink and all), sill plate replaced, some structural bits replaced, and new concrete floors ground and ready to seal once the living room floor is done. He rocks!

More lovely blossoms of the week. I am over the moon with all of the spring beauty. It’s like christmas every day, waking up and rushing outside to see what’s new. I found out that a large portion of our muster bulbs are Lucifer flowers. They’re gorgeous. Devilishly beautiful? I have no idea why they’re called that. We also have an abundance of uncommon daffodils, hyacinth, regular irises and bearded iris. Or so we shall see.

Another project underway is the chicken house rebuild. This is a screenshot of the Eco Paint colors I narrowed it down to because my girls need a pretty house. The interior and trim will be egg blue and the exterior will either be wood nymph or glass bottle. Really, I’d like to incorporate all colors (and more) but this zero voc, no chip, eco and pet friendly paint is not cheap ($73/gallon!). So I may just have to get Lowe’s zero voc exterior paint and color match (~$30/gallon). We are 100% ready for the girls’ arrival in three weeks except for their house and I couldn’t be more excited. Well, and except for their massive outdoor area too, though they’ll be free range ladies much of the time. And they’ll be inside babies so we have plenty of time.

We also got a load of 8′ peeler cores (and helped our neighbors pick up three more loads). I want to use them as fence posts for the massive chicken run because that would be much lovlier than ugly metal t-posts. Yes, I know they will need to be replaced and aren’t the most efficient option, but… in this particular case I don’t care. 

We’ve done and experienced a lot more than that this past week but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. I’m chicken distracted (that’s a real affliction). Our little rainbow flock is starting out with three each of the following: Black Australorp, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Partridge Cochin, Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington and Delaware. I’ll still need to get (3 each) Amaricauna, Cream Legbar and Oliver Eggers but that’s a secret (husb “authorized” me to get 12 to start). I got the 1 and the 2 confused — it’s called chicken math. Oh, and a couple of roos. ♡ Shhh.

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a lesson in *not* planning… and other stories

Farm lesson #1: learn your land before you make too many plans. ♡ I totally mapped out everything I wanted to do here before we even arrived in September. It’s pretty funny really (in a cute and naive sort of way). 

This area was going to be part of the orchard but we’ve discovered it has a very high water table at this time of the year. So… yeah, not a good orchard spot. Thankfully I only “planned” on putting 6 of 28 trees there. Eventually we will be doing some berms (Sepp Holzer style raised beds) and small river rock trenches to directing the water to a pond, but we’re not there yet. 

Pretty much since the first week we moved here I planned to plant a garden in memory of the woman who previously owned this property before passing away in 2016. She had tons of garden book some things bookmarked, mostly bulbs, flowers and herbs. I wanted to put those under the mimosa trees and around this gorgeous garden area in the courtyard. I planned to plant a ton of bulbs, all from her books. I went over there today to get started on the tulips and someone already had the idea of planting a million bulbs there. ♡ 

Clearly it was her. I can’t tell what a lot of it is but I’m pretty sure there are irises and daylilies. There may be daffodils and tulips as well but it’s a hard to tell at this juncture. Now I’ll be planting the tulips around my art studio/healing space instead.

Remember these “ask and you shall receive” theme we have going on here where everything we say we want just “mysteriously appears”? Well I was saying the other day, before these bulbs started sprouting, that I wish I had more bulbs than just my tulips to plant as I’ve never lived anywhere long enough to really want to do bulbs. Today I happened upon several gallon sized pots of abandoned bulbs full of last year’s decaying leaves and dozens of new shoots. I’ll be cleaning them up and separating them out to plant this week too. I have no clue what they are but they’ll undoubtedly be gorgeous around the courtyard and in my secret garden.

The same thing happened with my desire to have hellebores. Correct me if I’m wrong but these are hellebores, right? There are three patches in the courtyard. I think they were one of my grandma’s favorite flowers (along with calla lillies) so I’ve always wanted to have some in my garden. She had the most stunning flower gardens in the world and will be a huge inspiration to me as I work in the pretty flower gardens around the cabins over the years.

The whole rotten front of the first cabin is almost fully replaced (remember, siding isn’t happening until spring). Paul is freaking amazing! During the time it took me to plant four trees, he did all of this. Once this is complete, which should be today or tomorrow, we can start completion of the living room and kitchen. All they need is electrical work, drywall and insulation, texture and paint, and then kitchen counters, cabinets and sink and such. Oh and the floors. 

Okay, so I blinked, and he was done. Like I said, he’s freaking amazing. We’ll be painting it to keep it safe and sound until siding happens.

Clearly we’ve stopped having a strict cabin completion schedule and are totally comfortable with things happening when they happen. With views like this, how can you blame us? Living in such a magical place, your outlook on life totally shifts. Originally it was rush, rush, hurry, hurry, get the cabin done. Now it’s hey, we’re never leaving here so it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Plus we have plenty to do in the gardens and orchard.

Usually it takes a couple/few days to do a post and I have now planted even more trees. Above is one of our two peaches.

This is a liberty apple that overlooks the chicken yard. Good eventual snacks and shade for the girls.

And this is one of the nectarines. It probably takes me infinitely longer than your average human to plant trees due to my need to add rocks and unearth bits of the surrounding moss so it pokes through. 

When we first moved here our sweet neighbor lady commented about all of the faery energy on our property and all the gnome energy on theirs. She was totally right but my first thought was “phew, she’s awesome and surely won’t think I’m crazy as she gets to know us!” I love them both so much (as I mention frequently).

It really is a fairyland indeed.

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! 😉

unbuild. rebuild.

Rebuilding a cabin sure takes a lot of unbuilding. The husb was working on a simple electrical rewiring project that turned into a massive unbuild a door frame and rebuild it again project. Why? Whoever did the electrical in cabin one is/was a jackass… some of the wires went through the bathroom wall, outside, then back inside between two load-bearing framing pieces. So, an hour project became a day project (including the extra issues discovered). Unbuild. Rebuild. 

We finally got to pick up the windows and stove pipe though! Wooohooo!!

The pipe and chimney are in. The roof is now 98.5% done and 100% water tight. (Bad photo makes things look crooked.)

Everything is ready to get the wood stove installed inside, too.

Th old ugly pay by the hour type frosted hotel windows are now gone. Got a cute pensive photo of the husb before we yanked it.

Things were wonky here too. Unbuild. Rebuild. 

Now it fits perfectly AND we have an amazing view! Air and water tight + visibility of our stunning land = happy us!

We can now watch the deer in the lower field in the evening when they pass through. 

And I can visit with the gnomes and faeries while everyone else sleeps and actually see them through clear glass. 😉

The other old window was even more wonky. It required way more unbuilding and lots of rebuilding. Thank goodness the husb knows how to do all of these things! I’m not as good. I’m his “fetching fetcher” and “holder of things” more often that not.

Now it’s all painted and cute, which should have been my job since I’m the artist and I’m not allowed to cut things, being accident prone as I am. Soon it will be ready to unbuild and rebuild again in the spring when we replace the siding.

ugh… and pretty stuff

Well, “the final” march was far from accurate. Let’s rephrase (regarding our previous post)… yesterday’s march of the carpenter ants was just beginning. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, the husb and boy didn’t get a photo of the writhing, watermelon sized mass of huge carpenter ants discovered today. I didn’t see them either, just the aftermath. 

One whole (extra) area is jacked up. Munch, munch, go the ants. Spray, spray go the fellas… and we discover our otherwise amazing organic cedar pest spray doesn’t actually kill them as I was told it would. We used a whole $25 bottle today for nothing. Dang it. (Wondercide is an AWESOME alternative to poison for pets/fleas/ticks, mosquitoes, little house ants, etc. though). Super soapy water with essential oils of rosemary, oregano and lemon worked better, and we’ll be ordering a metric ton of good grade diatomacious earth post haste. And replacement wood.

That is/was our feat for Wednesday. And grocery shopping. And pulling out another few tons of drywall and insulation. And the creation and enjoyment of three huge meals, followed by three huge loads of dishes (still no hot water, but soon). And finishing the deep cleaning of cabin five’s bedroom because nights in the 30 degree range are cold in a tent*. And that cabin doesn’t have any pests or vermin. Or I should say that cabin doesn’t have any *visible* pests or vermin.

*The childman has taken to sleeping inside as of three nights ago. (Internet and privacy. Not warmth. He’s always warm.)

Even after the massive spray downs, they continue their march. Little fuckers.

Much has been accomplished though! This is peering in the front door. Huge progress. Just a little bit of the living room remains, plus the kitchen. 

In more lovely news, we spent about three hours on Sunday forging a new path to a place in the forest that was otherwise only accessible via water. 

Love the new land access! The husb found the majestic secret spot during one of our first days here while walking (and swimming) up the center of the creek and surprised me with it. Go down the path above about fifty feet, turn right to the path below, and you’re more than halfway there.

More trail clearing. (I’ll share the actually spot soon)

In the meantime I’ll say this place is magic! There are arched vines and twigs overhead, about seven feet tall, and a blanket of soft moss, leaves and sand covering the forest floor making it cozy. Along either side of the paths there you can stop to eat blackberries and wild raspberries, then settle in for a wee afternoon nap.

Two fallen trees along the creek make it almost invisible to others, not that “others” traverse this part of our creek. The water sounds are peaceful and mesmerizing. 

If you lay in this area on your back and look up, this is what you see.

And this is the view to the left.

This is where we are going to build our late spring to early autumn “love hut,” which is just a glorified fort for adults. (We’ll have a second one for the rest of the year too, of course.)

There are curved magic wands all over this area, tumbled smooth by the high winter waters. There are butterflies there too, and moths, deer, newts, faeries, elves, a thousand birds… and not a single carpenter ant. It’s perfection.

we live in a faerytale setting

Every morning we work our booties off to get the cabins habitable, cut and trim overgrown paths and respectfully purge the many items that were left behind. Then, every afternoon we explore before dinner.

There is no end to the amount of magic that can be found here and every day, several times, we find ourselves totally in awe of what we have. We were in love with this place long before most of the true magic ever even revealed itself to us.

A short walk through the northernmost edge of the lower field beyond long rows of old oak and hawthorn trees, blackberries and wild flowers, you find an overgrown path through a part of the forest we hadn’t yet traversed. Paul went ahead with his machete to better clear the way for us.

Once you reach the other edge of the forest, you’re greeted by the most amazing rock formations with hundreds of circular holes filled with ludicrously smooth black rocks.

And then you see the magic! This little faery pools with three miniature waterfalls that pour into it, surrounded by wild purple Sayers and decorative grasses.

I could seriously live here. I mean we DO live here, but I could live on the rocks right here, right next to the water.

To the right there are several more waterfalls, all about three to five feet tall, that open up to the creek where an enormous perfect circle hole is. It’s like a cold water hot tub fit for eight adults, where we can sit sipping something tasty at the end of a hard day.

We started to build a sweet little altar to leave our gifts of gratitude to mother earth and all of the nature spirits who inhabit the land. We found some gorgeous agates in the creek and added them after I took this photo. 

This little area has billions of baby salmon so we didn’t walk through it, of course.

Hopefully this video works. It almost makes you feel as if you’re there to watch it.

Right across from those magical faery pools is a perfect little mossy stone area, to lay or relax in with a loved one. It’s sloped so perfectly that you can see the water flow even while laying down.

On The way back home I noticed two more maples that I hadn’t looked up to admire on our way down (the path is still rough so I was paying close attention to my footing). I imagine we’ll have to find out syrup tap soon! In the meantime, I just loved sitting in their shade and huge presence. 

The amount of love, awe, magic and bliss that we have experienced in the first six days of living here are enough to last a lifetime, and the thought that we can live here forever is beyond anything we ever dreamed we could “have”.