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.

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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!!

a week of sun and cold

Last week was magnificently sunny! Lows in the 20s at night, but bright, beautiful, sunshiney days.

Last week I enjoyed taking these photos in the gray autum days. They reminded me of hibernation and going inward, as well as death in the form of transition.

This week everything is ablaze with color and brightness…

And the sky was the craziest blue. There was a spring-like newness to everything that we rarely get to experience this time of year.

I changed my mind on the location I’d picked for the pink dogwood and got it planted, finally. Perfectly aligned with the doug fir to the east, perfectly aligned with the pears and apple to the south, and perfectly aligned with the bamboo to the west. To the north, one of our largest windows of the main house will get to overlook it.

I’m excited that its branches will hang over my future secret garden and be perfectly visible from both my healing space and our future covered sitting area as well as the front porch/driveway. Love it!

Sunny days mean outside cabin work too. While I planted, Paul worked on replacing more of the dead sheathing under the siding. I’m not sure he loves all these cute candid shots I take/post of him but I love them. ♡

Of course the dog has been loving this week too. Funny ball-in-face running action shot. He doesn’t mind the cold, especially when it’s this sunny. 

While the guys ran to Portland for the day, I fully planned our chicken coop. This is going to start out as our chicken house and once I’m done it will house both chickens and a couple of goats (until I have too many chickens to cohabitate with goats, at which time a goat house will be built). I’ve decided that I’m going to try to build the whole thing myself (with the possible exception of the roof replacement), laying boxes and all. It’s far larger than it looks. Later we can add homes for geese and ducks and a couple of sheep but… baby steps. The husb, as a logical Virgo man, always says we have to have a house for ourselves before we can build one for the animals we don’t yet have. It’s nice to have a definite plan now at least. 

I’m the meantime, I’ll keep visiting with the neighbor girls.

We’ve also planned cabins six and seven, but that’ll be years down the road (I do see the comedy in that statement for now, but it’ll be amazing, we promise). Our dream art-healing-music-farm community is slowly unfolding and will one day come to fruition. 

The evening skies this week have been so beautiful. If it wasn’t going to be 27 degrees, I’d sleep outside tonight so I didn’t miss any of this gorgeousness. 

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.

lots of little things

Another week has past and we’re still chugging along slowly. We were potentially getting roof completion assistance this weekend but now it’ll be next weekend. So grateful and excited! 

This week we got the siding off another side of the cabin, the sheathing replaced, and got it ready to hang more painted OSB so we can wrap it. 

The bedroom ceiling and rafters are now stunningly gorgeous and you can no longer poke a broom handle through it. Yay!

This window is open… who wants ugly frosted windows with a view like this!? We don’t! We now have our new Windows picked out and ready to order tomorrow. These remind me of a cheap and sleazy 1970s pay-by-the-hour motel and I will be happy to see them leave.

Both sides of the cabin now have trenches dug and will have fancy diy drainage installed that will direct the water down the hill instead of into the cabin. 

Those things alone, once complete (well, once we get the new siding on) will mean that in a mere couple of months, we’ve easily breathed another fifty years into this sweet cabin.

Serious planting is about to go down around here. Above is the “before” shot: field of mowed organic hay.

The after (or really “during”) shot: luscious soil. I’m a crappy digger so even with a couple hours of husb’s help it’s taking a but longer than anticipated. But we’re using hand tools for everything right now. No tilling or anything like that. Tomorrow we’ll pick up some organic compost and amendments and I’ll have all our heirloom garlic, winter spinach and two varievarieties of kale planted by the end of the week. Woohoo!

We also got 9 blueberry plants (four different varieties) and were gifted a 10th blueberry plus a rosemary bush.

Lots of small but amazing things happening on the farm already! Oh, and a big thing — we got an amazing deal on a farm truck.

We weren’t even going to consider such a thing until spring but having to pay for every delivery of… everything (building and roofing supplies, appliances, soil, etc) and having to otherwise hire people to to haul our remodeling junk piles to the dump for us, etc, made it pretty much even out in the long run. 

Its first task was towing the Saturn out of the garage so we could get to the riding lawnmower. Piece of cake. The mower had a flat tire and a dead battery and as with all other things hete, miracles ensued.

Out of nowhere, we suddenly discovered that we have a battery charger and air pump. Those will be handy indeed! The battery is too dead to charge but that’s easy. That and a little gasoline and we shall see how she runs. Of course I told the husb it would be amazing if we had a little cart to pull behind it and this appeared: 

Yep, a “cart” to pull behind it! No more walking back and forth with 32 armloads of things across 7 acres.

It’s been another week of getting our hands dirty and making serious progress while having heaps of fun along the way. 

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and warm enough for an outdoor bubble bath in our awesome new “tub” after my healing clients and our chores. We’re all pretty excited about that too.

Raking has been fun too. I should make the boy do it, but I really do enjoy it.

This is one of our maple trees last weekend vs this weekend. Leaf mulch!

I love this time of year so much! I’ve been going crazy making lots of soups, stew and chilli so we can come in and fill up on hot, nourishing yummies. We’ve been so blessed with this indian summer we’re having but I’m sooo excited to get the wood stove installed too. I love cooking on them more than in a slow cooker once it’s super cold out.

That’s the main gist of our week, in a little nut shell.

humans are adaptable creatures

For so long I’ve quietly watched how disconnected the human race (as a generalized collective) has gotten from nature. I watched our little family do the same for years. Sure, we’d frequently go hiking, took at least one trip a week to the forest, grew some of our own food, picnicked outside frequently and even talked to trees, but it still felt as if there was an ever so slight disconnection. Like we were missing… something. 

Since we’ve moved here and have slept on the earth under the stars night after night, week after week, I’ve felt that connection grow and deepen in ways I can’t eloquently put into words. It’s as if that veil was lifted, thin as it was. Without distracting TV and computers or “easy” things like hot running water or bathtubs, your focus shifts. 

Yesterday we could feel that the waters had risen before we even went down to investigate. 

The sun ended up staying out yesterday after hard morning rains and we wandered quietly around the property, discovering new paths, trees, nooks and crannies. We listened. We felt.

We just sat and observed. Absorbed.

When you listen… really truly listen… you can hear so many amazingly beautiful things. Have you ever heard a tree sing? A hay field whisper? A creek talk? Vision changes when you’re truly quiet. Have you ever seen moss grow? Or the leaves change color ever so slightly right before your eyes? These are such magical things! Taking a few moments every day, or even every week if you’re the busy type, can be so enlightening and rewarding. 

The distractions in modern life are huge. Things like shopping and clothes brands and television and status and wealth and facebook don’t matter. Really. Take all of that away and life, at least for us, is enhanced a million times over. I’m not saying people should sell all their stuff and move to a cave but spending even just one day removing all of the distractions and busyness is so awakening. Life is a million times more than what we actually see.

My point is that adapting to less often equates to thriving in new ways. More. Learning things about yourself and mother earth that you may not have otherwise observed. Living more deeply and fully than you may have done previously. 

Having to work for your bounty makes you appreciate it more: filtering your water before you can drink it, boiling it before you can wash your dishes or clothes or bodies, rebuilding an entire house before you can dwell under a roof. (That is not to say our tent isn’t comfortable! Ours is a palatial retreat which I intend to return to tonight as the days are nearing the seventies again this week.)

I can’t help but think about all of our things we have locked up in a 40 foot shipping container on our property. Things we haven’t seen or touched or utilized in almost 2 months and really haven’t even needed. It makes me wonder why people get so caught up in the buying of stuff. Do we really need any of that? Sure, getting a new stove yesterday was freaking awesome! But food is life so that makes sense. So much else doesn’t make as much sense to me anymore. 

From now on I would rather spend our time in nature and our time and money on things that enhance that. Plants for the gardens and forests. Trips to new lands. The blue elderberries above were forged yesterday, free. Those will become elderberry tea, elderberry syrup and new blue elderberry shrubs on our land. What an amazingly bountiful discovery! 

This is today’s sky… stunningly blue and bright. We spent the morning working hard and now we’re going to have a wee lunch feast under this warm blanket of blue, outside while enjoying our new life, our land and each other before returning to work. Gotta balance the work, rest and play! Tonight will be wonderful as we’re having dinner guests now that we can cook tastier things. Life is beautiful! Enjoy it, my friends and family. 

a potential delay, paw prints and progress

Whoops! Mother Nature changed her mind and we may be having a stormy, windy weekend with heavy rains, which isn’t ideal roofing weather. As such, the roof may need to wait another weekend but as of today, we have all of the supplies so that’s a huge plus.

The cabin is partially down to studs on the south side (Sunday progress) and all of the carpenter ant damage is nearly replaced, including the sill plate which was finished yesterday. That was a feat the husb did single-handedly (because he’s a rockstar!). I certainly wouldn’t know how to replace the wood that holds the entire wall and framing up so he wins mega points in that one! I wasn’t much help… I fed him and killed ants with a hammer. (I actually did a lot more than that but it’s mostly miniscule in comparison.)

Here’s an example of some of what was removed and replaced.

I kind of want to make something out of this wood now that it’s no longer inhabited but we shall see. At least some of the smoother textured parts can be used for our wood stove pad which will be wood textured concrete. (If you haven’t seen that before, Google it — I thought it was my own unique idea but apparently I’m a late bloomer in the textured concrete creativity department as it’s been done.)

We’ve received a bit of feline assistance along the way. 

Speaking of felines, we have bobcats here. And maybe a cougar but I’m hoping just bobcats. We’d seen their scat and just discovered evidence of claw scratches on trees.

We also have giant three toed sloth*. Lady hand for size reference. 😉

And cute raccoons. I think that must have been what was sitting on the back of the car staring at me the other night (unless it was a bobcat). 

And deer. And elk. (And bunnies and turkey but I haven’t any photos of those, yet.)

We took a couple hours off on Sunday to wander higher up the creek than we’d been before and it’s just as stunning and beautiful as the parts we’ve traversed already. Gorgeous water, beautiful rocks, sweet bitty baby salmon, crawfish everywhere. It was so lovely. 

The waters are rising and the “pot holes” are starting to fill up.

THIS was Sunday’s sky! It’s been so clear, warm and amazing the past few days which has been a blessing because we have a metric ton of stuff to paint outside (OSB for temporary siding, though it’ll be wrapped). 

We have a few too many projects going on in unison so this week will rock with checking things off. Attic will be 100% done. The rest of the kitchen drywall and insulation will be 100% removed. All new electric will be started if not fully wired. Sunny days mean needing to focus on the outside stuff so inside items were back-burnered a minute. 

I painted a handful of the exterior wood since siding can’t happen yet. This stuff absorbs paint like a sponge so I only got five done before the gallon was gone.

And Paul got a huge amount more done in the process. (I cut the foamy bits off when they dried, he did the rest.)

Remember the Saturn sans keys we inherited with the purchase of the estate? Well, apparently I should have been a car thief. I had that door unlocked and open in no time with a wire coat hanger. I was positive the missing keys must be inside but I was wrong. One day this week we’ll push it out of the garage so we can replace the flat tire on the riding lawnmower and test her out. Woohoo! That’ll be fun (as long as we don’t discover any more underground wasp nests!).

*We don’t really have giant three toed sloth here, but the first black bear paw print I saw was a partial print with three visible toes so I opted to think of cute sloth instead of bears. I’d really seriously rather see a bear than a cougar in person though.

busy bees

We’ve been so busy around here we haven’t had time to post an update. Things are just about to start moving really fast around here. We just had a huge delivery of building materials yesterday. Originally they thought they might not be able to get it to the property due to the large truck and small angled driveway but despite it being Friday the 13th, everything went off without a hitch. The 13th is always so lucky for me and yesterday was no exception.

The “worst” part was the delivery truck leaving tire tread marks in the pretty mossy and clover area, which isn’t bad a’tall (though I’m raking it out today because it’s not pretty to me).

It was POURING during the delivery so we had to pile some of the stuff under tarps while we busted booty to get everything inside fast. Wet insulation and drywall would kinda suck. The roofing materials get picked up in a couple of days and that goes on next weekend! Woohoo!

Planning, planning, planning during the cool misty mornings. We have our first 3000sf garden area covered for occultation, burm areas planned (read any of Sepp Holzer’s books), hugelkultur location decided upon, and now I know exactly where the first chicken coop, goat house and grazing areas will be.

The first wee frost that lasted beyond 8am has come (this was taken just before lunch). So pretty! We’re officially sleeping inside cabin five, which is the clean and warm one with no funk, just some foundation issues and slants here and there. We’re cozy!

The leaves are starting to change color and fall and the grass is greening again from the rains, but the sweet peas are persistent and still offering gorgeous pops of colors here and there.

My favorite picnic area along the lower field is looking stunning. If you sit there long and quiet enough, you can see an abundance of magical things: deer, bunnies, a multitude of birds and the occasional faery. 

Oh! We were talking a couple of nights ago about how we need to have a spigot put in in the upper field, drawn from the well on the other side of camp and the cabins. Then we found this! It’s in one of the two tiny spots that weren’t mowed (thankfully!). We already have one! The theme here is “ask and you shall receive”. When I said I wanted a second apple tree we found two more (And then a forth). When I said I wanted a plum tree we found a wild plum. When we said we needed a spigot in the upper field we found one. So much of everything is already here.

We’re still happy beyond words to be hete, and every day that only gets stronger. (I’m only reiterating this because oddly, two people asked this week if we “still liked it here”. That makes me giggle.)

a few edibles and medincinals

We’re still getting to know the land and discovering more of her wonders but we’ve learned that there is a lot more already growing here than we realized. 

We had a hawthorn tree at our old house and I was so sad to leave it. I planted it just over ten years ago and it was easily ten feet tall. It was a different type as this, with black berries (black hawthorn or douglas hawthorn) instead of red like we have here (common hawthorn, thorn apple or may tree). The berries are good (though you don’t want to eat too many) and are amazing for the heart. They’ve been used to treat heart disease for centuries. We found some berries from our black Hawthorne on the hood of our car the other day so we are going to have an abundance of both. We probably already have at least two dozen hawthorn trees here.

We also discovered what I thought were four wooly lamb’s ear plants but it’s actually thirty-eight!! They aren’t big, but they’re lovely. Lamb’s ear has been used to treat wounds both because it absorbs blood and because it has antibiotic and antifungal properties. Awesome! We don’t need to buy bandaids anymore. 

We have an abundance of blackberries. Three or four different cultivars at least. Fat juicy sweet berries, compact tart berries, etc. Yum! I’m going to make an abundance of blackberry jam and preserve next year! And cobbler. And omgosh, blackberry syrup!! We have about a half dozen maple trees or so (we’re going to walk the land and catalog all of the plants and trees… seriously).

As previously mentioned we have an abundantly productive gravenstein apple. A fresh apple a day. Pie. Dried apples. Cider!

I discovered a second apple tree on Monday (which ended up being a no cabin work day*)! I’m not sure what kind yet, other than red… It’s buried behind a serious thicket of scotchbroom, dead queen ann’s lace and miscellaneous vines. We’re unburying her. Apple butter. Applesauce. More (hard) cider!

I already mentioned the two bartlett pear trees. We’ve only ever had asian pears so this is a real treat (though by the time we got here there were only two pears left). I’m not a fan of canned food, but I’m going can my arse off anyway so we have a nice winter stock every year and goodies to share with the neighbors. 

This lemon balm needs love. And to be moved because it’s in the middle of a garden walkway that needs to be mowed. Oops. I love it tea though and will revive it, plus plant a few more here and there.

We also have plantain (but no comfrey!?), horsetail, a possible black currant (I’ll get back to you on that), wild carrot, obviously, four hundred billion acorns (which I’ve never tried yet), and…. I’ll just do another similar post part two soon to fill you in on the rest. We can gloss over poison oak, ivy and sumac, and stinging nettle. Actually, I love stinging nettle.

Does anyone know what this is? Our realtor said it was lobelia but it’s not.

*to clarify, a “no cabin work day” does not mean a no work day. We started our new compost area which we’ll finish building soon, cleared a heaping pile of scotch broom away from the “new” apple, installed a new mailbox which included drilling all new holes and procuring new hatdware because it was for a post not a bar, visited with three neighbors, made too many phone calls for boring business stuff, did dishes, cooking… it seems like I’m mostly cooking and playing.

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!