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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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. 

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.

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! 

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”.