Corvallis update: Today was eventful, with visits from the propane guy, the hot tub guy (finally! we need a new pump) the surveyors (again! where is that flood line?) and a water quality guy (do we need a water softener? yes!) It was also the day for finally hauling the washer and dryer into the house and starting to get them connected – complications ensued, and it will be tomorrow. Sigh. Lots going on, but there was still time for a walk around the property in the morning.
The weather? Today has been nice, and big rain is forecast for the weekend. Yay!
There are two pre-queued Eugene posts remaining after this one. It’s almost time to get back into real time. There is much to share. But first, one more facet of our interesting stay in Eugene…
One of the most obvious differences between Oregon and … that other place where we used to live … is the sheer number, variety and quality of the trees. Not only are there trees and more trees everywhere, but many of them are very tall and old. There are thousands of amazing street trees in Eugene.
Corvallis update: We are still deep into the moving-in experience. If you have ever moved to a gorgeous, multi-acre country property with ambitious plans for evolving it into something even more beautiful you may have some appreciation for how much work it can be.
One of us now has a valid Oregon driver license. Two of the three cars now have Oregon plates. Two of us are now sleeping on a real bed. We are finally figuring out some of the kitchen routines. The compost system urgently needs to be implemented. Most of the new bank accounts are in place and functional. There is the beginning of a trail around the perimeter of the property. We still have not begun to make use of several tons of mushroom-studded horse manure left for us (at our request!) by previous owners.
…and the gosh-darn hot tub still is not working properly. We hope to get it fixed soon, when the paid hot tub angel has a slot in his busy, busy schedule.
Today it is raining in this beautiful valley. Translucent gray sheets of drops drift down across the meadow, onto the forest, into the marsh. Mushrooms are popping up under the trees. Everything is soft and wet. The stalwart kitty Stella has taken some time off from her morning rodent catching job to curl up on a warm, dry blanket. Looks like a good day for indoor activities!
Here is another post created while we were still living in the rental house in Eugene, waiting for our new home to become vacant. It was fun to explore a new city in a new climate zone, with new plants I had not seen before. Here is one of them:
Purple-blue berries coated with sky-blue bloom and striking holly-like leaves define the Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium.The berries are edible but tart. The bushes are quite common in Eugene.
Corvallis update: More than a week since we arrived for real. This morning the valley is shrouded in fog, and the silence is profound. I’ve been focusing on clearing some trails around the perimeter of the property, while Carol and Kent have been painting upstairs in the house. We are getting organized and settling in, but there is a LOT to do!
Here’s another pre-queued entry, created while we were still living in Eugene. Meet our animal companions, who (like us!) are still getting settled in at our new home:
We arrived in Oregon with the happy, floppy-eared, galumphing fuzzy golden doodle dog, Aspen and the stalwart traveling kitty with nerves of steel, Stella.
The rental house where we stayed had a chicken coop and two wonderful chickens named Pepper and Blondie. Can you guess which one is Blondie? Both were laying almost every day when we met them in summer of 2015. As the days have gotten shorter their production has declined, but that is no surprise.
It turned out that we were able to take Pepper and Blondie with us when we came home to Corvallis. We welcome these two new valuable members of our family!
Our plans include two more kitties, 4-6 more chickens (we favor Australorps) and some rabbits. Oh, and also several hundred crickets, a thousand or so meal worms, and maybe some earthworms.
The bugs and worms will make excellent food for the chickens. Maybe even the humans too…
Corvallis update: This morning (Sunday, Oct. 4) marks the end of our second night on the property. Our PODs arrived yesterday with all of our remaining belongings. We spent much of the morning emptying one of them and stowing everything in a spare room. Today we plan to empty the other one.
Highlights so far include wild concerts by coyotes in the forest, beautiful starry night skies (between the clouds) and a (so far) non-functional hot tub. Fixing the tub is a high priority!
Now here’s the first pre-queued post about our recently ended stay in Eugene…
Before we knew where we would end up, before we had even seen any properties, we knew we would be staying in Eugene for a while. It was always part of the plan to live in a rental house while seeking and securing the new place, but it turned out the only houses where we could bring our pets were an hour south of Corvallis, in Eugene. So we stayed there, commuting to Corvallis as needed to look at properties – and later, to take care of the details of purchasing the one property that fully claimed us, by making us fall in love with it.
Most of our time in Eugene was in a quiet little neighborhood just south of 29th and east of Willamette, in a house with a giant weeping curly willow in front. (Don’t ask about the other intervals, when the house pictured above was not available because of previous reservations by other folks! No, really… don’t even ask.)
Our neighborhood featured a variety of pretty gardens, interesting back alleys, and nearby natural areas. It was fun to explore on foot and on the bicycle.
Here are some pictures from our immediate neighborhood in south Eugene, Oregon.
Above: A narrow footpath invites further exploration. We walked this one many times on the way to dog park and a sweet year-round stream called Amazon Creek.
This rampant grape vine climbs over a fence, trailing into the alley. In late August there were big clusters of delicious, seedless green grapes under those leaves.
At the base of the fence below the grape vine, wild comfrey in bloom.
A distinctive Eugene landmark is Spencer Butte, just south of the city. Here it is seen from a peaceful hillside southwest of where we stayed. There are hiking trails to the top but we did not explore them.
Apples, plums, persimmons, apricots, even figs. The street sides are loaded with edibles, hanging over the sidewalks (and sometimes rendering them treacherously slippery with crushed fruit). Here are some delicious black plums.
Lest you get the wrong idea, even here in Oregon there is a dry season. By the end of August, unwatered lawns had become brown(ish) and crispy. Yes, there is a drought here too. But before the end of September we received one storm that dropped half an inch, and more storms are on the way.
Our several months in Eugene were a welcome break from the worn-out patterns and routines of our former lives. We were not yet on our wonderful new land, but darn it, we were in Oregon! The default landscape here is forest, and the skies are often filled with amazing clouds. We took care of the business of buying a new property, we explored our Eugene neighborhood, and we waited as patiently as we could for the day when we could move in to our new home.
We are now five days from moving in at last to our new home in a secluded valley just north of Corvallis, Oregon. It has been roughly six months since the idea first emerged of moving to Oregon, back in early April. The intervening time has been amazing, frustrating, inspiring, and tedious. We are so glad to be almost home.
The new property is incredible. Almost five acres, including pine forest, sloping meadows, riparian forest, cattail/sedge wetlands, a year-round creek, and some of the most glorious dead trees ever.
The mossy, lichen-strewn snags are rooted in wetlands that were flooded by beavers. The large branches loom overhead. What interesting life forms live up there? Are there owls?
More than an acre of the property is wetlands, including the cattail marsh below the trees. The inactive electric tape fences are being removed, so that the wetlands can be one single span of nature. We have not yet managed to get to the creek because the wetlands are so dense. An early project is to carefully construct a sustainable, ecologically safe trail into the marsh, down to the creek, and back up the other side.
Up by the road there is a slice of native pine woodlands. Every large branch is covered with moss and lichens.
Standing among the trees, one can clearly feel the cool, peaceful flow of forest energies.
Another treasure is the riparian forest. This gets flooded often in the winter. What will it look like after a fresh snowfall?
A narrow footpath now leads through one section of the riparian forest. It twists and turns, revealing new surprises around every bend.
A large part of the upper area is overgrazed horse meadow. Currently it is massively degraded, stomped into reddish cement by years of grazing. Still, there are quite a few species of plants growing here.
The plan for the meadow is to grow a food forest using permaculture principles with swales and berms to catch the rains and create varying microclimates. There will be fruit trees, vines, herbs, root crops, and more. Paths will wind among the trees, giving human access to the abundance.
The horses visible in the photo below will be gone by the end of next week. We do not plan to replace them.
Our new home in the country. We are eager to arrive and settle in!
We move in for real on October 2. After that day we will be Really Quite Busy with thousands of tasks to begin to shape the property into what we would like it to be.
During that time there might not be much energy for blogging, but there is something else to share in these pages while we get ourselves situated. We’ve been staying at a rental house in South Eugene these past few months, and it’s been a blast getting to know Oregon, its neighborhoods, its ecosystems, and its people. Watch these pages for a series of pre-queued posts from our stay in Eugene, Oregon…
…and when the time is right, the next posts from our new country home near Corvallis, our private nature preserve, our long-term commitment to creating a more sustainable life and a more beautiful planet.