Q & A

I have been wanting to write more about where we moved to for quite some time!
Then, just a few days ago, my friend from Vegas asked me some detailed questions about where we live since they plan to move here in the future.

They have visited here before and wanted to move here long before we were planted here, so it is fun that I can share some of my experiences with her, since she helped me have a favorable opinion of this place before we even moved.

I am going to share the details with you too.

It's a long post so I won't be bothered if you don't want to read it all! You can just enjoy the pictures, even if some of them are from my phone.  

Here it goes:  
Everything you may or may not want to know about where we live now! :)

Now that you've been there for some time, do you like it?
Yes. We are no longer looking for the place we want to "live!" Whenever Patrick and I talk about it together, this is the best place we can imagine for our family. Now, the hard part is deciding which area of town to settle down in.

What has been your favorite part?
 Oh there are lots. 

I LOVE that there is actual food growing all around. There are lots of local farmer's markets during the growing season, fruit stands all around, berry picking fields galore and more thorny, wild blackberry bushes than anyone knows what to do with!
Yum....and ouch!

During the winter, the pickings are slim, as they should be, but every week I still love to go to a little local grocery market and buy a few things that are in season and grown locally. Just tonight we enjoyed some beautiful little brussels sprouts. They were amazing. I have also grown to love chard, kale and squash this winter. Kale chips are one of our favorite snacks right now. We also have more pumkin than we know what to do with! I have this thing for buying cute pumpkins. It's just too bad that the only way I like to eat them is mixed with large amounts of sugar. 

 I LOVE the fact that I can buy RAW, delicious goat and cow milk. Legally. It means a lot to me!

Even more exciting than buying yummy fresh food is the prospect of growing my own food! The last frost happens mid April and I am already getting excited to plant!!! 

I sure loved eating the tomatoes that were already growing at the house we are renting, even if I had to share them with slugs. There was a lot more to harvest than our adorable little Vegas crop.
I LOVE that there was a vast array of beautiful fall leaves. We collected LOTS. Believe me.

I LOVE that there are so many new things for me to learn here from those around me! There are sooo many classes and events to attend. It's hard to decide which ones to make time for.
Needle Felting
I found out about and we attended The NW Permaculture Convergence.

So, you don't know what permaculture is?
Well, neither did I until I looked up the definition the day before the event!

Permaculture: Derived from “permanent” and “agriculture”, the term is used to describe design systems that work WITH nature and the things that live there (plants, animals, and humans), rather than trying to make biological systems bend to human needs alone. It includes a combination of biological concepts such as organic farming and using native plants in our yards, to ethical considerations such as reducing waste and making sure all members of society have enough resources to thrive.

I had no clue what I was getting us into, but I am so glad we went. I was inspired by everything I learned about gardening, felting, raising goats, hydroponics and homesteading.  Before I attended I thought I was a hippie. No longer do I think that!  I am pretty sure that Patrick was the only guy there with slacks on and a dress shirt on, and it was totally fine. Permaculture is all about self-reliance, so it was exactly what we needed, even if we don't nor never will have dreadlocks.   

Months before we moved here I had seen advertisements online about Rootstalk, an herbal conference put on by Mountain Rose Herbs. I really enjoyed just being there, even if attending classes wasn't feasible. I learned one important thing about herbs and nature: There are so many wonderful things to learn.

I LOVE that wherever you are around here, there is a forest not too far away, even in the city. This one happens to be our backyard! It makes our family happy on so many levels.

There is a lot of recreation to be had, which is wonderful, including lots of wide open space too.
January 1st at dusk: airplane flying fun in a field near our house. 

There are large rivers all around...and we are lucky enough to have lovely friends with a boat. 

There are wild animal refuges with paths that are perfect for taking a Sunday walk as a family.

There are many, many more fun places we want to explore as well.

What do your kids and hubby like about being there?
I simply asked everyone, what do you feel about living here? 
Here are their replies:

I like it. 
I like how I can ride my bike down a forest path to go to work.
I like how the city life in Portland is not very far away. 
I like how the natural food scene is much more pronounced. 
People are much more accepting of differences. 
It is a little rainy here, but that just comes with the area. Vegas was hot, here it is rainy. Each place has it's drawbacks. 
The houses here are a bit more expensive than Vegas but the software scene is much, much better.
The bridges are really cool. I love looking across the rivers and seeing the buildings on the opposite side.  

It snows more than Las Vegas.
We can have chickens here.
We have a forest. 
I like that indoor park with lots of slides that we can go to at the end of each month for free. 

We can have chickens and nice land. 
We have deer here. One morning we saw a deer outside by the window. 
I like it when I share my potatoes with Devon at dinner time. It made me feel happy. (Her random cuteness!)
I like our house because it has an upstairs.  
I like the bridges here.  
I like it because it has lots of trees and Justin gave me a hermonica.
I like the friends here like Haily and Loralai. 

I like playing. 
I like OMSI.

What has been the biggest surprise so far, something you didn't foresee? 
I am surprised by how nice people are here. There are lots and lots of people around, but life just moves at  slower pace. People are a bit less obsessed with fancy so things are more comfortable. I was shocked the first time I asked for directions from a lady named Julie in the Trader Joe's parking lot! We had a lovely 20 minute conversation and I left with her phone number in hand, which she gave me, just in case I needed anything else! It's happened on several occasions. You stop to ask for directions and it turns into a conversation amongst old friends!?! I am still surprised by it.

It was also shocking to find sooooo many homeschool groups! Surprisingly, It has taken a while to figure out which would be the best fit for our family. We went to a few groups that weren't quite right for us, so we kept looking and just last week, we finally found a coop on Fridays that is a perfect fit,  so that is a huge relief for us and an answer to prayers. We are pretty sure nothing will ever be as wonderful as the SEEK coop we attended in Vegas, but this one comes close.

How are the adjustments for your family going? 
I interpret this as, what is the hardest thing about living there....
The hardest adjustment has been being far, far away from people we love.  If the kids ever complain about being here, they ALWAYS talk about how they miss their friends and family! Me too!!! 
Having the internet makes the distance shorter for sure, but we really, really miss the people, even if we have found some lovely friends here!

Of course I am interested to know about the weather:

When I imagined what the weather was like here before coming, I always imagined this and only this for months on end!

I was WRONG!


I am pleased to say that the weather is WAY better than what I had imagined after asking everyone for their opinion on the matter!  The fist time that we drove across state lines from California into Oregon, I thought FOR SURE that there would be a huge sheet of rain that doesn't stop unless you leave the Pacific Northwast. Not true.

Oh, we do have dismal days where the sun's light just barely seeps through a thick, dark blanket of clouds, but I remember days like that in the desert too (WAY less frequently of course)...  Days where all I feel like doing is sitting in front of the fire and reading a book! At least I have a fireplace to read in front of now! 

We have lived here for two full months of what they would say is the "rainy/cloudy season."  In December they almost had record amounts of dry weather, so it has been mild, but I still think we've seen a lot.  I am able to cope with scattered showers, clouds, rain, sporatic sunshine, 5 days in a row with little to no sun, several days of full sun in a row, random snow flurries, 2-3 inches of wet snow that sticks for a day and some ice here and there. There are FAR more bright cloudy days than dark cloudy days, thank goodness. It is winter right now, which is the hardest time of year to live here, but I am really learning to appreciate the fact that seasons change! 

To deal with the lack of sun at times, I make sure I take Vitamin D3 


I even went to a  tanning salon for the first time in my life after a particularly emotionally challenging day. It feels sorta silly even after I was convinced I should do it, but all I know is that it lifts my spirits considerably, and it feels wonderful! Seven minutes under some warm UVB rays can do wonders...even if tanning is highly controversial!

The temperature is pretty temperate, which I think is nice. It only gets cold enough for snow to stick a few times during the winter.

I LOVE how there is STILL green all around, except for the trees that lost their leaves early November.
Something that was wonderful for us was moving here during the most wonderful, gorgeous time of year here. It is what makes winter worth it.


I am still enamored by it. 

Dallin, enjoying a warm summer day, while eating an extraordinarily large carrot with his beloved hummus.

I was really shocked by how little rain there was during August and September.

PLUS.....The ocean/beach is only an hours drive through the forest, which is wonderful, even if the water is frigid!

Dinner on a bright dock this summer...taken with a cell phone camera.

In summary: 

We have found a place to call home. 
We are so thankful!!!!


Eve said...

That was fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing!

Ahhh....those pics speak a thousand words, looks so lush and green. Can't wait to come and visit again.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed every bit of it! Thanks for sharing...I am so happy for each of you! One of my bffs from the Y and roomies recently moved back to Portland...I'll have to find out if it's anywhere near you...you would luv her and her family. Green and chickens...seriously, what else can you ask for...and that Patrick can ride his bike on a trail to work...HEAVEN! xo, katrina

Angie Larkin said...

Just so you know, I loved every word:)

Hilarious: Ginormous Dread Lock beanie on that dude.

When I was in Alaska in the winter, I lasted three days before I hit the tanning bed:) It DOES feel good.

Glad to hear you all are loving your new home.

MOM said...

Happy for you,sad for me.... I miss you!!! I thought you'd miss Vegas and come home. But I am glad you love your new home so much. All of you look happy and healthy. Great pictures!! I love looking forward each week to a blog entry (and it'll make a great journal book if you have it printed up). I love my Sweet Julie and family!!!!! Love, MOM

Andrea said...

I am so glad you love it there. I miss green! San Diego is beautiful but there are no forests and definitely no fall. No color in the fall! That kills me. Anyway, it looks great. We've thought about Portland before (briefly):)

Becky Norris said...

I'm glad you guys are enjoying living here. I like reading your blog posts even though we see you often. We love your family and look forward to more time on the boat this summer :)

Michelle said...

I SO LOVED this entire post. With so many fantastic pictures. Thank you for sharing all of it!