Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The path

My goodness, brambles are hard work to get rid of. I know that goes without saying (or writing) but whew! We cut a crescent path through the woods from one corner of the east side of the building site/meadow to the south end and it took us almost three hours. I had hoped to hack all the way to the creek on the east side of the meadow because I wanted to see how steep the slope there is and the previous owners told us there were apple trees over there, but about 15 feet in, we discovered a deer path going south and decided to just widen that back up to the meadow, since after 3 hours, we were ready to be done with that area, I know how steep the hill is, and I spied some ancient looking apple trees that are either done producing for the season or completely retired.
We had already spent two hours before that picking berries, hacking at the sides of the driveway, and removing snags and some brambles from the creek path. The creek path is one that is clearly used by deer and perhaps even neighbors. I removed several dangerous looking snags, lots of dead logs and branches and over-hanging brambles, and I have to say, as hard as the work was, it was all very satisfying, the scratches and sore muscles being well worth it.

Here is a "before" picture:

Oh, and of course, this before picture: ;)

And here is after 3 hours of heavy labor:

I will try and not focus on the fact that we took out less than 1% of what needs to be removed, and the ones we chopped down still have their big knotty roots in the ground, which will re-sprout and still need to be dug up or chopped up somehow (rototiller?) if we want to plant anything else there. Boo to people being irresponsible stewards of the land! This is what happens when land is logged and then ignored. The excavator will be removing some of it, but that tears up the land so badly, including anything native that has survived the logging and invasive species onslaught, that we are hoping to save some of it. I have uncovered many native plants and if we we just tear up the land, it will all be lost. We will be doing it in some areas anyhow, and replant, plus we do want a small lawn and garden areas. The excavation (backhoe) also churned up all the topsoil and it is a clay mess and can destabilize the land. The one good thing about it is that it brought a lot of the rocks to the surface, which we are going to try and use for landscaping.

We signed the papers!!!

Finally, six months and multiple headaches later, the property is in our name! We are so thrilled, I cannot begin to describe how much. We signed on Friday and went out Sunday to assess the work and have a picnic. We couldn't help ourselves, brought out the tools and chopped a path into the woods off the side of the building pad. 5 1/2 hours later...with a bucket of blackberries and scratches on hands and arms, we have a beautiful little meandering path and more room on the sides of the driveway. Now we can almost drive all the way in with the windows down! haha.

Here is the the driveway from the road, catching Ealom in the act of blackberry picking:

Here is the driveway from the building site (we are calling it "The Meadow"):

The Meadow / building site:

What Aidan spent 80% of his time doing the last 2 days at the property (the other 20% was at the creek):

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trip to the Coast

We had a great time at the coast this year. We are members of the NW Civil War council, participating in living history and battle reenactments about 5 times a year. It started out as a good excuse to go camping, not to mention great rates (free w/ our membership) and stays at beautiful state parks. The Ft. Stevens event falls on Labor Day weekend every year and we decided to stay an extra day and go exploring further north. We headed out to Ft. Stevens on Friday evening, setting up camp in the dark with a slight sprinkle. We have a large cabin tent and with our 10x10 canopy and 20x30 tarp covering the whole set-up, we stayed dry and toasty. We have gotten spoiled on having our business stuff to take camping; hot water hand washing station, folding tables, marine cooler, etc., which is all quite nice and makes camping pretty smooth. We would eventually like to go all rustic and camp with the living history group, but for now we stay in "modern camp", since we have all of the equipment already.
The weather cleared up Saturday, and stayed beautiful all Sunday and into Monday. Gil had a fun time playing soldier, the boys had a great time camping, going to the beach on their own, hiking and biking around and I had some much needed rest and relaxation. Saturday night was the dance and Gil and I danced the Virginia Reel, some other fun "period" dances and Aidan and I waltzed.
Sunday night was the company potluck, and everyone was asking when we are going to get our Civil War gear and camp with them. This is our 2nd full year doing this and I did notice 2 families that have joined after us are already camping in "Civilian Camp". I'd love to, but we are saving up for a real house folks!
Monday afternoon we headed north to Cape Disappointment and the weather turned nasty. Fitting name, eh? We got camp set up and went to the beach, getting completely soaked and chilled in the foggy rain. We stayed warm and dry in our shelter though, and the rain let up long enough for us to sit around the campfire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
Tuesday we got packed up and went to Long Beach to visit Marsh's free museum and gift shop, which is something unto itself. The place is packed with trinkets, stuffed animals that are falling apart because they are so old, crazy old antiques, a "mummified alligator man" (oi vay!) and all of these old contraptions dating from the mid-19th century that you can put a coin in and get some sort of show; organ machines, periscopes, games, weird little shows, you name it. It was really amazing and quite entertaining. After that we headed up to Ocean Park to visit Jack's, a general store that has all kinds of old-fashioned gadgets and candy. The boys spent all their money on candy and I spent mine in the kitchen section. Got those cool little corn-on-the-cob holders, a neat nutcracker, some beautiful wooden utensils, canning supplies, rootbeer extract, and other fun goodies.
I guess we were all tuckered out because nobody cared to go to the beach again, just ready to go home, where we arrived at 9pm at night. What a trip!