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Is there homestead farming culture in Western WA and how much does the climate affect?  RSS feed

 
Carol Ochs
Posts: 19
Location: San Diego, CA
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I currently live in San Diego but we want to re-locate to WA state. Land is just too expensive here in CA and the lack of water a plague, not to mention the heat. We've been researching western WA and looking at areas near the Hood Canal. Seems there are some others who raise animals in that general area...we're eyeballing Seabeck. Anyone else form around there and can offer any advice? Wondering how much the rain is a help or hindrance to growing and animal (hoof maintenence). We'd like to get min. 2 - 5 acres, have access to old growth forest near or abutting property, as well as be clsoe to water. Would like to have raised vegetable gardens, two horses, at least a couple of alpacas for fiber. Any compadres from that area out there?
 
Devin Lavign
pollinator
Posts: 480
Location: Pac Northwest
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There is a pretty active Cascadia section http://www.permies.com/forums/f-21/cascadia with plenty of good folks in Western WA. I am in Western WA right now but just getting land over on the Eastern side.

A few things to note, the majority of crops grown in WA are actually grown over on the Eastern side. While that area is very desert like, there is a lot of water flowing through it. So with irrigation a lot can happen over there. Also much of Western WA is slope land. While there are some great river valleys, the valley land tends to be pricey as usual.

Now not trying to dissuade you from Western WA. I love it here. I grew up in Bellingham WA and completely love the Western WA environment. I spent many a day playing in the woods out here.

An event you might want to look into attending ( I know short notice) where you might network with others is the Mother Earth News fair in Albany OR coming June 4th-5th. Permies thread http://www.permies.com/t/53941/cascadia/Mother-Earth-News-Fair-Albany fair schedule http://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/oregon/schedule/

As for your livestock questions, I don't really know as I haven't researched the topic, but we do have plenty of horses and cows here, so if there is an issue there are ways around it.

Also you might think about exploring the OR Willamette valley, it is an amazing fertile area that is mostly used right now to grow grass seed.
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Thanks for your reply and tips/links, Devin! Much appreciated!
What I want to grow food-wise is just for personal use...not for resale, so I don't need a LOT of space.
And funny you mention Willamette Valley...that area has caught my eye.

Any comparisons between OR and WA, pros, cons?
 
Devin Lavign
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Carol Ochs wrote:Thanks for your reply and tips/links, Devin! Much appreciated!
What I want to grow food-wise is just for personal use...not for resale, so I don't need a LOT of space.
And funny you mention Willamette Valley...that area has caught my eye.

Any comparisons between OR and WA, pros, cons?


Well first going on the personal use part, Both OR and WA have strong homestead farm culture. So your good there. In either you will be able to find an area you can have a good homestead community experience that supports your lifestyle.

The Willamette valley can have issues during burn season (they burn grass fields) of stagnant smoke filled air filling small valleys in the foothills.

WA the weather can be a little less predictable due to a lot of micro climates and topography changes effecting weather distribution flow.

Willamette has a lot more flat, but is more isolated from the ocean. Though isn't too difficult to take a day trip to the coast.

WA has both the ocean and Puget sound, giving a bit more access to the water. As well as many islands to visit.

Really I couldn't say one would be better for you without knowing you better. Both are wonderful places and I bet you would be happy with either. Best suggestion would be to come up and do some visiting around the region. There is a lot to see and experience. And no matter which you end up picking, you can always go visiting the other from time to time. I am just north of Seattle and it is aprox a 5 hr trip to Albany OR for me, depending on traffic of course. But that gives you a bit of an idea of how you can easily still explore the whole area.
 
Donald Kenning
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Location: Tri-Cities, Washington
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Carol Ochs:

Welcome!!! I grew up in Hoodsport, about 25 miles (as the crow flies) southwest of Seabeck. Paul Gauchi lives about the same distance to the northwest in Squeim. Interesting differences, Hoodsport about 90 in of rain a year, Seabeck about 52 and Squeim 20 for a span of about 50 miles. We can thank the Olympic mountains for that.

I love the Hoodsport/Hood Canal area and have been all over the place on the west shore. Growing up we shrimped, crabed, fished and even swam in the Hood Canal. Now it is different, especially in the south part of the Hood Canal (Seabeck is basically in the north).

In 2008 there was a massive fish kill (well everything kill) in the Canal. This was not a red tide (natural) this was man made. What happened? Dissolved Oxygen. Not enough of it for the sea life. It got so bad in 2008, that animals that are usually 100 ft deep where in 3 feet of water just to breath. And at the deeper parts, dead zones. This is mostly caused by too much nutrient entering the canal and stuff eating it (look up Hypoxia), and is a big problem for many rivers entering the ocean.

So ... this caused a lot of finger pointing (who did this?). Many people say it was the people living on the canal not having adequate septic systems. Many pointed to some of the fishing practices of the (Skokomish) Indian Tribes on the canal. Others also pointed to the logging activities. And a bunch talked about the chemicals used in farming. No group willing to take responsibility, but all copable in some way. Then people called for studies and education and said that may help.

In Belfair, they installed a city sewer system which helped. On the Skokomish river, they unblocked some dams and levies and now all the people who farm in the skok valley are flooded and do not grow crops anymore. The septic systems are more expensive now on the south end of the canal but I am not sure about Seabeck.

If you go there, I would look to see where the water table is. If it is only a few feet down (say living on Stavis Creek) check carefully about what kind of septic system would be appropriate. I saw someone put one into my old neighborhood for about $30,000.

However, I love this area of Washington (it is my home), even though I live on the East side of Washington, this will always be my home.

Follow the following links for more information.

http://www.visitkitsap.com/seabeck
http://www.hoodcanalenvironmentalcouncil.org/info.php
http://nwtreatytribes.org/septic-systems-linked-to-hood-canal-fish-kills/
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/lack-of-oxygen-killing-marine-life-in-hood-canal-waters/

 
Carol Ochs
Posts: 19
Location: San Diego, CA
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Gosh...firstly, thank you so much for all of your valuable input and interest in even responding to me. I don't mean to cast aspersions, but some city forums you go these days (or such has been MY experience), people are either so anti-newcomers moving to their area that they say any and everything to try to keep you away, ...or figure you're actually dumb enough to just move somewhere without any forethought or planning whatsoever. Makes it difficult to sift out what's truth or not about areas. I feel like I've had a really hard time finding a genuinely welcoming forum with people who know the area well and are willing to share, well, ANYTHING!

I've been studying the Hood Canal area for a couple of years now, and perhaps the part that makes me sound like a kook to some is...I feel unexplainably drawn to the area. To me, it seems like it has a perfect blend of what we want to live in---deep, old growth forest, as well as close proximity to water. All my life I have always lived near a large body of water, first Lake Ontario in NY, now the Pacific Ocean here in San Diego...and feel strangely uncomfortable when I'm too far away from water. I don't know if it's a "you have to be like that to understand it" thing or what...but I literally feel claustaphobic when I'm too far away from a body of water. So hence, THAT criteria of places we're looking. Forests here in southern CA (if you want to call them that) are desert forests and not nearly the same as old growth.

It's really disturbing to hear about the life-kill in the canal. I'm reading a book I found "Hood Canal: Splendor At Risk" which is an older tome (1991) by Jeff Brody of The Sun Newspaper, and just getting to the part where it's talking about some of the issues you've just described. Heartbreaking to think such a beautiful place is being spoiled by human activity!!! I emailed the author not long ago to question him about this and he cited the age of his book, thought things had improved somewhat over the last couple of decades. I haven't yet, but will most definitely follow-up on those info. links you provided...thank you!!! I'm currently subscribed to The Kitsap Sun for local news in the area...but if there are other local publications you recommend, I'd welcome any suggestions. I like to stay on top of all news there!

I'm on several real estate lists there, including for Sequim, which thus far, while it's less rainfall sounds appealing, I honestly have seen very few properties that "rang my chimes". Also concerned about that Dungeness water rule situation.

What we really want are (as per your question, Devin):

Two to five acres. I've noticed many properties are on a slope, but also wondered if maybe this isn't a GOOD THING with all the rain? Keep drainage flowing rather than puddling into a sea of mud? (But this is also the same drainage carrying "stuff" into the canal, no?) Also, the concern about an eventual mega-thrust earthquake and ensuing tsunami potential---wouldn't mind having a mountain or two nearby to vamoose up should raging waters be more significant than they think they could be for the Hood Canal.

A significant issue for me is internet connectivity. My business(es) are homebased/website-based, so internet is crucial, as well as, but not quite so crucial is mail pick-up/delivery. I've spoken with the Seabeck Post Office who told me that as long as one's driveway is less than a half mile, they come to your door to pick-up/deliver. OR, arrangements can be made to have a storage cubby of some kind built near one's driveway entrance for pick-ups. So that's no a huge concern. I get a lot of mixed reviews from varying responders elsewhere as to how reliable internet is. Am hearing that Wave is supposedly the most reliable of what's available ()

Our oldest son lives in Redmond, works for Microsoft, and he made a trip over to Bremerton over last weekend to go to a typewriter repair shop, (one of the last such animal in the sound area) and made a side trip to Seabeck to scout it out a bit, chewed the ear of the General Store manager who kindly gave lots of info on local life. He visited Silverdale to get a taste of how far the nearest amenities are, as well as tooled around Bremerton a bit. Everything we would want/need seems to be within a 15-20 minutes drive. Some might find that not convenient...we WANT that kind of distance! Costco, a veterinarian, a feed store, Harrison Medical Center if needed, and everything else we get off Amazon.

We really want our property to be where we spend most our time, and close enough/containing forest itself, to be in, hike in, be close enough to horse trails that abutt our property preferably (would be my perfect scenario, and we've seen a lot of properties online that afford this). We've always been good neighbors and also like to give back to our community, but would prefer to not see neighbors from any vantage point of our property. Privacy has been something sorely lacking in our lives. I know a lot of the properties there in Seabeck are long thin strips, so we're hoping to find something more square. I wouldn't mind being part of any horse community, fiber community (raising fiber animals), or other self-sustain groups if they are there. We like to be involved and know what is happening in our community, support whatever keeps it healthiest!

By the time we're actually able to move my husband may or may not already be retired as a plumbing contractor, may just work on the side a bit. He's also a guitarist/composer and might like to find a place to play locally, if there are such venues nearby to showcase any of his new tunes (contemporary jazz, ambient, alternative music)...maybe nearby Silverdale/Poulsbo?

I am currently very self-contained in my work. I have a home-based workshop (800 sq. ft.) and an art studio. Properties with outbuildings and extra rooms seem to be in abundance there so I'm sure we could find a property that suits my work needs, and as said, everything I make (handmade soap, art, fiber crafts, candles) are all taken as internet orders nation-wide and shipped out, I have an existing very full client base (that keeps me plenty busy as it is) so wouldn't be trying to find new customer base "there", would not be intruding on any other crafters *there* who have established client base in the region. I LOVE being cocooned at home this way and would just want to find the same there, with the advantage of the beauty we seek--forest, water, a place to have animals again (horses, maybe an alpaca or two for fiber, chickens). We love to explore, hike, and mountain bike, and would want to enjoy not only the local environment, but the Olympic Peninsula as well.

Like everyone, all we ever hear about is the rain, the rain, the rain.....there and how depressing it can be. I may be a freak of nature, but I suffer depression living in the sun, the sun, the sun and how long and ungodly hot our summers have become here in San Diego. It used to be you could expect it to last three months and you'd just plow through it. Now, like last year, our ungodly hot stuff lasted a full 7 months and I wished we could have moved then. So I'm not sure I'll be one of those devastated by rain or gloomy gray depression. At least if it's cool, I feel productive and functional. Heat makes me physically ill, probably mentally, too! LOL!
 
Carol Ochs
Posts: 19
Location: San Diego, CA
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And again...thank you so much for responding!
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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I've just started looking at the Belfair & Tehuya areas a bit, too. Appears there is a lot of off-road vehicle activity there...a mecca for it? Wondered if you knew much about this and is it a nuisance?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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How close is close enough to water? Do you feel a need to have a water 'view' or is being within an hour's drive good?

Views tend to drive the price of property up. If you want something affordable you want something a ways out from the cities proper. There are many sizeable towns in Western WA that offer plenty of services well past the suburbs.

One thing to be wary of in homesteading is the climate. With the amount of rain most of this area gets it's easy to assume that there's going to be plenty of rain to dryland farm- and there *is* but it requires clever permacultural strategies to get annuals through our regular summer drought [unless you're near the rainforest, which has its own suite of issues.]

A second point on the climate is summer heat [more specifically the limited amount of it.] Much of this side of the state [especially very close to the Pacific] has these awesome mild summers where temperatures rarely breech 80F, resulting in far fewer Growing Degree Days.

Lastly, think about your soil. It varies widely here from the Silty Sandy Gravelly loam I'm on with excessive drainage to sticky muddy sloppy clay. Each has its own needs for optimizing, and different crops that do well.

The clay seems to hold water better for annuals but may require mounds for most trees, while I have my diversified permaculture orchard planted in shallow basins [3-6 inches deep and up to 2 feet wide]
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Are most western WA farmers growing directly in the ground, or how much raised-bed farming (organic produce) tends to occur? I'm also thinking about greenhouse growing...to try to control *some* conditions a bit more. Or is that considered anti-permaculture?

I'm currently reading this, btw......Growing Organic Vegetables West of the Cascades
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Depends on your scale. I'm firmly of a mind you're generally better off growing in the ground unless you're in a soggy site.

Paul Gauchi mentioned up-thread grows on thick clay straight in the soil using a permanent mulch layer. BUT he's in the rainshadow on 13ish inches of rain a year.
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Fascinating how different microclimates and soils are just a relatively short distance from one another in western WA!

This thread is making me wonder if that book I'm reading is worth it....heh heh. You guys on this forum seem to know more!
http://www.permies.com/t/3884/cascadia/Growing-Vegetables-West-Cascades
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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I imagine it *is* but you do have to take just about everything with a grain of salt in such a variable region.

Altitude [and the shape thereof in relation to your property] and distance from the sea and the soil are all huge factors.

One book I'm rather fond of is Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest.

Also, Steve Solomon tends to use some rather non-permie practices in my opinion [but as with all opinions that's heavily debatable]
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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I appreciate any and all recommendations on good reads! Thank you!
 
Donald Kenning
Posts: 78
Location: Tri-Cities, Washington
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Carol Ochs:

Hi, again. So ...

Hood Canal is actually a fjord. because of that, water from the Puget Sound spills over a "shelf" to come into the Hood Canal. This "shelf" is about at Bangor or Seabeck. This shelf is like 100 feet down but the canal is like 150 feet deep. So, the canal has a natural mixing problem. If no one lived, fished or cut trees down around it, there would usually not be a low oxygen problem but it is delicate. Since there are people doing things around it, nutrient gets into the canal but it does not have a good mixing connection with the rest of the Puget Sound.

Therefore, most of the problem I mentioned starts at the "shelf" and gets worse the farther south you go. By the time you get to the mouth of the Skokomish river (Skokomish Indian Reservation) water shed or the Union River (Belfair) watershed you have most of the problem. So, I would say this is mostly a Mason County problem (not a Kitsap county thing). However, there are a bunch of parties trying to fix it, The National Forest Service, National Parks Service, Skokomish Tribe, City of Belfair, City of Hoodsport and so on. To put it into perspective if I were a guessing man, I would say that this is 85% a problem for Mason county and 15% for Kitsap. I would guess it is about 60% a problem of Skokomish and Union river water sheds. Another 10% Finch Creek(Hoodsport) and the creeks at Lilliwap, Potlatch up to Eldon. Another 10% from the drainages between Skok and Union Rivers. On the east side of the canal, there is not much of a contribution to the dissolved oxygen problem and at Seabeck, I am guessing practically nothing.

Who is talking about this? Well The Kistap Sun helps provide information. However, our local paper of choice was the Shelton paper The Mason County Journal.

Who are the real people talking about this. Paul Hunter (Hunter Farms, Skokomish valley) has a farm and is effected by the stuff going on, I went through grade school to high school with him. Dr. Mike Pavel, a Skokomish Indian (he does not necessarily speak for the tribe), who may know the issues of the Indians better than I. Ron Gold, he was our scout leader and I worked with him in the Forest Service (Sivilculture). He brings most of the government/environmental perspective. Donna Simmons (Hoodsport), an environmentalist activist on the canal for the last 40 years.

I love the area. Some people think I am crazy for liking 90 inches of rain a year, but I loved to walk in it. I love the trees, I love the water, I love the mountains, I just love it. On the west side of the canal I lived in the ultimate sweet spot. The Sea at my front door and the Olympic Mountains out my back. A 10-15 minute drive and I would be at either.

If you like seclusion this area is great. Beach property is very expensive but just going back a little bit, it is relatively cheap, which you already know. East side is so much less developed than the west, if you are looking for seclusion, you might just find it on the east side of the canal. A lot of property are long rectangles to the canal and people will build the house right on the canal. I do not know what to tell you about that, but I think you will love the area.

Growing stuff. I think most people are convinced that you need to clear ground and force the ground to do annuals. I would say in areas higher than 70 in of rain, the soils will be more fungally dominated (a soil evolution thing). It might be better for trees and other items. Food if you can get it like mushrooms (truffle, Shantrell, chaga) and many other things from the natural forest. Actually, you may want to keep more trees on your property than you remove. Also, you have the sea in front of you with oysters, shrimp, crab and stuff. It is reasonably safe to eat, I think. You could also grow stuff that is not food but valuable, even artful.

Anyway. I hope that is a good introduction to my "homeland". I think you will love it there.

Edit: I am sorry, I was going to address the "art studio" element that you talked about. There is no good way to say this but ... Western Washington is more artsy and liberal than the East Side. East is conservative pragmatist wheat farmers. When we lived in Hoodsport, my Dad had many clients that saw him for some alternative medicine stuff (reflexology, Shiatsu, Acupressure and stuff). He move to Eastern Washington (Tri-cities) and could not get very many clients. In other words, I think you will probably find more people to buy your art work on the West side than the East side. I know, you are doing the internet thing, but if you do any shows locally, you will probably get more sales there (West Side)

http://wa.water.usgs.gov/projects/hoodcanal/data/HC.pdf
http://www.hunter-farms.com/
http://hoodcanalenvironmentalcouncil.org/uploads/2009SpringNewsletter.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1iv37Yn8bg
 
Carol Ochs
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Location: San Diego, CA
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What GREAT info, Donald...thank you! And indeed, I can tell you love the area!

The Sea at my front door and the Olympic Mountains out my back.
That is EXACTLY what we are looking for! Close proximity to both, is my dream!

So, if they could just blow that shelf in the canal up, there would be a good mix-effect? heh heh It will be curious to see how all these different local organizations will hopefully work together to find solutions...if there are any to be had (?) I've been studying the hypoxia effect, climate change, wind change, wetlands rehab, septic tank issues.......and thanks for the additional info sources to subscribe to! It's most definitely something we feel conscious of and would want our own habits to be what best supports the environment. Do you know if many if any homes are even on a public sewer system there? All I see is "septic" on properties we view. Didn't think there was an alternative, and not sure we could afford a $30,000 new septic system...as was mentioned above. My husband is a plumbing contractor and certified as a *green contractor*...will have to research options available that we maybe haven't considered thus far.

As for art, yes, we are aware that western WA is more liberal than the eastern side. I'm not certain I'd pursue selling art in galleries or craft show type venues anyway; I tend to prefer my online presence. I work so much all week, the last thing I want to do is spend my weekends sitting at and vending at shows or fairs personally, either, and the bureaucracy of many galleries is not something I've felt real comfortable with thus far....but who knows, it may be different there locally! Generally speaking, I feel that the more autonomy and control you can exert over the sale of your art, the better. Much of what I currently do with art is commissioned pieces. But I have a feeling that living in so beautiful place might hyper-boost my inspiration to pursue other subject matter!

As for growing things...I could no more bring myself to clear trees than cut off my own arm, I think....except maybe to keep them a safe distance from our home so we don't have any crashing awakenings in a windstorm. I would not be growing produce on so grand a scale as to need to clear a significant amount of land. I'm doing a lot of studying on growing/farming in the PNW and need to do further research here to find out what grows best in which microclimate....seems from the bit I have read since finding this forum that 50 miles stretches can vary so in rainfall and soil content! I'm really grateful for all the generous posters...kind of overwhelmed with all the fantastic info here! Exciting to find!!!

 
John Devitt
Posts: 34
Location: Belfair WA
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Carol,
My family and I currently live in Belfair, WA. 3 acres with garden, chicken, ducks, rabbits.

Farmer's market in Belfair is pitiful and called Saturday market because there are usually no farmers in it. Well one, but he usually sells flower and a few vegies (http://davisfarmbelfair.com/). Near by in Port Orchard is a much bigger one but I do not get there much. The growing climate here changes every half mile. My last frost date is 2 weeks later than a friend down the road.

A lot of people raise and grow their own animals, enough to support 2 feed store. A lot of people sell eggs.

There are currently a lot of nice 5+ acre sites for sale. I am actually looking for something different in the area as well. How about a 6 acre property bisected by a road (not well traveled) with 160' of salt water tide flats for $99K? Undeveloped lots can go for 30-50K for 5 acres.

PM me if you would like and I would be willing to give you my contact information. It would be easier to give you the good and the over a phone conversation.
John
 
Nicole Alderman
gardener
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I live north of Seattle and toward the foothills, so I don't know much about the Hood Canal region. Another good resource for planting is The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide. It's geared for the Seattle area, but talks about planting differences in the various areas in Oregon & Washington. It gives a month-by-month list of what varieties to plant in which month, which I found immensely helpful when I started planting. Erica Strauss at Northwest Edible Life also has online, monthly planting guides: http://www.nwedible.com/topics/monthly-garden-chore-lists/, which I also find really useful. Once again, she's more geared for the Seattle area, but it still gives a nice benchmark to go by when you're starting.

And, yes, there are a lot of microclimates here! My parents live only thirty minutes away, but my Mom's plants flower and fruit usually two weeks sooner than mine. I live further in the foothills than her, at a slightly higher elevation, and on a northfacing slope surrounded by trees. Living on a hill can be great for many things, but it's good to know that if you're on a northfacing slope, everything will be a bit later (which comes in handy in avoiding damage due to late frosts, but is fustrating when everyone else is already eating fruit). Also, our climate has been rather wonky recently, too, with too very warm winter/springs. For example, the first spring after I moved here (2013), we had our first ripe salmonberry (salmonberries being the first fruits to ripen here) on May 23rd. In 2014 and 2015, I found my first salmonberries on May 14th. This year, I picked the first salmonberry April 29th!

Another thing to consider when you think of slopes in the area is what type of bedrock your location is on. Some land likes to just slide away during earthquakes, or just because of rain (such as the horrible Oso landslide a bit north of me). Whatever county you are looking at should have maps that designate the slope stability of a particular piece of land.

Here's a link to the Puget Sound Landslide Slope Stability Map: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/landslides/maps/maps.html

And, here's a bunch of Kitsap County Maps: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/landslides/maps/maps.html.

We have in my county a "Erosional Surficial Geology Map" which goes into detail about the type of foundational geology of given piece of land and how likely it is that it will shake rattle and roll away during an earthquake. Hopefully they have such maps in the county you end up looking at (it was a pain trying to find the one for my county, but hopefully having the search term will get you there).

I hope that helps!
 
Donald Kenning
Posts: 78
Location: Tri-Cities, Washington
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Hi;

One last thing about the septic system. The system I talked about at $30 to $35k was for a house on Finch creek in Hoodsport. There the water table is a foot or two below ground. If you are on a small hill, the water table will be lower. I think it is like a "sand vault" kinda thing. If you are on the canal or living on one of the creeks or rivers that feed the south part of the canal, they may insist on this type. The expense is shipping in the sand and the back hoe and stuff. And, of course, Belfair has that sewer system now, if you go there.

But Potlach to the Dosewallups river water shed (Brinnon) puts you on the east side of the canal (sea in the front door, Olympics out the back). But most of the towns that have anything are Brinnon in the North and Shelton (12 miles beyond Potlach) in the South. And of course, Belfair and Union on the "hook".
 
Megh Marie
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Hi Carol-

I spent a year in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, and I would recommend it. It is part of the rain shadow, so gets around half the amount of rain as seattle. The summers are surprisingly dry, with lots of fog coming off the sound and gorgeous afternoons, and the winters are cooler and more damp with regular drizzles. You might see one thunderstorm during the summer, but they are not often. Prevailing winds are common, but lots of room for micro-climates with rolling hills. The more south you go on the island towards Langley, the more wet and overcast it becomes- only part of Whidbey is technically under the rain shadow. You're constantly reminded of water's presence while also being grounded by Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and the Olympic mountains on the horizon depending on which direction you look. Also, the people are great- tons of local producers, homesteaders, farmers (organic), artisans, musicians, etc. Couldn't talk it up more Happy plans to you!
 
Carol Ochs
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John Devitt wrote:Carol,
There are currently a lot of nice 5+ acre sites for sale. I am actually looking for something different in the area as well. How about a 6 acre property bisected by a road (not well traveled) with 160' of salt water tide flats for $99K? Undeveloped lots can go for 30-50K for 5 acres.

PM me if you would like and I would be willing to give you my contact information. It would be easier to give you the good and the over a phone conversation.
John


Hi John.....We aren't currently actively looking beyond the "research stage" right now...it will likely be more more 2+ years out that we can actual purchase. But I'll keep this thread bookmarked for the contact info---THANK YOU!
 
Carol Ochs
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Here's a link to the Puget Sound Landslide Slope Stability Map: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/landslides/maps/maps.html

And, here's a bunch of Kitsap County Maps: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/landslides/maps/maps.html.

We have in my county a "Erosional Surficial Geology Map" which goes into detail about the type of foundational geology of given piece of land and how likely it is that it will shake rattle and roll away during an earthquake. Hopefully they have such maps in the county you end up looking at (it was a pain trying to find the one for my county, but hopefully having the search term will get you there).

I hope that helps!


That HAS been a big concern, the more I've read about the fault lines, the Oso slide, and inevitable Big One coming! Figure we're going to get with one whether we stay her ein S. CA or move up there, so why not just brace for it, eh? THANSK for the great links!!!
 
Carol Ochs
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Megh Marie wrote:Hi Carol-

I spent a year in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, and I would recommend it. It is part of the rain shadow, so gets around half the amount of rain as seattle.


Thanks for the recommendation! My son spent some time there in Coupeville and really liked it. Is there much by way of rural properties though? I got the impression there weren't too many....
 
Carol Ochs
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Donald Kenning wrote:Hi;

I think it is like a "sand vault" kinda thing. If you are on the canal or living on one of the creeks or rivers that feed the south part of the canal, they may insist on this type. The expense is shipping in the sand and the back hoe and stuff. And, of course, Belfair has that sewer system now, if you go there.

But Potlach to the Dosewallups river water shed (Brinnon) puts you on the east side of the canal (sea in the front door, Olympics out the back). But most of the towns that have anything are Brinnon in the North and Shelton (12 miles beyond Potlach) in the South. And of course, Belfair and Union on the "hook".



Unfortunately, I've learned to not always trust what realtors tell you...there can be a big discrepancy there. Who would be an agency/service to ask re: evaluating a property's septic system before buying a house/property Anyone you'd recommend?
 
Carol Ochs
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I've been doing some Googling, but it isn't clear to me in what I'm finding.......would previous geologic issues with a property show up in the title search/clearance in the state of WA before purchase of a property/escrow can close, does anyone know? Course I s'pose that would be a worthless issue if a house hasn't sustained any damage previously, or it's land had any obvious slides..... hmmm Doesn't mean you won't be in for a ride-of-your-life when the Big One hits.....

Will look at those landslide links posted above.....

Edited to add....
Oh...found this: http://www.findwell.com/blog/buying-a-home/understanding-the-title-contingency-in-washington-state/

And probably the best bet would be to have the property inspected by a geologist/engineer.
 
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