Posts in wilderness living
An Unexpected Turning of Tides
 

I have become wary of laying out plans for the future, because not only do people hold you to those plans, and the plans rarely go as planned, but setting expectations also creates room for disappointments.

So I’m learning more and more to have a loose idea, but to expect inevitable variations to occur.

Life is forever evolving, and often is not so straightforward as to abide by our mathematical planning on calendars and calculators.

Tiffany Davidson Homesteading Blog Washington State

Tiffany Davidson Eric Smith Washington State Homesteading Blog Travel Blog

We were moving along at full speed, making money, putting it back to prepare for a cabin build in Spring of 2019 on our new land.

Last Autumn, we arranged for a vacation to surprise loved ones in Kentucky for the holidays. Eric arranged work in KY, and his employer here in northeast WA had no problem with him leaving for this time, promising not only would his job be here when we returned, but that they would provide winter training since we’d be arriving back in the dead of winter (Eric’s route is, WAS, through the mountains of northeast WA and British Columbia, with plenty of steep mountain grades - terrifying in a car, let alone a huge semi truck hauling 100,000+ pounds).

We arrived back to our home in WA in mid-January, Eric set out to work as scheduled, despite that commute being 1.5 hours one way, through icy mountain roads, it was the price we were paying to live in this wilderness we so love.

Work went as planned for a couple of days, then as a winter storm fell over the area and mountain passes became treacherous, Eric reached out to his managers to schedule the day of winter training he was promised.

One manager speedily rushed him through a tutorial of putting chains on the truck, in the parking lot, amidst a blizzard, and the chains ended up being on backwards(!) and they claimed this was winter training.

Tiffany Davidson Washington State Photography

The disappointment set in and now we were in a pickle. NO way was he going to drive without winter training, not only to protect his own life, but the lives of others out on those roads.

Days went by where he was loosely made to believe that he would get training at some point, until eventually his managers turned condescending and unprofessional, all the while we were in a bit of a panic because Eric’s paycheck was suddenly… not happening as expected. With every week that went by, thousands of unmade dollars also went by, and the pressure was on for me to take on more clients to keep us afloat so that we wouldn’t have to tap into our emergency savings.

When Eric persisted with his employers, asking: “why not just send ____ with me as promised, for ONE day of winter training, and we can all move on as planned…?” the response given was that they “didn’t want to endanger TWO lives!” — so you can imagine the frustration of all of this. We live in a place where going out and simply getting a new job isn’t exactly… realistic. So there we were, our second income just completely removed from the equation, in the middle of a snowy icy winter, totally unsure what the next best move was.

Tiffany Davidson Washingtons Last Frontier Homesteading Blog Rural Living Photography

I’ll save you the details of weeks of despairing and worrying and thinking and more plans-that-didnt-go-as-expected and the decision had to be made…

The decision to move.

I can’t tell you how difficult it was to decide this and to set our jaws about it.

All of our efforts for the past couple of years have been to get to this place, this northeast WA wilderness, and be able to live comfortably in it.

What a sobering realization that: we still are not ready.

Tiffany Davidson Washington State Photographer Homesteading Blog

To live a good life in this land, it seems you must either be born here, marry into a family who was born here, be very wealthy, retired, or getting some kind of regular check that does not rely on the local economy.

Or you can work online, which is the route I have taken, but Eric is still reliant upon the local marketplace for his income.

Tiffany Davidson Washington State Photographer Homesteading Blog
Tiffany Davidson Washington State Photographer HOmesteading Blog

So we have moved!

The place we’ve chosen to move to is a place that stole our hearts last year when we visited, and it’s a place that - despite being much more populated than the northeast portion of the state - still retains a rugged and remote feeling (especially on the western side).

We are living on the Olympic Peninsula, and we have every intention to enjoy this place wholeheartedly for the myriad of natural wonders it has to offer.

Tiffany Davidson Washington State Photographer Homesteading Blog Olympic Peninsula
Tiffany Davidson Olympic Peninsula Photographer

What about our homestead plans in northeast WA?

They remain. But they have been slowed down.

This year, we hope to achieve a fenced-in garden area and to get a dowser out to the property to check for water availability so that a well can be dug. Maybe more will get accomplished than that, but those are our goals for 2019 on the property.

Just a few months ago, our goal was to have a cabin built on the property in 2019, but that can no longer happen.

Building a homestead from scratch with cash takes time. And it takes being closeby. So our plans are definitely delayed.

But who knows what the future holds. I have a lot of projects underway, and in my line of work it’s sometimes difficult to predict the payoff amount and timeline. So perhaps the homestead development will move faster than we could possibly foresee at this moment.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m learning that for my own life, loose ideas work better than concrete plans.

So this is a surrender of sorts, and a letting go and letting life unfold as it does.

Tiffany Davidson Olympic Peninsula Photographer Homesteading Blog

I’m certain that in a few years, I will read back over this post and smile to myself, having never could’ve imagined the way that things ended up unfolding. And that awareness brings me a certain sense of relief and humor :)

“How wild it was, to let it be…”

Tiffany Davidson Travel Photographer Olympic Peninsula Homesteading Blog
 

Welcome!

Tiffany Davidson.JPG

My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany


INSTAGRAM:


Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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We Bought Land! [An Exciting Update On Our Journey To Building An Off-Grid Homestead From Scratch, Slowly & With Cash]
 
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Time moves slowly, and yet so fast.

It seems like we’ve been redesigning careers, working, saving money, and browsing properties for sale for an eternity, yet at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday that we even seriously set goals and began this journey to building an off-grid homestead from scratch.

If you follow this blog, you’ve watched as we setup completely new career paths, finally made the big move to this wilderness we love so dearly, and you know we’ve just been plugging away - working a lot and saving as much money as possible.

Now, a big step has been made in this overall process - WE BOUGHT LAND!

This is a big accomplishment and we’re so happy to finally meet and begin to get acquainted with the land we’ll build out our dream homestead on over the course of many years. Now we have a canvas for all of our imaginings to play out on and it’s such an exciting new dynamic!

I wanted to make a post here to document this pivotal moment and introduce you to our land.
In time, many more pictures will be shared, videos too I’m sure, so be sure to follow us on Instagram if you’re interested in a more intimate look into the process.

In early Spring, we’ll begin building a small cabin to live in, so this winter will be spent brainstorming, designing, and gathering materials. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to do and we’ll share what we glean with you as we go.


Welcome to our beautiful piece of the earth…

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Where is it?

Situated about one hour northeast of where we currently live is an area we fell in love with earlier this year - the Okanogan Highlands.
This area is desolate and beautiful, so very peaceful and inspiring. Once you emerge into the Highlands, it feels like you’re in a dream and like you’ve gone back in time simultaneously. Some combination of golden light on rolling highlands, the vast spaciousness, old abandoned pioneer cabins tucked in the landscape like a memory, the crisp cool air, the snow-capped Cascades far in the distance… all combine to create a place that we both feel is altogether unique and distinct from anywhere else we’ve ever been.

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How much land?

We purchased 20 acres, mostly wooded, with open area at the bottom.
Aspen trees line their way down the property spilling out into a grove at the bottom, pointing to the strong possibility of water being not too far below the surface, while the majority of the property is coated in Larches, Pines, Douglas Firs, and even a few Maple varieties.
We have already found fresh scat of black bear, elk, moose, coyotes, and a single cougar (who might even live on the property in a cave we’ve yet to explore, we’ll know more once we get a trail cam set up in January).
We’re also really looking forward to exploring the geology around the property…

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What will you do for water?

This will certainly involve a lot of trial and error.
We have a few different ideas in mind:
First - we are going to try to catch rainwater, despite the minute amounts of rainfall this area gets. We’ll see how it goes.
Second - we will likely try to dig a well if water is determined to be close enough to the surface. As mentioned above, the Aspen trees seem to be a good indicator that we do have water close to the surface.
Third - over time we will purchase cisterns, which we’ll bury, fill with water, and gravity-feed to the home and other areas as needed.
I plan to utilize permaculture strategies for growing food that create the need for less water, such as hügelkultur and other solutions.

 

What about electricity?

We plan to be off-grid, and will likely start off with just the essentials - a wood stove, oil lamps, and lots of beeswax candles.
Over time, as we save more money, we’ll begin to incorporate more substantial off-grid power systems such as wind and solar. Fortunately, our climate gets over 300 days a year of sunshine!

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How will you work online?

One of the reasons we ended up deciding on this property is because it’s in view of a rare satellite. The way Internet works out here is usually: if you have visible line of sight to a satellite (which are usually placed on high peaks), you can probably get Internet. Otherwise, it’s doubtful.
We shouldn’t run into an issue accessing Internet once we’ve built the necessary infrastructure for a company to come out. Of course, we’ll be without power for a while as we save to afford off-grid power setups. So, there will certainly be a transition period where I may have to find other Internet solutions for a while. (Another reason I’m working hard now to establish passive income!).

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When will you be living on the property?

Our plan is to begin building in early Spring (2019). We plan to build a small cabin - just 14x14 to begin with - which will eventually become an Airbnb one day after we finish our larger cabin.
We’re deriving inspiration from older Nordic home designs, but with modern touches (wooden cabin, painted black, big windows, large platform deck, etc.). Over time, we plan to build a sauna, several studios and work spaces, more small cabins for family to stay in… so we should end up with a proper Scandinavian village in the forest sort of feeling :)
(And you’ll be able to come stay and enjoy it yourself if you wish, thanks to the Airbnb platform).


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I hope these pictures and questions answered have been enjoyable to read or inspiring in some way on your own journey.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

And if you’re interested in this sort of thing, we hope you’ll subscribe to the blog and follow the journey as we build an off-grid homestead… from scratch… slowly… with cash!

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Until next time ~

x
Tiffany


OTHER POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

 

Welcome!


TIffany+Davidson+Washingtons+Last+Frontier+Wilderness+Living+Homesteading+Hygge+Blog+Inspiring+Beautiful+Blog+Life+in+Washington+Homesteading+Off+grid.png

My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany


Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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The Best Gifts For Outdoorsy Women in 2019
 
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As an outdoorsy woman myself, I figured I was well-suited for the task of creating a gift guide for other women who spend as much time as they can outdoors - hiking, camping, backpacking, or doing work on the homestead.

I’ve made sure to include a wide range of ideas and cater to all budgets so hopefully you can find something on this list that’s just right, or at the very least - sparks another idea.

These gifts are some of my personal favorites, proven to be useful in the outdoors (and some of them are just plain fun!).


Gift Ideas For Outdoorsy Women:


The ability to filter water on the go!

One of the most basic items an outdoorsy person should have in their pack.

Incredibly lightweight, doesn’t take up space, and has the potential to save your life.

A LifeStraw in your pack is a no-brainer.


Osprey Aura 65 AG Backpack

If you’re a woman who likes to go backpacking, this is the backpack you have to have.
The engineering is phenomenal, with the woman-specific hip belt dispersing weight evenly, resulting in zero tug on the shoulders. You can carry days worth of camp supplies and it’ll feel like you’re carrying half that. Seriously magical.



Fjallraven Kanken

This is an everyday backpack that I actually use as a purse.
Fjallraven is a decades old Swedish brand that I’ve been loyal to for years that is now starting to become popular in America (especially here in the Pacific Northwest).
These Kanken daypacks come in every color imaginable and are perfect for day hikes, for students, or a purse substitute for us adventurous gals who never know where the day might take us!



Hydro Flask Water Bottle - Stainless Steel, BPA-Free

The most coveted insulated water bottle / thermos on the market right now, and for good reason.
They’re super insulated, keeping cold things cold and hot things hot for 24 hours, with a slip-free grip most stainless steel containers lack, and comes in a wide array of colors.
I love the yellow one!

 


On The Go Tripod For Smartphones

This compact tripod is perfect for stuffing in your pack with a bendy design that allows you to easily position it on rocks, branches, you name it. Mounting options allow you to shoot horizontally and vertically with your smartphone, no bulky fancy camera equipment needed. Bonus: comes with a wireless remote for the perfect outdoor selfie.


This is another one of those no-brainer items, in my opinion. It’s lightweight, doesn’t take up any space in your pack, but has the power to save a life.

Sometimes simple day hikes are the most dangerous because people don’t go prepared. They feel that: Oh, it’s just a pleasant day hike… so enough water and food aren’t brought along and sleeping bags definitely aren’t.

A simple day hike can go astray pretty quickly if you become lost close enough to sunset without enough daylight hours left to sort your way out. What would be most important then? Water and warmth. Almost everything else can wait until the morning.

These survival blankets are military-grade and designed to retain up to 90% of your body heat while completely blocking rain, snow, and moisture of any kind.

I like this 4-pack because you can use two to setup a tent (floor piece + roof) and two to keep warm.


Millie Kromer Hat

The classic Stormy Kromer hat, but made for women (featuring an opening for a ponytail!).
Made mostly out of wool in Michigan (United States).
I love the classic north woods black/red tartan pattern, but there are several color options to pick from.

 


Enamelware Camp Mugs

Enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee outdoors might be one of the greatest pleasures in the world, atleast for outdoors people. So you need a good camp mug. The classic looking enamelware mugs are all the rage right now, so this is a fail-safe bet for a gift she’ll love.



Fjallraven Women’s Keb Trousers

Hands down, my favorite outdoors pants.
There are two key reasons for this: they’re durable and can handle anything I’m doing, and they look good. I’m not just saying they look good on me, but they look good on pretty much everyone I’ve ever seen wear them. I think this is due to the higher waist and the positioning of pockets.
She. Will. Love. Them.
Here’s proof that I wear them all the time… (with the Fjallraven Women’s Keb Jacket - which is equally awesome).



Fjallraven Women’s Keb Jacket

Just as awesome as the Keb Trousers is the Fjallraven Keb Jacket for women. Performs well and looks good - two very typical features of Fjallraven apparel. I’d say the Keb suit is the archetypal Tiffany outfit - I wear it a lot, and I like it a lot.
My favorite part is the hood - check out the depth of it! You have your own personal cocoon…



Unbreakable Wine Glasses For The Great Outdoors

Because it’s 2019 and we can sip wine from the summit if we darn well feel like it! ;)
These are shatter-proof, stainless steel, and ready to add a little warmth to the next adventure.

 


Zero Degree Sleeping Bag

Keeping warm is of paramount importance when you’re outdoors and exposed to the elements.

This mummy style adult-sized sleeping bag keeps you comfortable down to 0 degrees F.

And you really can’t beat this price for a solid and reliable sleeping bag. Win win.

 


ENO Hammock

For simple and cozy sleeping under the stars without the hassle of carrying and setting up a tent - weighs only 16 ounces and folds into a 4” x 5” carrying sack. Equally useful on those relaxing afternoons in the backyard or your favorite park, with a hot cup of tea and a good book…


Speaking of books…

Books For Outdoorsy Women & Adventurous Gals

No pack is complete without a good read. And on those days stuck indoors, what better than immersing yourself in someone else’s tales of adventure? Here are my top recommendations for gift-giving; for more ideas feel free to browse My Bookshelf.



Danner Women’s Mountain 600 Hiking Boots

Confession: I don’t actually own these. Yet. But I’m crazy about them. The design mimics the traditional women’s hiking boot - the old clunky brown leather boots with red strings that I remember my mother wearing and the same ones famously related to the film (and book mentioned above) Wild. Except Danner has made them far better with cushioned Vibram soles! I will own these by the end of the year.
Pro tip: These boots paired with the book Wild would be some top-notch gifting!



Inflatable Solar Light

An LED lantern that’s charged by the sun, requires no batteries, and is fully collapsible for easy packing. So you get to your campsite, sit it out in the sun while you go about enjoying yourself, then when night comes and everyone starts to turn in, you can crawl inside your tent (or hammock), turn on your little lantern, and enjoy a book. Life is seriously good.

 


Portable Camping Stove

If you spend any significant amount of time backpacking or camping, you have to have a camp stove. And this is the best one out there, because it’s so lightweight but also heavy-duty.



Mora Kniv

From food prep to cutting tinder to self-defense to carving around the fire at night… anybody who spends time outdoors needs a good bushcraft knife. Mora knives are Swedish-made since 1891, and for the price point you will absolutely not find a better knife. Comes with a fancy sheath that slides easily onto pants.



Leather Bound Journal

Spending lots of time outdoors allows for reflection. I know personally that some of my best thoughts and ideas come to me when I’m hiking, so I always keep a notepad in my backpack. Having something beautiful to write in makes writing all the more attractive and sacred, this leather bound journal is the perfect pack companion.

 

I don’t go into the outdoors alone without some form of reliable protection.

Nature is full of random, unpredictable events. Not just bears, but wild dogs, a sick and starving cougar who is acting out of dire circumstances, a hyper-vigilant mama bear with 4 cubs she’s having a hard time feeding, and even crappy humans who are out on the trail for completely different reasons than you.

Value your life enough to want to protect it.

These canisters fit snugly into the bottle holder on either side of a hiking backpack. Or you can purchase the holster with the spray and wear it on your hip.



Women’s Muck Boots (for all occasions)

Whether I’m hiking, going hunting with my husband, or going outside to work in pouring down rain or several feet of snow, this is the one boot that does me well in every single scenario. Like a knife, I see Muck Boots as one of those essential items that any hardy person should have.


GoPro

Need I say more? This camera will go with you on the trail, up the mountain, through storms, underwater, it’ll let you beat it up, and still produce high-quality video and pictures. This is a camera everyone wants, but especially outdoorsy people. And hey, you know how it is nowadays, if you didn’t get a picture doing it, it might as well just not have happened ;)


Waterproof Compass

And last but not least - a compass, so she never loses her way.

 

I hope this gift guide has been helpful to you and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to sign up for our newsletter for articles on wilderness living, health and wellness, and to watch our progress as we work to build an off-grid homestead from scratch (debt-free).

x
Tiffany



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Welcome!

Tiffany Davidson Eric Smith.png

My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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Our Favorite Cold Weather Hunting Gear [2019 - Husband & Wife]
 

Here in the Inland Northwest, nighttime lows have been in the 30’s and 40’s since early September.

These sudden low temps have been a strong reminder of what’s to come.

We’ve been hustling to get our living quarters winterized, find a 4wd vehicle, and switch out summer clothes for winter gear at our storage unit.

I say winter gear rather than winter clothes because in this climate - far colder than many parts of Alaska - once the snow falls, it doesn’t go anywhere, it just builds and builds as the season progresses. So, doing anything outdoors requires a great deal of preparation.

But sitting silent and still in such cold extreme temperatures (e.g. hunting!) is a whole other level and demands the proper apparel, otherwise you’re going to have a miserable and short-lived experience.

Personally, I don’t do much hunting at this point in life. But I do go along with my husband because I enjoy it (and seem to have a sharp eagle eye!). And nothing ruins a hunt quicker than getting cold, for either of us.

So this article is to list the hunting gear we rely on to keep us warm and alert.

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THE WINTER GEAR WE RELY ON FOR HUNTING IN A COLD CLIMATE:


FEET: Let’s start at the root of things - our feet. Many of you might agree, this can be a problem area. Even when I lived in Kentucky, which is multitudes warmer than here in northeast Washington, cold feet would push me out of the woods a lot sooner than I had anticipated.

So I’ve gotten serious about keeping my feet warm, and I cannot recommend enough these two things: heavy SmartWool socks and Arctic Sport Muck Boots. In my opinion, this is an unstoppable combination. If you’ve never worn Muck Boots, get ready to be oh so pleased - they just make all outdoor work more enjoyable.

Here I am enjoying the freezing winter days here in the north, with the warmest toastiest toes imaginable:

The Arctic Pro Hunting Muck Boot and these heavy SmartWool socks that go over the calf are the combination my husband relies on to keep his lower extremities nice and cozy, while remaining functional and mobile.


BODY: Base layer - for now we just use thermal underwear or sweatsuits as a base layer. In the future, we’ll probably invest in something better, but for now this works okay.

Where we really put focus when it comes to keeping in overall body warmth is on our main outer layer.

I have been wearing these Women’s Quilt Lined Bib Overalls (in black) for two years and I really love them. They’re great for all kinds of winter work, too. Just toss a coat over, pull your Muck Boots on, and you’re ready to go for most scenarios.

My husband oscillates between Carhartt’s Arctic Quilt Lined Biberalls with their Yukon Coat (also great for outdoors winter work) and the Sitka Incinerator Coat and Fanatic Bibs (highly reknowned in the cold weather hunting community not only for their intense warmth but also for the quiet stealthy material).


HANDS: Much the same way cold feet can ruin a hunt, so too can cold hands.

Gloves are always a little tricky because you want to have optimal function of your hands, while also figuring out how to keep them warm.

Let me introduce you to the Sitka Incinerator Flip Mitt.

Problem solved.
(And always keep some Hot Hands in your pack, just in case).


HEAD, NECK & FACE: Last, but certainly not least is keeping warm in the upper extremities. Just like feet and hands, cold ears or a frostbit nose can throw in the towel on an otherwise great day of hunting.

For this - we use balaclavas. It’s one piece that covers all three bases.

That said, some days we wear glasses and other days we wear contacts, so we need balaclavas that can fit either situation. As most of you know, many garments that cover the face can result in foggy glasses. Not good.

For glasses wearers, people whose faces don’t tend to get too cold, or people in climates that are a little more mild than ours, I recommend this super affordable all-purpose balaclava. My favorite part about is that it doesn’t get all moist from being breathed on like the fleece varieties.

Otherwise, for the same price, this heavyweight balaclava will keep you good and snug.

With such a low price, it wouldn’t hurt just to have both. We love ours and use them a lot throughout the winter for a variety of things.

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Have something to add to the list? It would help us all if you leave any further recommendations or things you can’t do without when hunting in cold weather in the comments below!

Thanks so much for reading and if you enjoy articles on topics including wilderness living, homesteading, living closer to the land, and that sort thing - please sign up for our newsletter! And if you use Instagram, connect with us!


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Welcome!


Tiffany Davidson Washington's Last Frontier

My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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Nourishing Yourself Throughout Wildfire Season - Staying Healthy Amidst The Smoke
 

Here in the inland northwest, we've been cloaked in hazardous levels of smoke. We're not alone - most of the northwest, from the coast across parts of British Columbia and into Idaho and Montana, are experiencing the same conditions. 

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Originally from eastern America, this is new to me. In the past, I imagined that the fires themselves were the real threat. But it seems the smoke is actually the biggest threat to humans.

We have all been warned to stay indoors, batten down the hatches, and if we must venture outdoors to wear N95 respirator masks

It's a claustrophobic and neurotic feeling for all of us, wildlife included. The longing for rain and crisp mountain air to return can be felt like real hunger.

Despite staying inside as much as possible, most of us inevitably venture outside anyway, figuring "Oh it'll be fine..." but problems associated with wildfire smoke inhalation may not surface as disease for years and years. I don't know about you, but a breathing disease is one of the many things I'd like to avoid if possible.

So I took advantage of all of this indoor time to research detoxing the body after wildfire exposure, primarily smoke inhalation. I uncovered a lot of natural treatment strategies that my husband and I have been enacting daily. 

I figured with so many of us impacted by these wildfires, and having inhaled tiny particles into the depths of our lungs, I'd share my findings with everyone in hopes we can give our bodies a hand in dealing with this extreme pollution in the best way possible. 


 

Cleansing Indoor Air

Because wildfire smoke pushes us indoors, optimizing indoor air is the best starting point. 

Make sure to keep windows, doors, and vents closed as much as possible. Clean all air filters and be sure your A/C is set to recirculate indoor air (most A/C systems are inherently designed to do this). Avoid vaccuuming or dusting as this will stir up debris, further undermining your indoor air quality. Wait to vaccuum and dust when you can open windows. (I have been wiping surfaces down with a wet cloth and OnGuard oil, though, figuring as long as the cloth is wet the dust won't get stirred). 

While beeswax candles are known for purifying air, I find that lighting candles during wildfire season feels counterintuitive. What I've found to be so beneficial, cleansing, and soothing are diffusers

I keep a diffuser going in the main room of the house where we spend most of our time, and I turn one on in the bedroom when we go to sleep. 

Inside the diffuser, I use filtered water and two drops of Breathe - a therapeutic grade essential oil for respiratory support. This is easily one of my favorite essential oils. We stop from time to time, lingering our faces over the diffuser and slowly inhale the vapor to transfer some medicinal properties of the Breathe oil to our lungs. 

The best essential oils to diffuse inside the home for respiratory support during wildfire season are:

(I have no affiliation with DoTerra, but when it comes to essential oils for therapeutic purposes, this is the company I feel best about). 

 

Teas & Steams

It's vital to stay well-hydrated, drinking quality filtered or spring water with minerals intact. However much you weigh in pounds, divide that in half - this is how many ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you'll need a minimum of 75 ounces of water each day.  (A standard glass is 16 oz.).

If you want to add even more medicinal benefit to drinking water, make herbal teas! During my research, the following herbs and spices seem to be the most helpful for respiratory support and overall assistance via calming inflammation, boosting immunity, supporting the lungs, and mitigating the damage of smoke:

  • Reishi - a highly medicinal mushroom used for thousands of years. We slow brew the reishi over a hot stove in a large dutch oven, but a crock pot would work well too. The two keys to a strong reishi tea that is going to nourish your body so well are to use plenty of sliced reishi (about one pound) and to cook slow (at least 3 hours over medium heat, covered).

  • Turmeric & Ginger - both studied for their potent anti-inflammatory properties, we sprinkle turmeric & ginger powder over meals (even fruit!) and make a delicious beverage by combining a tablespoon of turmeric powder + a tablespoon of ginger powder + a tablespoon of lemon juice + a tablespoon of honey in a quart jar. Put the lid on, shake well, and enjoy. You can add ice to up the refreshment factor.

  • Lungwort - A delicious tea, we prefer it brewed hot. Combined with peppermint leaf, it's a real delight - and both are cleansing herbs for the lungs.

  • Plantain - This plant has a plethora of medicinal uses, and one of those happens to be in the treatment of inflamed mucous linings and irritation of the lungs. I recommend a hot tea.

  • Osha Root - I can't speak to it personally, as I've yet to get my hands on any. But, I wanted to mention it because Osha Root is native to the Rocky Mountains and has been used by native people in this area for thousands of years for lung and throat problems. Once I find a good source and make tea, I'll edit in some further remarks and information.

 

Another really beneficial - arguably even moreso - method of inviting medicinal herbs into the respiratory system is to make herbal steams. This is such an easy and refreshing self-care treatment, and I really urge you to give it a go. 

Oregano + Thyme Herbal Steam:

Simply heat water on the stovetop, bring to boiling, then move to a sturdy place where you can safely sit or stand over it. Add 2 tablespoons of dried oregano and 2 tablespoons of dried thyme. Stir them around and let sit for a couple of minutes. Now drape a small towel over your head and bend down to breathe in the steam. Long, slow inhalations are best. Be mindful not to get too close or you may experience an uncomfortable heat. Repeat the long slow inhalations of the oregano + thyme steam, and switch out with your partner, your children, or your roommate so everyone gets the benefits. 

Eucalyptus Showers:

Another way I like to use plants to support my respiratory system is by hanging dried bundles of eucalyptus in the shower. When you take a hot shower, you'll inevitably inhale some of the properties of the plant, and eucalyptus is one of the most recommended plants to help with lung issues.
 

 

Increase Oxygen In The Body

Encouraging more oxygen in the body and movement of oxygen is an important dynamic to staying well amidst wildfire smoke (and after). 

Because we're all pushed indoors during this time, it becomes even more crucial due to this sedentary state we're all existing in. Breathing in wildfire smoke (even remnants) combined with not moving much is a terrible combination. 

Exercise - With the advent of YouTube, there is simply no excuse for not being able to exercise in your home. With or without equipment. I look up "home workouts no equipment" and there are a variety of videos to choose from. Even doing 5-10 burpees several times a day will suffice. The goal is to increase oxygenation in the body and get that oxygen flowing to all parts of your system. 

Yoga  - Or any deep stretching. A brilliant massage therapist once told me that she sees two types of people in her practice: those who have some sort of prolonged stretching daily ritual, and those who don't. If we don't stretch daily, our fascia (a sheet of tissue that covers organs and muscles) becomes like a hardened spiderweb. In this state, it's hard for oxygen and nutrients to flow effortlessly as they should throughout our system. Long slow stretching while breathing deeply is one of the best things you can do for yourself, hands down. 

Deep Breathing - I know there's such a connotation for some around the word meditation. But, it doesn't have to be spiritual. Meditation is just good for you. The brain benefits of meditation can be seen in just 3 weeks using MRI scans of people who began meditating only 10-15 minutes a day. Not only that, but deep, controlled, focused breathing is good for your lungs. 

 

 

Neti Pot 

Many of the fine particles in the air from wildfire smoke lodge themselves in the sinus cavities for a time before making the full journey to the lungs. By developing a Neti Pot ritual, you can clear this debris out of your pathways before it has a chance to lodge in the lungs. 

Neti Pot is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy that dates back thousands of years. However, since the trend arrived in America, many of the varieties on the market are made of plastic. I would highly suggest not inviting plastic residues into the head - just a personal preference. For that reason, we use the original ceramic model by Ancient Secrets. 

Also - important to note - do not use tap water. Use filtered or distilled water. 

Here's a demo video (This YouTube channel is also the one I recommend for doing yoga at home - Adriene is such a sweet soul).

 

Supplements

Last but certainly not least are natural supplements. While this list could be a very long one, I decided to keep it straightforward and simple. The following are supplements I would definitely not go without during wildfire season, and links to my favorite, most reputable, brands:

  • Magnesium - depleted during periods of stress, and deficient in most Americans to begin with. This will help your body deal with the stress of smoke inhalation.

  • Vitamin C - Will help the body adapt to stress and boost immunity.

  • Vitamin D3 - Regulates over 3,000 genes in the human body, has been shown to remove asthma symptoms, crucial for strong immune system. I always take this specific Vitamin D3 with K2. If you take Vitamin D without K2, it has a tendency to cause calcium to build up in soft tissue. Not good. K2 has been shown to assist with this problem, directing the D and Calcium where they need to go.


Please feel free to add to this list in the comments below. Your input will only help to make this a more comprehensive article, so thanks in advance!

Medical Disclaimer: Folks, I am not a doctor. This article is purely for informational purposes and to share things we have found helpful. Be smart. Make good decisions for yourself. 

x
Tiffany

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My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to maintain this little space on the Web.
So thank you :)


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The Best Gifts For Rugged (Yet Refined) Outdoorsmen (in 2019)
 

As an outdoorswoman myself, who is married to the ultimate outdoorsman and preparedness guru - I can tell you a thousand unique gifts for the outdoorsy fellow in your life. 

So let's pick out a good gift for that man in your life - friend, husband, boyfriend, father - a gift that will make him shake his head and sincerely say, "Wow!.... Thank you!"

I've made sure to include a variety of price points to fit any budget, while not skimping on value. Rest assured, these are all high-quality, top of the line, outdoors products and any avid outdoorsman would agree. You won't see any products below that we ourselves don't own and love. 

Now let's get shopping! (Isn't gift-giving fun!?)


A 2018 GIFT GUIDE FOR THE OUTDOORSMAN IN YOUR LIFE
 


 

Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers

Fjallraven pants are the pants in our household (worn on husband in photo above).

Two key points of Fjallraven pants: they are durable and great for the outdoors, and they look good! I don't think I've seen anyone not look good in Fjallraven pants come to think of it. The cut is very flattering for all body types. 

These pants are wind and water-resistant, and reinforced with Fjallraven's cornerstone G-1000 material. A true necessity for anyone who spends time adventuring in the mountains and forests.

Husband quote: "The Vidda Pro Trousers are lightweight and durable, cool in the summertime but wind-blocking for winter, perfect over a base layer when it gets cold. Lots of pockets and even a pocket inside of a pocket that's wallet-sized!
They look sharp - I can be out in the wilderness chopping firewood and building fires and then walk straight out and look presentable enough to go to dinner with my wife."

The Swedes know what they're doing when it comes to outdoors apparel. 


 

Moose Creek Flannel Shirts

If you walked up and touched Moose Creek shirts in a shop, you'd think the price tag would read somewhere between $50-$100. 

These shirts are sturdy and warm, look great on men, and very affordable. It doesn't get much better. Husband has a few of these in his wardrobe and wears the heck out of them.


 

Bushcraft Knives

You can't be a serious outdoorsman and not have a good bushcraft knife. Here are the ones we use and recommend:

Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife - Husband quote: "One of the better knives I've owned. At roughly $30, I can't imagine a better knife with such a reasonable price point. I've beat the living hell out of this knife and the only thing it's developed is character."

MoraKniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife (w/ Fire Starter & Sheath) - This is the knife I carry, recommended to me by the bushcraft community at large. Once again, the Swedes making quality outdoors gear. 

Condor Bushlore Survival Knife - The first knife I ever owned and also recommended by the bushcraft community. A solid full tang wooden handle, and a gorgeous leather sheath. Dependable and beautiful. 


 

Smartwool Hiking Socks

Very cushiony for covering lots of terrain comfortably, these mountaineering socks are a heavy winter sock. Cozy and sturdy.


 

A Good Pack

Men and their bags. 
My husband has a ton of bags tucked away and chock full of wilderness gear, outdoor necessities, and just-in-case equipment. 

A good packpack is the cornerstone of a man's outdoor equipment. The Fjallraven Rucksack, Abisko Friluft Pack, and the Ovik pack are three different sizes to choose from if you want to buy the outdoorsman in your life a good pack that he can rely on.


Any true outdoorsman is familiar with and inspired by the story of Dick Proenneke.
He documented his time spent in the remote interior of Alaska as he expertly built a log cabin by hand and explored the pristine wilderness around him.
Once or twice a month I’ll put Alone in the Wilderness Part 1 and Part 2 into my laptop and let them play as I go about my day. This is a gift he will really appreciate and cherish.

And if you want more ideas of films he might enjoy, check out: Our 6 Favorite Off-Grid & Wilderness Living Documentaries.




Olivina's Bourbon & Cedar Collection

Oh my. Is this stuff delicious! 

I bought the Bourbon & Cedar Cologne and Deodorant as a birthday gift for my husband and it has remained his signature scent to this day. 

It smells like all of the best parts of the northern boreal forest plus some spices thrown in for warmth - they really captured something with this scent. On top of it all, their products are natural and non-toxic. 


 

Muck Boots

One of the most crucial items for any person who spends a considerable amount of time outdoors - hunting, hiking, working, anything. 

If you visit this blog regularly, you'll remember how I went on and on about my Muck Boots allowing me to have a great time on the wet and muddy 6-mile hike we took on the Olympic Peninsula

You can stomp right through water, mud, snow drifts, and other obstacles without missing a beat. 

The Arctic Sport Boot is probably the best all-around option for men. We swear by them here!

Update! The Arctic Pro Sport is now available with an Arctic Grip Vibram sole - we have a pair on order right now!
The best cold weather boot is now going to have a slip-proof Vibram sole?! It doesn’t get much better.


 

Books For Outdoorsmen

Inspirational reads for when you're stuck indoors.

Browse our Bookshelf for more good book recommendations.


 

Seat covers with separate pockets including: a compass pocket, phone pocket, storage pocket, toolkit pocket, flashlight pocket, first aid pocket, and a larger storage pocket (of course, the pockets can be used as you deem best suited). Wow, that was a lot of pocket talk!
Aren’t these cool though?!



A Good Insulated Thermos

Because a man needs something durable to keep his coffee or tea in. There isn't much better than being deep in the woods and sitting down to a piping hot beverage. Stanley & Yeti are our favorite thermos' around here.


Not only are these gloves solid and reputable, they look nice too.

Cowhide and goatskin have been used for decades to keep hands warm in rough outdoor conditions. The removable wool liner allows for variation in temperature and makes drying out the gloves much easier if needed. 

More Swedish goodness!


 A Good Camp Blanket

Mostly wool with just enough cotton to make it comfortable. With the leather carrier included, this Pendleton blanket makes a fantastic gift. 


The old-fashioned camp mugs are back in style in a big way, most of them with woodsy adventure designs that make us outdoor folks giddy envisioning sipping something delicious and hot beside a campfire at night.

There are several to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with this Happy Camper mug!

 


And last, but certainly not least...

 

A Solid Axe

A trusted companion of any outdoorsman is, no doubt, his axe. From building shelters to building fires, a good axe is paramount to anyone who spends time in the woods. 

We have two trusted axes, and in our opinion - there's none better if you're serious about your axe. 

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe - with a hickory handle, a nice leather sheath, good for chopping and splitting and can even be used as a knife, I don't think many people will argue against this renown axe company. 

But we also love Wetterlings Outdoor Axe Knife - another high-quality reliable brand when it comes to axes, with a hand-forged high-carbon steel head, this axe keeps a razor sharp edge (so could double as a shaving tool in dire circumstances, heh!). 

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If you need more ideas, let us know. These are just a few cream of the crop items guaranteed to make the recipient beam with joy.

Until next time ~

x
Tiffany


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My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:


Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)



POPULAR POSTS:

Should-less Sundays (and My Wild Huckleberry & Maple Scone Recipe!)
 

Sunday morning I made the mistake of checking my email soon after waking. I know better, but I did it anyway. And of course, there were a couple of emails from clients needing me to do things, and of course, I felt my people-pleasing strings tug at me hard to fulfill, to satisfy, to fix

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But [ah, years of deep inner work does pay off] I was able to gently remind myself that today is Sunday and no, today was not for work and meeting demands and shoulds. In fact, how about we just designate today Should-less Sunday? What would that look like? 

Maybe instead of putting check marks next to words on a to-do list, we just quiet these busy minds and let our bodies guide us today, effortlessly gliding between one thing and the other, following the invisible tug of the things that nourish us.  Approaching the day with a curiosity and setting aside the planning mind, "Here's what we'll do today..." can be saved for the other 6 days of the week, can't it? 

Swimming sounded nice, but did we really want to drive all the way to the swimming hole, on this hot day (we don't have air conditioning in our vehicles)? I'll develop a new recipe today, I thought, but even these enjoyable scenarios were shoulds - I was catching onto myself. 

With constant awareness, I meandered through the day, letting the minutes unfold as they did, rather than reigning over them. (My husband was very pleased with this new approach).

The irony of it all? I accomplished plenty that day. But, the way I went about it and experienced my day was drastically different. If I had to pin a word to it, I'd say presence was the key differentiator. 

Moving from minute to minute with no plan, I still ended up:
cleaning the filter on our air purifier to get it good and ready for this dusty summer that's upon us, I handwashed some linens and hung them to dry on the taut new paracord clothesline Eric hung for me, I began a new wild sourdough starter using rye flour grown here in Washington, practiced hand-sewing, and delved into the art of sun-dyeing with natural dyes. That evening, after yoga, we enjoyed a delicious dinner by candlelight and then (because my mind wasn't allowed to tell me I should not do certain things) we enjoyed the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones (any other night, I'd decline saying there are other things I ought to do with my time). 

Oh, and I created a new recipe...

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Dear reader, this is not just any ol' recipe. This is hands down, the best scone recipe we've ever tasted. Eric went on and on and on with each bite he took (with enough moans to make a gal get that certain cock in her brow!), so since he isn't here to toot my horn for me, I guess I'll have to do the honors. 

I wanted to use some of the wild huckleberries we've been foraging lately, and I'm not big on sugar, so I opted for organic maple syrup instead. You must promise me that you'll try this recipe. Please. And if you don't have wild huckleberries, no problem, just use fresh blueberries or wild berries from your local landscape. But most importantly - enjoy, enjoy, enjoy (and be grateful that we have these amazing things called tastebuds!).

 

Wild Huckleberry & Maple Scones

Ingredients:
3 c all-purpose flour (I use this kind)
1.5 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 sticks grass-fed butter (6 oz.), cold
1 c wild-foraged huckleberries (or blueberries)
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c raw milk (or grass-fed whole milk)
4 TBSP maple syrup
1 egg + 1 TBSP maple syrup (to brush over scones before baking)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt. 
Cut in butter & incorporate into dry ingredients using fingers until combined, making sure that pea-sized pieces of butter remain in the mix. This is an essential part of getting the scone to feel scone-y. Here's a good demonstration of how to cut in butter if you aren't familiar. 
Add berries to mix, gently combine using hands. 
In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, raw milk, vanilla, and maple syrup together, then pour over the dry mixture. 
Using a fork, toss everything together gently, making sure to work the dough as little as possible until a dough ball forms. This prevents scones from being too dense. 
Roll to 1-inch thickness, cut out individual triangle-shaped scones and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. 
Brush tops of scones with a mix of 1 egg & 1 TBSP maple syrup. 
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 
 

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Enjoy, in joy. 

x Tiffany