Posts tagged what it’s like living in washington state
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


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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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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


 

Welcome!


Beautiful blogs to read, best blogs, blogs to read about life, blogs about lifestyle, read personal blogs, interesting personal blogs, natural living ideas, natural living blogs, life in washington state, what it’s like living in washington state, washington state bloggers, washington state travel blog, inspiring blogs to follow, inspiring bloggers, inspiring bloggers on instagram, best personal life blogs, natural living blog, health and wellness blog      beautiful homemaking, cozy homemaking, wintertime online workshop, homemaking skills, hygge winter, winter cozy, inspiring lifestyle, living close to the earth, winter traditions, self care during winter, winter self care ideas,     Tiffany Davidson, Eric Smith, Washington State, Living in the wilderness, Living off grid, Homesteading bloggers, Off grid living, Homesteading blogs, Live in the woods, Leave city for country, Moving to the country blog, Make money online, off grid living washington state,    Make money from home, Work from home, Back to the land, How to live off the grid, How to live off the grid in the woods, Best careers for living off the grid, Live rent free, Living debt free no mortgage, How to live without a mortgage or rent, Lifestyle design, Northwest    Washington state, How to live a simple life and be happy, Off grid homestead, Living off grid income, Full time income off grid, Most remote places lower 48, Largest wilderness areas lower 48, Farthest point from a road lower 48, Most rural towns in usa,, Most remote places in lower 48, Most isolated places to live, How to go off the grid with no money, Best places to live off grid    How to buy land with bad credit and no money down, Self sufficient homesteading, Self sufficient living, wilderness gardening, garden in the woods, cottage garden, survival garden, wild gardening, kitchen garden, pacific northwest, inland northwest, where to buy off grid land in america, where to live off grid in america, where to homestead in america, building off grid homestead, off the grid living ideas, best careers for living off the grid, off grid income, make a living off the land, make money living off the grid, make money on the homestead, off grid income ideas, full time income off grid, full-time income homesteading, make money online, digital nomad, digital peasant, make money blogging, full time rv living

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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Following The Berries
 

Life has been pretty low-key around here this last week, as we settle back in from the Olympic Peninsula trip and brace for the dry summer here in the Inland Northwest, which has been felt making its entrance the past few days, dust & heat on its shirttails. 

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I'll just cut straight to the chase and tell you: summer is my least favorite season. Heat, in general, any temperature over 70 degrees F, takes from me. It plays out like a legitimate mathematic formula, where every increase in degree removes a percentage more energy and creativity from my spirit. I blame it on northern European DNA, an ancestral lineage of northern coastal people, but I don't recall being so put off by heat until my mid-20s so it could just be hormonal. (Isn't everything?)

Give me snow, cold, overcast, mist and fog any day.  Which is one of the main reasons I moved to the Northwest in the first place, but Inland Northwest summers are scorchers. The interesting bit, and how summer days here do differ so much from the Kentucky summers I grew up in, is the humidity factor. 

Humidity is typically so low here in the summer months, meaning UV rays are the real culprit. If you can get out of the direct path of the sun, the temperature drops significantly because the air around you isn't full of moisture to hold the heat. I know firsthand that in a place with humid hot summers, like Kentucky's, there is no escaping the heat. It consumes you. No shade tree will change things. But here, nights and days are drastically different. Many nights, sleeping with windows open, I wake chilled and snuggle ever closer to my furnace of a husband for comfort, and most mornings call for long sleeves, pants, and socks until roughly 10AM. From there, until about 7PM, ick. Give me shaded forests, cold mountain lakes, indoor tinkering, and Breathe oil on everything. But thank goodness for the evening respite. 

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I guess I write all that in a state of mild dread, since our local forecast shows this being the last mild and overcast day in the foreseeable future. So, here we go! The rest of July, August, and most of September will be hot, dry, and if anything like last summer - smoky. Then back into misty and overcast for a month or two, and finally - full on winter. Winters here are very predictable: snow begins falling in December and keeps falling until March or April. No melting happens during that time - what falls turns to snowpack and it's not unsual to measure snow on the ground in feet, not inches. And we love it! This winter I'm planning to start cross-country skiing through the forests, and I have some ideas brewing that revolve around proper hibernating in an inspiring way... stay tuned.

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Despite not liking heat, I do love summer, because summer means blossoms and pollination and fruition. We plant people can hardly stand ourselves - planting seeds like lunatics (I don't have an actual garden this year while we exist in this transitional phase, but my container gardening situation is turning out to be more fulfilling than expected) and foraging all our spare hours away.  

Last night began the huckleberry frenzy. If you've never tasted wild huckleberries, I'd tell you to imagine the tastiest blueberry you've ever had, and then add an extra note of deep purpley grapeness on top. That's how a huckleberry tastes. When it comes to foraging sugars off the landscape, they're my favorite - hands down. And with a husband who eats a giant bowl of berries (usually blue) after dinner each night, the more berries we can gather, the better off we are. 

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During huckleberry season, we can be found in the forest almost every evening, hunkered over with a basket beside us, beginning at the lower elevations and moving higher as the season progresses, following the berries.

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From the daily bounty, we'll each have a bowl full with yogurt, and then freeze the rest.  

It feels really good, dare I say natural, to forage nourishment from the land you live with, but I have to say you do forage a lot more than that, my favorite: quiet contemplation. Gathering huckleberries seems to build space for inward reflection and housekeeping of the psyche to unfold.  A space that feels different somehow from the quiet moments found inherently in day to day life. I think there is something to be said about interacting with nature in this way. Beyond just taking a hike through a landscape, when you forage you are included in the landscape. As humans were for hundreds of thousands of years, until just recently. For my own life, these interactions are vital for a kind of growth and inward expansion that I haven't been able to mimic in books or conversation. 

I've just begun a book that expands on this notion, I believe, so hopefully I'll be better suited to write more on it later. 

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Other projects happening around here this week: attempting to make my own wild sourdough starter, making a small batch of sauerkraut until I manage to unearth my big proper crock out of storage, more and more and more broccoli sprouts of course, planted more zinnias, lavender, and tomatoes, still on the hunt for wild elderflowers, finishing up an embroidered folk banner and pondering how I want to go about displaying it on the wall, and of course my usual work. Oh, and quarts upon quarts of nettle, jasmine, and peppermint tea - my favorite summer teas. Served cold. 

What are you up to?

x
Tiffany

 

Welcome!

Beautiful blogs to read, best blogs, blogs to read about life, blogs about lifestyle, read personal blogs, interesting personal blogs, natural living ideas, natural living blogs, life in washington state, what it’s like living in washington state, washington state bloggers, washington state travel blog, inspiring blogs to follow, inspiring bloggers, inspiring bloggers on instagram, best personal life blogs,    Tiffany Davidson, Eric Smith, Washington State, Living in the wilderness, Living off grid, Homesteading bloggers, Off grid living, Homesteading blogs, Live in the woods, Leave city for country, Moving to the country blog, Make money online, off grid living washington state,    Make money from home, Work from home, Back to the land, How to live off the grid, How to live off the grid in the woods, Best careers for living off the grid, Live rent free, Living debt free no mortgage, How to live without a mortgage or rent, Lifestyle design, Northwest    Washington state, How to live a simple life and be happy, Off grid homestead, Living off grid income, Full time income off grid, Most remote places lower 48, Largest wilderness areas lower 48, Farthest point from a road lower 48, Most rural towns in usa,, Most remote places in lower 48, Most isolated places to live, How to go off the grid with no money, Best places to live off grid    How to buy land with bad credit and no money down, Self sufficient homesteading, Self sufficient living, wilderness gardening, garden in the woods, cottage garden, survival garden, wild gardening, kitchen garden, pacific northwest, inland northwest, where to buy off grid land in america, where to live off grid in america, where to homestead in america, building off grid homestead, off the grid living ideas, best careers for living off the grid, off grid income, make a living off the land, make money living off the grid, make money on the homestead, off grid income ideas, full time income off grid, full-time income homesteading, make money online, digital nomad, digital peasant, make money blogging, full time rv living

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:

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Exploring The Olympic Peninsula, A Sweeping Sensory Experience
 

We set out from our quiet and remote northeastern corner of Washington early in the morning, making our way through hours of desert-like sagebrush, through forests, and then over Snoqualmie Pass, having made the transition to the lush wet forests of the western part of the state. 

We hit an unfortunate two-hour-long traffic jam around Seattle (The Curse of The I-5 Corridor), but at least wild foxgloves decorated the side of the Interstate, allowing for some enchantment still to be found. 

Finally, we reached the exit for the Olympic Peninsula and things began to slow down and grow wilder. Smells of car exhaust dissipated and marine smells from the Hood Canal drifted into the rolled down windows.

Ah yes, much better. 

The traffic jam resulted in us missing the reported Best Oysters on the Peninsula - Hama Hama Oyster Saloon, on the Hood Canal. So we journeyed on to our first destination: Sequim (pronounced Squim, like squeeze + him), where we were pleased to find the Salty Girls Sequim Seafood Company. After a long day of driving, we settled into our seats and grinned silly grins over dozens of delicious local oysters from the Hood Canal.

Thus began our full sensory experience on the Olympic Peninsula. 
Taste. 

Sequim Seafood Company Raw Oysters Hood Canal Olympic Peninsula Washington
Sequim Seafood Company Raw Oysters Hood Canal Olympic Peninsula Washington
sequim Seafood Company Olympic Peninsula Hood Canal Washington

After we'd had our fill, with one or two daylight hours left, we took to the backroads to explore some of the lavender trail. Of course, the farms would be closed by this hour, but who knew what beauty we might run into that didn't have business hours, so on we drove.

And yes, right into beauty. 

Through a bucolic countryside, with well-spaced old farmhouses, and homemade signs urging drivers to be mindful of wildlife...

Olympic peninsula Sequim Washington Farmhouse Countryside Life in the Washington Wilderness
Olympic peninsula Sequim Washington Lavender Trail Life in the Washington Wilderness

Right into fields of lavender and poppies. 

I think if I was confined to growing only one flower the rest of my life, it'd be poppies. They embody the old Slavic fairytales in my mind - this combination of darkness and intrigue, sultry beauty and sheer joy. 

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And juxtaposed alongside the poppies were fields of lavender...

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You can imagine the sensual raptures, I hope. The vision of these deep rich paper thin poppies. The serene aroma of lavender. 

Dear reader, it doesn't stop there. 

Out beyond these rapturous fields was the Salish Sea, all aglow in the sunset, golden orange, sparkling, and making its way, via the Strait of Juan de Fuca, out to the Pacific Ocean (the very word pacific means calm and peaceful) and this combination of sensual experiences was almost too much in the way of beauty.

This, I came to find out, was the way of the Olympic Peninsula - just when you were bearing witness to so much intense beauty, more, and then a bit more would get ushered in on top of it all. So, as Mary Oliver puts it, you felt nearly killed with delight. More than once I found myself making pained expressions in the face of beauty - a curious response if you ask me.

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We wound our way back through the seaside-countryside to a local lodge where we turned in for the night. 

The next day, we woke to a signature overcast day on the peninsula - our favorite kind of weather. 

From Sequim, we set out north and parallel to the Salish Sea. Maritime scents filled the air - salt, fish, seaweed - and we dreamed out loud about how we had both always felt a calling to the water, an old-fashioned seaside life where a great deal of our sustenance came from the water, and how we weren't exactly sure where this feeling of northern coastal nostalgia came from. Scandinavian and Irish ancestral memory? Who knew.

Our passion and longing for forest and maritime life were being introduced to a place where the two worlds weren't mutually exclusive but existed side by side. 

The dreaming and sighing and sticking our noses out the window carried on as we continued north into more remote parts of the Peninsula. 

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Hours later, after many pit stops to touch wildflowers, sniff the sea, and get more espresso, we came to Neah Bay - a stormy little fishing village on the Makah Indian Reservation. From there, we made our way to the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States - Cape Flattery. Finally, we would see the Pacific Ocean again, but this would be our first time seeing the Pacific this far north, and the first time seeing our beloved Washington's coastline. 

A great deal of Washington's coastline requires a hike to reach the beach. It's really an aesthetic cherry on top - you don't just park and walk out onto a beach, no, you pull on your Muck Boots (take note: you will need Muck boots to enjoy the Olympic Peninsula thoroughly), and you clamber through a rainforest before emerging out onto a coastline that can only be described as mystical. All of it is pure fairytale, I tell you. 

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This was only our first stop and we were well over halfway into the day, so we took in the view one last time and scurried back up to the trailhead - watching our step on the wet stones and wet roots. 

From here, we went off the beaten path to the Shi Shi Beach trailhead. We honestly didn't know what we were in for - the trail was very muddy and longer than we expected (about 3 miles one way) but so enchanting that we didn't mind the mud. Again, I was so very thankful for my Muck boots (which, mind you, I wore with a long black linen dress - Tiffany hiking attire at its finest). We only passed a few other hikers along the way, and I couldn't help but notice how carefully they were having to navigate around the mud, while I was able to stomp right through with wild abandon. 

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After more than an hour of hiking, we fumbled our way down steep switchbacks and emerged from old-growth forest, past a watchful raven, onto a northern beach that felt full of story. 

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Someone got a little rowdy with the bull kelp, but we won't name names.

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And in the wake, about 30 feet from where I stood, a seal bobbed around, her deep dark eyes penetrating to some tender part in me. If you've read any of the old Selkie folktales, you'll know what I mean. 

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By this time, we were well into early evening with the same hike back still ahead of us and a decent amount of driving to reach our destination for the night. 

So with much hesitation, we left the beach and became consumed again by the forest, talking about how we would come back and spend a lot more time. Soon. 

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We headed toward the small town of Forks where we'd be staying for the next two nights while we explored more of the coast and the rainforest. 

A bit of context for this next little portion of the tale: 
Many years and what seems like a lifetime ago, I lived in a little log cabin on 30 acres which was landlocked inside of 300 acres belonging to a Zen monastery in northern Kentucky. Zen Forest, it was called. My neighbors were Amish families, Vietnamese monks, and Wendell Berry. 
During this span of time, I began blogging. These were the good old blog days of old, with list style layouts that you had to scroll all the way through before reaching the next post. Most of us back then used Blogspot. 
I established online friendships back then with several other bloggers that endure to this day. One of them was Forest Lass (that was her name at the time, now she goes by __wolf_queen__  on Instagram). Sara is her name and back in the blog days of old she lived on a quaint farmstead in Turkey where she raised turkeys, gardened, and shared bits and pieces of her rural life, much like I did. 
Years ago, Sara and her family moved to America. She's now married and living in Vermont, but where did she happen to be this particular weekend? The Olympic Peninsula. 
We didn't arrange a meeting because we were both only there for a limited amount of time and trying to squeeze in plenty of adventures I assumed. I had no idea where I would be when, whether or not I'd have cell service, I didn't want to intrude on her time, I'm introverted anyway, and all that. So before leaving home, we simply grinned (via emojis online) and said Wouldn't it be funny if we ran into one another? and Have a great time exploring! and that was it really. 

End of context.
Back to the evening after we'd been exploring the coast all day, having just arrived into Forks. 

By this time I was looking like a proper hooligan - all drenched in rain and salty sea air, hair hanging down in strings, wet sand-covered dress, mud-covered Muck boots, and a goofy elated grin from the day's adventures. 

We were tired and rather hungry but Forks offered few options in the way of dining. There was a pizza place, the hotel receptionist told us, but that's about all at this hour. So off to the pizza place we went!

I went in to order while Eric stayed at the car to switch into dry socks and organize the car. As I stood in line carefully thinking out the 5 toppings I'd choose - spinach, garlic, pepperoni, black olives, jalapenos - a fellow walked through the line on his way to the bathroom. This fellow was unmistakably Sara's husband who I'd seen in Instagram photos. I had a few seconds of the confusion a tired brain feels when it's somewhere very unfamiliar but recognizes a face, then I began to look around the restaurant, deeply humored at the irony and happenstance that was taking place. This huge peninsula, and here we both are, unplanned. How perfect. My eyes drifted over all the tables full of people before spotting a solo person in a booth, with dark thick hair. I left my place in line and slid right into the booth with Sara, who looked at me shocked for a couple of seconds before realization set in and we both laughed and embraced. Zen Forest and Forest Lass meet in the flesh, and the odds! It was wonderful. 

Sara oozed a sincerity and a sweetness that bolstered my affection immediately, and I'm sure if we lived near enough, we'd become the greatest of friends. 

Isn't that a great story though? I loved this chance encounter so much, and the organic way it worked itself out, free of control. 

That evening, bellies full of pizza, and deeper in love with the peninsula, we enjoyed the deepest sleep, despite being full of excitement for what lay ahead tomorrow. 

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The next day, and the sunniest one yet, we made our way to the coast again. Rialto Beach this time, and our minds were on one thing: tide pools. 

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Rialto Beach had two things really going for it in our book: 1.) no extensive hike to reach the beach (which was important only because this was our last full day on the peninsula and we planned to venture into the Hoh Rainforest that afternoon) and 2.) tide pools that were reknown amongst marine biologists.
It sounded promising. 

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We walked about a quarter mile down the beach, en route to a large rock formation that seemed appealing. It looked like a place where maybe we'd find a few tide pools?

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And folks, the following is an example of what I mean when I say the Olympic Peninsula delivers waves of beauty, and just when all is perfect in the world, another element sweeps through and knocks you off your feet a little more...

Atop this rock formation, beautiful in and of itself, were bald eagles. We counted about six of them living up there - perched in trees, flying around, and... singing. 

Singing?!

Where we live here in the northeast of Washington, it's not unusual to spot a bald eagle or hear one calling in the distance. But I have never heard an eagle sing

These eagles were singing, in the way a songbird will sing, but in their very eagle way. I looked around on YouTube to find an example of the sound, but couldn't find anything that really captured what we heard. 

And then (remember - waves of beauty), a golden eagle flew through and perched on top of the rock formation with the bald eagles! 

Just too much. 

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And then! Walking toward the right of the formation, along the bottom, we stumbled into the richest tide pools we could've imagined. Turquoise sea anemones; purple, orange, pink, and blue starfish clinging to rocks; hermit crabs with their spiral homes on their back, spiral like our golden ratio galaxy.

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We could've spent hours, days really, exploring these tide pools, rich with exquisite and unusual life forms.

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Full of wonder, we figured we'd better get a move on if we wanted to explore more of the peninsula, so we climbed in the car and traced a line from the coast into another world entirely - the Hoh Rainforest. 

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And here is where we finally crossed paths with other tourists! The splendor of this place was not lost on us, but it was diminished unfortunately due to the swarms of people all around. For me, a big part of connecting to the natural world is spending quiet time with it. Getting pulled into that ancient rhythm, listening intimately to the soundscape, smelling the smells, getting down on my knees and taking the time to notice the tiny worlds within the grand.

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