Staying Put

With all this rain I got to thinking last night and did some googling. I came up with some gems that led us to back out of the farm offer. This image in particular from the King County Government Library had me shaking in my rain boots.

I would point out the property to you but it’s under water. Completely. And I can’t ask my family to live with that hanging over their heads. The real estate agent told us it was a once in 100 year flood but when my husband pulled the records he found that it happened not only in 2009 but in 2006 as well. So much for every 100 years.

So I’m admitting defeat on the farm and we are staying put. This means I can plant peas and add a few more trees (where I don’t know but I’m like that Italian grandmother that can always fit a few more plates at the table.) Staying here feels like the right decision but I may change my mind when I can’t get my kids into the same elementary school this fall.

So what does this mean for the community owned agriculture project you may ask? I’m not sure but I will continue to look for farmland. Just not farmland that we live on. If anyone has leads on 10 acres of non floodland less than 2 hours from Seattle for around $10K per acre, please send them my way.

In the meantime I plan to convert some of my garden over to more permaculture methods. I plan to scrap my rotational system altogether – that traditional system of gardening that lays out your plant families like a brightly colored quilt so pests can easily find their favorite crops and settle right in. I’m convinced in a small city garden crop rotation doesn’t really do much good unless you have a soil based pathogen destroying things. I plan now to disguise my plantings by peppering the most tender, delicious brassicas amongst bitter herbs and greens. Maybe I can throw pests off the trail. The challenge will be to continue to maximize output at the same time. You know what though? I miss the farmer’s market. It’s been two years since I’ve shopped there. I miss seeing friends and chatting with farmers.

You know what else I miss? Buying tortilla chips. What good is a pantry full of home canned salsa if you can’t make nachos anytime you want? And yes, I know I could fry up my own homemade tortillas but in a pinch I don’t. This year I’m backing off a bit. I want to add meat rabbits and change the garden around and get dairy goats and in order to fit that in and dial back my crazy I’m cutting myself some slack.

And now I’m off to dig out my envelopes of pea seeds. Because, gosh darn it, I’m staying here and I plan to celebrate that fact with peas. Now if it would only stop raining long enough for me to get them in the ground!

30 Responses to Staying Put

  1. I’m sorry for your disappointment. I believe, however, that we must bend without snapping. Merely adapt and change direction if this is not to be. I have to postpone the chicken adoption until my husband graduates this spring with his Master’s degree; it is simply too hard for me to get any construction done while looking after the kids as he studies; oh yes, and work full time again. I’m bending, bending (and making a lot of noise about it). To get even, I think I’ll lobby for a bunny. Keep your chin up, and tackle a new project instead!

    • Hello Grace,
      I also work full time have kids and my husband is taking evening classes. Although he is still 1 1/2 years away from his bachelors degree and then on to his masters…. whew… I am just starting to get into this self sufficient, culturing, lacto-fermentation stuff and also find it impossible to get anything done with little kids at your feet constantly and limited with the amount of time at home. I would love to know what you are doing and any tips you may have.

      I have 5 chickens, just filled my raised beds with dirt, ordered a yogurt (cultures at 70-77 degrees) and water kefir start, and now trying to source organic locally grown french and red lentils (which my kids will eat as opposed to beans of any kind). I hope to start lacto-fermenting veggies next.

      Sorry – I’m not trying to take over the blog, just really could use some inspiration to help me take what I’m doing one step further. :)

  2. I agree Grace. To tell you the truth the holding pattern we have been in for two months now has really depressed me. I need to always be moving forward, even if that happens while staying in place. I’m just excited to know where we’ll be and begin, oh, anything! I had my sewer snaked this morning and it made me happy just knowing it was mine. Isn’t that weird?

  3. Glad you found out about the “flood plain” location before you purchased! (And…I wasn’t so smart with the peas. I was terribly proud of myself for getting them in the ground, but now when I go out, I see sprouted pea seeds all over, that have floated to the top… !)

  4. My parents live out that way…wondered how you found 10 acres of non flooding farmland! Glad you discovered it before you finalized things! Come up this way and you might find 10 acres, have you tried the area just north of Mt. Vernon?

  5. Myrnie so am I. The RE agent had the gall to tell us the water rose up just to the road level. You can see at the bottom of the pic is the road. That water is a wee bit higher than the road there. Can’t she get sued for lying? I would think so but I don’t really know. Sorry your peas were liberated. You might try carefully digging them up and moving them but don’t disturb the roots. That’s why I cover them with Reemay (and anything I plant in Mar/April). They wash right away in our torrential early spring rains.
    Lauriel my family won’t consider moving, save to this one property so looks like I’m done lookign for a personal residence and then any farmland needs to be accessible to Seattle. Most people indicated they wanted not more than 1 hour out. I have been looking all over (even further than a mile.) It seems most farmland has a crummy house on it so they want substantially more than the land and most unbuilt land is at a higher elevation where you can’t really grow crops. I’ve been looking for nearly a year now!

  6. oh boy..so good you saw that before purchasing. Frustrating I am sure, to have plans blown to the wayside. Chin up, hang in there.. Plant that garden and those trees! ;) What sort of goat are you going to get?? When you are ready for your meat rabbit, there is a little boy who makes the MOST STURDY hutches –he lives down our way in Graham/Orting, but believe me–if you don’t already have a hutch, his is a great deal.

  7. I miss seeing you at the farmers market. farmer Erick of Jubilee Farms is very knowledgeable about the flooding situation along the Snoqualmie river. Sound like a good decision to get out of the house. Hope to see you soon at the market!

  8. Sorry to hear about the dissapointing news on the property, at least you had not signed the deed and could still back out.
    A 100 year flood does not happen every 100 years, it is a guage of the worst in the past 100 years. Meaning it re-sets every year. I work on a horse farm in a flood plain and it is tiresome evacuating heartbeats (animals) and equipment several times a year. I could not imagine living there, that is a bad area for flooding. Good luck with finding another piece of land.
    I love reading your blog and your progressive outlook on local living. You have given me inspiration to implement more local items and whole foods into our families daily life. I have also found many local resources thanks to all of your links – thank you for making it so easy.

  9. I’m a big fan of the thought that things happen for a reason! Now relax a bit with some chips and salsa and know that you are making an impact in people lives. Enjoy the present for a moment…the past and future can wait a bit. Actually, think about the future….you do want to be eating sugar peas in a couple months, so get them planted!!

  10. I just planted (some of) my peas, too!

    Sorry about your farm.

    I’m sure everything will work out for the best.

  11. Sorry about the disappointment! And, I am selfishly happy you’ll be around!
    I am excited to read about your mixed plantings. I have never managed to do real crop rotations- mostly due to what I want to plant and where the most sun is- so I’ve tended toward being a bit more haphazard. This year I decided I was just going to interplant everything and see what happens.
    When things calm down for you let’s meet up!

  12. I’m glad you are finding ways to enjoy what you DO have and what doesn’t flood like that picture. I wonder what it looks like now with all this rain…
    I have a question for you. What is the name of the plant that is a pepper substitute for you? I want to grow one too.

  13. Jen, I’d like to get Mona’s buddy Bessie and one of her babies – she kids 4/12. She is a very quiet nubian, bred to a quiet buck so good chance my neighbors won’t complain (I hope!). Plans change, decisions don’t. What made me want that property was for farming so here I farm. ;)
    Charlotte, I miss you too! I was hoping I would see you more over there but probably I’ll see you more at the farmer’s market anyway as busy as you are.
    Thank you Beth! And interesting to know about the flood info.
    Ross thanks! And of course now more torrential rain before I could plant today. There was standing water in my raised beds. Never seen that before.
    Thanks Mary! Good luck with your peas. Hopefully they won’t wash away.
    Meg, great plan. I would love to hook up! I’m hoping I can whip this place into shape in time to have a late April open garden…
    Linda I got it from Wade at Rockridge Orchards who called it a “Sancho” peppercorn but it tastes just like the Sczwan (sp?) peppercorn plant they have at the UW farm and you can buy the corns from Penzeys as well. Enjoy it!

  14. I LOVE your positive response to all of this. I would be crushed and really upset at the agent telling me every 100 years…. HELLO ETHICS! You really are an inspiration. I have thought about a dairy animal, but for some reason I keep thinking about sheep…. Not sure why, kind of strange… My husband thinks I’m crazy. Anyone had sheep’s milk before?
    Good luck with turning your current space more into a farm. I hope to follow suit one day. I think if everyone followed your inspiration our economy would be much different. :)

  15. Don Pancho products are manufactured in Salem, OR. Fred Meyer carries them here in Vancouver, WA. Would you like nanchos enough to agree that Salem is local for you? :) Just saying. http://www.donpancho.com/chips_retail.html

  16. Thanks Waggie – I’m trying to make compost from poop. Sheep’s milk cheese is delicious but I’ve never drank it before. I had thought of getting sheep as well, for cheese, meat and wool. Because I have a ton of time to knit. ;p
    LeAnn I’ll check those out when I see them next. I’ve been getting the Que Pasa ones from BC because they are organic and nixtamalized. I’m not a complete locavore, but when there is a quality local product I prefer to support my local foodshed first, even if it means spending some extra money.

    • I have been doing some research on sheep milk and found that there is going to be a sheep milk class at the Spring Fair this year. Registration ends soon so you’ll need to check it out quickly if you are interested. Here is the link to the pdf for registration. The class is called Why Sheep Milk?.
      http://shepherds-extravaganza.com/2011entryform.pdf

      The more research I do about sheep the more I like them. The milk is good for drinking, cheese, ice cream, soap, fudge. You also get the fleece that if you don’t want to spin you can sell. You also get meat from the lambs. It seems like a very productive animal to have.

  17. Go buy yourself a bag of chips and enjoy!

    Sorry to hear about the land, but I’m very pleased to hear you avoided a potential disaster.

  18. It was fortunate you thought to look into it. The incidence of major storm events is increasing in probability with the ever quickening pace of climate change. Being on high ground will be more and more important with each passing year. You seem like an individual who loves being challenged. Living a more self sufficient life in an urban setting is harder than doing so with sufficient farmable acreage. Embrace the challenge!

  19. I love how you’ve moved from one ambitious plan to another; that shows a strength of character that’s impressive. I’d like to incorporate more of the permaculture on my property as well, but being in the woods I have rather tenuous produce gardening in the first place. I still try every year hoping for different results. This March, though, I’m here in Seattle for three weeks instead of home dropping seeds, so we’ll see. And boy, it has been raining here! No wonder folks pea seeds have risen to the surface.

  20. Whoa! So glad you found out about that BEFORE the sale went through. Things happen for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is at the time. I look forward to hearing more of your urban homesteading adventures. :-)

  21. Dang, girl, dang… good call!!! We have many flood zones in and around central Iowa so I totally understand how that can completely wipe everything out! You know what Annette, it’s not defeat it’s just not the right time. I’m sure you’re feeling a heavy burden lifted off your shoulders so rejoice in your urban homestead and many of the benefits of living in the city! Love ya!!

  22. Keep looking – the right place will come up. It has taken us 14 years to build up what we have and are now moving on to bigger as well. Never, never, never give up your dream!!
    If you need some compost for all those peas, come on out – we’ve got plenty :-)
    One more note – do you know Wendy @ Soaring Hearts and her little miniature nubians? You would LOVE them. Great milkers and super small footprint.
    Best wishes,
    Corinne Logan

  23. Sandy thank you! I bought myself a pity maple bar today too. ;p
    Laura I know, that is all I could think of. The garage once flooded, never the house but it’s only a matter of time with these weather patterns. Lucky I thought to google for footage!
    Renee I am sick of this rain. My ducks seem to like it though!
    Thanks Laurie, I do believe they do.
    Thanks Diana – love ya right back! I can’t wait for you to start that worm bin – I’m loving mine. Especially watching the effects the vermicompost tea have on my tomato seedlings.
    Corinne thank you! I may take you up on that compost. My husband found a tricked out log cabin in Carnation in our searches so we are checking it out tomorrow and then just done. I need to know where I am going to be for gardening season. I hope you find a buyer soon – you have put so much work into your place! I do know Wendy as well and want to buy Bessie and a baby from Terrie. Bessie and Mona came from Wendy. I’m sad I can’t take Mona but she is too noisy for my neighbors. Wendy breeds great Nubians! Bessie is due to kid 4/12 so I need to get settled! Chicks coming Sunday, ducklings soon and baby goats. ;)

  24. I am so sorry to hear about the flooding. Something else will pop up and it will be perfect.
    I use the companion planting with all of my brassias it works wonders. The stinkier the herbs the better. The torrential rains are keeping me from planting also. blah.

  25. Thanks Katie – We are still kicking around that log cabin but having a hard time with the oil consumption for my husband’s commute. I’m pricing out a strategy for saving oil to see if it makes sense. It would make an amazing mecca for my foodie friends in Seattle with room for several families to grow crops and raise meat birds or dairy goats.

  26. Oh, UGH. Myrnie had mentioned to me that you weren’t going to be moving (i’m a bit behind in blogland!), but WOW. That is not a “little” flodding. Good grief!

    And…hope your peas do better than mine have!! Of everything I planted so far this spring (green onions, carrots, parsnips, peas, astilbe, fern and hosta)…only the astilbe, fern and hosta have poked their heads up. D’oh!

  27. Aunt LoLo thank you! My peas are just now sprouting up. I’m not sure if the ducks were eating the ones that popped to the surface or the crows were but I see some green shoots coming, all in a row so that must be the peas finally. What a yucky spring!!!

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