Hello from Portland, Oregon
Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight...
My wife, 2.5 year old son and myself are returning to a life closer to the land and water. We've been looking at rentals and work-trades along the PNW coast, areas around the Puget Sound and ANYWHERE that would bring us closer to a community that values nature.
After 2 years in an off-grid, work-traded cabin and 4 years before that working with Forest Recreation we shifted to the city (1.5 years ago). My wife's family lives nearby and we've both enjoyed the work we've been doing in the city. Still I always knew we would return, sooner than later, to a home and community with stronger ties to nature.
The care taking position I held while working for our off-grid cabin included...
maintaining spring water and propane lines/appliances
general labor/tree felling/bucking/chopping wood.
We used two 100 watt solar panels and rotated a few deep-cycle batteries for lights and a dsl modem that was linked to a phone line we had dug, via the phone/internet company (dug free of charge, it being less than 1000' from existing lines). Otherwise we lived by candle light with no cell service.
In the Winter we would snowshoe 1 mile up/down an unplowed timber road, sled in our supplies. It was a great meditative work-out that brought us face to face with all our furry forest friends and being under the moon looking at the snowy meadow across our cabin, after a hike, was always bliss.
My wife, who is a nurse and a Certified Lactation Consultant, made our cabin... a home. Her work as a nurse primarily has involved family planning, MSS, WIC programs, but has also worked in Oncology and doing home-care. She is also an avid gardener and loves to knit! Although this was her first time living off-grid, she immediately started our own garden and became an excellent fire tender, chopping wood and helping with every project.
This was on 70+ acres of wild forested private property. It was a dream and I knew the moment we moved there that it would leave a lasting and wonderful impression, one that would be difficult to leave behind. Our son lived there for the first year of his life. He bears the name of the valley where we lived and his first "words" were bird songs. This was such a blessing to be able to provide such an environment for him.
Caring for an infant and maintaining the property became a balancing act. The risks there were manageable for us adults, but became greater as our son gained mobility. His first belly rolls took him right of the newly constructed porch, inspiring the new porch railing. We were putting railings on everything! With two open sleeping lofts, our one room cabin was becoming a job in itself.
While digging an irrigation ditch, the seasons first rattlesnake came for a drink and slithered past my son who slept in a hiking carrier. Moments like those definitely had us thinking about making a change. Aside from our kind land lady, we had no close neighbors or families with children and though we enjoyed the solitude we also wanted community. So to the city we went and we know it well.
Despite the "easier" living and the great number of people, community can be scarce. We love and care for our little apartment. Though, I always find it funny that apartments are named things like "Deer Creek" or "Garden Hills" without having one or the other. Or son is getting to an age where he can understand potential dangers and is learning so quickly about everything around him.
Environment is everything and without bashing on city life too much... I want to put my life, my family, my energy in an environment that works/lives close to nature. I want to celebrate the seasons, be a hopeful beacon for younger generations and to continue learning from elders. I want my son to know how to grow food and the importance of a healthy ecosystem. Being around a loving and creative community that seeks growth, in their plants and themselves, is what we're looking for. Otherwise, I'm open to a wide array of possibilities/locations. Even if you have recommendations on connecting with certain communities I'd love to hear from you. I've been looking in all the usual places for general rentals and thought... the Permies community are the right people to ask. At the moment I'm hoping to get a sense for who's out there and whats possible.
If you've read this far, thank you! Feel free to respond here or if you have more in depth questions about us, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I too am looking to work/trade in the Pacific Northwest in the fall, probably end of September through November to visit and then when I find the perfect place, I'll move there longer.
I love caring for children and am a full time yoga teacher. I've lived in community these last 9 years, I owned a home in the suburbs and live part time in a yoga retreat in Maine during
summer but with covid have only gotten up here for a month. I am dedicated to building a cob/straw home too and just wanted to let you know there's someone out here in the permies world that's got their eye on cascadia