many this day and age ask themselves, what can I do? I know I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years. I vote, I volunteer
, I donate
, I do what I can for my local
communities…but I wanted to do more. More for me, more for us, more for you, more for this mother earth and more for the future generations of this planet, so they don’t have to live on the dry and dusty rock ball we are headed for. The world and planet are changing, there is no question about that. So the bigger question is, what can I do?
I’m going to tell you a story, about how we found permaculture
, What I believe is the answer
to life and all its riddles.
Like the start to a lot of recent stories, Covid pushed many out of their comfort zones, but we decided to push further than we could have dreamed. Hi, my name is Jesse (37), and my fiancé Kristin (38) and in 2020 we decided to sell
our small 2-acre farm outside of Portland
, OR and make a bigger change in life. We had some experience
on our little farm, grew many of our veggies, raised chickens, eggs, small herd of milk
goats, and the occasional cow would find its way into the pasture (Kristin LOVES cows). Looking back, we could have done so much more with that property, but we ultimately were not happy in the location and living in a 1920s home really had its own challenges. We wanted to focus our efforts in other productive ways. So, we decided to look for some land
in Eastern Oregon, a place we have always found ourselves drawn to whenever we go camping and exploring. Someplace to plant some roots
. The high desert does something to your soul. Plus, we were just tired of all the winter rain!
As the year went on, we paid off all debt, cleared the clutter from our lives, physically and mentally. You see our goal here was to move once and only once. Invest in ourselves and retire early. So, we searched and searched. As the year progressed it got harder and harder to find land (we were looking for 50+ acres), even more so with a decent house. A place to start the rest of our lives. In November of 2020, we found it, but it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Selling a home and buying is never fun. Its stressful, exhausting, and tests your patience to the ends. Ours was tested…. continentally. One day, camped out in a friend’s yard
... waiting for final appraisal on our new property. Kristin tells me about this “Permaculture Summit” and it’s starting today. “Let’s do it”, I said. “I need something to listen to while I work”. So, we watched and learned…our eyes opened, a little wider with each speaker, Food Forests, Swales, Water
management and so much more. We had already planned to expand our garden and grow our own food, but this just exploded with ways to grow more, give more, take in more CO2
, restore the dry arid desert soils and provide.
This is the only answer to the world’s problems, and I am going to do something to give back to my planet, with the hopes that my little life raft will take care of us as we do her.
So how about this property? Most of our friends didn’t even remotely understand our interest in this property, to them it is filled with sagebrush, dusty, dry desert, 2hrs from any major services (Hospital, Groceries). It’s funny how people
look at things and the basis the put on them. Frankly we are glad no one else saw what we did or else we would not be here today. We moved in on May 6th and we will never leave. 160 acres located in the SE corner of Oregon, one of the most remote places in the state and has the darkest skies in the US. The Alvord Desert
If you have been here, you know what it's like and likely cannot even begin to explain the feeling this place brings. It's silence and clarity. More need to experience this place. For those around the world, Alvord is a dry lake bed roughly 12miles long and 7 miles wide. Being in the rain shadow of the Steens Mountain range causes a very mild and dry climate, we receive over 300 days of sunshine and only 7in of rain annually. Most of the property is sagebrush and other native plants
, its needs serious help! Native grasses grow towards the edge of the property that touches the Alvord. During my observations, the water is literally running off the property, so it makes sense why more grasses are growing downhill. Around the house is where it gets exciting though. There is LIFE! So many trees
have been planted. Fruit
, shrubs, Nitrogen fixing Black locust
, maple, Ash
, Aspen, so much more native grasses. The previous owner was on to something…she just didn’t know what. Our water is provided by an artisan well @ 145’. Instead of pumping it’s just bubbles to the surface, it also has a byproduct…our Pond
. Currently stocked with goldfish, its roughly 30ftx30ftx4ft and year around. I'd like to learn how to expand this in the future! How did we find this life giving treasure in the middle of the desert, we don’t know, but we are meant to be here.
We know this journey is just getting started and there is much work to be done but when it’s the right work, it's worth doing. I am happy to have found my people, my tribe. I am humbled to give back this ancient land and just be happy, centered and balanced.
It's so nice to finally meet you all! I look forward to this journey, together.