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Seeking permaculture community in Thurston County, WA

 
Posts: 32
Location: Tenino, WA
2
kids dog homestead
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After living in Portland, OR for 10 years, we made the decision last year to return to the Thurston County, where I grew up, in the hopes of getting more land and being closer to family. Fortunately, our plan worked and we now have 3.4 acres that back up to conserved forested land about a 30 minute drive from Olympia (rural thurston county outside Tenino). Unfortunately, we don’t know many folks in this region any more, and the pandemic has made it harder than ever to meet people and make friends. We don’t live near many people and I really miss having a community. Would love to meet any other people interested in permaculture in the region, especially within 20 miles of Tenino, even if it’s just to virtually say hello and exchange resources and ideas!
 
Posts: 19
Location: Chehalis Wa
1
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Hi Tara, we live in Salkum wa, and would be happy to connect. We've just purchased 7 acres of our own and have been working hard (perhaps too hard) to build bad systems so we can get on with building better ones as fast as possible. Direct message me so we can discuss connecting.
 
pollinator
Posts: 204
Location: Between Tacoma and Mt Rainier in the Pacific Northwest
70
homeschooling hugelkultur kids forest garden foraging chicken cooking bee homestead
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Hi, I'm north of you in Roy. Tenino is about 30 minutes from us depending on the traffic through Yelm (28 miles for us to Tenino). We also have about 3 1/2 acres, mostly surrounded by other plots of 5ish acres which in turn are surrounded by farms.

I think there are a lot of people interested in permaculture in the area though I also have been slow to meet anyone in person the last couple crazy years. There is a permaculture conference that meets locally every year. I haven't attended yet but it's on my to-do list. Just search Northwest Permaculture Convergence.

My favorite nursery is just south of you- Burnt Ridge Nursery in Onalaska. Have you heard of it? My favorite local seed company is Uprising Organics in Bellingham. Both places focus on growing stuff meant to thrive in our climate.

What areas of permaculture interest you the most? What are you working on at your place?
 
Tara Swenson
Posts: 32
Location: Tenino, WA
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Hi Jenny,
Great to meet you. Thanks for telling me about the Northwest Permaculture Conference. I hadn't heard of it, and am excited to potentially attend next year. Burnt Ridge Nursery looks great! I hadn't heard of them before, but am definitely going to order some plants from them soon, and Uprising Seeds looks great too.

In terms of what we've got going on at our place, oh boy, its a long list. We have only been here about 7 months, and our to-do list is never ending. So far we have been focused on basic maintenance-type projects with the house/property, and haven't gotten to the point of establishing anything for a permaculture setup, but the goal is to one day have a large permaculture-inspired garden, maybe a pond, maybe a wildflower meadow, some critters (maybe chickens, rabbits, and goats along with our current two dogs and potentially a new cat soon), a straw-bale event space on the property to host music performances and workshops, and so many more ideas. There is already an old apple/plum/pear orchard on the property and a small fenced-in garden with raised beds that I'm planning to expand upon. Currently working on installing some new fencing and gates to create a larger yard for the dog and kid. As soon as that's done I'm planning to get down to business with planning out the garden for the spring and ordering seeds and plants. Our property is south-facing, but its on a slope with heavy clay soil, and some parts of the property are landslide prone while others are wetlands, and at least half of it is forested, so its an interesting challenge to think of how best take advantage of what natural resources are available. After last week I've been thinking of how to manage water, since we border a flood zone. Have you been interested in permaculture for long? Curious what sorts of projects you have going on as well.
 
gardener
Posts: 1059
Location: Western Washington
280
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Olympia has a ton of permaculture people. I recommend posting in the gardening Facebook groups. I would go to a few regional groups, then post asking for cuttings in the Olympia/Thurston county area. You can make tons of acquaintances that way.


Funny Ed, I just moved from Salkum, down to Longview area. Salkum has a lot of potential. The library has the beginnings of a food forest even if they don't realize it.
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 1059
Location: Western Washington
280
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This may interest some of you. It's a bit south of tenino but not far by rural standards. Hopefully this will become a similar thread for Thurston county

https://permies.com/t/100135/Praise-Lewis-County
 
Jenny Wright
pollinator
Posts: 204
Location: Between Tacoma and Mt Rainier in the Pacific Northwest
70
homeschooling hugelkultur kids forest garden foraging chicken cooking bee homestead
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Tara Swenson wrote:Hi Jenny,
. After last week I've been thinking of how to manage water, since we border a flood zone. Have you been interested in permaculture for long? Curious what sorts of projects you have going on as well.



The water has been crazy the last two winters. We are high up and out of reach of any flood zones but we have a high water table and probably a spring somewhere we haven't found yet. A couple of times during this winter and last winter, we had to limit our use of water going down the drain because our drain field got over saturated from rain and the septic tank couldn't pump the normal amount of water out to it. It really has me wanting two things. #1 A gray water system. #2 A rain water cistern for the summer drought months. (A giant one. Little rain barrels aren't much use when you don't get any rain in July and August.)  We've put in some little hugel beds to help hold water through the summer and the one we actually finished works really well and doesn't need watering in the summer. The others... Well they turned into piles of blackberry covered logs. 😜

My husband and I grew up north of Seattle and we bought our property 7 years ago. So many projects and the list just keeps growing. But that's ok. I don't ever want to be done. My husband and I enjoy projects and say that's our hobby! You have some really interesting things on your to-do list. 😊

We have raised beds over what used to be an RV parking pad. We are trying to grow a food forest along the fence we put in the front yard to corral kids and keep out neighborhood dogs. We have some seasonal ponds that border a wetland and we'd like to build some "stream beds" to channel the winter deluge into those ponds so maybe they would last longer into the summer. We used to have geese and they loved swimming in the ponds when they were full. I'd like to get some more but we need to have a better fenced area to keep themb at night. Coyotes got all the geese and chased away the turkeys we had and then moved on to eating our chickens. So fencing to protect birds is on the to-do list.

I'm also interested in starting a little annual plant nursery, something to help cover the cost of my seed and plant addiction. So that's a project I'm slowly working on. It would help to have a green house and a high tunnel but I'm already growing my garden in the best part of our land with the best sun. So figuring out how to squeeze that in is one of my brain teasers lately.

Another puzzle is how I can put in a root cellar when our water table is only a few inches under the soil. I'm thinking how people used to utilize streams for cool houses and how I can make the building to run the water through it instead of trying to keep the water out. Probably with gravel, pipes, and cinder blocks. Another brain teaser!

Those are some of the more interesting and fun projects.
20220110_153209_HDR.jpg
Half of our road turns into a pond in the winter. We like to direct that water into a real pond.
Half of our road turns into a pond in the winter. We like to direct that water into a real pond.
 
Tara Swenson
Posts: 32
Location: Tenino, WA
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James Landreth wrote:This may interest some of you. It's a bit south of tenino but not far by rural standards. Hopefully this will become a similar thread for Thurston county

https://permies.com/t/100135/Praise-Lewis-County



Ha! Funny you should mention that. I found that thread yesterday and was excited to come across it! Planning to go back and spend some more time reading through it. Really enjoyed reading your take on Lewis County and the potential it offers, not only for gardening but also in terms of growing into an even more diverse and inclusive community. (I’m still becoming familiar with Tenino but I have similar feelings about the potential for this location as well.)
 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 1059
Location: Western Washington
280
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
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I feel that Thurston county has tremendous potential as well, in terms of growing things and community. And it has good access to markets like Olympia and even Tacoma.
 
pollinator
Posts: 185
Location: Washington Timber Country
45
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Ahoy from Oakville, about 19 miles to the West!

We've been on our 15 acres for eleven years now, but still just slowly picking at projects as I work full time and we have a kiddo to raise. Not a ton of in-person socializing lately, as we're quite Covid-conscious, but there are some great folks out here to connect with. Camp Singing Wind, in Lewis County, hosted some great pre-Covid events where we made local Permie connections.

What kinds of events are you planning to host at your place, once you have the infrastructure built?

 
Tara Swenson
Posts: 32
Location: Tenino, WA
2
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Wow, Jenny. Sounds like our properties have a lot in common. Our water table is also really high and I've noticed some smells near the drainfield - now that you mention your issues with the septic tank not pumping properly I wonder if that is going on for us as well. The graywater and rain cistern both sound like a good idea, and that's something we'd ideally like to have on our property too (someday...) I'm in the process of ripping out a bunch of brush in overgrown areas of the yard and was planning on starting some hugel beds with the material. Any advice for starting a hugel bed? I haven't made one before but they seem like a smart idea.

Our property also borders wetlands and we get a seasonal tiny little creek that runs down the hillside, and lots of tiny springs that just seem to pour out of the side of the hill when it rains, so we are thinking of installing a pond at the lowest part of the property to gather the water. But the lowest part of our property is located directly near the road, so I wonder if that is an issue in terms of pond overflow getting onto the road? I need to do some more research on it. Your nursery idea sounds neat! That is something that is definitely in my long-term plan, one of those things I like to imagine happening "someday" this year though it will probably just be focused on getting the most basic infrastructure in place.. primarily installing the fence, maybe building a potting shed, maybe a greenhouse, maybe chickens and/or rabbits in the spring... it's hard to stay on task with so many ideas floating around! I keep imagining the yard overflowing with vegetables and flowers in the springtime it's nice having something to look forward to - these kind of daydreams are the things that are helping me get through this weird and challenging time.
 
Tara Swenson
Posts: 32
Location: Tenino, WA
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Hi Roberta! I've never heard of Camp Singing Wind, I'll need to check that out! I also haven't been to Oakville, what is it like there?

The events we'd like to host here are mostly music related (my husband and I make and perform music and many of our friends do as well, so we'd like to have music-oriented performances here) but I'd also like to do something involving the community in other ways. I'm not sure what that looks like yet but some ideas include permaculture workshops, yoga workshops, wilderness classes for kids, opening up part of the yard for a community garden, and having neighborhood "street fair" or harvest festival type events. Of course, a lot of this hinges on us getting our shop space fixed up - it was one of the selling points of the property for us. Currently its essentially a concrete slab with metal walls and roof, and full of holes where bats, lizards and mice get in. But we'd like to replace the walls, ideally with strawbale/lime, and replace the broken concrete floor with rammed earth, install a compost toilet bathroom, and install a new roof... this will likely take years and cost us a fortune. But then it will we weather-proof and better insulated for sound (for the music events). It's definitely a long-term vision  
 
I wasn't selected to go to mars. This tiny ad got in ahead of me:
12 rocket mass heaters microdoc
https://permies.com/wiki/108970/rocket-mass-heaters-microdoc
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