We’re definitely not in Dallas anymore

My idea of leaving the city was to exchange it for a view of the ocean while Josh wanted land.

Zoe, assistant realtor.

When our realtor, who traveled with his bulldog Zoe, showed us this property, he had us take the trails before coming into the house…..and Zoe would show us the way. Our property comes with a quarter mile of hiking trails carved into the back half of our four acre property. Four. Whole. Acres.

I think it was Zoe who convinced me we needed to buy this property because we could see our dogs enjoying all the space. Something we didn’t realize we craved in our cute backyard in Little Forest Hills.

On lazy mornings we fill our coffee and walk with the dogs along the paths that loop here and there around a pond, laughing at the dogs as they sniff around new crooks and crannies of their new home. The trail is filled with trees, ferns and currently salmon berries….which really aren’t all that tasty. There are a couple of benches here and there so we sometimes stop to sit and chat and take it all in.

We are still pinching ourselves that we actually live here.

Toward the end of the far trail we can see Zylstra Farm, our neighbor, and the very large Penelope the Pig. Moonpie and the Lady Labs like to swing down the far trail so they can wag their tails at Penelope. Daisy isn’t sure what to think about Penelope’s snorts, nor her size.

In Dallas we had daredevil squirrels who liked to taunt the Lady Labs with the acrobat antics and occasionally a opossum. Penelope is an interesting replacement. So are the deer and the bunnies…taunting of the dogs just went to a whole new level. These forest creatures are not shy at all. Deer slink into our backyard to steel an apple or two from our tree and the bunnies sit quietly until the dogs are barely close enough to snatch them up.

Just a few months ago, we occupied our time with hour long dog walks, drinks at Goodfriends or seeking out the latest and greatest Dallas restaurant.

Our entertainment has definitely changed.

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CSA day: my favorite day

image4Last week we signed up for a partial share at Prairie Bottom Farm in Coupeville. Now, every Tuesday, I drive the 15-20 minutes to pick up our share, chat with the farmers, say hello to the chickens and begin foraging the “u-pick” item of the week.

While we’ve barely been here for a month, I will say that I look forward to Tuesdays. For a girl who works from home (and whose office is in the basement), getting out is important. The drive down Hwy. 525 isn’t a long one and once I drive up to the farm there are chickens cluimage8cking, roosters crowing and other members gathering their own share of the weekly crop.

Last week our share included green garlic, salad greens, cardoon, garlic scapes, and squash greens. Our u-pick items included items in the herb garden and a pint of raspberries. This week, I feel like we hit the jackpot with our share. I was happy to see the green garlic again, because, well, I have a healthy addiction to the herb, but there were more goodies in my CSA bag this week: kolrabi, green onions, fresh spinach and broccoli. And this week, I was allowed two pints of raspberries (yum!).

image11In the months leading up to our move, I experimented and then grew dependent on meals in a box. Plated became my new personal grocery shopper and recipe planner.  It opened up my Sunday to pack or visit with friends rather than go to the store for the week and plan a menu. Gathering groceries and menu planning is a task that I usually love, but as our move date grew closer, time became more and more limited. It was honestly a lifesaver, but now, on the island, we have access to fresh produce through either our CSA or one of four (or probably more) farmer’s markets. It doesn’t seem feasible to continue our Plated subscription now that life is slowing down a bit. And I want to start experiment cooking with as many of the vegetables as possible.

image6Tonight I went to work, assessing what was already in the fridge, the pantry and what I brought home from Prairie Bottom. Dinner became a saute of green garlic, oregano, and sage with the broccoli, shitakes and fresh spinach. From there, I tossed in some local fresh Alfredo sauce we found in Langley last week and some porcini pasta. Top it with a touch of Parmesan cheese and dinner. is. served.

Planning meals to align with your CSA share can be challenging. It is likely, you are going to get a vegetable or two you know nothing about. To be honest, I had never heard of a Cardoon before, but I enjoy the opportunity these veggies give me to reach outside my culinary wheelhouse.

And if I get a vegetable I don’t like? Well, that’s not likely, but if it happens this week, I still have raspberries.


City Girl Problems: It may be a little too quiet here

As the sun started to set this evening and the frogs began croaking in the pond on the back half of our property, the realization that I’m all alone out here is starting to get real.

I dropped Josh off in the wee hours this morning to catch the SEA-TAC shuttle for his flight to Dallas where he’ll work this week. Today wasn’t bad. I got to work, I even unpacked some boxes and got our house a tad closer to looking like someone lives here. But now, as the darkness sets in I have to admit the fraidy-cat in me is surfacing.

I really do enjoy the peace and the quiet. I can’t hear I-30 roaring behind me, the buzzing sounds of street lights or sirens roaring down Garland road. The first couple of weeks settling into our new place, I welcomed this silence, but right now, I could use a siren or two.

Other than the frogs there are some noises, but I haven’t gotten used to them. For example, there is some sort of moaning noise under the refrigerator. My mother-in-law heard it while she was here and convinced me that it was probably noise from a water pipe underneath. Yes, water. Water also creates a little anxiety as the water filtering system is located in the garage, just on the other side of the wall in our bedroom. It sounds a lot like the garage door opening, and even though I purposely opened and closed the garage door to get used to the sound, I STILL can’t tell the difference. But I’ll tell myself that the noise is the filter.

It’s really late, and since I’m working Central Time hours, I don’t have time for restless sleeping so I’m going to have to get a handle on this. Sure I have Moonpie and the Lady Labs, so I’m not completely alone, but even their barking at the darkness here and there isn’t helping. Seriously, is something really out there? And if there is, I really don’t want to know about it. I know there are animals, and nothing harmful a herd of deer, a few million bunny rabbits and probably a racoon or two.

Yes, I’ll just think of the animals. It’s like a Disney movie right? Bambi curling up with his mother and Thumper burrowing in somewhere for the night. But Daisy begins her cryptic growling out the back door again and my idyllic bedtime Disney story becomes something a little less cuddly.

So now I’ll do the only thing a sensible person who has recently moved to the middle of freakin’ nowhere would do. I’ll drag all the dog beds into our bedroom, strategically place them at the foot of the bed in a semi-circle so that there is one dog for each door and window. I’ll shut the door so Daisy will stop barking at any random flicker out the window. I’m now safely barricaded in my room. And the water filter begins rumbling and Daisy begins to growl.

It’s not the garage door, it’s not the garage door……..

Yep, this might be a long week. For all of us.



Getting familiar, with familiar

Each time I’ve moved some place different, as much as it is exciting to explore, there is that anxiety about finding my way. Did I turn down the wrong road? Where is the nearest grocery store? Wait, where is the farmer’s market? Where is my place in all of this? Where is my tribe?

In San Antonio and Dallas, I fumbled with jotted down directions until (thank God) map apps came along. But here on the island, finding my way is a little different. Nothing has really changed since the last four or five times we’ve been here. There is one road in and out. You get here by Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry or by bridge via Deception Pass. The journey’s are the roads leading one way or the other to the water, past a farm, past a state park or a garden.

After a week here, I decided to make my way out to get this and that. Along the way, I found I knew my way for the most part. And, yet, there was this expectation that I was going to find myself lost, at the end of a dirt road wondering where I went wrong. That’s the thing about an island or a small town, eventually, you run out of real estate. With that said, I know there are nooks and crannies of this island that I haven’t discovered and plenty of people I haven’t met.

Normally in a new city, I dive in to get out of my comfort zone on purpose. Here, I feel like I need to find where that uncomfortable zone may be for me and perhaps that will take some time. We’ve moved to a house on four acres, perhaps the solace in all of this will be beyond my comfort zone, but for now, I’m simply finding my way outside the city somewhere near the end of the earth.