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Fall Hiking in Clark County WA

It’s Fall – Let’s Go Hiking!
Mornings are crisp, nature’s palette is changing, and fall is officially here. It’s a great time of the year to go hiking. Fall spurs adventurous people to don boots and backpacks, ready to exercise their bodies and soak up the views. 

Getting out in nature makes us feel good, and there is data to back it.  A 2015 study published by the National Academy of Sciences finds that spending time outdoors significantly affects our prefrontal cortex where most negative thoughts process. Hiking especially helps quiet our negative ruminations.

Participants in the 2015 study left their electronics behind as they backpacked through nature – basically unplugged and tuned in (to nature.) Not surprisingly, a long hike without a cell phone can reduce mental fatigue, soothe our minds, and increase creative thinking. While we agree with the tech-free advice, we also think it’s important to tuck away a cellphone in your pack for emergencies.

Hiking burns calories (400-700 an hour), builds muscles and increases bone density. Your body and mind get into shape while nature works its quiet magic. Once you invest in suitable shoes and a day pack for emergency provisions, it’s free. About the only cost might be a Discovery Pass in Washington or a parking pass. 

There are many trails in our area for hikers to choose from, and because of our close proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, there are some pretty rigorous hikes for those in good shape. However, you can also find trails for nearly everyone in Southwest Washington, including many with wheelchair access.

It’s Fall – Let’s Go Hiking!

Here’s a list of hikes in the Clark County Washington Parks system:

So, get outside for a hike and enjoy the Fall!

Want to know our favorites? Send us a note – we’ll let you know, and send directions!

Filed under: News

Multigen Homes in Camas

MultiGen Homes in Camas Washington

Are you one of many families searching for a multigenerational home in Camas, Washington? We know it’s not always easy to find an exact match for your specific wants and needs. We know first-hand. In fact, our home multigenerational home in Camas required some post-purchase modifications to make it work for us.

For example, we transformed a wet bar downstairs into a full kitchen, and upgraded a bonus room into a bedroom with the addition of closet space. Required egress, with windows and an exterior door, leading to a garden patio, were already in place.

We’ve been living a multigenerational lifestyle since 2006.  In that time, we’ve learned so much about the process of transitioning into shared housing. The obvious benefit of shared expenses is a well-known perk. And so is sharing life with people you love.

Naturally, there are also plenty of adjustments. We think it’s important to make sure everyone gets the privacy they need – and their own space.  Speaking of space, we specialize in rural properties having exterior natural space – something we both greatly appreciate. It’s especially appealing when the acreage is surrounded by serene and pleasing views.

 

MultiGenHomes in Camas Washington

Currently, there are 11 homes classified as “dual living” for sale in Camas ranging from $469,900 to more than $3.5 million.  Bu there might be others that could be converted into multigen with the right modifications. So, we are also quite proficient at finding other homes not listed as dual living that might fit your needs.

Just ask us, we can help you find the right home. Or Search for MultiGen Listings Here

For more multigen family resources, check out MultiGen Homes.

 

“Best Show(er) of the Year!” – August Star-Gazing in Clark County

Best Show(er) of the Year

With warm summer nights and (usually) clear skies, August is one of the best times of the year for star-gazing in Clark County.  Getting outdoors under the stars is also a great activity for kids – they get to stay up late and experience the wonder of the night sky.  The moon will be at “half moon”  this week so it won’t interfere. Even without a telescope, there are many constellations easy to spot this time of year.

Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible, along with the constellation Orion and the brightest star Sirius.  If you’re lucky, you could spot a rare recurrent nova, RS Ophiuchi, in the southern sky. It shows up every 15-20 years just above the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius.  You might even spot the International Space Station passing overhead.

Watch The Best Show(er) of the Year!

The big celestial show in August is the Perseid Meteor Shower, known as the “Best Meteor Shower of the Year”. It starts around July 17th and peaks August 12-13 every year.  But you can still see up to 50 streaks per hours through August 24.

Meteors are basically space debris colliding with the earth’s atmosphere, lighting up the sky in colorful streams. Perseid is especially known for its spectacular fireballs – larger chunks of debris produce brighter and longer streaks that resemble fireworks.

“Star Parties” Are Another Way to Celebrate

“Star Parties” are popular with amateur astronomy clubs. Typically a bunch of enthusiasts will designate a spot to meet up and share their telescopes with whomever shows up.  There are many Star Parties scheduled across the country throughout the year. In previous years, local organizations such as Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomy and OMSI have organized Star Parties for groups to share sky-gazing experiences.  Although there are no scheduled parties this year, anyone interested can throw their own.  Just be respectful of public safety and observe COVID-19 guidelines if you organize one.

The best options are to get away from city lights – eastern Washington or central Oregon are usually great spots. The beach is an option, although the damp marine air might obscure the view a bit. Despite haze from wildfires, some stars are still visible in the late evening.  If you plan to camp out, you’ll likely need a reservation, and camp fires will probably be prohibited.

Even if you can’t get away from the city, you can still enjoy the night sky from your back yard.  Just turn off your lights and step outside. Maybe pitch a tent or lay down some sleeping bags.  Take the time to look up at the spectacular August sky and enjoy the Best Show of the Year!

We sell ViewHomes™ of Clark County, with “Nature as Neighbors” where star-gazing is easy.

Clark County Homes for Sale

Want to learn how? Contact us.

Or start your search for a home in nature here.

Bernie Stea & Debb Janes

 

Filed under: Events | Nature | Views

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

It’s commonly thought that the expression “Dog Days of Summer” refers to the hottest time of the year. If true, that would have been during June’s heat wave. But the expression actually derives from ancient observations of Sirius, the Dog Star and its annual rising in the morning during summer.  It is also the brightest star, after the sun. The Old Farmers Almanac places Dog Days at 40 days from July 3 to August 11. Both observations just happen to coincide with (typically) the hottest time of the year.

But, what if you actually have dogs and you want to enjoy the hotter days of summer?  Here are a few suggestions – just remember to bring water for yourself and your canine companions. And observe common courtesy – leash up where required and always clean up after your dog.

Off-leash Dog Parks. A great way to start the day, and work off some energy before it gets too hot.  Check out DogPaw Off Leash Parks  to see if there is one near you.

Cape Horn Hikes

Early morning hikes in the Columbia Gorge.  The western part of the Gorge and can provide a nice respite from the heat. Both sides of the Columbia River have excellent hiking trails and outdoor vistas.  One hike close by is Cape Horn Trail just off Highway 14. It starts out a bit steep, but levels off to a nice hike up to Nancy Russell Overlook with panoramic views of the Gorge.

Two helpful references are Best Hikes with Dogs Western Washington by Dan Nelson and Best Hikes with Dogs by Ellen Morris Bishop.  Although the second is focused on Oregon, there are several areas that are easily accessible within a one-day drive from Vancouver.

Go Jump in a Lake! (Or River or Beach.) You don’t have to be a water dog to enjoy water sports in our area.  The Lewis, Washougal, and Columbia rivers all offer places to swim with your dogs. And many lakes in the county allow swimming. But be on the look out for algae bloom –  it can be toxic to humans and dogs. Check with local authorities and look for posted warnings before entering the water. Finally, check out the beaches on the Long Beach Peninsula.  A little over 2 hours to miles of off-leash fun right on the ocean.  It will not only cool off your pups, but also wear them out for the trip home!

Or Just Stay Home.  And if you can’t make it to one of those destinations, you can always resort to the backyard kiddie pool. Trust us, even before you can get the water in, it will be a hit with the Dog Days of Summer!

Dogs in Kiddie Pool

Looking for a place to beat the heat and enjoy summer?  Call us, we have homes with Nature as Neighbors.

Photo of Great Outdoors with Mountain in Background

It’s June – Get Outdoors!

Looking for an excuse to play? June is National Great Outdoors Month. And here in the Pacific Northwest, we have so many great options for outdoor activity. You can easily find one that matches your age, skill level, or even attitude!  Hiking, biking, camping, walking, or just sitting quietly in nature all have great psychological and physical benefits.  Keep in mind, many sites offer ADA amenities so the whole family can enjoy.  Whether you travel to a site or go right down the block, the trick is to get out the door.

Here are some options to consider for Great Outdoors Month. May sure you check web sites before heading out to see if there are any visitor restrictions.

National Parks in Washington

There are over 400 designated National Parks in the U.S, and three are right here in Washington:  OlympicMt. Rainer, and North Cascades – all of which offer recreation opportunities for camping, hiking and climbing in some areas.

There are also some National Monuments Trails and Historic Sites worth noting:
San Juan Island National Historical ParkMount St. Helens Volcanic Monument, and Fort Vancouver, here in Vancouver.  All three feature outdoor activities and visitor centers, but check ahead for hours and restrictions.

State Parks in Washington

Our state parks are some of the best in the nation – last year alone saw more than 37 million visitors. That’s 10 million more than 2019 – even with COVID-19 closures. Battleground LakeParadise Point, and Reed Island (by boat only) are right here in Clark County. They are especially popular this time of year, and may require a state Discovery Pass for access.

Clark County Parks

We are extremely fortunate to have so many parks in our county.  Most are day-use only, but offer a wide array of activities – hiking, biking, swimming.  Currently, picnic shelter day use permits are suspended through 2021. There are parking fees at some sites. Our favorites are Captain William Clark right on the Columbia, and Lacamas Regional Park on Round Lake which offers an extensive network of trails – some leading to nearby Heritage Park on Lacamas Lake.

Neighborhood and Off-Leash Dog Parks

You may not have to go far to find an outdoor opportunity.  Just go for a walk around the block and you’re likely to run into a local park in your neighborhood. And don’t forget your canine buddy.  Most parks require keeping your dog on a leash, but a nonprofit organization, DOGPAW, maintains four off-leash parks in the county.  A chance for you to go for a walk with your best friend!

However you decide to observe Great Outdoors Month, let’s get out there and explore the abundance of nature offered in our area!

Filed under: Nature | News
Gardening:  A Growing Trend (Even City Dwellers Are Digging)

While many were stuck at home last year, there was an increased interest in gardening.  Seed companies reported shortages, nurseries had more sales of vegetable starts, and urban gardens saw a rebirth of activity.  All indications are that this activity will continue in 2021.

The many benefits of gardening – besides, of course, food!

There are many benefits, both practical and therapeutic to growing your own food.  Many see it as a way to control the food we eat – substituting store-bought food with their own produce.  But there are also great psychological benefits – something we can all use during times of stress. In addition to the comfort of briefly connecting to a Zen moment, there is immense satisfaction in growing something from scratch to full maturity.

Growing Tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest – The Great Tomato Machine

Cool weather plants like peas, beans, and lettuce do fairly well in the Pacific Northwest.  You can also grow tomatoes, but sometimes they don’t all ripen. One ingenious solution is the “Tomato Machine” – a trick we learned from Michael and Missy Stucky of Millennium Farms in Ridgefield.

They look odd for the first part of the summer, but the plants grow large and fast.  We typically remove the wrap mid-summer – once the plants start bursting out of their cages.  This approach always yields red, ripe tomatoes!

Container Gardens Are a Great Option

City dwellers who don’t have the space and no access to a community garden, can still grow their own food in containers.  They take up little room and reap the same benefits. Many plants are especially well-suited for containers: lettuce, herbs, and patio tomatoes come to mind.

Container gardens - a growing trend

Even with a full-size garden, we still grow a variety of container vegetables on our deck. Our best success has been with Northwest-specific tomatoes like Home Slice and Silvery Fir.  Add a container of lettuce and basil, and you have the convenience of a great salad. Right outside your door!

Gardening:  A Growing Trend. And Projected to Continue Growing.

We believe gardening will continue to be of great interest to everyone – city dwellers included. So, start small and try a few things – including container plants. Do some research on what grows best in your area. There are any number of web sites and YouTube videos to help you.  It’s best to start with seedling plants to get a head start on the short growing season.

However you do it, you will be rewarded with your own food and the mental satisfaction of growing and nurturing something living.

Want to learn more about container gardening or how to build the Great Tomato Machine?  Just contact us, we’ll be glad to share our experiences.

Filed under: Gardening | News

Earth Day 2022Earth Day 2022 – Invest In Our Planet

If there was such thing as a winner in the last two years’ shutdowns, it had to be Mother Earth. Air and waterways became cleaner while many wild animals reemerged from deep cover. Lower levels of manufacturing and fewer cars on the road allowed the earth to literally take a breather.  NASA satellite and ground-based observations reported significant reductions in global air pollution over this time period.

Just two years of reduced human activity show how much our actions affect the Earth. So on Earth Day 2022 it’s fitting the theme is “Invest In Our Planet.”  As we move back into our daily routines, it makes sense to reflect on this past year and continue to promote environmental protection. If you want to find an event near your home, go to EarthDay.Org – the official Earth Day site for a list of events.

Restoration is One Answer

This Earth Day theme also builds upon the emerging concept of restoration. For example, instead of accepting climate change as inevitable, restoration offers pragmatism coupled with hope.

Governments are turning to natural processes such as reforestation and soil conservation.  Innovative thinking and green technologies are restoring the world’s ecosystem and forests – and creating renewable jobs.  Large corporations are vowing to be carbon neutral within the next decade. These are all significant developments that will help Invest In Our Planet.

What We Can Do Ourselves

But waiting for institutions to act can take time. As individuals, we each play a critical role in the effort to Invest In Our Planet. There are plenty of actions we can take today that, collectively, add up to major impacts:

  • Reducing our consumption of plastic containers is a start.  Now that reusable shopping bags are allowed again, it will be a good habit to renew. Likewise, using our own containers instead of buying single-use water bottles is a big one.
  • Thoughtful recycling still has a major impact on the Earth’s recovery. Making sure items are clean and properly sorted helps the whole process.  Composting kitchen scraps is fairly easy and can improve your garden (or container) soil. Overall, we can do a lot to reduce waste in landfills and the oceans.
  • Reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizer on lawns can help eliminate the toxic runoff that affects water quality.  Using safe, organic sprays helps protect pollinators so critical to healthy plant and food growth.
  • Go to the interactive Earth Day Interactive Map to find an event in your state.

Want to know more about Earth Day and living in nature?  Contact Us.

Filed under: Events | Lifestyles | Nature

Country Life is for the Dogs!

Country Living is For The Dogs

Country living is for the dogs! And we mean that, literally.  Plenty of space to exercise and fresh air is a good combination – for people and dogs.  Plus, generally, it’s quieter in rural settings which means a more peaceful lifestyle. Less stressors. 

Our two white Golden retrievers are lucky to have their own dog park – right here at home. One of the first things we did after moving to our rural home in Camas, Washington, was to fence about half the property.  Boy, are we grateful too, as it keeps our two young pups safe. And, it keeps area wildlife from becoming a different kind of nuisance. 

To date, they have not been skunked, and other than barking at a passing deer, or a nocturnal  visit from a raccoon, we’ve been very lucky. 

Dogs Still Find Trouble in the Country

They do manage to stir up trouble digging holes, eating mud, chewing sticks, and gnawing on pinecones and rocks. What one doesn’t think about doing, the other does. Naturally, that’s why we still monitor outside time carefully. To date, they just can’t be trusted on their own.

 

 

Fortunately, running around the yard and soaking up nature is good for all us, four-legs, or two-legs. They get us out in all kinds of weather too. Rain or shine, even sleet and snow, there’s not day off with dogs. They nap frequently from all the exercise, but wake up ready for more. 

They keep us moving indoors too. What they bring in the from yard –  pine needles, dirt, and debris creates a messy mixture with their long white fur. Therefore, our vacuum is frequently put to work, and there’s generally a load of dog towels washing or ready to be folded. 

At the end of the day, we all take a moment to appreciate the beauty of a darkening country sky, while the dogs dream of another day to play.

Want to start your country life with the dogs?  Call us today.

Getting Hygge With It – It’s Time for Cozy!

 

The word Hygge is often mispronounced. For example, many think it’s pronounced, higgy – rhymes with jiggy. That’s not correct. It’s actually a  Danish word pronounced as, hoo-gah, or hue gah.

Candles, warmth and cozy

Regardless of how you say it, we both embrace the concept. The word is loosely described as cozy contentment. The Danes say it’s the art of fostering well-being through intimate connections to nature and others. Wow, that sounds perfectly lovely to us.

“Hygge” – The Art of Cozy Winter Living

At first glance, winter hygge might appear to be the creation of indoor spaces suitable for hibernating. However, that’s not necessarily the case. While creating pleasing and relaxing indoor rooms is quite hygge, the true concept is more about fostering an atmosphere to nurture relationships.

A group of friends playing a game around a roaring fire is very hygge-like. However, curling up with a good book in a cozy corner is also a hygge move. Any activity that allows us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and paying attention to what makes us feel alive and open-hearted is representative of the mindset.

Hygge is quite similar to mindfulness with more of a focus on sensual pleasures. Engaging our senses to absorb joy in the moment such as smelling a rose, cherishing the feel of silk or cashmere on your skin, and relishing the warmth of a roaring fire are good examples.

As with most good things, advertisers jumped on the trend and tend to over-used the hygge label to sell everything from sweaters to home furnishings. Ad nauseam, and It’s too bad, as the concept on its own is sound and worth considering.

It’s also worth noting the Danes have one of the highest happiness indexes in the world, despite their cold and dark winters.

Filed under: Lifestyles | Nature | News

Words of Nature – How We Love Thee!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air – literally. One of our favorite words that comes to mind is, psithurism. It describes the soft sound of wind whispering in the leaves of trees. We love nature, so it’s appropriate to share this word. And, if you say it soft and low, it tends to mimic the sound. 

Here’s a similar one. Susurrous this lovely word describes the general sounds of whispered rustling. And, quite poetic in our book. 

Words of Nature – How We Love Thee!

We always enjoy finding seldom-used words suitable for describing the natural world.  For example, apricity comes from the Latin word apricus which means, “having lots of sunshine, or warmed by the sun.” So, apricity means the warmth of the winter sun. And most of us have likely experienced this glorious feeling on brilliantly clear winter days.  

Another fun word to try to use in a sentence this Spring is frondescence. Basically, it refers to the condition or period when a tree or plant unfolds its leaves or petals. Here’s an example:  “As expected, frondescence of the petals is frequently accompanied by other changes in other parts of the flower.” 

Special Rainy Climate Words

The next two words are perfect for those of us who live in rainy climates. Ombrophilous means “rain-loving,” while ombrophobous means rain-shunning. Both words come from the Greek ombros – “rain shower.” Philous comes from philos, “loving,” while the phobous in rain-shunning comes from phobos, meaning “fear and panic.”

We love words! If you do too, here’s an article we stumbled upon about nature writer, Robert Macfarlane. It highlights his fantastic collection of words for the wild world called, Landmarks. Also, the book is revered by many as a field guide to the literature of nature. It’s filled with beautiful and meditative words used in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to describe land, nature, and weather. 

Finally, here’s one of Robert Macfarlane’s words that we often experience at our home in rural Camas, Washington. On the east side of our property, as the sunrise gains momentum, we enjoy the promising sight of shivelight illuminating the forest floor. It’s always a peaceful reminder of another new and wondrous day to celebrate the gifts of nature. 

Imagine, living in a home where you are greeted in the morning with shivelight – the lancing sun rays that pierce through the canopy of woods.

Words for Nature

Want to learn how? We specialize in rural properties. Contact us.

Or start your search for a home in nature here.

Filed under: Nature | View Homes | Views

 

Here’s To More Frilutsliv!

Here’s To More Frilutsliv! (“Free-Loofts-Leev”)

January flew in this year with its usual vengeance. Gray overcast days with rainy and windy weather – typical for this time of year. Yet, even when anticipated, these dark winter days can often leave us feeling a bit gloomy. Especially with a pandemic raging, being cooped up inside can add to the sense of isolation.

Paradoxically, one of the best antidotes for the winter blues is to get outside, in spite of the rough weather. The Scandinavians have a term for it, too, it’s called friluftsliv – free-loofts-liv. The word roughly translates to “open-air living.” 

Nordic Families Start Frilutsliv at a Young Age

Many Nordic parents practice the concept with their children at a young age.  Babies, at ages under one year-old, are often spotted napping outdoors, in all weather, throughout the year. No wonder they are a hardy bunch!  The phrase. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” is a mantra children hear frequently during their formative years. 

Recent polls suggest more of us have gained a greater appreciation for nature during the past year. Too many days spent indoors certainly take their toll. Outdoor activities offer us new ways to feel connected to others while still maintaining social distancing protocols. While winter weather can be a challenge, we can still embrace the frilutftsliv attitude and remain outdoor enthusiasts. 

We’re lucky to live within close proximity to nature. And, most of us have closets filled with the right clothes to make year-round outside adventures more comfortable.  Down jackets, boots, gloves, and rain gear are designed to help us brave the elements. Often, it’s getting out the door that represents the toughest part of bad weather outings.  Perhaps we need to shift our perception of the winter months and adopt the Scandinavian mindset. 

Wintery Outdoors Can Still Be Fun

One recent day, with bitterly cold east winds blowing, we met our daughter and grandchildren at a public park. We all bundled up in layers, toasty jackets, and hats and gloves. The children played and road their bikes around the trails as we walked for over two hours. Large tree branches swayed in the wind, and our golden retriever happily chased leaves as they flew across the pathways. It was a delightful way to reconnect with family and enjoy the outdoors.

Researchers at the University of Exeter in the U.K. found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week, enjoy better health and well-being. Whether it’s walking the dog at a park, or hiking up a mountain trail, fresh air and exercise is good for our body and soul.  Here’s to embracing more friluftsliv this winter! 

Remember, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”

Want to learn more about living close to nature to get outdoors? 

 

Filed under: Camas | Lifestyles | Nature

Zen and the Art of Firewood

Zen and the Art of Firewood

“Winter is coming!” It’s time to hunker down to a nice, cozy fire. In our rural home, we have an energy-efficient wood stove for supplemental heat, and to enjoy the ambiance of a fire on a cold winter night.

If you have the time and equipment, Gifford Pinchot National Forest offers a free firewood program for personal use. But, when we don’t have time to cut our own, we typically order seasoned wood and have it delivered. Some companies will stack for an extra charge, but we like to do it ourselves.

Firewood delivered by dump truck, however, ends up in a large, jumbled pile in the yard. So… there you are – now you need to move and organize this mess. Where to start?

STACKING WOOD AS A PUZZLE CHALLENGE

At first, the job can be overwhelming. It feels like a repetitive and boring task ahead of you. With the right mindset, it can become a great physical and mental challenge.

Stacking firewood is basically solving a geometrics problem: how do you fit those random-sized pieces together to form a solid, stable structure?

Whether stacking in a woodshed, or between posts, start with the half-circle pieces. Lay them flat-side down to build the base. Add more levels, keeping

it as flat as possible, using the best combination of angles and shapes for a level surface. It won’t be perfect, but this is where the mental acuity kicks in. You will start to see patterns and combinations that work best. Your brain quickly assesses even irregular pieces to place them in the right spot. It’s like playing a physical game of Tetris as you build each level.

MOVEMENT AND MEDITATION

Once you settle into that rhythm, let your brain switch to auto-drive as you slip into the meditation of the moment: moving, measuring, solving, then moving again.  The physical activity stimulates blood flow and endorphins to the brain. Eventually, your thoughts will focus on the activity at hand. Take your time. This is a great way to spend a cool, crisp winter day – exercising your body on the outside and your mind on the inside.

Firewoo

Soon, you’re done before you know it. You now have the gratification of a nice stack of wood, a physical workout, and a refreshing, mindful meditation.

There is an expression “Firewood warms you three times – cutting, stacking and burning.” Now you can add a fourth dimension – it also warms your brain!

Now go inside, relax, and enjoy a nice warm fire. You’ve earned it.

Zan and the Art of Firewood

Want to know more about stacking firewood?  Just ask us!

Filed under: Nature | News | Rural Homes

Once Upon a Fairytale Pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkins 

We love autumn with all its colors and magical transitions. Once, on a hunt for the perfect jack-o-lantern, we stumbled upon a bin filled with beautiful and mysterious looking pumpkins.

These are not your typical pumpkins – they range in color from dark green to a gorgeous deep mahogany. They conjure up images of a fanciful gourd straight from the pages of a fairy tale. In fact, they are called “Fairytale” pumpkins.

Squat in shape and deeply ribbed, they appeal to the possibilities of imagination. Perhaps this kind of pumpkin carried Cinderella to the ball?

Fairytale Pumpkins Are a Favorite With Chefs

Fairytale pumpkins are an old heirloom variety native to France. Its French name is “Musquée de Provence” – its nickname comes from its fanciful appearance. They not only present many possibility for whimsical decorations, they are a favorite with chefs. The meat is fine grained and well-suited for soups and pies. It’s described as the most flavorful pumpkin you can find.

Tuesday, October 26 is National Pumpkin Day.  Maybe that day you, too, will discover the spectacular beauty of a fairytale pumpkin. However, be quick – fairy godmothers might find them irresistible and get to them first!

Looking for a place to find the perfect pumpkin?  Here are some pumpkin patches in Clark County – some also offer hay rides and corn mazes.  Call for  hours of operation and COVID restrictions:

Walton Farms, 1617 NE 267th Ave, Camas, WA 98607 (360) 834-2810 

Vancouver Pumpkin Patch, 18905 NE 83rd St, Vancouver, WA 98682 (360) 892–0434

Bi-Zi Farms,  9504 NE 119th St, Vancouver, WA 98662 (360) 574-9119

Ollmann Farms, 22706 NE 37th Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360) 887-4000

Pomeroy Farm, 20902 NE Lucia Falls Rd, Yacolt, WA (360) 686-3537

Looking for the perfect home where that Fairytale pumpkin can live Happily Ever After?  Let’s explore your options.

Filed under: Nature | Organic Gardening

Clark County Market Recap

The real estate market in Clark County WA is still lively, but starting to reach a more “reasonable” level. Even during this hot lazy summer, activity is high, inventory low, and prices are still up compared to a year ago.

During this time of year, buyers are pretty serious, especially families with school children.  They want to relocate before school starts.  Likewise, sellers are eager to move on and are now willing to negotiate over price or terms as the Springtime frenzy has died down. It is a good time to consider buying if you are in the market. 

July, 2022 Market Report

Here’s a recap of the July market activity in Camas, East County, and Washougal. Plus, the latest market report for MultiGen homes in Clark County.

Clark County Homes for Sale Clark County Homes for Sale Clark County Homes for Sale

Clark County Homes for Sale

Clark County Market Recap

Meanwhile, even with a slight downturn, Average home prices in Clark County are up 15% over last year.

Clark County Homes for Sale

Sellers:

If you are thinking about selling, now is a great time!  Most COVID restrictions have been lifted, but we still observe all health protocols. restrictions.  All showings continue under controlled environments, and houses continue to be shown and sold.

Want To Know What Your Home is Worth? Just Ask US!

Buyers: 

Be super-prepared when you start looking.  Have your financing and down payment in order, and be prepared to make an offer as soon as you see what you like.  Waiting will likely mean the house will be gone.  You can start your home search here.

Want to hear more about Clark County Home Sales, or receive our Week-End Market Report?  Send us an email and we’ll send you the latest reports.

Beat the Heat With A Home on the Water!

You know you want to be on the water, so here’s a Waterfront Homes Market Report. 

The Northwest is setting historic records with the current heat wave throughout the region.  So it’s natural that more people are looking for different ways to cool off. At the top of the list (besides air conditioning) is playing in and around water. Clark County, WA is uniquely located in an area with exceptional bodies of water.  From the Lewis River up north, wild Washougal to the east, and the grand Columbia River to the south and west, we are surrounded by water!  Clark County offers many opportunities for waterfront recreation – boating, fishing and swimming to name a few.  And living on the water is the ultimate lifestyle for anyone who loves these activities.

Waterfront Homes Are in High Demand

Here in the Pacific Northwest, where much of our lifestyle revolves around the outdoors, water recreation is huge. Boating, kayaking, rafting, or just relaxing along a river – waterfront homes are always in demand.  Right now there are a limited number of properties right on the water. And, overall inventory in the area is at an all-time low.  This bodes well for sellers, who are experiencing a very busy selling season, with prices that have skyrocketed in recent months.

Buying or Selling Waterfront Requires Expertise

While there are still opportunities to own a home on waterfront, this is a specialized market. The challenges of regulations, year-round market demand, and a small inventory all require unique knowledge and experience. Regulations designed to protection our watersheds restrict the development of shoreline properties with tight footprints, setbacks, and mitigation requirements. Even creeks are regulated in certain protected watersheds, so this can cause frustration for anyone trying to build or expand a house along a natural waterway.

Whether you are looking for, or want to sell, waterfront property, you should work with a broker who has experience in this specialized market. Someone who knows how to achieve that perfect outcome for you.   If you are just thinking about buying or selling a home on the water, it helps to know the current status of waterfront home sales:

WATERFRONT HOMES REPORT

Waterfront Homes for Sale

It’s clear that, with only 7 days on the market as the median, waterfront properties sell quickly.

Have a home on the water you want to sell? Call us – We specialize in selling homes with “Nature As Neighbors.” Looking for waterfront property? Start your search here. If you don’t see a residence you like, ask us about land for sale along waterfront.  There can be challenges and regulations, but we have a lot of experience with waterfront property and can help guide you.

Waterfront Homes for Sale Waterfront Homes Report. 

Clark County, WA is uniquely located in an area with exceptional bodies of water.  From the Lewis River up north, wild Washougal to the east, and the grand Columbia River to the south and west, we are surrounded by water!  Clark County offers many opportunities for waterfront recreation – boating, fishing and swimming to name a few.  And living on the water is the ultimate lifestyle for anyone who loves these activities.

Waterfront Homes Are in High Demand

 As the weather starts to warm up, buyers are thinking about homes on waterfront.  Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where much of our lifestyle revolves around the outdoors.  With so many activities on water – boating, kayaking, rafting, or just relaxing along a river – waterfront homes are always in demand.  Right now there are a limited number of properties right on the water, and overall inventory is at an all-time low.  This bodes well for sellers, who can expect a very busy spring selling season, and prices that have skyrocketed in recent months.

Buying or Selling Waterfront Requires Expertise

While there are many opportunities to own a home on waterfront, this is a specialized market. The challenges of regulations, year-round market demand, and a small inventory all require unique knowledge and experience. Regulations designed to protection our watersheds restrict the development of shoreline properties with tight footprints, setbacks, and mitigation requirements. Even creeks are regulated in certain protected watersheds, so this can cause frustration for anyone trying to build or expand a house along a natural waterway.

Whether you are looking for, or want to sell, waterfront property, you should work with a broker who has experience in this specialized market. Someone who knows how to achieve that perfect outcome for you.   So, if you are just thinking about buying or selling a home on the water, it helps to know the current status of waterfront home sales:

WATERFRONT HOMES REPORT

Waterfront Homes for Sale

It’s clear that, with only 8 days on the market as the median, waterfront properties sell quickly.

Have a home on the water you want to sell? Call us – We specialize in selling homes with “Nature As Neighbors.” Looking for waterfront property? Start your search here. If you don’t see a residence you like, ask us about land for sale along waterfront.  There can be challenges and regulations, but we have a lot of experience with waterfront property and can help guide you.

Pacific Tree FrogThanks to a class of fifth-graders in Olympia, the Pacific tree frog is the official amphibian of Washington State.  Also known as the chorus frog, its scientific name – Pseudacris (rhymes with Ludacris) regilla – sounds like a rapper. And, like Ludacris, these tiny frogs have a big song in their hearts, especially the males. Every Spring, you hear their loud two-part “ribbit” designed to attract females.  The chirping stimulates other males to join in, and often, the resulting chorus of their joint efforts can be heard quite far away. It’s always sweet music to our nature-loving ears. In fact, Hollywood sound studios use the Pacific tree frog’s ribbit as a common background for many outdoor scenes.

  (Click to hear)

Celebrating World Frog Day

March 20th was World Frog Day, so it’s timely that we recognize the importance of the Pacific tree frog to our environment. Found in every region of the state, they are beneficial to the environment and crops by eating bugs, including dangerous disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes and ticks.  Plus, frogs serve as a food source to other species, including snakes, which help control rodents that can greatly damage crops. Frogs are also an environmental indicator.  Like the canary in a coal mine, they thrive when their environment is healthy, but get sick and die off if polluted.  So it’s vital that scientists, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens help protect these small amphibians.

The biggest threats to frog larvae include predators and parasites. But pollution  and chemical contaminants are the bigger human-generated threats. While the species is not declared threatened in the state, declines in extensively urbanized areas is cause for concern.  We can protect frogs by preserving their habitats and not using harmful chemicals and pesticides on our lawns and gardens.  Chemical runoffs are known to be especially detrimental to wetlands and natural habitats.

Look, But Don’t Touch

Handling frogs can be hazardous to their health, as lotions and/or bug repellents can be absorbed into their permeable skin. Cute as they are, please resist the temptation to keep them as pets, they belong in outdoor habitats where Mother Nature intended.

Speaking of natural habitats, it’s one of our specialties. If you’d like to find the perfect spot in a rural setting close to nature, call us.  That way, as Spring begins anew, you too will wake up to the wonderful songs of the Pacific tree frog.

 

Want to learn how? Contact us.

Or start your search for a home in nature here.

Filed under: Lifestyles | Nature

Finnegan’s First Snow!

We love snow – especially this year – for our new English Cream Golden Retriever. We wanted a decent snowfall event with some accumulation. So, snow finally started falling yesterday, and kept building in momentum. The deeper it got, the more entertaining it became to 10-month-old Finnegan. He never seems to tire of chasing tennis balls and birds.

 

Finnegan’s First Snow!

2022 Update:  Playing in the snow together.

Finnegan's First Snow!

Finnegan now has a brother, Forrest.  About10 months younger, but he is already bigger than Finnegan!  That’s Forrest in the right.

Let us know if you want to follow the Adventures of Finnegan and Forrest! Or contact us!

Homes With Views – Camas and Washougal

Owning a home with a view of a river – or any vista – is a unique living experience. Likewise, it will add value when you are ready to sell. We receive requests all the time from buyers who dream of having a home views, and it’s always a pleasure to help them find the right match.

We are fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest – recognized as one of the most scenic regions in the country.  This is especially true of Clark County, bordered on the south by the Columbia River.  Over the years, the “Mighty” Columbia carved natural canyons and gorges in its wake. In Clark County, this left rolling hillsides along the river which offer many vantage points with stunning views.  Likewise, some of the wildest rivers in the country feed into the Columbia through Clark County – creating many sites with sweeping panoramic views.

Camas and Washougal, in particular, are positioned along the Columbia and Washougal rivers, offering home owners multiple opportunities for views.  Before you start your search, it will help to get a feel for the market and view homes available.  Right now, it is clearly a sellers market in Clark County with only .6 months of inventory in the whole county. This makes view properties even more valuable – with an average price increase over last year of 12% for Camas and Washougal.

ViewHomes™️ Market Report for January 2021 Homes With Views for Sale (Note: Averages are for single family homes with views, and does not include a spectacular view home on Dawson Ridge in Camas for $18,997,000.)

 

Given the limited number of homes with views, it is important to be prepared when you start shopping.  An all-cash purchase will put you in a better position in a competitive market.  If you plan to finance the purchase, make sure you have a Pre-Approval letter from your lender (not just Pre-Qualified.). it will show the sellers you are serious, and you won’t have problems getting the loan.  Likewise, it is best if your down payment-funds are not contingent on another transaction.  It’s not a deal killer, but it will be hard to compete with someone who has cash on hand.

For more information about finding a home with a view, contact us.

Or start your search here.

 

MultiGen Homes for Sale

MultiGen Home Sales – October

Last year, more families found themselves back in multigenerational (multigen) households. Although not exactly their choice, many discovered the advantages of this lifestyle for all ages. In addition to the economics of sharing expenses, there is also the emotional and family support so critical in these times.

Even before the pandemic, multigen homes were on the rise. A 2018 Pew Research Center study shows that 1 in 5 or 20% of all U.S. households are now multigen families.  Although many young adults are part of this population, seniors are becoming a larger percentage of these households.  And the benefits are clear – it far outweighs institutional or assisted living. As a result, fewer seniors are now living alone than in 1990s.

If you weighing this option, or actively looking for a multigen home, you should give us a call to help with your search. With over a decade of personal experience in multigen household, we specialize in this field.

Our multigen homes are located on acreage or large lots. They have “elbow room for the soul”, which provides lots of room & privacy. We even have a special search set up to help you find the perfect home – separate living quarters, great amenities, and lots of room for privacy.

Find MultiGen Homes for Sale

We will often see homes that, at first glance, might not appear to be suitable because there are no separate quarters – our was like that. But, you can remodel and upgrade to accommodate family members. We have that experience as well, so we know how to identify those “hidden gem” opportunities.

If you are looking for a multigen home, it’s important to know the market:

MultiGen Homes Sales – October

Multigen Homes Report

Median Days on Market was 14 days – Multigen homes don’t stay on the market very long! 

*NoteAverage Prices do not include a $7,900,00 54-acre property in Hockinson, WA

Multigen Buyers: If you are looking for a home for multigen living, you can start your search here.

Multigen Sellers: Call us for a free consultation on your home’s value. We are specialists in this field, and we have buyers ready to move!

Camas Home Sales Report – It’s a Great Time To Sell

In spite of last year and ongoing real estate restrictions, Camas home sales remain strong. Pending sales in December were up 5.5% over last year at this time.  There were only 62 closed sales in Camas because overall inventory in Clark County is still extremely low at .6 months. December Numbers (RED) Show Lowest Active Listings in RMLS History Graph Showing Homes for Sale Clark County Projections Point to More Limited Inventory in January.

Graph Showing New Listings Clark County WA Even as more new homes come on the market, prices continue on a steady rise. The annual percentage increase in sales price in Camas was 8.4% for the month. This bodes well for sellers thinking about putting their home on the market.  

Camas Offers Many Amenities to Buyers Camas has a small town atmosphere with close proximity to city amenities and services – all without the traffic jams! You can find rural estates, classic bungalows, waterfront homes, and homes with views. So, ask for it – we’ve probably got it.

This historic downtown offers many fun activities while observing COVID-19 protocols. Plus, the Camas School District is highly rated and families appreciate knowing their children attend award-winning schools.

Camas – A Mix of New and Old

Although more new homes are coming on the market, older homes tend to have larger lots and more room for a growing family, live-in relatives, or visiting friends. Some are even suited for multigen households with separate living quarters.

Likewise, you are more likely to have space for that garden or just a quiet place with privacy. Homes in Camas offer you opportunities to spend more time doing things you love, connect with nature, and live a lifestyle that helps rejuvenate your soul. Then add a view, and you have a wonderful home with “Nature as Neighbors” and “Elbow room for the Soul.”

Camas Home Sales Report January 2021*

Camas Home Sales

(*Report is for single family homes on larger lots or acreage priced $350,000 and above. Averages do not include an amazing home listed for $18,997,000 on Dawson Ridge)

Sellers, if you want to find out how much your home is worth, give us a call.

Buyers, start your search here.

Filed under: Camas | Market Reports

Clark County Home Sales.

2021 brought a wild Sellers market to Clark County home sales.  Buyers are driving up the demand for homes. Inventory is at historical lows, and bidding wars have been crazy.  Many were waiving contingencies and even offering to match any shortfalls in appraisals.  As a result, homes were selling for way over asking price. Inventory shortage hasn’t eased yet, but there is some light at the end of this tunnel.  Inventory rose last month for the first time since January – not much, but hopefully a sign of a coming trend.

Bad News, Good News and Better News:

First, the Bad News: As the green graph shows on the chart below, Active Residential Listings over the past year have been declining.  The red line shows them dropping a bit more before ticking up in April. Still, if you are in the market to buy a home, there is a scarcity of selection.  The inventory – the time it takes to sell all homes listed – dropped from .8 months in January to .5 in March but ticked up to .6 in April .  Five to seven months is “balanced”, so this indicates it is still a Seller’s market.

Clark County Active Listings

The good news – if there is any:  the red line below shows New Listings on the market are back up to 2019 levels after a precipitous drop last year.

Clark County New Listings

We hope to see more homes coming on the market soon and that will help take the pressure off prices.

Now, the Better News (for Sellers):  If you are a homeowner, thinking about selling your home, now is the time to act.  With such a low inventory, you can expect a very quick sale, provided you price it correctly and have a realtor market it.  Last summer we sold a home for $30,000 over asking with no contingencies. No financing, appraisal, or inspections. Unheard of in a normal market. And that was just the beginning of the buying frenzy.

Clark County Home Sales – Prices Keep Going Up.

Meanwhile, the reality of a Seller’s market is that the Average Sale Price keeps rising. As the chart shows below, prices have risen regularly since January 2012.  And with low inventory and extremely low interest rates, prices will likely continue to rise for the near future.

Home Prices in Clark County

Tips For Surviving a Seller’s Market

Sellers:

If you are thinking about selling, now is a great time!  Some COVID restrictions have been eased – e.g. open houses are allowed again with certain restrictions.  All showings continue under controlled environments, but houses keep getting shown and sold.  Call us for the latest COVID guidelines and for a free consultation on your home’s value.

Buyers: 

Be super-prepared when you start looking.  Have your financing and down payment in order, and be prepared to make an offer as soon as you see what you like.  Waiting will likely mean the house will be gone. You might also find yourself in a bidding war. In that case, know your absolute limits, and don’t fall into the emotional trap of overpaying just to win.  An inflated price will hurt you in the long run when it comes time to sell.  You can start your home search here.

Want to hear more about Clark County Home Sales? Send us an email and we’ll send you the latest reports.  (We will not spam you and you can unsubscribe any time.

 

multigen homes

MultiGen Home Sales – November

Multigenerational households can be a great option for all ages. The 2018 Pew Research Center study shows that 1 in 5 or 20% of all U.S. households are multigen families.  Although many young adults are part of this population, seniors are becoming a larger percentage of these households.  And the benefits are clear – it far outweighs institutional or assisted living. As a result, fewer seniors are now living alone than in 1990s.

If you are looking for a multigen home, you should give us a call to help with your search. With over a decade of personal experience in a multigen household, we specialize in this field.

Our multigen homes are located on acreage or large lots. They have “elbow room for the soul”, which provides lots of room & privacy. We even have a special search set up to help you find the perfect home – separate living quarters, great amenities, and lots of room for privacy.

Find MultiGen Homes for Sale

We will often see homes that, at first glance, might not appear to be suitable because there are no separate quarters – our was like that. But, you can remodel and upgrade to accommodate family members. We have that experience as well, so we know how to identify those “hidden gem” opportunities.

If you are looking for a multigen home, it’s important to know the market:

MultiGen Homes Sales – November

Multigen and Dual Living Homes

Median Days on Market was 53 days – Multigen homes don’t stay on the market very long! 

*NoteAverages are for homes priced $350,000 and above, and does not include a spectacular $18,997 10.6-acre multigen property in Camas, WA)

Multigen Buyers: If you are looking for a home for multigen living, you can start your search here.

Multigen Sellers: Call us for a free consultation on your home’s value. We are specialists in this field, and we have buyers ready to move!

Feeding Hummingbirds in Cold Weather

We have native, year-round Anna’s hummingbirds living in the woods at our rural home in Camas, Washington. For several winters, we have used a heated feeder to make sure the tiny birds have a reliable source of nectar when the temperatures drop. Otherwise, the nectar freezes and the birds can’t drink. But this year, the feeder is leaking.  So, we decided to explore other options.

 

Feeding Hummingbirds in Cold Weather

 

Hummingbird Warmer to the Rescue!

The one that caught our eye is called the Hummingbird Heinie Warmer.  Admittedly, it’s a bit of a curiosity during the day, but as the daylight fades, it comes to life and gets prettier and prettier. The string of C7 lights give off enough heat to prevent the nectar from freezing, and give cold birds a perch to warm their heinie. You might think the the extra chains holding the bowl of lights might scare them.

The little guys are not deterred at all.  If anything, the new lights seem to attract them just as much.  And just as in the summer, they are already territorial over “their” new-found feeding station.

 

Feeding Hummingbirds in Cold Weather

 

Feeding hummingbirds in cold weather – it’s easy!

Since, it’s November, we chose fall colored bulbs for the 25 light string. For December, we’ll switch it up for Christmas. After December, we’ll likely use clear lights until we take it down in Spring.  We think it’s festive and fun, and so far, seems to do the trick. When the snow flies, we’ll do an update and let you know how the birds are using it. We’re hoping to see them perched on the bowl riding out the worst of our winter storms in toasty comfort.

Want to know more about feeding hummingbirds in winter?  Just contact us.

Filed under: Camas | Lifestyle | Nature

Rural Homes on Acreage for Sale in Camas

 

Market Report Waterfront 02.2020

We’re such fans of rural living, we made the move ourselves in 2015, happily leaving the suburbs behind. The ability to enjoy soothing views and elbow room for the soul has been especially comforting in 2020. Our veggie garden and fruit trees were lovingly tended all summer long, and it paid off with a bountiful harvest this fall. Anyone in need of zucchini? Talk about an overachiever.

The stars shine brighter in the country too. The farther you get away from light pollution, the clearer the constellations sparkle. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn have all been showing off all month in the night sky. Venus is best spotted when the planet shines its brightest – just before dawn. We’re hoping for clear skies on Halloween night as there is going to be a rare Blue Moon appearance. Apparently, it only happens once every 19 years.

Admittedly, living in a rural location in Camas requires a different mindset. You aren’t likely to be within five minutes to a nearby grocery store. In fact, it might be 30 minutes, or more, away. At least to a large store. Though many of our rural areas do have smaller markets which are closer. For example, we often shop at the Fern Prairie Market. Naturally, the price of convenience is higher, and we understand why.

Rural living brings out the independent streak in some people. They choose to live away from populated areas to enjoy the freedom to shoot guns and fireworks, ride motocross bikes, work on cars in the front yard, and basically live life their own way. Most are considerate, some are not. It’s something worth considering if you are sensitive to any of the aforementioned behavior.

If you do have concerns, we know neighborhoods where residents have acreage and privacy, but also have CC&Rs (Covenants, conditions, and restrictions) to ensure a quiet, rural lifestyle experience for all residents. Feel free to contact us today for more information.

Search here for Homes on acreage in Camas, Washington. Or, better yet, let us set up a custom search geared specifically to your wants and needs.

Filed under: Acreage | Camas | Rural Homes | View Homes

Here’s to More Fritluftsliv! Friluftsliv (Free-loofts-leev) is a Scandinavian concept which best translates to “fresh air life.” Basically, it’s enjoying life outdoors. In fact, in Norway kindergartens are, for the most part, held outdoors. As the children are told…

“Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær!” (There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.) 

Outdoors in Winter

Outdoor activity is so ingrained into their culture that many Scandinavian countries have laws allowing people to access all land for outdoor pleasure and recreation – both private and public.

The Pacific Northwest Offers More Fritluftsliv!

An article in the Seattle Times explores this Scandinavian philosophy as we approach the oft wet and dark, Pacific Northwest winter. This year especially, with health concerns about indoor gatherings, it makes sense to turn our attention to the outside.

For example, today,  we met with our daughter and two grandchildren at a public park. We wore masks, as did she. The children, both under four years of age, played and road their bikes around the trails as we walked. Large tree branches danced in the wind, and Finnegan chased dry leaves as they skittered across the pathways.

It’s not an ideal weather day, so we dressed warmly to cope with the gusty, and cold, east wind.  Fortunately, we have plenty of outdoor gear. Warm down jackets, vests, boots, hats, and of course, rain gear. We’ll have many more of these days in the coming months.

We think it’s important to get outdoors frequently, even if it’s a solitary walk with the dog. Exercise and being outside in nature comes with bonuses such as warding off depression and anxiety.  And this year, it represents a safer way to connect with folks we love.

Here’s to more fritluftsliv!  Let us know if you want more tips on how to enjoy nature at home.

Filed under: Nature | News | View Homes

Defends With Benefits – A Simple Solution With Bonus Rewards

This is a follow-up to last year’s “Lions and Tigers and Pears – Oh Deer!!” in which furtive wildlife trash our best-laid plans.

In Summary: we spend a lot of time every spring pruning, fertilizing and spraying the multiple fruit trees around our property. We even did a video tutorial on proper pruning and spraying – for “maximum fruit”. That term is in quotes because, in spite of diligent husbandry, all the fruit mysteriously disappeared overnight!

Fruit Trees Before and After
BEFORE AFTER

We discovered that our local deer family had a wonderful late-night snack at our expense. Every bit of fruit disappeared!

Rural Living Comes With Natural Consequences

You’d think we would know better. Living in a rural area has taught us to protect our gardens from marauding deer. In our defense, we did cover the fruit with heavy mesh bags – thinking that would protect them. Well, that plan didn’t work. We found bags scattered about the property – torn up with bite marks through the mesh. Adding Insult to Injury.

Protective Fruit Bags
“Best Laid Plans…”

At the time we tried being philosophical – “Well, at least it went to our local wildlife.” But I was determined not to let it happen next season.

Occam Was Right – A Simple Solution Is The Best

After doing some basic research, and rejecting the more drastic measures (e.g. smelly repellent or hunting), it looked like I needed a high fence. Unfortunately, the trees are next to huge, immoveable boulders, enclosing a much larger area. That is impractical and not cost-effective. So, after more research – and a suggestion from a fellow Active Rain member, Alexandra Siegel – I devise Plan B – Deer Netting.

Deer netting is used in vineyards throughout Northern California as an environmentally-friendly solution. So I fashion some make-shift head gear for each tree, and drape the nets over each tree.

Defends With Benefits

And Voila! It works! Sure, enough, no midnight raids this year. (Or, if they tried, they weren’t successful.) And – Surprise! There is a “catch” to using the net – it actually serves as a net. You can see in the photo that securing the net around the trunk creates a pouch that catches fruit. No more hitting the ground and having bugs and predators get them first.

So, putting an end to the midnight raid is a huge relief. No no rotting repellent, shooting deer, no oversized fence. Just a simple but elegant solution that defends with benefits. Looks like we’ll be using safety nets again next year.

If you’d like to hear more about the Trials and Tribulations (but Joyful Pleasure) of life in the country, give us a call.

Filed under: News

Lighthearted Lesson in Legendary Legumes

Beans are the Rodney Dangerfield of the vegetable world – they get no respect. From campfire songs (c’mon, admit you know it – “Beans, beans are good for your heart…”) to campfire scenes (Blazing Saddles anyone?), legumes have been the butt of juvenile humor for years. So unfairly maligned, yet they are the unsung rock stars of nutritional and culinary history.

Legendary Legumes

Legumes, or Fabaceae, have been a revered food in civilizations from Egyptian royalty to Ancient Greece, plus some 20,000 years of Eastern culture. Valued for their high nutritional value, they are also one of the earliest staples and cornerstones of human survival.  It is edible as both a fruit pod (e.g. green beans) and a dry seed (e.g. soup beans), which can be stored for extensive periods – for food or plant in the future.

My journey into the world of Phaseolus vulgaris started several years ago when I wrote about a dear family friend who sent us some Chaco Canyon bean seeds. Although we were not familiar with them, we grew them and they were absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, I did not save the seeds from those plants, and, sadly, our friend had passed away.

Legendary Legumes

Down an Enlightening Rabbit Hole

In honor of our friend, I searched all over for Chaco Canyon seeds. This led me to the ancient Anasazis, who lived in the bean’s namesake region of the American Southwest, where they cultivated it. Then to the 1500 Year Old Cave Bean – discovered in an ancient cave in New Mexico where native civilizations once flourished. Centuries later, both types continue to produce plants from passed-down seeds. Likewise, a black bean variety – Cherokee Trail of Tears – was carried by natives on the notorious forced relocations of the 1830s. The beans were among the survival foods that kept them alive, and replanted in their new location. Generations later, that seed is also available and viable.

Nobody Does It Better

In addition to its noble lineage, the legendary legume is exceptionally loaded with nutrition – protein, fiber and minerals. With no saturated fats, and help in lowering cholesterol, it is truly a “super food.” As an economical staple, it is fundamental to any diet – especially the popular non-meat, plant-based regimen.

However, here is where the illustrious legume parts company (so to speak) with some folks: oligosaccharides. This substance can cause, er, discomfort since it is a fiber that is hard to digest. Unless it is broken down before it reaches the digestive tract, this results in, um, the vapors. While not at all harmful, that reaction can be uncomfortable. And even though it is a perfectly normal (and universal) reaction, accidental results are neither (gasp) acknowledged, nor discussed in social settings (unless in the company of teenage boys.) (Pro Life Tip: get a dog and keep them close.)

The point here is that many people just refuse to eat beans for that reason.

Solutions To Greenhouse Gasses

Yet, there are two very simple solutions to this problem. One is an enzyme-based supplement (brand name Beano) that neutralizes the gas in the digestive system. It is readily available over the counter and works quite well for most people.

The other solution for dry beans is to brine them for at least 24 to 48 hours before cooking. Soaking in plain water helps, but adding a small amount of salt effectively addresses the gassy issue. As proven by America’s Test Kitchen (this cook’s favorite Crazy Science food lab), adding just three tablespoons to four quarts of water produces a much more user-friendly dish. And the salt rinses out – it doesn’t contribute much to sodium levels. (Bonus Pro Life Tip: use an Instant Pot to pressure cook them – it takes a lot less time and you don’t have to monitor.)

Rainbows of Diversity

One remarkable attribute of this exceptional Angiosperm is the diversity of colors, styles, and edibles they produce as seed beans. You are probably familiar with the more common navy, garbanzo, pinto, or kidney beans. But there are actually 18,000 species of plants in the legume family, presenting both an opportunity and a challenge for the home gardener – which ones to plant for the season.

In our garden, we like to mix up the styles – traditional snap beans – Blue Lake or Yellow Wax, with some of the ancient seed beans mentioned above. We also like to include different colors – Scarlet Runners, Pink Slippery Silks, Purple Blauhilde, multi-colored Dragon Tongues to name a few. All contribute to diversifying a verdant garden. The snap beans provide summer-long fresh vegetables for steaming or sautéing. The shell beans provide a fun after-summer activity of drying and shelling for use as soup beans or saving for next year. Here’s a sample of what we grew this year:

Legendary Legumes

So, the next time you consider beans for a meal, don’t be afraid of the outcome, just focus on flavor and nutrition. If you take the precautions mentioned, you’ll enjoy your super food, and not worry about (insert your favorite euphemism for the F word). If you’d like to learn more about legendary legumes, or Aerostatics, call Bernie. He’s a self-proclaimed expert on both subjects!

Filed under: News

Home Sales in Ridgefield. Market Report for September 2020.

Ridgefield is the second-fastest growing city in Washington state. Once known for sprawling farms and open space, new home construction is on the rise. This provides many with affordable housing, yet, environmental guidelines and land use regulation still make it a desirable place to live.

While close to many city amenities like shopping and restaurants, Ridgefield also offers many outdoor activities. For one, the National Wildlife Refuge, serves as a haven for wildlife and nature lovers. Literally, in Ridgefield’s back yard, you can hike in the refuge, or tour via kayak along a 21-mile water trail between downtown and the Columbia River. Or, if you prefer, you can experience the Reserve by an audio-guided drive-through.

Points of Interest

Point of Interest: The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a replica of the cedar homes used by indigenous Chinook population. Built by more than 100 volunteers over a period of two years, the Plankhouse based on findings from the archaeological site and other historical references. And one of our favorite events associated with the refuge is BirdFest and Bluegrass – a celebration of nature and music welcoming migratory birds back to their winter home.

Looking for a home in Ridgefield? It helps if you know the market:

Home Sales in Ridgefield – Market Report for Single Family Homes over $350,000:

Homes sales in Ridgefield

With Days on Market at only 21, homes in Ridgefield sell quickly! Construction of affordable homes offers many opportunities for anyone interested in a new home. Local amenities like shopping, services, and easy access to nature make it a very desirable place to live. So, it’s no wonder it has been discovered by many out-of staters who want to relocate to the Pacific Northwest.

If you are thinking of selling your home in Ridgefield, call us for a free pricing consultation.

If you are looking for a home in Ridgefield, start your search for ViewHomes™ of Clark County. 

Filed under: News

MultiGen Homes – The New Norm

A recent report by Pew Research Center shows that 52% of young adults now live with their parents – the highest percentage since the Great Depression. Clearly, these numbers reflect the devastating impact of COVID-19 and its effect on the economy.

While this is not the type of intentional multigen households we typically cover, it is still a significant development. One that could have repercussions for the U.S. demographics in general and housing markets in particular. Much will depend upon how much longer COVID-19 will be on the rise, and how long before the U.S. economy starts a rebound.

If you are thinking about forming a MultiGen household, we have personal experience and can help you plan. Plus, you should know what the market is doing. Here is a Market Report for Multigen Home Sales, September 2020.

MultiGen Homes – The New Norm

MultiGen Homes Market Report

While putting this Market Report together, we noted that, compared to a year ago, sales of multigen homes are up 53%, and Average Sale Price is up 16.7%.

We have lived in a multi-gen home for the past 15 years with my senior parents. It is not only gratifying, it provides great peace of mind knowing they are being cared for.

We are the only realtors in Clark County who specialize in multigen homes. If you would like to learn more about multigen homes and the market, contact us.

Filed under: Multigenerational | News