“Nature is fuel for the soul. Often, when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” – Dr. Richard Ryan, Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester.
Living in a home with Nature As Neighbors gives you “elbow room for the soul,” and raises your joy level. There are studies backing up what we believe too. A connection to nature is life affirming and renewing. Recently. while on a flight to Denver for our granddaughter’s first birthday, we noticed an article in the onboard magazine. Rather than restate each point it made about managing stress, here’s a link. We weren’t surprised to read that getting outdoors – and avoiding pavement – is good for what ails you.
In fact, a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that being outdoors, specifically in nature, can give us more energy and even increase our body’s ability to ward off disease. More than 10 years ago, the term “nature deficit disorder” was coined. Since then, some research indicates that many of our mental health disorders lies in our increased urbanization. However, until recently, there was little conclusive evidence.
Matthew P White, a social psychologist, and his colleges decided to find a credible link. They studied 10,000 individuals to explore the relation between green space and well-being. The report by the American Chemical Society, and funded, in part, from the Economic and Social Research Council, did conclude that people who moved to greener areas were happier during all three years that their health was tracked after relocating.
Our real estate niche, ViewHomes of Clark County with ” Nature As Neighbors “™ grew out of our love of nature and beautiful surroundings. We’ve always loved the outdoors and appreciated the environment, but after listening to the many stories from our clients who love having ‘elbow room for the soul,” we knew there was something big about the lifestyle. Therefore, we recently made the move and now live in our own ViewHome with Nature As Neighbors. Oh joy, oh joy.
Wide tree-lined streets give South Cliff, DuBois Park and Braewood neighborhoods classic charm and add to the livability. Yet residents are minutes to shopping, dining, and other services, including a large hospital.
There are 5 easy things you can do for Earth Day. While it may seem that climate change and saving the planet are overwhelming, you can contribute in a small but meaningful way.
The theme this year is “Protecting our Species.” This means protecting humans, too, but it starts with examining our own behavior. Nature as Neighbors has long been a supporter of protecting the environment and creatures that are affected by us.
A crucial component of natural plant and tree cultivation is pollination – fertilization spread by bees, butterflies, even hummingbirds. Today, we are finding this is more important than ever, so we are sending out seed packets to help in this cause. Let us know if you’d like a free sample.
A few years back, we set up a “Bee and Bee” and immediately started seeing the mason bee pollinators emerge. Even after harsh winters, they return every spring. And they are here again! Bees are true survivors when they have our support.
There are many variations of honey and bumblebees out there to see. Our biggest concern is they may be threatened due to overuse of pesticides and destruction of their natural habitat.
Also, check out this Illustrated Guide To a Pollinator-Friendly Garden by another bee-friendly author Chris McLaughlin.
Also, check out this article about How the Internet is Helping to Save the Bees.
If you’d like to learn more about our Save The Bees campaign, give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re doing to help preserve our little earth-friendly friends.
Multi-generational living continues to grow in popularity. It’s no wonder, the lifestyle gives us not only practical benefits, but often provides peace-of-mind. We know, first-hand, the joy of sharing our lives and home with those we love.
For nearly ten years, my husband and I lived in attached townhomes with my parents next door. It worked well, but with the bedrooms upstairs we knew it was time to get my parents into a one-level home to lessen the risk of falls.
In addition, my father suffers from dementia. His increasing need for support ( and my mother’s need for emotional support ) led us to an even bigger family commitment. My sister and I decided to look for a property suitable for all of us. ( We have great husbands.)
Therefore, last Fall, we purchased a ViewHome in Camas with enough room for my sister and her husband, my husband and me, and our parents. Since we were all craving “Nature As Neighbors,” we left the suburbs to live in a rural location on acreage.
To say this lifestyle has brought us closer, and provided more joy in life, is an understatement. It nearly brings me to tears to write about this amazing adventure. There isn’t a day that goes without marveling at how truly fortunate we are to be together.
Our connection to nature, and plenty of “elbow room for the soul,” is critical. If you’d like to learn more about multi-generational living, and the housing options for ViewHomes of Clark County, we’d love to hear from you.
Multi-generational Home of the Week:
This week’s featured property is a luxury home located on five-plus acres in beautiful Gee Creek Estates in Ridgefield. This gated neighborhood gives you plenty of “elbow room for the soul,”™ but is just minutes from Interstate-5. If you love to entertain, this home might be perfect. It has three kitchens and a gorgeous covered patio for year-round outdoor gatherings.
Details about this home.
Note; If this link no longer works, it’s possible this home has sold. Feel free to search through the ViewHomes of Clark County and call us to determine if a property might be easily modified for multi-generational living.
While Mount Hood is physically located across the Columbia River in Oregon, its majestic peaks are the backdrop for many ViewHomes of Clark County. The eroding glaciers that formed the Columbia Gorge left craggy peaks and promontories overlooking the entire region. We are fortunate that, with so many hills, plateaus and highlands, Mount Hood will suddenly grace us with its appearance in the background. Sometimes it’s bright and shiny, showing its jagged ridges and glistening snow-covered peaks. Sometimes it’s more subtle with soft watercolors and hazy shadows that reflect the early morning sky – just as it was this early morning from a hillside in Camas, WA.
Multiple crews will be on the streets in bucket trucks as they replace lights. The City of Camas reminds all of us to be courteous and slow down as you move around vehicles.
We recently wrote about Rufous Hummingbirds our region. We’ve always known the Anna Hummingbirds winter over in the Pacific Northwest, but we were a bit surprised to learn some Rufous do too. My husband thinks a female Rufous may have visited our feeder this week, I suspect it’s a female Anna’s hummingbird. Both are more drab in color than the males, but Anna’s have a sheen of green feathers along their sides, while the Rufous have a subtle red shading. Anna’s are a bit larger than the Rufous too. They also have a long, straight and slender bill.
Perhaps, we’ll spot a Rufous soon. We know for certain they’ll be visiting later this Spring. In the meantime, what do you think – Anna’s or Rufous?
We are a multi-generational family of three couples – our parents, my sister and husband, and ourselves. Each individual has his or her own preferences in dining. My parents are a more traditional meat-and-potatoes style, but Mom often likes healthy options as well. My sister and brother-in-law are similar to us, more experimental and willing to try new and unusual cuisine.
We were a little apprehensive about suggesting Nuestra Mesa for our weekly family dinner outing. Our parents idea of Mexican food leans more towards Americanized dishes where size matters – “big is better”. My husband and I had been to Nuestra Mesa several times and appreciated that they emphasized handmade fresh ingredients, and rich, unique flavors over portion size. We hoped the food would appeal to everyone.
We arrived on a Friday night and, although busy, were promptly seated and greeted by a friendly waiter. He was polite and helpful without that over-the-top enthusiasm you sometimes get at chain restaurants. He explained the menu items, made some recommendations, then promptly delivered our drink orders. Their margaritas are impressive – maybe the best in town!
We were surprised when our Dad ordered the Queso Fundido, an appetizer of melted cheese, black beans, salsa rojoa, & cilantro. He opted for the warm corn tortillas. With a bowl of corn chowder with roasted green chiles, he had a full meal. Even more surprising, mother liked it, too. Pretty soon we all had a taste and it was definitely the favorite at the table – especially the cheesy crust that formed on the bottom of the cast iron pan. Each of us had very satisfying and flavorful entrees: enchiladas, quesadillas, and a fine assortment of tacos. But we all agreed the Queso Fundido was the hit dish- we would order more next time, so we can all share, and let poor Dad have more.
The best part of the evening was that everyone commented on how satisfying the meal was without having huge portions. The verdict fresh flavorful dishes beat our portion size any day, especially the unique hand-crafted flavors at Nuestra Mesa.
We enjoy visiting the Clark County community known as Felida. Its name has an interesting story too. When the Post Office was established in 1890, the name Powley was submitted to honor an area resident. The name was denied, but the Post Office suggested instead, “Polly.” The postmaster thought the name sounded like a parrot and remarked, “they might as well name the post office after my cat.” Therefore, he submitted “Thomas,” the cat’s name, as well as, “Tomcat, and “Felidae,” Latin for big cats. Felida was approved!
Felida, long known for its pastoral settings, is changing because many of the area’s farms were purchased by developers in recent years. Therefore, farmlands have been replaced with large subdivisions. Homes on larger parcels are generally resale, as most builders tend to minimize lof size in new construction projects to increase their bottom line. However, there are some new custom homes being built on larger lots in Felida. For example, in Ashley Ridge there are some new homes on one-half to one-third acre lots sited with Greenbelt backyard views. Many of the homes we enjoy in the area have views of Vancouver Lake, Salmon Creek, or peaceful territorial vistas.
Points of Interest: You can access the Salmon Creek Greenway Trail from the Felida bridge at NW 36th Avenue. The trail offers a scenic natural getaway in northern Vancouver. Paved, tree-lined trails wind along the creek and through wetlands for 3.88 miles and give runners, walkers, and bikers sightings of deer, rabbits, raccoons, beavers and many kinds of birds.
ViewHomes Real Estate Market: There are currently 13 Active ViewHomes of Felida. They range in price from $1.595 million to the upper $500’s. The list price is $210 a square foot, and the sold price is about $187 a square foot. In the last month, the Median Sold price is $604,500 and the DOM (days on market), is 126 days, but that varies. For example, one property was under contract in 2 days. It’s a great time to sell your ViewHome of Felida.
Yesterday, we put up the first hummingbird feeder for our new home in the country. We know they are all over this area during spring and summer, but we were hopeful we could attract some to our feeder during this last part of winter. After all, spring is less than a month away, so our expectations are pretty high!
We did some research on our favorite bird web site, Journey North and confirmed the rufous hummingbird is very common in the Pacific Northwest from California to Southeastern Alaska – nesting farther north than any other hummingbird. There are sightings of the rufous (named for its reddish brown color) during winter months, but not its cousin, the ruby-throated hummingbird, which migrates to Central America during the winter. A quick glance at the winter sightings maps shows a distinct difference in their habits.
Apparently, although most rufous migrate south to Mexico and Central America, some are able to winter-over in this area. They accomplish this by going into a state of torpor or dormancy, where their metabolic rate drops substantially to preserve energy. Hard to imagine a hummingbird sitting still, but that’s what keeps them alive. It also explains why you can spot them at feeders during the winter – it helps build up their food reserve when natural sources are not available.
So, with nature as our neighbor, our odds are pretty good we will see the rufous at our feeder soon. When we do, we’ll report our sighting on the Journey North web site and post pictures here. Check back in a few weeks to see how we did…
Sundays are family day at our Multigenerational family estate. My husband and me, my sister and her husband, and our parents live together. Every other Sunday, the two younger couples host the family dinner for all six of us. The rest of the week, we trade days to cook for our parents. Friday, we choose a restaurant to explore. Sometimes we venture across the bridge to Portland, or stick close to home. Recently, we suggested a Camas restaurant and all agreed Neustra Mesa earned the right as one of our family’s local favorites.
We each have our space and plenty of “elbow room for the soul,” inside our homes, and out. It’s a lifestyle we’re seeing more and more of in our Nature As Neighbors Real Estate business. ViewHomes of Clark County™ features homes on acreage with views of nature, and plenty of room for privacy. Over the past several years, we really enjoyed helping our clients sell, or purchase, their own ViewHomes. One day, we realized our souls too were craving a different lifestyle. We enthusiastically said goodbye to our suburban neighborhoods, and have adapted quickly to our rural lifestyle.
For example, we often share the tasks of maintaining the homes and our acre-plus grounds. Recently, we enjoyed an afternoon of clearing brush and pulling out blackberry brambles. We’ve discovered chores are a lot more fun when you do them with people you love being around. My sister has a great sense of humor and her comedic routine makes the most mundane project feel like a party.
If you’re considering a multi-generational lifestyle, we’d be happy to share what we’ve learned. Plus, we frequently sift through the ViewHomes of Clark County inventory and identify those properties with current, or potential, multiple living spaces. Each Sunday, in honor of this increasingly popular lifestyle, we feature a “pick of the week.”
This week, we chose a mid-century 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with two separate, large guest cottages. It sits on nearly seven and half acres in Washougal and features views of the valley and the Columbia River. The buyer’s financing failed after a two month effort, now another family has a chance to scoop this one up. Priced at $649,900 we don’t expect it to last long. ( Update – it’s now Pending, don’t worry we have others we’d be happy to show you.)
Orchards Feed Mill is a great resource for area Farmers and those who appreciate living a rural lifestyle.
If you live in a ViewHome in our area, chances are you have a well. We have a well on our rural property located north of Camas. It’s 320 feet deep and provides plenty of water for all of us. Prior to buying, we carefully did our research to determine the gallons per minute produced, and had the water tested.
We specialize in ViewHomes of Clark County™ and our clients share our appreciation for Nature As Neighbors. A private retreat on acreage provides a serene and calm environment, and there’s room to garden, play with kids or grand kids, and enjoy frequent visits from wildlife. Its “elbow room for the soul.”™ One of our clients was thrilled to find the perfect retreat with ever-changing views of the Wildlife Refuge.
Pendleton Woolen Mills – Still Weaving Woolen Fabrics in Washougal
We’re huge fans of Pendleton Woolen Mills.The colors and designs of their fabrics speak to our love of nature and the Northwest lifestyle. We own three of their legendary blankets. One of our favorites, a teepee design with evergreen trees, was given to us by a Great Aunt. It’s actually classified as an antique and dates pre-1942. You wouldn’t know it, the colors are vibrant and the blanket shows few signs of wear.
Their products are a major part of our lifestyle and Western Heritage in the Pacific Northwest. If you’ve ever owned a Pendleton blanket, sweater, or classic wool shirt, it’s a connection to a long history which started in the late 1800’s. In 1910, the company established itself as a purveyor of fine products with a socially responsible mission statement. Today, the company continues that philosophy by choosing many “green” business practices.
For example, the company recently developed “Eco-wise Wool.” From the sheep to the shelf, It passes strict standards of sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship. Not only is the fabric created to leave the lightest impact on the earth, it is richly colored and delightful to touch. The best part, a special treatment lets it get softer every time you machine wash and dry it – and the colors remain true wash after wash.
Pendleton has its company headquarters in Portland, Oregon. The original plants in Pendleton, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, are among the few woolen mills still in operation in the United States today. By the way, Pendleton woolen fabrics and blankets are still woven at the two aforementioned mills. The Washougal Mill is open daily and free tours are available on Monday through Friday – you’re asked to call ahead @ 360-835-1118.
ViewHomes of Clark County™ are in Demand!
Don’t wait, it’s time to sell. The latest market action shows our real estate sales are brisk, and prices are still inching upward. We have limited inventory too, that means shorter marketing times, and generally speaking, a solid sales price. Homes in good condition, and priced fairly, are selling in about 60 days.
If you have a ViewHome on acreage with “Nature As Neighbors, you’ll be pleased to know it’s the type of property that’s appealing to more and more buyers. We completely understand the trend and we’re part of it too! Not long ago, we gave up our suburban neighborhood for a home that gives us “elbow room for the soul.”™
According to a retirement study by Merrill Lynch, an increasing number of Baby Boomers are upsizing to homes with enough space for other family members to visit, or even live with them. Most also want a yard, large enough for gardening and other outdoor pursuits. They’ve discovered having views of nature, soothes the soul.
Perhaps you’re ready for another adventure, if so, we’d love to help you sell your ViewHome. We completely understand its value. Plus, we’re confident that we are the only real estate team in the county with a singular-focused marketing plan to net the “right” buyers. After all, ViewHomes are all we sell- homes on acreage, family estates, and multigenerational lifestyles.
Call us today, we’d love to sit down and discuss your goals. If it’s time for a move, we’ll make sure the sale of your current home is handled in a manner that alleviates concerns or stress. Nature As Neighbors is our passion, let’s put it to work for you.
Living with Nature as Neighbors, you regularly see and hear wildlife right outside your window. We recently heard frogs and worried that it might be too early for them. (Turns out, they’re just fine.) The next day, we saw robins in the yard and wondered the same thing.
So we did some research to find out how early robins are sighted in the U.S. We were amazed and delighted to find a host of public and private web sites dedicated to monitoring everything from Aphids to Zebra mussels. Here, social media and public participation come together to help nature. With data from sightings, scientists and governmental agencies can monitor changes in wildlife population and habitat, which typically indicate environmental changes. These findings help promote further research to design protective measures or changes in human behavior where necessary.
Our favorite web sites include All About Birds and Journey North, which promotes “citizen science” by encouraging the public to report nature’s indicators: whooping cranes, monarch butterflies, even tulip blossoms from their test garden. This is where we learned that over 157,000 robins have already been sighted since January 1st – apparently our nature neighbors weren’t early at all.
We also found a flock of Twitter handles dedicated to tracking any number of migratory and local birds. A quick search will lead you to #birds, #birding, #birdwatching, plus a herd of other #wildlife designations. You are limited by time and imagination only!
So, next time you spot a robin, hear a great horned owl, or notice the first sprout of Crocus – report it on your favorite web site, or tweet it. Citizen participation in Nature as Neighbors is educational, informative, and can actually help our environment.
Visit us at Nature As Neighbors™ and explore the homes we’ve carefully screened to match the type of ViewHome™ we know you’re looking for in Clark County. Our blog, News and Views, is updated frequently with articles and videos highlighting rural lifestyles, nature, news, views, events and people in Clark County.
Today is February 7, 2016 and Super Bowl 50. We’ll be watching the big game at our multi-generational estate with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and other visiting family members and friends. My brother-in-law spent many years in Fort Collins and is a true fan of the Denver Broncos. He also has the largest television set, one the newer curved screen styles, so we’ll be enjoying the festivities on their level of the main home this afternoon.
My husband is making his baked wings recipe, he claims they’re healthier. My parents can’t handle much spice, therefore, we’ll have a mild version and a spicy version. The weather is going to be wonderful in our neck of the woods too. Therefore, we’ll likely get out for a while this morning and do some yard work. We’ve discovered it’s a lot more fun to take care of our acreage and home maintenance when you share the workload with people you enjoy ( and love!).
Our real estate business, ViewHomes of Clark County™ grew from our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. We specialize in family estates, multi-generational living, and homes with large lots or acreage. Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbow room for the soul.”™ After selling a number of these properties over the last several years, we recently migrated from a more urban setting to discover first-hand, the joy of having Nature As Neighbors.™
In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, and Sunday’s in general, as it’s the one day we make sure to share a meal as a family, we’ll kick off a weekly series called “Sunday’s Pick.” We’ll feature one of our multi-generational ViewHomes of Clark County.Today’s pick is a recently listed property in Hockinson. While not listed as “dual living,” an omission we see quite often in our MLS, the home has the potential for separate living space in a huge bonus area with its own bath and wet-bar.
The nearly 4 thousand sq ft home sits on 2.5 acres with a creek and mountain view. We both appreciate the 6-burner gas stove in the kitchen, and avid golfers would love the putting green in the back yard. Anyone who craves Nature As Neighbors and realizes that privacy is the ultimate luxury would be happy calling this property “home”
Our thoughts are turning to gardening again. It’s nearly time to start prepping the beds for early Spring planting. However, our ViewHome™ in Camas is also surrounded by deer. We’re not complaining, when you choose ” Nature As Neighbors ” it requires thought and creativity to coexist in harmony with area wildlife.
One of our favorite Downtown Camas events involves an evening filled with chocolate (and who doesn’t love chocolate?) This First Friday, Feb 5th from 5 to 8 pm “A Chocolate Affair to Remember” features shops throughout downtown serving or selling chocolate. As a bonus, to celebrate the final season of Downton Abbey, participants are encouraged to dress in vintage costumes, which will qualify them for a gift basket drawing – containing vintage treasures donated by Camas Antiques.
It’s a perfect pre-Valentine theme to start thinking about and shopping for unique gifts for that special someone. Among the evening’s activities, participants will be able to:
There will be many more sweet surprises if you head down to “A Chocolate Affair to Remember” in downtown Camas tomorrow night, Feb 5th from 5 to 8 pm.
If you’d like to hear more about living in the region with small town charm and big city amenities, call us today.
We enjoying selling ViewHomes on Livingston Mountain. We are almost sure to see some wildlife in this ” Nature As Neighbors,” neighborhood. Recently, while attending one of our buyers’ Open House, we saw a family of five deer on Livingston Mountain Road, and once inside the neighborhood, we saw several more on our way to their house.
The Summit is surrounded by towering pines, alders, and wildlife. On this particular late winter afternoon, the trees sparkled from a recent rain. We could see the sun setting on the horizon through a hazy cloud cover and the effect was ethereal.
Area trails are marked for hiking and horseback riding. The people who live at the Summit claim to have more days of the year with sunshine thanks to the higher elevation. If you love snow, this Camas neighborhood is generally one of the first to get a dusting of the white stuff, again due to the elevation. If you dream of a white Christmas, this area would be a good fit. ( Although, we can’t guarantee it!)
The Summit at Autumn Hills is a lovely gated community of 95 ViewHome sites located on Livingston Mountain. All sites have a minimum of five acres each. Children who live in the neighborhood attend top-rated Camas schools.
There are trails throughout the neighborhood and it is managed by a Home Owners Association with CCR’s ( Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions). Be advised, they also have an Architectural Controls and Guidelines committee, also managed by the HOA.
Many of the homes have stunning views of the valley, mountains, and Portland city lights. The Summit is about 12 minutes from shopping and services and only about 22 miles to Portland International Airport.
There are several homes currently for sale on Livingston Mountain. If you’d like to see these gorgeous ViewHomes of Clark County with Nature As Neighbors™, call us today. We think you’ll enjoy having “elbow room for the soul.”™
“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Living in a rural area with clear skies offers us amazing sunrises, sunsets, and star-gazing. For the next month, an added bonus will be an alignment of five planets not seen for over a decade. Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye for a window of time from 6:30 to 7:15 am in the Southern sky. Although binoculars can help, they’re not necessary. As Washington State University astronomer Guy Worthey was recently quoted: “These were the five planets known to the ancients.”
Although this alignment occurs again this summer, Mercury and Venus will be lower in the horizon, making them harder to spot. So take a moment in the morning over the next few weeks and observe a spectacle that has been around since the beginning of time. Experience the same wonder as the ancients and take a moment to dream.
The Pacific tree frogs are back with their chirpy serenades. A cacophony of love sonnets, warning shouts, and weather reports. Nature’s harmonic chorus is a welcome sound in the early morning dawn.
Some days we all find ourselves scurrying here and there. We don’t always take time to notice what nature is trying to offer. Recently, we were a bit early for a listing appointment near Dougan Falls. We decided to take the time to look and listen to the winter sounds.
It’s okay to get the sillies.
Our white Golden Retriever, McKinley, aka Mac, is a delightful part of our family. He is the essence of pure love and joy. You’ll find him tagging along on some of our video adventures in Clark County, and beyond.
On a trip to Bend, Oregon, it didn’t take much snow for Mac to get silly. In fact, there was very little snow on the ground. We had to keep him on a leash per this particular park rules, but he didn’t seem to mind that either. We wondered if he thought he was making snow angels. Regardless, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously. It’s good to get the sillies now and again.
Hoos Your Neighbor?
When you live with nature as neighbors, you will often hear sounds of the wild – sometimes in the middle of the night. The other night, I was awakened by a great horned owl, with its distinctive haunting “Hoo-Hoo-Hoo Hoo-Hoo”. It might be a bit unsettling, but they are just calling out for a mate, or staking their territory. Here’s an audio sample, with one owl calling, and another responding:
In spite of the scary stereotype in horror movie backgrounds, they are neither dangerous nor threatening – unless you are a small animal wandering around in the dark!
There are several owls species throughout the Pacific Northwest, the most prominent being the great horned – “horns” being the two tufts sticking out of its head. To anyone who loves nature, it should be reassuring to hear them roosting in the area. Owls are part of the natural cycle – they are predators of mice and rodents, which helps keep that population down. They also are not known to carry or transmit any diseases threatening to humans or domestic animals. But they are known to prey on smaller domestic animals and birds that are not housed or enclosed. Owls are protected under federal and state wildlife laws, which require a license to handle them.
If you want to learn more about ViewHomes of Clark County and Nature As Neighbors, contact us at Harcourts USA -The Carl Group. You can begin your search here.
(Part 1 of a 2-Part Article)
Once you decide to buy a home in the country, you will be amazed at the number of tools you need to keep the place well-maintained. (We’re assuming, like us, you prefer to do a lot of the work yourself – otherwise your landscape crew already has a good handle on this information.) Besides the ubiquitous garden tractor seen on many properties, another invaluable tool is a chainsaw. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I have always owned a chainsaws – I’ve had several over the years for different properties and uses.
If you heat with wood, or just live in an area with lots of trees, you will quickly appreciate the variety of jobs you can accomplish with a good chainsaw. Besides cutting firewood, they also come in handy for salvaging fallen trees, pruning dead limbs, or eliminating intrusive brush.
Buying one can be a daunting task for a first-timer because there are many decisions and options to consider. But with a little research, you can find the right tool for the job. We strongly encourage you to go to your local power tool shop or vendor. You might get a slightly better price at a big-box store, but the experience, guidance, and maintenance you will receive from a small town shop are invaluable. Plus, you can learn a lot just by talking to the proprietor and asking questions. I always stop by Camas Power Equipment for service and to buy supplies.
Chainsaws come in two basic fuel-types: electric and gas.
Unless you are trimming small branches in the immediate vicinity of the house, you won’t have as much use for the plug-in variety. There are battery-operated models, but those will have limited power and can cost as much as a gas-powered. An electric saw might be a good backup option when you want to cut smaller items. The advantages of a gas-powered saw include portability, power, speed and efficiency of cutting. The disadvantages include weight, maintenance, and safety – issues you can deal with as you become more proficient.
More… (Continue to Part 2)
For more information about rural living and ViewHomes of Clark County and family estates, contact us at Harcourts The Carl Group.
Most homes in the country or on acreage are accessed over a gravel road. Usually it’s a private road or driveway that leads back from the main road, and gravel is an affordable alternative to paving, which can be three times as expensive. The county typically does not maintain these roads, so it’s the responsibility of the homeowners.
Obviously, getting in and out is an important issue – especially during winter months when weather can be hard on a road. Keeping a minimum amount of gravel on the surface can help, but it won’t do any good unless you observe the common adage about proper road maintenance: “drainage, drainage, drainage.” Water and gravity are natural forces that must be addressed in road design and maintenance. Even paved roads need to follow basic design rules – unless water is drained off properly, it will erode the surface. Plus, it’s a serious environmental issue – road erosion can create sediment and pollution issues for local streams and rivers.
The Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies (yes, there really is such a thing at Pennsylvania State University!) states that most roads should have a “crown” – a center that is higher than the sides. This ensures the water will drain to either side – then properly dispersed either into a ditch or broad shoulder. Crowns should be at least 1/2 inch high for every foot of width. E.g., a 20-foot wide road, (10 feet on either side) should have a 5 inch crown from side to center. The exception might be roads on a slope – they often drain better if allowed to flow to one side. The key is to observe the natural draining patterns of the landscape and work with nature to accommodate water flow.
(Chain Saws – Continued from Part 1)
For gas-powered models, the first consideration is the length of bar and size of the engine – both determined by the types of cutting you will do. Most engine models will be rated for a range of bar sizes, so there are several variables you can work with. There are many bar/engine charts available on the internet, but here’s a quick summary: Anything over 20” is considered professional grade.
Most homeowners will be happy with a bar that is 16” to 18” long, depending on the average size of tree or limb you expect to cut. That also gives you the range of engine sizes you will need, considering the load on the engine and level of activity.
The final step is to pick up and try out a few models to get the feel for its weight, handle location, safety features, etc. You also need to consider if someone else with less strength and mobility will be using it – you may need to down-size to accommodate all users. This is where your local power tool shop will help you the most.
There are many brands of chainsaws, but nowadays, some of the brands like Poulson, Husqueverna,and McCullough are made interchangeably by the same manufacturers – much like kitchen appliances. So always ask about the manufacturer and their reputation. Stihl is one company that designs and manufactures its own products and has always been a leader in professional equipment. They also make excellent small farm and homeowner grade tools, which I swear by for performance and long-term durability. You will probably pay a higher price for the Stihl brand, so it’s important to consider how much you will actually use your chainsaw and if you can justify the premium.
Whatever your choice, always closely observe basic safety guidelines, especially being mindful of the potential for kickback – hold and cut to your side as much as possible, and never cut over your head.
For more information about rural living and ViewHomes of Clark County and family estates, contact us at Harcourts The Carl Group.