The wind, the rain, the mountains and rivers, the woodlands and meadows and all their inhabitants; we need these perhaps even more for our psyche than for our physical survival.–Thomas Berry
We’ve both felt a strong connection to nature for years. When my husband lived and worked in downtown Portland, he used to spend his free time on property he owned. Hiking the gentle hills, cutting firewood, and camping in his rustic cabin restored his soul. For me, the same applies. Growing up in Alaska helped foster an appreciation and kinship with the environment. It’s simply restorative. Or as some say, ” it’s ecotherapy.”
Ecotherapy is a different kind of mental health treatment. Basically, it’s about teaching mindfulness, recognizing our “connection to the rest of life.” Therapists often use nature as a metaphor for challenging events or things that come up in life. Roger S. Ulrich is a Texas A&M researcher who studied the healing aspects of nature views outside hospital rooms. Richard Louv is a San Diego journalist who came up with the term “nature deficit.” Both men believe our lack of a relationship to the environment can cause mental health problems in children and adults.
Proponents of ecotherapy say the practice in general is addressing our culture’s need to get back to nature. The more outside time, the more engagement with nature, and the more access to healthy food, the better off we are as indivudals, and a society. A British Study published in September 2015 showed a high exposure to natural environments ( green space and gardens) was associated with fewer mental disorders among older people.
We wholeheartedly believe that living in homes with Nature As Neighbors and Elbow Room for the Soul™ is life affirming and healing. Our clients do too. If you’d like to learn more, call us today at ViewHomes™ of Clark County – Harcourts USA, The Carl Group.
Illuminate history and the dark winter months of January and February with a Lantern Tour at Fort Vancouver. The lantern-lit journey is designed to give you and your family a glimpse into the past. Even after sundown, you’ll discover, Hudson’s Bay Company employees worked much more than eight hour days.
One of our favorite features of our Camas home in the country (besides the view) is the privacy. We don’t have neighbors looking over our back yard or parked out front. There is a lot of room between homes up here, and it provides a serene sense of calm.
On the other hand, it is nice to interact with our neighbors. If we’re out working in the yard and we see someone out in their field, we’ll sometimes stop by the fence line just to chat and catch up on what’s happening in their lives. It’s a nice break from work, and we’ve gotten to know some very nice people that way.
One neighbor in particular – Brian – has always been very friendly, but polite and reserved. We never worry about him dropping in on us unannounced or being intrusive. He’s our favorite “fence chatter” neighbor.
So it was surprising the other day when the door bell rang, and I opened to see Brian standing there. He had a wooden bowl in his hand – I didn’t recognize it as ours. So I asked if one of his dogs might have found it and brought it home to him. Instead, he handed me the bowl and said “Here, I just made this.” A solid applewood bowl, fresh off the lathe in his woodworking studio. “Hand polished with food-grade oil, so you can use it right away!” he added.
“Wow”, I said, not knowing what else to say. “This is beautiful.”
He shrugged, “I’m also turning some candlesticks out of maple blocks for the neighbors up above.” He quietly left, heading towards the fence.
“Thank you” I called to him, and he just waved. His neighborly act was complete – his handcrafted gift a pleasant surprise that made my day. They say “fences make good neighbors”, but I would add – “especially if you stop and chat awhile!”
With more homes becoming multi-generational households, we’re seeing more men taking on (or at least sharing) the task of cooking. Men in the kitchen is definitely a growing trend. Credit popular TV shoes such as Top Chef, Chopped, and the notoriety of famous male chefs who frequent The Food Network. Bobby Flay, Michael Chiarello, Robert Irvine, and Guy Fieri are portrayed as masculine and adventurous, and yes they happen to cook well too.
Regardless of the reason, more and more men are getting comfortable with a role in the kitchen. A consultant for the Food Republic, a website for male chefs, is celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson says, “The kitchen is the new garage. The cool gadgets and tools are now in the kitchen.”
A first for Butterball – Manning Up for their turkey hotline
This trend isn’t lost on one of the country’s biggest poultry producers. Butterball’s Turkey Hotline had been staffed with women operators for 32 years, before a change in 2013. The female operators offered advice on how to handle the often overwhelming tasks of turkey making during the holidays.
For the first time ever, in 2013, Butterball added male operators to their popular Turkey Talk Line. According to the company, when the talk line started in 1980, only 9% of the calls were from men. But now, it’s one in four.
Manning Up the Home Buying Process.
Those of us who sell homes should pay attention. With more families joining forces to live together, it would be outdated thinking to assuming a male buyer is only interested in the garage. The kitchen has become just as important to men and women. We recently helps a family buy a multi-gen home in Livingston Mountain. And what was the first remodeling job for the man of the household? A complete re-make of the kitchen – complete with moving walls, opening ceilings, and all new high-end appliances.
If chef Samuelsson is right, and the kitchen is the new garage for men, both builders and Realtors would be wise to take note. If manning up in the kitchen continues as a growing trend – it may well change the face of homes and home-buying preferences.
We have an energy-efficient wood stove in our home, but we don’t have enough seasoned wood on site for firewood. So we ordered our first load of alder and oak this week. In our area, you can buy firewood several ways: as logs to cut and split yourself (typically not seasoned), cut rounds to split, or pre-split pieces. Split wood is often delivered by dump truck, emptied into a pile in the yard. Stacking is an extra service, but we like the exercise, so we usually do it ourselves. It’s repetitive physical work, and over time amounts to a decent workout. But the bonus, once you settle into the rhythm of stacking, is the subliminal brain exercise and reflective meditation you experience. Making order of that huge mess can elevate the drudgery to an almost Zen moment of clarity.
When you stack firewood, you are basically solving a geometry problem. Trees start out round, are cut into lengths, then split into halves or quarters. So the challenge is: how do you fit those random-sized pieces back together again to form a nice, cohesive formation? Since a cord is a stack 4’ X 4’ X 8’, it helps to visualize building that polyhedron from the ground up. If you don’t have a wood shed, you can build the stack between metal fence posts.
Start with pieces that are semi-circular, placing the flat side down to form a base. Then, adding the next level, look for the best combination of angles that will result in as much of a flat surface as possible. It’s never really flat – but you can approximate as you add layers. Here’s where the mental acuity comes in – you will start to see patterns and combinations that work best and your brain quickly assesses each irregular piece to assign the right spot for it. Once you settle into that rhythm, your brain switches to auto drive, and you start to slip into the meditation of the moment – moving, measuring, solving, moving again. Over time, you can zone out all thoughts except to focus on the activity. I wasn’t even aware this was happening until I heard “Last piece of wood” and I emerged from my neurological nap!
It is a great way to spend a cool, crisp autumn day – exercising your body on the outside while exercising your brain and mind on the inside. Once you are done you have the satisfaction of a nice stack of wood and the refreshing comfort of a mindful meditation.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about ViewHomes of Clark County – Nature Not Neighbors. Harcourts The Carl Group
Lacamas Shores Neighborhood in Camas
This photo of Lacamas Shores neighborhood was taken a few years ago, but the view remains the same in Fall of 2015. You’ll find large, luxury homes here, and many with views of Nature As Neighbors. We know of several that match the criteria of having “Elbow Room for the Soul”, and they are currently for sale. If you’d like to enjoy this view year-round, contact us today. Or begin your search for ViewHomes of Camas here.
Live in the Moment!
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.
For example, on this particular Fall morning, the sun rose at the perfect time to showcase Mac swimming for a stick, filling the water with sparkling stars. Leave it to nature, right? It reminded us both to live in the moment and allow the magic to find us.
The Lacamas Heritage trail is well-loved by my family. My husband and I are frequent visitors along with our white Golden Retriever, McKinley. When my out-of-town children come to visit they too use the trail for walks with their children, or for running.
This weekend, we all noticed the signs of fall, including the sweet smell of damp leaves and the sounds of small creeks, streams, and waterfalls are once again filled with water. Mushrooms have popped up, seemingly overnight, in the moist earth beneath the heavy canopy of trees. Snowberry and Red Elderberry bushes dot the landscape with bright cheer.
Mud-puddles create obstacles, to run around, or run through. “Mac, aka McKinley,” always chooses the latter course. The path is spotted with fallen leaves and drops of water from overhead branches occasionally drip down in a surprising splash. Geese often honk in the sky above, circling to land on the glassy surface of the lake.
Going the Distance at Lacamas Heritage Trail
You can do a 7-mile roundtrip on the Lacamas Heritage Trail, or turn around at any spot along the way for a shorter outing. Distance markers help to keep tabs on your stamina. The path is mostly dirt and gravel, making it knee-friendly for those of us who prefer not to pound the pavement. It’s also wide enough for strollers, and you’ll frequently see young moms and dads out for a run while pushing junior.
You can park at either trailhead and there are restrooms for your convience. When the weather is good, you can expect to hunt for a place to park, especially at the NE Goodwin Road entrance. You will probably have better luck at the trailhead lot off of Lake Road. However, as the weather turns cool and rainy, you’ll normally have plenty of spots to park.
One of our Fall traditions is to run the trail on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a festive outing and makes it easier to say yes to that pumpkin pie or eggnog. Regardless of when or why, you should definitely plan to walk or run along the Lacamas Heritage Trail during the months of Autumn.
Here’s a reminder for Clark County pet owners, it’s nearly time for the annual Doggie Dive for the Southwest Washington Humane Society .
A Doggie Dive is not a low rent establishment where pets go to get down and dirty. Quite the opposite. The Doggie Dive gives your furry friend an afternoon of good clean fun – and for a great cause.
The outdoor pools at Lakeshore Athletic Club will go to the dogs on Saturday, September 27th, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM . The club is located at 2401 NW 94th Street in Vancouver. Your $10 donation goes directly to the Southwest Washington Humane Society.
If your dog’s a bit shy, Humane Society Volunteers will be on hand to help encourage all dogs to safely join in the fun. Little dogs and big dogs will be swimming in separate pools. Sorry, no human swimmers will be allowed in the pools the day of the event.
You’ll need to fill out a release waiver before Fido hits the water, and donations are accepted at the door. It sounds like a lot of fun for pets and their owners, but, we don’t think either of us would want to be the one cleaning out the pool filters at the end of the day!
As with most stories, ours is evolving. First of all, my sister and her husband have joined the group. All 3 couples with be sharing responsibilities ( and life ) on an acre (+) in Camas. We each have our own space, and each of us has territorial and pastoral views. It’s simply serene – and quiet! We were all craving views of Nature As Neighbors and Elbow Room for the Soul.™
If you’re looking for a home in the Camas area with room for frequent guests, or live-in family members, you’ve got some great choices. One of our favorite specialties is multi-generational housing solutions. As baby boomers who live on a multigenerational family estate, we are eager to share our experiences and knowledge with other families facing this situation. We’re pleased to report successful outcomes for numerous families in Clark County. Be sure to ask for a list of our references from happy clients.
These homes are all located in the highly sought-after Camas School District and this report specifically highlights the homes with separate guest houses, living quarters, or homes that could be easily modified to create at least two separate living quarters. As my father will tell you, “it’s important to have enough space and privacy that we could go an entire week without seeing one another, if that’s what we choose.” My father is a wise man. Blending generations and lifestyles is an art, but ensuring privacy and alone time can make the process much easier for all concerned.
This is a general overview of homes with guest houses or separate living spaces in Camas at this time. Currently there are 5 homes with guest houses, ADUs, or a separate space with living quarters, or suitable for separate living quarters with simple modifications. For example, homes with daylight basements are often easily modified. It’s especially cost effective if the area already has a bath, and or wet bar/kitchen area.
Here’s an example: this luxury home is 5,360 SqFt, listed for $1,200,000. It sits on 5 private acres, in the Little Washougal River Estates, and has a separate entrance for the second living quarters.
If you’d like to learn more about this type of home, and available inventory contact us to set up an appointment to evaluate your specific goals. We’d love to show you the advantages of living with Nature as Neighbors.
Earth Day founder, Denis Hayes was born in Wisconsin, but grew up the charming small town of Camas, Washington. His experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest helped instill his love of and appreciation for nature. His passion for protecting the environment came from witnessing the harm the local paper mill was doing, at that time, to the pristine environment, and its populace.
Camas sits at the mouth of the wild and scenic Columbia River Gorge. What a dichotomy to have the local employer spewing out toxins into the stunning landscape. To further confuse the matters, Hayes’ father, and most of the men during that time, worked at the mill. Most of the locals tolerated the sulphur dioxide and other chemicals thrown off by the paper mill and called it, “the smell of money.”
Fortunately, times have changed. New Environmental Protection Agency “cluster” rules require pulp and paper mills to significantly reduce air and water emissions. Steam scrubbing systems now strip pollutants from the pulping process and incinerates them. In addition, the scrubber eliminates 80 to 90 percent of the eggish smell notorious for mills.
Hayes, an environmental activist and solar power proponent, rose to visibility in 1970 as the coordinator of the first Earth Day. He also founded the Earth Day Network, and in 1999, Time Magazine honored him with the title “Hero of the Planet.
Since 1992, Denis Hayes has been president of The Bullit Foundation in Seattle, Washington. He remains a leading advocate for environmental and energy policies, not only in the Pacific Northwest, but around the world.
Earth Day is here once again. It has grown into one of the most widely celebrated secular holidays in the world. On April 22, 2015, let’s celebrate our planet, and pay homage to our local “Hero of the Planet.” Thank you Denis Hayes.
Camas is alive with the sound of frog’s courting. Yep, it’s frog breeding season in the Northwest again. Male frogs are puffing up their air sacs and singing as loud as they can to attract females. Any spot near a pond, runoff, lake or other water source will likely have some frog populations.
Bee’ing Part of the Solution.
Honey bee populations are disappearing at alarming rates around the world. While we can’t point the finger at just one reason for their mass die-off, there is strong evidence linking pesticides to the conditions causing Colony Collapse Disorder.
In recent years, chemicals called neonicotinoids have been linked to bee deaths, and Europe recently banned the use of the pesticides for two years. The EPA has yet to take action in the United States, and it’s overdue according to many environmentalists and bee-keepers.
One of our favorite grocery stores in the Camas-Fishers Landing area has installed bee hives on the roof-top of the store. New Seasons did the same thing at its Happy Valley, Oregon, store and may put hives in 9 other stores in the Portland area.
A Portland beekeeper recently moved 50,000 bees to the Fisher’s Landing market with hopes of the rooftop population growing to more than 120,000 by next spring. A New Season’s spokesman says it’s the grocery chain’s “Bee Part of the Solution,” campaign.
The Columbian newspaper has reported that New Seasons might start selling its own brand of honey. Another goal of the project is to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators and the risk to their survival from pesticides, parasites, and disease.
If honey bees disappear, so does a third of our food supply. Foods we’d likely miss too, including many fruits, veggies, and certain seeds and nuts. It may take scientists time to determine the exact cause of CCD, however neonics are a prime suspect that could be taken out of our backyards, fields, and orchards.
Be mindful of what you use at home in your gardens, even so-called organic pesticides can cause problems for critters. Roundup, thought to be safe to use for killing weeds, is also coming under more scrutiny. Try to find other methods for weed control. It might not be as effective, but in the long run, if it protects the environment, it’s worth it.
If you too are concerned about the link between pesticides and honey bees, let the EPA know. Tell them not to wait until 2018 to ban bee-killing pesticides. And the next time you visit New Seasons, tell them thank you for BEEing Part of the Solution.
Thanks to the “The Poetry Post Man,” and his friendship with the sellers of a home in Washougal, Washington, my buyers are getting the only house in the county with a Poetry Post! What a delightful surprise when we stumbled upon a lovely post while exploring the back yard during the inspection.
Mrs. Buyer dabbles in poetry and is a huge fan, therefore, she was both intrigued and charmed when she discovered this poem inside of a plastic box attached to the post – A History of Weather by Billy Collins.We both hoped the post and the poem came as result of these sellers as it indicates similar appreciation.
Rains in the spring bring benefits to those of us who live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lush green forests filled with evergreen trees and ferns, vibrant wildflowers, and pristine water-ways. Naturally, all of this outdoor beauty gives brings us all kinds of recreation to enjoy.
Most REALTORS®, including this one, know that mature landscaping adds value to a home. One of the best investments you can make is in professional landscaping. Well chosen plants, shrubs, and trees can increase the value of your home, and get it sold faster. Landscaping takes about 5 -7 years to mature, so it’s one of the first steps to consider when you move into a new home.
A Clemson University study found that homeowners can expect 100% return on the money they put into landscaping. However, be mindful of what grows well in your zone. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional landscaper. He (or she) can provide a great blueprint for design, even if you decide to do a majority of the work on your own.
Surveys done in 2007 by the University of Washington and the National Gardening Society suggest the well-landscaped yards with mature trees and shrubs fetch higher prices and sell more quickly than houses with little or no landscaping. Beautiful, mature trees often provide the ultimate in curb appeal.
Trees are also beneficial to you, and your community. They produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, help prevent erosion and run-off, and can save you money in utility costs. In addition, they give us privacy and are known stress reducers. Trees also provide a haven for a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Earth Day is April 22nd and National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April. Perhaps, this year, to celebrate one, or both events, you’ll consider adding a tree to your landscape. As you’ll see in the following infographic – there are many benefits to the power of trees.