A Home in the Country

28 May

Family Profiles: The Quilcene Home

Who lives in your home?
John, our daughter Mesa and me
Why did you choose to live in the country?

The air is clean, being close to so many trees makes me feel happy and healthy. I feels healthy to be away from the city, closer to fresh food. I wanted to try homesteading and there was a community here of other people my age doing the same thing.
We enjoy the small town friendliness that people often convey. We wanted to have enough space to grow our own food, have clean dirt for that, too. Maybe have some animals.

Do those reasons change now that you have a child?

Yes and no. We have realized how important it is to have other people in our child’s life besides ourselves. She is so much happier if we are in the presence of other people and being in the country somewhat isolated from neighbors and friends, we would love to live closer to our friends and/or neighbors but still be in a small town. The small town and country atmosphere are still very important. As you probably know having children lessens your social life so that we don’t get to see people as much since we have to drive a ways to get out, therefore a closer residential set-up would be great. Five minute radius instead of 30 min radius.

How do you think this place will benefit your family?

An appreciation for nature will be a given. Playing in the woods, on the beach, eating food from the garden, eating food from the ocean. Also I have so many fond memories of playing in the woods and on the beach as a child, I can only hope that Mesa will have the same. I hope it will allow us to be healthier.

How have you decorated your home? Do you have a specific style or idea on how you decorated your home?

I want my house to represent as much of nature as possible. If I lived in a warmer climate I’d live right outside in a hammock or something. But alas, this is the Pacific Northwest. We have used a lot of wood inside, I wish we used even more. I love wood and it represents the area that we live in. Wood is a huge natural resource here. We have some stone and river rock that we gathered for the floor in the bathroom. I wish we had earthen floors…we have wood floors. I love the bohemian style and ethnic styles, representations of cultures who live in tune with nature, those who live in the moment, freedom seekers. Color is a must. Over-the-top beauty and craftsmanship are our muses.

How do you spend your free time without kids?

Ha! What free time? John spends his time “letting loose” with his friends and producing music on his computer. Friends and socializing are super important to him and often times we as a family just don’t get into enough of these situations so he is often out on his own. I like to work in my garden, take yoga classes (there is one class close by) and play my fiddle. Really I don’t get much time for anything else. We both love to read after Mesa is in bed.

What values does your family want to instill/practice?

Music. We want to embrace musical talent and have our daughter grow up in a house and community of musicians. Music and dance have made John and I happy individually and we would love to share that with others. I am currently playing the fiddle and John plays the guitar, banjo and bass. He would love to own about 30 other instruments, ha! We don’t have any requirements for Mesa to be a musician, just simply that she has exposure to it.

Strong sense of community. As a child my parents were not that social, they worked a lot and sacrificed their social life for a life of work and family. My best memories were those of company work parties, family gatherings or time with friends of mine who had a great social family. I’d like to have my daughter grow up in a house where people are always welcome and do stop by, overnight guests are common and we spend each weekend or weeknight with friends and/or family. The typical nuclear family model definitely scares me and it sometimes feels like we are teetering on becoming one. If you have ever spent time in a village, a foreign country or a poor neighborhood in our country where family is cherished, why would you want to limit yourself to mom, dad, child? What a boring isolate life that would be!

Consciousness. Being aware of yourself and others in a way that promotes love, confidence and compassion.

Appreciation for nature.

Do you believe in adventure and if so, how do you practice it?

Absolutely. We can not and will not lead of life of habit and schedule, it’s no fun!
For one, John has arranged his work to include four different occupations, most of them seasonal. In the spring he works in Alaska while I stay home with Mesa. In the summer we all head to the Oregon Coast and he has a bakery job there. In the fall and around the holidays he tends to do mostly catering with a close friend, and in the winter he does tree planting and maintenance on the conservation project in our valley.
We do a bit of traveling, but mostly between here and Oregon, simply because we can’t afford anything else. In the past, before we owned a house and had a baby, I would travel each winter. Sometimes New York City, San Diego, New Mexico or even Australia and Bali. I do miss that.

What a beautiful garden, tell us about it. What is your dream for your garden?

I have learned a lot since the first garden went in here. Mostly I’ve had to simplify because I just don’t have time to keep up with it while I have my child to look after. I am in the process of tearing it apart, downsizing. I would love to grow as much food as is humanly possible without the aid of machinery (ok, we do have a lawn mower). I love permaculture concepts and use that as my guide and muse when I design and dream my garden. In the backyard I’d like to have fruit trees planted in a U-shape with a few relevant plantings underneath and a greenhouse in the middle. I have a covered shed there that I currently use as a playhouse/lounge area and then next to it is a concrete pad that I would love someday to be a cellar for food storage. I have two pawpaws, kiwis, a crabapple, a dogwood, a plum, aronia, rose hip, raspberries and a serviceberry planted there so far. Also some other small shrubs/veggies.

The front yard is mostly lawn with a few espalier trees, an herb spiral and 8 blueberry plants. I would love to add a few veggie boxes and some more berries. That would be maintainable. In the future I would just add more fruit trees and nut trees on other sections of our property and continue adding to the understory.

Some important lessons you have learned from being a mother? A partner/wife?

Being a partner; I have gained so much from my relationship. The biggest lesson I have learned from being in a committed relationship is not judging others for their failures, I tend to dwell on the negative. John has helped me stay positive.
Being a Mom; Be Here Now! It really brings you into the moment and inspires you to be your very best. Things become clearer. Lessons? I should have had kids even younger than I did (if only John was willing!).


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