The Soundrunner, the passenger ferry from Seattle to Kingston, stopped running due to engine problems and some political dispute with King County, which is a bummer. I learned this from chatting to one of the operators of the boat over a whiskey while I was naively waiting for the 6:00 running. They plan to start-up again by spring. Since I was out at the land without my trusty rusty pick-up, I opted to spend a few nights in the Yome, sadly, Christy-less. The upside of the adventure, aside from some unseasonably warm weather, was the opportunity this gave me to meet some locals and start getting to know the community we intend to become a part of. Homesteading and sustainable living, in our opinion, is as much about being active members in a community as it is about the choices and projects you make on your own. Not to mention the wells of information you can tap into just by taking your head out of the sand!
Through conversations at one of the local bars I've learned that it will be easy for us to sell our extra produce at the nearby farmer's markets! Laura the Lesbian Landscaper (tm) informed me that Rye Grass would make a nice ground cover for areas we aren't farming and don't want to mow. There's even a local woman who is happy to bring her horse out to the land to munch on our overgrown grasses in exchange for the, uh, fertilizer. I also learned that Alder trees, which we are flush in and can't really use for building or burning, are currently going for more money than cedar or fir! Apparently this is due to some curing process that makes them harder and desirable. Anyways, we've probably had half a dozen big Alders fall over in the wind this winter, and have a dozen more that should probably come down soon. We never considered them to be marketable timber, so we're excited to think of them as a revenue source for MFW! That, along with our farmer's market stand, is starting to make life on the land without 9-5 day jobs all the more attainable!
On top of all this, we have some younger neighbors renting out one of Dane's rooms (four rentals in two houses next to us here-to-fore referred to Danelandia) who are not only OK with looking at our greenhouse (they're the only people who can see us), but are excited to help us out in the garden! We plan to meet and have dinner with the other peoples of Danelandia when Christy and I are next yomeward bound. Our neighbors to the west are a bartender and a carpenter who own 20 lovely acres and a some funny looking miniature horses, donkeys and mules who stop by from time to time, and are also very friendly and have a portable mill we intend to help operate!
Good to know we have friendly people around! Through some blog surfing, I came across someone who calls herself "KitsapFreedomGardener", and has a wonderful blog called the Modern Victory Garden. A new term for an old idea, and a like minded individual for sure. Excited to find someone homesteading on our tiny peninsula, we shall attempt to befriend said gardener. The website has a ton of helpful information on gardening, particularly in our climate.
Speaking of community, let's talk James Green. James is a good friend of mine from way back in high school in Southern California. He went to UC Santa Cruz around the same time I headed north. He and a friend stopped by MFW a couple months ago and helped us put the greenhouse together. Charmed with our area and undertakings, and done with Santa Cruz (a town with a time limit, from numerous sources), James is planning to come up here and get his hands in our Northwest dirt to partake in the laborious, and hopefully rewarding experience of forging a modern day homestead! We have plans to build a cabin in the back 40 of the land for him to stay warm in while becoming the first participant in the Mellish Fields West Intern and Slave Labor Program (tm). I have visions in the future of more cabins for people to stay in, perhaps on weekends and sunny summer days to help garden in exchange for produce, or just hang out and enjoy the scenery.
All in all, our concerns of being lonely once we move out to MFW full time are starting to subside. Really though, I couldn't ask for much better company than Christy.