It's like entering another world. Instead of the moisture-loving, towering cedar trees we are used to, the East side sports majestic pines that prefer a dry climate. Instead of ground covered with ferns and moss, the East side grows grasslands and heat-loving alfalfa.
My family loves driving over Washington Pass and descending into the Methow Valley. We did just that last week, because the highway over the pass is closed all winter, and as soon as it opens, we're on it. It helped that it was a rainy day here, and we knew that as soon as we crossed over the pass, the sun would shine.
And shine it did.
We hiked in a place called "Pipestone Canyon", a gorgeous little valley with dramatic rock formations. It's a haven for rattlesnakes in the summer, but we figured what better time to explore it than now, when it's not too hot and the rattlers won't be out yet (hopefully).
Another favorite place to explore is Patterson Lake, where we tried fishing (no luck), fought the waves in our inflatable kayak, and hiked up Patterson mountain, where wildflowers bloomed their little butts off, and dramatic cloud formations made me swoon.
And now here's the thing: If we drive one and a half hours to the West, we arrive at yet another completely different ecosystem: Puget Sound, where saltwater and islands create another magical playground for exploring.
Last week, we headed that direction as well. Bowman Bay is one of my favorite places, with a charming backdrop of cute little islands, hikes in all directions, beaches, sand, pebbles, and driftwood to play with. And a sandy puppy loving everyone up.
If you look at these pictures and think, "Do these people ever work?", I can tell you: YES! We work really, really hard! In fact, I'm writing this early in the morning when my kids are still asleep, and I already milked the goat, checked the other goat for more signs of labor, fed the chickens, cleaned out their coop, fed the ducks, weeded the garden a little, and put away dishes.
Steve left at 5am to work.
The day has many, many more chores in store. So if you read my blog and look at all the pictures showing us goofing off, and if you are wondering how we could live such a life, here is how:
We choose to live simply. We homeschool our kids. We prioritize quality time with family. We know that our children will grow up very, very soon, and we want to give them experiences that will shape them, and we believe that time in nature, time with us, will do that.
Our kids work hard, too. They have to help on the homestead, learn to be disciplined, take leadership and initiative on projects. They deserve down-time and fun times.
This week, I will leave you with random images around our place.
Eva collected acorns, shelled them all herself and made a feast for the squirrels, which she set out on a plate, decorated and put in front of a cedar tree (in case a fairy or two were hungry as well).
On a walk to one of our wild creeks, kids and puppy explored the sand bank.
Yours truly milking the goat, while at the same time teaching the puppy that it is NOT okay to put her nose into the milk bucket.
Eva saying good morning to the puppy, who is trying to gnaw on her bone while also giving her friend a high five.
Me saying goodbye to the two goat babies I grew really attached to. I sold them to a good home, knowing that I can't keep every baby goat born on the homestead. See the heart on her back?
PS: I published a post on why making cheese is so much easier than you think on the Molly Green Magazine blog. Read it here.