The Forest

January 22, 2009

Featured, Garden, Home

The Forest
The Forest

When I was very young, maybe eight, I remember my mother said that she would love to have a home on a piece of land with a river running through the back yard. At the time I thought to myself, in more eight-year-old terminology, “fat chance.”

We knew that we would be moving on day, when we sold the house we had at the time. We weren’t sure to where. I remember speaking about the Blue Ridge Mountains on the East Coast. My mother once said that they thought Oregon would be a good place to move to. I had never been there.

When I was 12 years old my father and I found ourselves real-estate shopping in Oregon. I remember a plot of land on a cliff overhanging the ocean; the grass at the edge of cliff looked like it could have fallen away at any moment if it were trodden on incorrectly, and as my father pointed out to me, the grass wasn’t as innocent as it looked. But it was beautiful.

One day our Real Estate agent brought us to a place in the forest near the Oregon Coast. It was a 55-acre property with a small, mustard colored house on a hill, overlooking a river and a fish pond on the other side of the river. The fish pond sat in a bit of a valley which was otherwise filled with trees. In the river there was a waterfall in the view of the house. Behind the house, between the highway and the river, was another tree-covered hill which we later named “Elk Mountain.” Down the road from our home and a bit beyond the waterfall, was a slight meadow in the forest, beside what we call “the Grotto,” which is an area of the river with stiller water and a kind of a high wall of Earth on the other side.

The owner of this property had created a network of roads and paths so we could wander throughout to our heart’s content. He had also created a fish pond full of fish – salmon I think, as well as a stepping-stone style stream to a spawning pond. Actually I now know that salmon can’t really survive properly away from the Sea, but this is another matter.

This piece of land became our home. My parents sold our house on the East Coast, and transported all of our belongings, including three cats, to the new forest property in Oregon.

At one point, Elk Mountain and the land beside the Grotto was sold for financial reasons. Leaving us with 30-some acres of river, pond, home, and forest.

When I was 16 years old I completed school and was determined to seek my destiny in the far reaches of the world. Staying in Oregon was out of the question. When you are that age and full of wonderlust, I suppose that anywhere looks more interesting and more promising than “home.”

Eighteen years later, after traveling and working in four continents, after hitchhiking through Europe and horseback riding through Mongolia as a teenager, after traipsing through South America in my early twenties, and after a million other things which I won’t discuss here, I found that I had come full-circle.  Not sure how long it will last or whether I will change my mind a week from now, but here it is.

The fact is that what I really need to do is get my own businesses off the ground and running, and those businesses are all Internet-based.   There’s no necessity for me to live or work in any particular location, and from a viewpoint of straight economics, it’s much more sensible to renovate the little bedroom suite in an extension of the house, pay a basic rent, survive on minimal expenses, and work on my online endeavors.

Now, living in the forest in the middle of nowhere has its drawbacks, particularly when one does not own one’s own vehicle. You are basically stuck here, for the most part. And there is a point where the recreational benefits of “going out to take a walk” reaches its limits. Particularly after  recent floods washed our Bridge away, making most of the property virtually inaccessible until the summer when the river level will go down enough for us to wade across it.

Therefore I realized I was going to have to find enough offline activity to keep myself from going mad, while I work online. And there is no shortage of possibilities.

My first priority is to create an herbal garden beside the room which I hope to soon renovate and occupy.  Actually, getting the room renovated carries a similar priority. And possibly more important than both of those is the fact that I have decided I want to have two cats.

The reason I finally settled on an herbal garden beside my room is based on a few factors:  Dear, gophers, and cats.

Deer are notorious in this region for eating anything edible within sight, but they have been said to dislike herbs. Deer fencing around the particular garden site by my room is not very realistic, particularly when I hope for it to become somewhat of an ornamental garden.

Gophers tend to dig under the ground, grab your plants by the roots, and pull them down to eat them. So a sign of gophers in your garden, is basically a disheveled hole in the ground where the plant used to be.

In order to solve this, I decided to comprise the garden of raised beds, enclosed in river rock. Once a small river rock enclosure is formed, I can probably insert some kind of plastic-covered wire mess in the bottom, fill the bed up with dirt, and then plant my herbs. River rock can be obtained from my river bed.

Cats tend to dig, which makes them poor companions of vegetable gardens. But herbal gardens apparently are more readily adaptable into to rock gardens. Which means a protective layer of pebbles could probably be placed on the ground around the herbs in order to hold the cat off.

I have virtually no experience as a gardener, so I will see what curves and surprises I am thrown by experience itself. But this is a plan I have formed based on consultations with others more well-informed on domestic subjects – such as my sister and my dad.

In any case, this is the general idea.

In regards to my business, there are other plans, concepts, and strategies I am working on.  Perhaps those will be the subject of a future post.  I will have to see how everything fits together.

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About Anna

Anna Vera Williams is a poet, a photographer, a blogger, and a webmaster. Her photographs can be found at Anna Vera's Photography, and her books and photos can be purchased at If you'd like to stay in touch, you can follow Anna on Twitter or subscribe to this blog.

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5 Responses to “The Forest”

  1. Fuzu Says:

    Ooh shoot i just typed a huge comment and as soon as i submitted it it come up blank! Please please tell me it worked properly? I dont want to sumit it again if i do not have to! Either the blog glitced out or i am an idiot, the latter doesnt surprise me lol.

  2. Anna Says:

    Unforunately I don’t see your comment. I hate when that happens, I know. I’m really sorry.

    What I do is type long comments in Notepad and then paste them into the comment field, so that I will be able to get them back if that happens.

  3. Things to do Says:

    Good post Anna, I like your article about the forest! where do you come from?

  4. Wayne Jordan Says:

    I can very much relate to your post. After 30 years of city living, my wife and I bought a place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It took some getting used to, but after 5 years we now want to move to a more isolated place (we live in a rural county: pop. 20,000) We both work from home, so as long as we have an internet connection we’re good to go.

    Loved your post. Keep it up!

  5. Megan Says:

    @Wayne, that’s great. I hope your internet connection is good out there!

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