Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter....North Coast Style

It's raining, nearly every day. Sometimes it's windy, and sometimes, just sometimes, there will be a clap of thunder in the distance. The last big storm that came through produced 68 mph wind gusts at the airport. We bought a small, one-burner propane stove and a bunch of long-burning candles, just in case. This house is all electric, so if a wire goes down, we are not only in the dark, but also unable to heat any food. Someday when we get our own place a wood stove will be near the top of the list.

Many people use pellet stoves and wood stoves here. This house has a heat pump. Of course heat pumps and pellet stoves are both dead in the water in a power outage. At least here, no one needs to worry about freezing to death. It's very rare for the nighttime temps to drop below 40. I heard there can be frost for about one week in January. This is a Maritime climate, which is heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Summers are not too hot and winters are not too cool. Deciduous trees are slow turn and drop their leaves. Most of the trees are pines and Redwoods, so there is a definite lack of fall color.  Everyone tells me I can see lots of fall colors and snow several miles inland.

Front yard and drive...just rain

We are 9b.

Friday, December 19, 2014

I promised some pictures...

So here they are. These are from December 6th, all from the Lake Earl Recreational Area. This is one of our favorite places to walk.

 I love taking pictures of cute mushrooms

 I spotted this pinky-nail sized yellow one

The Road Less Traveled
4 mile loop, a walking path along Lake Earl. It's hard to believe this is a 5 minute drive and a half-hour or so walk from town. Lake Earl is behind us to the right. We are looking toward the ocean, but at an estuary that is separated from the ocean by dunes. Many water fowl gather here.

These are from December 13th.

 Honey Bee

 Small orange 'shrooms

 Beaver Pond sign...this is new, along with a picnic table and an observation bench.

 Beaver Pond

 Some dried flower bracts, along the path leading to Lake Earl

 Lots of 'srooms on a log. After reaching the lake we turn west and follow another trail that takes us back to the parking lot.

The trail back to the parking lot. The late afternoon air is cool and damp. You can see dew on the grass. The tire tracks are from the park ranger's vehicles. 

Bright yellow 'shrooms growing on a log.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life on the North Coast

We have contemplated the differences between where we were and where we are now, and we are confident we made the right choice. I thought about it before, and discussed it in length with my husband. I didn't want him to have any regrets.

The nearest Target store is 79 miles south. Ditto for Kmart, Khols, PetSmart, all the stores we had in abundance all around us in northwest Indiana. We don't have Meijer's, with the long ethnic food isle. There is no Aldi store with its low prices in the west anywhere. The nearest airport where jets land is 6 hours drive away in any direction.

On the other hand, there are no steel mills, no oil refineries, no heavy industries, no smog, no congestion. Some people think that translates into no jobs. That's not entirely true. There are fewer jobs, but also fewer people. We were in a huge metro area in NW Indiana, and jobs were just as hard, if not harder, to find. One steel mill has a waiting list of 4,000 applicants and a wait time estimate of 12 years. Many places wanted 3 or 5 years experience only. No one was willing to train.

We are settling in, learning our way around, meeting people. We went to the Work One office. Nice, helpful people (unlike the office in Indiana). We met the neighbors. Nice people. My hubby has placed several job applications. He has several opportunities in the works that may bring results early next year, and they are willing to train.

There is a discount grocery store in town that carries many of the foods from Germany that we were buying at Aldi. Brookings Oregon is an easy 24 mile drive. An oil change here in California is $55. We got one in Brookings for nearly half that. Gas is cheaper in Oregon and they pump your gas for you. There is no sales tax in Oregon. Too bad the real estate taxes and home prices are so high there. Brookings also has several nice places to shop.

Nature is everywhere! Many people who live here moved here because of the nature. We can drive ten minutes north and we are at the Lake Earl Recreational Area. When it's not raining we take long walks. I take lots of pictures. Five minutes west brings us to the ocean. South of town is another beach and a look out. A road leading into the Redwood forests is on the west side of town.

Houses here are affordable. This is one of the few places in California where that is true. The town is decent. It has some dumpy parts, and a few unsavory characters, along with a homeless population that lives behind Walmart. There are million dollar houses along the coastal road, but there are much more affordable houses only a block or so away. Most people keep their houses and yards in good shape.

This is a town of people who love the Lighthouse, the Redwoods, and the ocean. The coastal road has several turnouts with ample parking. People go there to eat lunch, to meditate, and to take pictures. Artists live here. The land is art, the sky is art, the sea is art. The area is referred to as the "North Coast" and "Wild Rivers Coast". This is the land of wild-caught sockeye salmon, grass-fed beef, organic produce and California "happy cows". We have great local cheese.

Do we miss anything? Yes, my older daughter and her husband and his kids. We visit on cam now and then. Autumn leaves....there are a few here, but not like the Midwest. I don't miss the cold and I don't miss the heat. I honestly didn't want to go through another winter like last winter, with three polar vortexes. I was stuck inside, mostly snowed in, and shivering all winter. I didn't want any more sweltering hot, humid summers full of mosquitoes and tornado warnings. Add in bad air from the industry and all I had was misery. I was stuck inside in the air conditioning all summer.

I think I have rambled enough. Next post I will post some pictures from our many walks in the awesome fresh air.