There's such a fun element of playing house on the first few days in a new home. Using the first dishes, cleaning up in the kitchen after meals, making the beds in the morning -- it all feels like play. I suppose that wears off quickly but it's really enjoyable while it lasts!
First meal at the new place
Daddy and Sofie at the table
Let's talk about omens a little bit. I'm not terribly superstitious, but I've had some moments in my life where I believe a meaningful omen appeared:
- When I graduated from my high school after a long, miserable struggle with small-town gossip and a teacher who meant me harm, I was standing outside and a butterfly landed on my shoulder. I took it as a very meaningful sign that things were about to improve, and they did, of course. But I've never forgotten that small moment of hope.
- When I moved to Seattle, on my very first day here, I was on the ferry from Bremerton (where the person I drove west with lived) to Seattle and there were dolphins leaping out of the water in front of the boat. I've never seen dolphins here since, but that day they seemed like an omen that my life here was going to be good.
- On our first weekend at our cabin, we walked down to the meadow at the end of the entrance road and saw a flock of these frolicking in the tall grass and watching us from fence-posts:
Mountain bluebirds, more blue than the sky, an amazing sight. I've never seen a bluebird of any kind, although I know the western bluebird lives in Seattle and is fairly common. Blue jays I've seen, but they're nowhere near as brilliantly colored. And of course, the phrase "the bluebird of happiness" kept flitting through my brain as we watched them play. The neighbors said they'd only seen them once before in several years. It seemed like a good start to our new endeavor.
Bluebird meadow, as we now call it
Mountains across the street, from the entrance to our road
Saturday morning we got up and drove to Omak, the nearest big town and about 55 miles away, to get lamps and tools and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff at Home Depot. Among the goods we came home with were two adirondack chairs in a bright apple green, which are totally cute and turn the deck into a lovely place to lounge.
We also got a small table and chairs for Sofie, and she set right to work having a tea party on the deck for all of her cat friends.
"What time is checkout tomorrow?" I asked Brett on Saturday afternoon during the long drive home from Omak.
It takes me a minute to realize why he's laughing.
Walking with Sofie in the backyard
Saturday night we opened a bottle of champagne I'd brought along and had both sets of our immediate neighbors over for a drink. The young couple next door has been living here for a few years now, and the two ladies across the street just became full-time residents this weekend after being weekend visitors for almost a decade - their moving truck was here as we arrived. So we toasted two move-ins and enjoyed talking with everyone for a while.
We certainly feel like we're welcome and welcomed here and are enjoying the fact that we're getting to know the neighbors!
One of the neighboring houses
You may be wondering if it's good or bad to have close-by neighbors when you're buying a cabin in the woods. Actually, we really like having a house or two in sight-range of our place, and it's also nice that both of them are fulltimers so that there are people around most of the time. The houses are far enough apart to be private but close enough that if you really had a problem or needed help someone would be there.
Each of the houses backs up onto common land filled with trees where nothing will be built, and this forms a great buffer zone that keeps things natural and private. There are a fair number of undeveloped lots that could eventually be built up, but we think it's going to be quite a while before more than a few of those are built upon. A good deal of them are for sale, and have been for some time. One small cabin that sits caddycorner behind us has been for sale since it was built. There's not a huge run on these houses and lots just yet. Which is just fine.
On Sunday morning we sleep late and then drowsily drink coffee on the back deck, staring off into the trees. This is exactly how I pictured mornings out in the woods. The tall pines sway just slightly and the clouds drifting by their tops seem so tiny in comparison. Small, dark birds dig around in the brush and the rising sun makes changing shadow paths on Lucky Jim peak. Aside from birdchirps it is totally quiet and utterly peaceful.
We're already talking about going back again next weekend.
Little house in the big woods, taken from the neighbors' porch