Category: general

Guide to Yachats, Oregon

Yachats is a beautiful coastal town with an amazing community!

City of Yachats web site

Yachats Commons is home to many community events

GoYachats.com has great tourist information

local publications

community organizations

local radio stations

annual events

 

restaurants, cafes, bakeries

boutiques

stores for necessities

places to stay

treat yourself!

Overleaf spa

lesser known events of note

  • monthly open mic night at the Green Salmon! Stop by on the third Sunday of the month at 7pm.
  • Big Band Swing dance

 

If you have a Yachats business, event, or anything else of note – please contact me (larenleland at gmail) if you would like to be added to this list!

Newport News-Times article

My new brokerage printed an article announcing that I joined their company! Here’s the full text…

Advantage Real Estate in Newport is happy to welcome Laren Leland to the team. She brings three years of experience as a broker in Portland.

Leland just recently relocated to the area with her partner in order to spend more time at her family’s farm. Blossomwood Farmstead is located seven miles up Yachats River Road. Together, they are creating a bee sanctuary and permaculture learning garden.

Leland strongly believes in being stewards of the environment in all areas of life. This starts at home with energy efficient upgrades, using sustainable materials, planting pollinator gardens, and installing native landscaping. She is an Earth Advantage Certified Broker and a OSU Master Gardener and can connect people to resources that take these considerations into account.

In addition to working as a broker, she also personally invests in and manages various estates as part of her family’s business. This gives her ongoing practical experience with a wide range of activities, in everything from preparing properties for sale, updating homes for renters, and setting up properties for Airbnb.

Leland is an active supporter of the LGBTQI+ community, wholeheartedly embracing her fellow members by organizing and participating in community events and organizations.

Leland’s professional background is in graphic design and her Master’s Degrees are in Intermedia Art. She spends any free time she can find writing and creating.

She is also looking forward to becoming part of the coastal community. Check out her web site for updates on the farm, real estate posts, and fun projects. You can find it at: larenleland.com.

Leland can be reached via text or phone at 503.883.1511. Advantage Real Estate is located at 205 E Olive St in Newport.

 

June blooms!

What is blooming for pollinators at Blossomwood Farmstead in June? Here’s a huge list, though I may have missed some!

Bird’s foot trefoil. Lotus corniculatus. Origin: Eurasia and Northern Africa. Often used in wildflower seed packets. Invasive weed in North America. Bumbles love it!

Borage. Borago officinalis. Origin: Europe. Edible herb. I’ve heard that it releases new nectar every 45 minutes!

Blackberry. Rubus. If I remember correctly, this is our native, crawling blackberry plant. We also have invasive Armenian Blackberry. The bees love both!

Climbing rose. Rosa multiflora. Orgin: Asia. Planted in the US originally for soil conservation, it is now considered invasive. Although I am not happy it is climbing our trees, the bees absolutely adore it!

Clover. Trifolium sp. Naturalized, originally from Eurasia. Usually classified as a weed when it occurs in grass, bees love clover! (There’s a bumble right in the center of this image below.)

Dandelion. Taraxacum. Actually, this is a false dandelion, (Hypochaeris radicata) but we have both blooming in June! Origin: Europe. Naturalized. Commonly regarded as weeds, loved by bees.

Daphne. Daphne. Depending on species, native to Europe, Asia, or North Africa. Very fragrant!

Foxglove. Digitalis. European origin, but naturalized here very thoroughly. I’ve seen bumblebees visit foxglove, but not super often on our Farmstead.

Lavendar. Lavandula. Origin: Europe.

Red hot poker. Kniphofia. Origin: Africa. Favored by bees and humming birds.

Thimbleberry. Rubus parviflorus. Native! Delicious wild raspberries later in the season.

Queen Anne’s Lace. Also known as wild carrot. Daucus carota. Origin: Eurasia. Naturalized in the US.

Rose. Rosa. (We have a few different varities.) According to Wikipedia, “Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa.” Many cultivars are not visited by pollinators a great deal compared to other great bee plants, but sometimes they are for sure.

Penstemon. Penstemon. Native to North America and Eurasia. Favored by humming birds.

Sage. Salvia officinalis. European. Kitchen herb and favorite of pollinators.

Snowbell. Styrax japonicus. Japanese origin. Loaded with pollinators and very fragrant!

Wild lilac. Ceanothus. Native! One of my favorites, and the bees too!

Yarrow. Achillea millefolium. Origin: Eurasia. The first photo is a cultivar, the second is a naturalized common yarrow with white blooms. I see flies on these more than bees — flies are pollinators too!

Yellow flag iris. Iris pseudacorus. Origin: Eurasia. Considered invasive. Pollinated by bumble bees and long-tongued flies. (I haven’t ever personally witnessed a visit by a bumble bee, but there are ants below.)

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energy efficiency

We all want an efficient home so that our bills will be lower, our homes more valuable, while also doing something good for the planet! But how to do it?

Here are some steps you can take to make your house more energy efficient!

  1. Get an energy audit from a local, professional company. They will do an inspection of your home and give you a game plan for how to up your efficiency. Here are some local companies to try: Green Savers PDX, Revival Energy Group, and Bull Mountain Heating.
  2. Fix leaks! This is a pretty low-cost way to make a big impact. Lots of doors and windows have spaces around them that let cold air in. Also, take extra care when checking out your basement and attic. More air than you think exchanges between these spaces and your main living areas.
  3. Insulate! Do you know what is in your walls? Sheetrock didn’t come into use until the 1950’s, so if your home is older than that you probably have lath and plaster. (This isn’t all bad, it lessens noise and helps suppress the spread of fire.) However, traditionally lath and plaster doesn’t involve insulation, but you can hire a professional to inject insulation into the walls. With drywall, just cut holes, fill up the spaces, and replace and seal.
  4. Upgrade your windows. Many old homes have single pane glass. These are somewhat like holes in your walls! High efficiency windows make a huge difference. If you can afford it, try wood frames instead of the old aluminum. If you can’t afford all new windows, try for storm windows in the winter.
  5. Upgrade doors. Especially if you have an hollow doors, replace them with new energy efficient ones.
  6. Upgrade appliances. Most appliances today come in models that take energy efficiency into account. Tankless waterheaters heat water only when it is requested, saving energy and giving you an endless supply or warm water.
  7. Solar! There are even companies who will lease your panels to you. This is a low cost way to harvest energy directly from the sun.

If you get through this whole list, your house will be very efficient! Let me know how it goes.

what do you plant for a bee sanctuary?

I have been so pleasantly surprised every time I dig a hole for a tree on this land. I’ve heard the term “fertile river valley,” before — but never experienced it to this degree! The soil is gorgeous.

Since part of this adventure is a hope to share what we learn, I wanted to post about what we have planting on the farm in our past three months of stewardship. The season is right for planting trees now, so we are trying to get the year’s plantings in now. I’ve also included our wish list for the future.

Pictured above is our peach tree of the Frost variety. In speaking with neighbors we learned that was the best variety for the region. (Some said the only one that would give us peaches.) Fruit trees are generally a great bet for bees. Others we have planted include: crabapple, two plums, and quince. There were already four old apple trees, so I gave those a good pruning.

 

IMG_2613-1Above is a photo of heather. Two days after we planted it there were 5-7 bumble bees on each of three plants! In the bushy category we have also added three ceanothus plants, lavender, red osier dogwood, Indian plum, daphne, and flowering currant.

Here’s the flowering currant, right by the bridge to welcome visitors.

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I also chose that general location for the magnolia, so that at the first of the season we’ll have a burst of colorful blooms right at the entrance.

As far as flowering trees goes, I did a previous post about the Arbor Day Foundation, where you can buy very affordable seedlings. Of course, this is an exercise in patience since it will take years (decades) for them to grow into large trees. We have ordered, Northern Catalpa (2), Sourwood, Red maple (free with order,) Washington Hawthorn, Tulip Poplar, Forsynthia (2 free with order), Little Leaf Linden, Witchhazel, Black Tupelo, Sugar Maple, and Eastern Redbud. These are all spectacular bee forage trees. I encourage you to research them all. Gorgeous trees.

I’ve also ordered some willow. Most willows are great food for bees. I have a pink pussy willow known as Mt. Aso coming, as well as a curly willow and a basketmaking purpuera. The purpuera is also good for creating living willow structures, which I am excited to try out!

Last, but not least, we have some things started in the veggie garden. For the bees we have borage, poppies, and echinacea. For us we’ve put in an asparagus patch, ginger, and tumeric. Much more to come!

One challenging aspect that we are not very familiar with is how wildlife (including quite a large herd of elk!) will impact what we plant. We have caged the trees for their protection. We have a fence around the veggie garden, which we will fortify in time. We might build quite a bit more fencing than we have now… we will have to see how it goes. So far it seems that the elk avoid the areas near the house, but I have heard that can change pretty quickly.

Here’s some of our wish list for the future: (some for bee forage, some for perennial edibles)

More bee trees and bushes (with groves of like-species, but we’re starting with one of each to see how they do.) Japanese snowbell, winter jasmine, serviceberry, lilac, beautyberry, aralia, vitex.

Persimmon, pomegranate, paw paw, pear, hardy kiwi (I am rooting starts right now!) figs, grapes, rhubarb, artichoke, ramps, sea kale, sweet potato, ground nut, good king henry, lovage, french sorrel, plus every herb and medicinal plant we can find (with plans to build a formal herb garden.)

I’m sure more will get added… if you know of a great bee plant or perennial / self seeding non-invasive edible that would do well in Coastal Oregon, please let me know!

We love this land. Thank you for reading about our adventure!

Oregon Mushroom Show

I went by the Oregon Mushroom Show today. This is a yearly event organized by the Oregon Mycological Society. It was a great source of information for mushroom classification, propagation, and much more.

Did you know that you can dye fabric using mushrooms? Or use mycology inoculations as a way to remediate a brownscape? (Brownscapes are abandoned or underutilized sites, often associated with industry, that contain some degree of real or perceived contamination.)

I got to smell and touch some local mushroom varieties that had been found just today. It was great to see them first hand and get to ask questions of the volunteers, all of whom seemed quite well informed. Comparing edible mushrooms with lookalikes that are poisonous was quite instructive. They were also demonstrating how to do a spore print, which is an excellent technique for identification.

If you want to find out more information about mushrooms in the area, try joining the Facebook groups: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Northwest Mushroom Identification and Information Forum.

Here are some images from the show today!

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grow your own shiitake mushrooms!

Hey guys. I want to share how easy it is to grow your own delicious shiitake mushrooms at home. I bought a loaf-like mound from a local shop called the Urban Farm Store, which is in SE Portland on Powell.

The kind I got there is grown on a mound of sawdust. It comes with instructions, but basically you soak it (in non-chlorinated water) and then mist it twice a day. You put a plastic bag over it (held up by chopsticks) to keep the air around it humid. Then, one day (a few weeks for me)… voila!

The following images show how big they are when they are full-grown. They are so fresh, delicious, and have many health benefits. Plus, organic shiitake’s sell for around $11.99 a pound! (I think the mound was around $25, so it hasn’t paid for itself yet… but I think it will and then some.)

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A more aesthetically pleasing way to go about it is to buy a mushroom infused log. I bought this as well, but just started it so we haven’t seen any mushrooms yet. Here’s a local source. It’s pricier at $50 per log, but they say it will continue to produce for five years.

 

house tour Feb 3, 2015

If you have ever wanted to move to Alameda Ridge in Portland, you have your pick of houses now. Quite a few are for sale at the moment. Our office went to check out homes there, and a few other places also in NE Portland today. Check out some highlights below. Click the addresses for more info.

1912 NE Couch St offered at $620,000

This was a lovely little house situated between two multi-unit complexes. Loved the attic. The whole house was cute.

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3445 NE Davis St offered at $765,000

Very nicely finished. I love the sun-burst detail over the front door.

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4455 NE Alameda St offered at $949,000

We don’t see houses painted black every day. Beautiful. I appreciated that there were bookcases built in to nearly every room.

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3630 NE 32nd Pl offered at $985,000

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3930 NE 26th Ave offered at $1,175,000

Very cool double lot.

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3727 NE 10th Ave offered at $299,000.

And last, a sweet little house. Very nicely finished inside, but too many brokers to get photos in there!

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Tree School

Do you want to learn more about harvesting truffles? What about beekeeping? Or managing forestland? If so, it’s time to register for OSU’s extension program called Tree School. This is a great opportunity to learn about all kinds of fascinating topics that relate to owning land in Oregon. You also get to meet and network with other like-minded people. It’s $60 for an entire day of classes. Register here.

My favorite class title?  Operating Chainsaws safely for women. Full class list here.

I’ve already sent mine in — hope to see you there!