Joseph and I have owned our ten acre biodynamic / organic farm for 15 years. During that time some mighty wonderful things have happened to us through living here. We learned to care for the land, animals, trees and gardens. The farm has given each of us a career — Joseph founded his horse school here. I fell in love with bees, wrote my first book and have a honeybee sanctuary. We milk cows and used to have goats, tend fruit trees, grow tons of food (by weight, yes, tons), make topnotch compost, and nurture friendships with exceptional people. We’ve planted hundreds of trees and dozens of gardens. We love living here.
Most of what we’ve done has been on the northern part of the farm, but we noticed we don’t use the south half nearly as much. We’re looking for wonderful neighbors to buy and live on the south five acres. If you know some delightful, kind, enthusiastic folks who are respectful of nature and doggedly organic, please let them know we may be looking for them.
The land has a gently sloping southern exposure. The entrance to the land is at the SW corner at the end of the dead-end road. Three homes share the end of the road there, one directly south and two houses further west. Entry is through a wide metal gate near a century old apple tree. The south perimeter has 60′ tall old heirloom apple and pear trees, including a fabulous yellow baking apple called the Winter Banana. Also a prolific black walnut tree and a few hazelnut trees. The walnut is on our neighbor’s side, but the overhanging branches land quite a few on our side, too.
Along the south side behind the fruit and nut trees you can see the neighbor’s home and barn. They’re neat as a pin on that side of the line and their house is oriented to look further down their sloping valley. They have always been organic. We planted more trees and bushes on that side so someday it will be even more private. Say hello at the mailbox. We know all the folks who live at the road’s end and they are good people, organic or “no spray.” We’ll be your neighbors to the north; our land abuts yours from east to west. The line is treed around our house and outbuildings with peek views of our place and you can see our big garden.
The western half of the land is more level with a good house site on a small rise. That land has a nice view across the hill to the forest to the east, and a view of our neighbor’s trees and pasture to the west.
The east property line is mostly forest down to a clearing on the bottom that opens to our east neighbors’ field. Standing at the SE corner, you can look all the way across the land to your gate on the road 660′ away. Below the bottom of the trees in that clearing is a second house site with views into the forest (north and south) and across fields (east and west).
Electric is at the SW gate right off the road. Water has a choice: Either sink a well or you can tap into the town water 330′ away. Our town water is pristinely clean (I’ve seen the reports) and comes right out of these mountains. The town well is just 1/4 mile southwest of us. The gravity-fed septic system and leach field are already installed, you’d just need to hook it up to your house. Mail and trash pickup are at the curb. Neighbors are friendly and warm. Expect a potluck dinner.
The land is fenced for cows and some of it is fenced for goats who love to eat wild blackberries. In the Pacific Northwest, that alone is a good reason to have goats! The soil is red clay and, as most soil in the PNW, tends to be acidic which is ideal for fruit trees and berries. We have an agricultural deferral on the land which is transferable. If you plan on carrying on the land as a farm (which we’d prefer), this amounts to a considerable savings each year.
The air is really clean. Usnea is a moss that grows only in supremely clean air and we’ve got it here in High Valley. A mile or two down the road going toward Portland, you don’t find usnea. The nights are pretty dark here and once everyone’s gone to bed, hardly a light on as far as you can see. Great for watching shooting stars.
And I’ve barely mentioned the forest! The 1.5 acres of forest has fir, cedar, huckleberry, ferns, swamp maple, trilliums, a wild apple the cows love, elderberry and hazelnuts. We used it as a sanctuary and each year we put a hammock up in it for quiet reverie, with bird calls.
Our little village has less than 1,000 homes and is pretty rural. We have a one-room schoolhouse that serves as our community center and is the oldest continuously operating community building in Washington state. Next door is the two-room church, and across the road is our only commercial building, the old Venersborg Store. Salmon Creek is three houses down the road near the schoolhouse. We are in an unincorporated area, which means we can build agricultural outbuildings without having to get a building permit, though you do need a permit for human dwellings.
Five miles away is Battle Ground (pop. 16,000) with an old-town downtown and further out, a few strip malls. Good library, a cohesive collection of antique stores, emergency services, and a naturopathic clinic. A decent amount of organic food in town and plenty, plenty of CSAs and farmers markets throughout the area. I belong to a women farmer’s group that’s very supportive and friendly.
Further away (20-25 min) are Whole Foods and New Seasons, larger grocery stores that lean toward organic and non-GMO. That same distance puts you in downtown Vancouver, a bedroom community of Portland. Across the 205 bridge in 35 minutes will get you to PDX, Portland’s international airport, and 45 minutes puts you right into downtown Portland, Oregon. Oregon has no sales tax while Washington has no state income tax.
The land is priced at $265k and owner financing possible. We’re looking for people who will keep the land organic, treat Nature with respect and love. Priority to people who are interested in continuing its use as farmland. Beginner farmers welcome, too.
If you’d like to come out and see the land, send me an email with your contact number and I’ll call you back. If you know good folks looking for us, please put them in touch.
Jacqueline & Joseph Freeman
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
Venersborg, WA (near Battle Ground)