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Duck House #4: Learning from the Past + Upping our Game

After two years in Seattle, we came to the realization that we just do not like living in a huge city anymore. Both of us being city kids who moved to the farm then back to the city, we thought we'd fit in once again but guess what...not happening. Too loud, too unfriendly, too spread out, and too politically hypocritical in ways we just knew were not going to fit us as we look at getting old...

Along with that, we were living in an area where, unlike other areas of town that had become too-cool-for-school, property values were still we knew it was now or never. We sold our house in 24 hours for $70K more than we paid for it just two years prior, and found a place in the Skagit Valley with a way bigger backyard (something that I'd craved desperately after we'd downsized from a 5+ acre farm) and that allowed us to refill our savings after 7 years depleting it to attempt to become parents, something that was never going to happen staying in the Emerald City. I wasn't the 25 year old innocent anymore, living the dream in a cheap pad overlooking the Space Needle in Capitol Hill anymore, walking to work and going to clubs. I was closing in on 50 and knew that the city I'd loved as a young woman had lost it's unique luster that had drawn me to it back then, and had forgotten about its people who made it that way.

So we came to the Skagit Valley, where tulips and agriculture and the gateway to the San Juan Islands lie, where there are more garden nurseries per capita than I've seen anywhere else, and where within days I'd met 75% of my neighbors who were kind and welcoming and authentic (unlike the area we lived in Seattle, where no one introduces themselves and if you don't have kids or play their games, you're not part of their clique). It's not perfect but for what we want to do next? It's perfect for us. The house is level, the yard is fenced, the nextdoor neighbors are kind, there are no stairs, and everything is within 10 minutes. My husband actually WALKS to work at his new job as biking is, well, too quick of a commute for him to get the quiet he prefers on the way in and out each day.

And with that, our dog and our two ducks of course have joined us. It's still an awful gut punch to say "two ducks" with the losses of Cocoa and Betty in the late spring still fresh in our hearts, but Blondie & Lucy have proven to be remarkably hardy. They still stick closer to me than they did before, but they made the 90 minute drive to their new home easily, and have been helping me in the garden, particularly with eradicating the snails that are around these parts that I cannot stand!

With the sale of our home in Seattle in August, we negotiated to stay in the house until mid-September so that we could get moved in up here in a more peaceful way. I was able to drive up here with boxes in the back, coordinate work with contractors to have work done before we were officially moved in, and of course get the duck house built.

For the duck house, the girls got a near-replica of the design I came up with in Seattle. After my husband pointed out the long stretch along the north side of the house and the 6' fence it was close to, we were delighted that the project was one that would be very, very easy to do - particularly compared to the last one where the fence was only 4'! With some scrap 2x4's for the skeleton, a scrap 4x4 buried at the base, a whole bunch of leftover hardware cloth I brought over from the last house, there was very little to purchase - I think we spent $100 at most, with half on the metal roofing we scored at the salvage yard and the cedar bits I used to build the door this time around. It's by far neater/cleaner looking than the last one, is super rugged, and the girls have taken to it quite quickly.

Now, back to the rest of the garden!!!


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