Moving on up... literally! (Climbing in Smith Rock, Oregon)
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Moving On Up… Literally!

Climbing at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.

Oh man, so much has happened in the last couple weeks that I’m struggling with where to start on the big news, so I’ll just get straight to the point: We are moving 900 miles north to Bend, Oregon, in October, and we’re beyond thrilled!

Lease has been signed, boxes are being packed, goodbyes are being said. This move has been in the works since the beginning of summer, when we started house hunting more seriously, but it was a pipe dream for a few years as Will and I were trying to decide where we wanted to settle with our small but growing family.

You could say it started with my book tour in 2015 when we drove cross-country to promote The CSA Cookbook. The six-week trip was part business and part pleasure, but secretly it was also an informal scouting mission to see if any other part of the country vibed with us as much as the west coast did.

The Crooked River in Central Oregon

The Crooked River meandering through Smith Rock State Park.

Deep down, Will and I always knew that California — in spite of how much we love it — would probably not be the place we put down roots. The high cost of living, shortage of water, and desire for change were all factors that weighed on our decision to relocate.

There were plenty of promising contenders on our list, like Vermont, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and North Carolina (all of which we adore), but after all was seen and heard, Oregon had everything we were looking for. The four-season climate, active outdoor community, beautiful neighborhoods, small-town living, and genuinely good people made us feel like we’re right at home. (I could go on and on about Central Oregon, but I’ll try to spread it across a few posts so you don’t tire of hearing how psyched I am about it!)

Cragging family in Smith Rock, Oregon

Cragging in Smith Rock with our future climber.

The funny thing is, we never even stopped in Bend on the book tour. I had book events in Portland and Corvallis, and we road-tripped down the stunning Oregon coast to consider more places, but Bend only came up in our discussions post-book tour.

It was a town I’d only known and read about in Outside Magazine, and it seemed to top the list of “Best Places to Live” in nearly every news publication that gave such rankings. Friends gave it high praises, and it had the sunny, high desert climate we preferred. One visit to Bend that year and we were hooked.

Babymooning on Mount Bachelor, Oregon

Babymooning on Mount Bachelor last year.

We’ve since been to Bend a number of times, in every season (including snowboard season, where I carved turns down Mount Bachelor at 32 weeks pregnant on our babymoon), and love it more and more each time. It’s very conducive to our lifestyle, we’re excited to raise our daughter in what’s essentially a vast outdoor playground, and despite jumping four (four!) climate zones (from 10b to 6b… eeek), I’m equally as excited to take Garden Betty to a whole new level in modern homesteading.

I’ve always been one to love — and thrive in — unfamiliar environments, and crafting a new life in Bend will be an extraordinarily rewarding challenge I cannot wait to take on. We’d originally hoped to buy a home this summer, but house hunting from out of state is no easy task, and we didn’t want to rush into making such a monumental decision without knowing all of our options. So, we’ll be renting right in town and can take our time exploring and getting a feel for various neighborhoods that we’ve only scratched the surface of.

Hiking the Tumalo Creek Trail

Hiking the Tumalo Creek Trail with our adventurous toddler.

We lucked into a lovely house on a half acre to settle into for the meantime, and this past week has been a whirlwind of preparation — all from afar, which has demanded a huge amount of trust on both sides, but we feel really good about the move. The property is owned by a generous couple who put a lot of heart into it, and best of all, they’ve allowed us to bring our chickens, so Iman, Harlow, Ginger, and Greta will be joining us in Bend!

It’s both amazing and a little nerve-wracking, so if any of you snowy-climate chicken-keepers have any winterizing tips to pass along, I’m all ears! We’re still trying to figure out what to do about a chicken coop, as we’re leaving our tiki coop behind, and are weighing the pros and cons of building versus buying.

That, plus endless other decisions to make for our impending long-distance move, is adding to my mile-long list of things to tackle. I have so many ideas for blog posts and half-written drafts that I’d hoped to finish in September, but I’ll be honest, my regularly scheduled blog content may be a little lighter than usual as we’re in full-on purging and packing mode around here. (And stacks of boxes are quickly starting to invade my work space…)

So excited to be moving to Bend!

Dad and daughter in Tumalo.

October 1 is the big day, and though it’s still a little over a month away, I know September’s going to fly by before I know it. I’ll check in a few more times before then with updates from our move-in-progress, but meanwhile, here’s to the last three weeks of summer! (Can you believe it? Have to say I’m pretty stoked for fall to start!)

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  • Mary Ann T.

    I seem to have missed this post, but I’m thrilled for you—Oregon is such a great place to live and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about Bend. The process of moving isn’t much fun, but the end results are almost always worth it!

  • Cary Bradley

    Wow! Don’t know how I missed this post, but did, and am late to congratulate you on exciting move! Bend is my other favorite place on the earth (we’re living in other favorite, coastal RI). Our family used to spend a couple weeks each summer at my aunt’s 1200 acre ranch between Bend and La Pine with my Grandpa’s siblings and their grandkids. It was heaven and my favorite place on earth. Could not be more excited for you all. I moved from 10b to 6a (Whittier, CA to N Stonington, CT/Charlestown, RI) and am telling you, you will do fine, as will your girls. A purchased coop made by Amish hands, with homemade outside run works great. Shoot, I’m at work and have to dash, but soooo happy for you, and for Bend. They couldn’t be more fortunate to have you guys joining them. Hoooray!

  • Silly Little Sheep

    Wow, I hope all goes well and you’ll have a busy but pleasant move. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • jeanniebeans

    Yay what an exciting move and I cannot wait to read about the garden and life there from you!!! Also: baby in a carrier, with sun roof = SO CUTE!

    • That backpack ranks right up there as one of our most-used baby items! A MUST for any parent who likes to hike!

  • Rachel Milne

    What exciting news!! So happy for you. I’m in Sundridge, Ontario and we keep chickens. My husband built a 6′ by 12′ shed and insulated it. It has a large screened window for the summer but it’s double panned and shut tight in the winter. We have a heat lamp hooked up and turn it on when the temperatures drop below 5 to 0 degrees Celsius. We have the heat lamp closer to the back and we partition off a section with heavy plastic to keep the heat in on that side, but the chickens can come to the other side for food and water. They stay in for a portion of December, all the way through late March. We do clean them out every so often and add extra shavings. And we air out the shed every day when we get the eggs, unless it’s – 20… Last winter we had 9 chickens in that space and they never stopped laying for us.
    Congratulations on the new adventure!!

    • Thank you so much! And for the coop info as well… we have lots to think about. Luckily, Bend doesn’t get THAT cold. 😉

  • Jan Datzman Carter

    My son and daughter-in-law lived in Bend, it is beautiful! If you like the outdoors you will love it

  • Karen Fergason

    Congratulations! We were literally just in that area for the eclipse and it was wonderful, despite the persistent smoke from numerous wildfires. We really enjoyed taking the kids to see the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. And like Misti I’m also excited to see what you do in your new cold-winter garden. What an adventure!

  • Laura

    Welcome to Oregon! Wise to rent for at least a year… A couple of hidden gems to put on your list: Dee Wright Observatory and Belknap Hot Springs… 🙂

    • Thank you for those suggestions! Going on my (rapidly growing) list of new place to explore. 🙂

  • Awesome news! I can’t wait to see what you do with a 6b garden! WHOA!

    • WHOA is right! I’m excited but also a little intimidated about what my new setup is going to look like!

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