Friday, June 5, 2009

Just Because

This is our English Shepherd, Earth Angel's Eoin. Isn't he gorgeous?! I just love looking into his intelligent, amber-colored eyes as he cocks his adorable fuzzy head, freckled-face, floppy-ears to the side while I talk to him. Love, love, love!

Steady Gaze

You can read all about the breed, and yes, see lots of pics of Eoin, at our website- Highland English Shepherds.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Maps of the Area

Above is a map of our little Republic, WA.

Below is a map with details of Ferry County:

This is a map of Ferry County's location within Washington state, so you'll know just how to find us:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Republic, WA- Ferry County

Our first glimpse of Republic was filled with emotion- joy to finally be there after so many months of planning, pleasure to see it nestled in the mountains, excitement to see our future home town, peace & calm as we easily fell in step with the slower pace of life. Republic is brimming with small town charm! It is both county seat and the largest town in Ferry County, with an approximate population of 1,000.

Founded in the late 19th century by gold prospectors, Republic was the site of the most productive gold mines of the 20th century. In fact, the community boasts the last remaining operational gold mine in Washington State. Republic was originally christened “Eureka Gulch” in honor of the Eureka Mining District. When the town incorporated in 1900, the U.S. Postal Service rejected the name, which had already been claimed by a community in Clark County. The citizens chose the name “Republic” in honor of the era's highest producer of gold, the Great Republic mining claim. The town was then relocated slightly southeast of its original location and now overlooks the San Poil River Valley to the south, and the Kettle Mountain range to the east. It is interesting to note that all the lots in town are old mining claims! Area museums tell the interesting story.

Often described as one of the last frontiers in the American West, Ferry County combines dramatically beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes and meadows into one breathtaking package! Enjoy the Okanogan Highland splendor on some of the best road touring Driving Loops. Originally part of Stevens County, Ferry County was created on February 18, 1899 and named for Governor Elisha P. Ferry, the last territorial governor and first official governor of Washington State. Located in the northeastern corner of Washington State, Ferry County shares its northern boundary with Canada and its eastern boundary with the Columbia River. The south half of the county falls within the boundaries of the Colville Confederated Tribes and the north half is largely occupied by the Colville National Forest. With a 2008 population of only 7,700 people, Ferry County is the fourth smallest county in the state. Ferry County is economically based in timber and mining, although tourism and recreation are rapidly becoming prominent factors.

Ferry County’s climate makes it an ideal recreation destination year-round. Comfortably warm summers and cool nights, moderate snow in winter. The area provides ample opportunities to swim and fish in one of the counties many lakes and rivers-Curlew Lake, the Kettle River, San Poil River, or the mighty Columbia itself. Washington State Highway No. 20 bisects the county from east to west and is designated a national scenic byway. Highway 20 also boasts the highest navigable pass in the state at 5,575 feet- Sherman Pass- with spectacular scenery and some of the most rugged hiking trails in the state. Winter transforms the trails to cross country ski routes throughout the Kettle Mountains, with snowshoes the second most popular means of winter hiking.

We hope you'll come visit us in beautiful Ferry County Washington!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Surprise Call & Road Trip Three

Come Tuesday morning, May 19, Dan the WSU Extension agent, called to tell us a lady just contacted him about land she would like to sell. What are the odds of that kind of coincidence? At that point we were pretty clear about making an offer on the Tucker parcel. For some reason though, we had a dull, nagging doubt about whether there it would fill our needs adequately. Two days after Dan's call, we decided to telephone the lady and get more information. Boy, are we ever glad we did!

The 'lady' is Mrs. Minor, an absolute peach, she has 40 acres that have been in her family for 90 years. Her parents homesteaded 80 acres originally, building a log cabin in the horse and buggy days. The front 40 acres were sold years ago, it's the back 40 she needs to sell now. How she loves this land! Based on the information she gave, we definitely wanted to know more. Another generous act of kindness, Dan visited the property and emailed photos to us! These, of course, peaked our interest further and Tom decided he just had to go walk it for himself, and that very weekend since it was the only time for a few weeks he could. I, on the other hand, couldn't make another trip so soon, exhaustion you know, and it wasn't enough time to find a pet sitter. So I stayed home with the critters, eagerly, no, anxiously awaiting Tom's every telephone call with new details.

So.... YES, we gave Mrs. Minor a verbal offer and she accepted!!! Now a real estate attorney is drawing up the papers. We're so close! We should be more excited, and we are, but we are also guarding our feelings, just in case. When all is said and done, there will be great rejoicing in the streets! We both feel so good about this property and can hardly wait until our first trip together to set foot on our new land.

Road Trip Two- Land Scouting in Republic!

I have been terribly remiss in sharing the details of our most recent road trip for all our dear family and friends. There are valid reasons, but no excuses! Without further ado...

Friday, May 15:
We set out on a lovely, clear morning with tools, back pack and list of 8 potential properties to visit in hand. The long awaited land scouting trip destination- Republic, WA in Ferry County. I didn't start to feel the excitement and anticipation until we reached the halfway point, Wenatchee, WA. How the butterflies began to flutter then! Over half the journey we traveled across desert-like terrain. Finally, the last 20 minutes or so put us back in the forest. Much to our delight, the charming little town of Republic is nestled in the mountains! Small, homey, friendly, quiet, slow pace- just right!

First stop, the Windermere office to meet up with Rachelle. What a delight to finally meet her face-to-face! The office owner, Bill (and his trusty Labrador sidekick Lucy), joined us as we headed out. That afternoon we looked at 4 parcels. All were very nice, just didn't seem like the right fit for our purposes. Although, one kept standing out in our mind, Tucker. :)

We called it a day at 4:30 pm and made arrangements to meet in the morning to see the remaining parcels on the now shorter short list. After checking into the motel, The Sportsman's Roost procured a tasty dinner. Rachelle told us about an antique Armitage Herschell Spillman carousel the townsfolk lovingly restored. We just had to see it, even got to take a ride, one of the most beautiful carousels we've ever seen! These travel-weary people then tucked themselves into bed for the night. Another busy day ahead.

Saturday, May 16:
Rise and shine, breakfast at The Roost, then time to hit the dusty trail! Intriguing information about the Tucker property surfaced, so we added a second look at it to the days rounds. None of the parcels visited today suited us. However, the second look at Tucker revealed a much better fit and a positive feeling! We decided to think/talk on it Sunday and meet on Monday to give Rachelle our decision. A delicious dinner at Ester's Mexican cafe ended an exhausting day. We learned a very important lesson, never trust internet maps alone when buying land! All the properties looked substantially either better or worse than what we thought they would based on the online maps.

Sunday, May 17:
We attended the meeting this morning with the local congregation. What a warm, friendly bunch, they made us feel so welcome! An invitation to join a group for lunch was graciously extended and gladly accepted. Then, another invitation to see a possible property next door to the Matherly's. Another to the Wutzke's family home for dinner. Such warm hospitality. A day spent with ones spiritual brother's and sister's is always so refreshing, as it should be!

Monday, May 18:
After checking out of the motel and breakfast at The Roost again (they almost know us by name!), we stopped at the local Purina feed dealer to make sure we'd be able to order the rabbit feed we use once we move out there. A stop at the Ferry Conservation District for topographical maps of the Tucker property and to ask a few questions about the native plants in the area. They referred us to the WSU Extension office where we met a very helpful agent, Dan. As we were leaving, Dan asked for our name and number since sometimes folks contact him when they want to sell land. What could it hurt, right? From there it was to the County Tax Assessors office and the Auditor (nice that all three offices are in the courthouse building) for more maps and information needed before making an offer on the property. We decided there were just a few more details we wanted to clear up before making an offer. So we said our goodbyes to the good folks at Windermere (we highly recommend them all!), and set out for home, a bit reluctantly, I must admit.

Safe arrival home. Pets happy to see us!