We found ourselves irrevocably putting down roots in Eastern Washington State, in a wild canyon that follows a creek called Wawawai.. I named the property Quality of Life, and it has been true to its name, if you include all the ups and downs, rewards and setbacks, loves and hates, that make up life’s quality. Unexpected delights and the depths of despair, beauty, drudgery, aches, pains and soaring inspiration — all aspects of life are here for the brave of heart.
For the first few years, before we built our house, we drove back and forth from Pullman, Washington, where we lived and worked, I, my husband David, and our three children, now all grown adults with lives of their own. I forgot to mention the two dogs we had then — the Property, our other name for Quality of Life, was even more of a delight for the dogs than for us, and the sound of the ice chest top creaking open was their signal that we and they were going there. During that period, I kept a journal about the Property, and in the interim, I have missed the timeliness of that record, so I am beginning this post to serve a similar function and share my observations, in the hope that they may be interesting and possibly instructive for others undertaking a similar adventure..
An event that prompted this beginning was the Snake River Fire of August 8th through August 11th, 2016, that burned over 11,000 acres in Whitman and Grant counties, including much of Wawawai Canyon. Through the valiant efforts of wonderful firefighters, both local volunteer and statewide support groups, our buildings and the other homes in the canyon were spared, as was our vineyard. The pictures shown above are the view of the charred landscape from our porch on the left and the view of our house from the neighbor’s porch across the road. I will be documenting the recovery from that fire in the weeks and months ahead, along with describing the quality of life we experience in our back-to-the-land, largely self-sufficient life in the canyon..