New Update Video: House Design Plans, Clearing Brush, & Mushroom Foraging


This past weekend we went out to our property to work on clearing some brush around our house building site and film a quick update video. I’ve been posting new recipe videos on our youtube channel, but I realized that I hadn’t given any update on our living situation in the form of a video.

While we were there we checked our wildlife camera and foraged for mushrooms to take photos of and practice our mushroom identification. We found quite a variety of mushrooms and even an edible golden chanterelle! (light orange mushroom in upper right corner)

We’re still trying to identify all of them, but I believe the reddish ones are  Russula Atropurpurea , the little black one is a type of ink cap, and I’m almost positive the light orange one in the upper right corner is a golden chanterelle.

We’re still trying to identify all of them, but I believe the reddish ones are Russula Atropurpurea, the little black one is a type of ink cap, and I’m almost positive the light orange one in the upper right corner is a golden chanterelle.

Our wetland is covered with moss and mushrooms right now.

Our wetland is covered with moss and mushrooms right now.

These are either  Gymnopus  or  Armillaria  aka   honey mushrooms. We didn’t take a spore print of these so we can’t be sure.

These are either Gymnopus or Armillaria aka honey mushrooms. We didn’t take a spore print of these so we can’t be sure.

Here’s a close-up of What I Believe is a chanterelle.

Here’s a close-up of What I Believe is a chanterelle.

Teeny Tiny Pacific Tree Frog

Teeny Tiny Pacific Tree Frog

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Zeller’s Boletes

Zeller’s Boletes

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We just submitted our design plan for building permits, so hopefully in a few months we can begin the building process. Until then we’re enjoying the last few sunny days here before the rainy season sets in for a while.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend and got to spend some peaceful time outdoors. I’ll be back with a brand new recipe very soon!


Walking around our hazy forest & a big bunny yawn

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This past Sunday, we drove out to our property in the forest to walk around and see how it looks in the hazy, smoky wildfire weather that we've been experiencing this past week here just outside of Seattle, Washington. 

NASA IMages of the wildfires and smoke

NASA IMages of the wildfires and smoke

The smoke was so thick that the sun could only break through occasionally, but when it did the quality of the light became almost cinematic and orange-tinged. I didn't bring my camera out but I had my cell phone, so I took a few photos anyway. 

Our house building site

Our house building site

We're just about ready to submit our building permits and hopefully start building our house within the next year, but we're in no big rush and we're making sure to spend a lot of time on the house design before finalizing everything. 

The land we purchased is seven acres in an old logging forest with some evidence of old growth tree stumps. One particular stump and downed tree that we have is 600 years old! The majority of the trees currently standing are new growth evergreen trees, around 50-60 years old.

The climate in the Pacific Northwest makes our forest a temperate rainforest, full of lush ferns, evergreen trees, and moss blanketing everything.

sword ferns and mossy logs

sword ferns and mossy logs

scraggly moss-covered maple near the wetland

scraggly moss-covered maple near the wetland

View on the Noth side, looking towards thousands of acres of logging forest owned by of Department of Natural Resources 

View on the Noth side, looking towards thousands of acres of logging forest owned by of Department of Natural Resources 

orange smoke-diffused light on the trees

orange smoke-diffused light on the trees

It can be a little difficult to traverse the land sometimes with the occasionally unstable, perpetually decaying forest floor.

It can be a little difficult to traverse the land sometimes with the occasionally unstable, perpetually decaying forest floor.

The meadow full of sword ferns and alder trees in front of our house building site

The meadow full of sword ferns and alder trees in front of our house building site

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It's not quite mushroom season here yet- we usually see the most mushrooms/fungi here in October once the rains begin, but we did find a few on this particular walk. I'm not sure exactly what this one is, but it looks like a kind of shelf fungi. 

Black Bear, wildlife camera

Black Bear, wildlife camera

We have a wildlife camera tied around a tree facing a path that we, as well as many of the forest animals, frequently walk. We've seen black bears and deer so far, but we also have cougars, which we have yet to see, fortunately. 

Deer, wildlife camera

Deer, wildlife camera

When we got home in the evening, our bunny Violet, who is not used to spending much time alone, was very happy to see us and made sure she was the center of attention and cuddled with for the rest of the night. 

Anthony found himself with our video camera in a slow-motion setting at just the right moment to capture this very relaxed stretch and slightly terrifying yawn. 

We're staying inside now that the smoke has become much more thick over the past few days and trying to minimize the negative health implications of breathing in all of those particles, but it was interesting to see how it changed the light in the forest and spend a little time out in nature.

I hope everyone else has had a relaxing weekend and that you're safe and far away from all of the wildfires and heavy smoke. 

I'll be back with more recipes (and recipe videos) very soon!

Life in the Airstream Update & Lots of Cute Wild Animals Are Visiting!

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For the past year, I've been living fulltime in a 30 ft. Airstream travel trailer in Washington with my partner, Anthony, and our dwarf rabbit, Violet. When we made the decision to leave our apartment in New York City and move across the country to Washington, we decided that the best way for all of us to get there would be in an RV and that we would continue to live in the RV while we look for land and eventually build a house. 

Over the summer, we found and purchased 7 acres of beautiful forested land and are now currently in the final stages of designing the house and getting ready to start the long process of applying for building permits. Since it's been quite cold here these past few months, we haven't been spending as much time out at the property, so we've mostly been inside the trailer working on making some of the big decisions that come along with building a house. 

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After a full year of living in our trailer, we are so happy with the decision we made. While the space is pretty small, the amount of windows and skylights makes it feel much more open. There's definitely not enough room in here to have everything we want, but it's been a good lesson in living more minimally and being careful to not accumulate stuff that we don't absolutely need. 

That being said, there have been certain non-essential items that we have been accumulating recently which have brought us a lot of joy and entertainment- mainly our bird feeders, of which we now have four or maybe even five... I've lost count. 

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Most of them are the kind that suction right to the window so we can creep on the birds as they feast on their seeds. We have one on the kitchen window so I can watch the birds as I do the dishes and cook, but we also have a lot of them around our bedroom as well and it's the best thing to wake up to see beautiful birds at the window every morning.

It's been so much fun to see the variety of birds that come by and to try to identify them. After a few months of feeding them, they've started growing their families and because of this we've also been getting more visits from big predatory birds like owls and eagles, but we don't have any pictures of those big guys unfortunately. 

Over the past few weeks we've been taking lots of pictures and videos, and we've especially been enjoying the short animated gifs that are made automatically on our phones, so i thought I'd share a few here!

This pretty bird is called a Northern Flicker:

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He's a type of woodpecker and one of the loudest visitors to our feeder because he likes to use his long beak to peck at the seeds and send them flying everywhere. 

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Another bird who's been visiting lately is the vibrant blue Stellar's Jay. They usually come in pairs or small groups and have such a pretty bird song.

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All too often though, our most common visitors have been the squirrels. No matter where we set up the feeder, they find their way in and eat nearly all of the seeds before the birds can get any. I only have slightly more patience with them than Anthony does because they're still so cute. 

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Then we have the deer, who we believe may be the reason our broccoli plants have some big bites taken out of them. The other day they came right up behind our trailer and we watched them graze and play in the meadow.

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Okay, that's probably enough wildlife photos for this update!

One more thing, for now I've deactivated my instagram page @wholesomelyelle. I haven't been enjoying using it since they changed it from chronological order to an algorithm-based feed, and also since I haven't been on Facebook for the past 4 years, it felt strange to still participate in a Facebook-owned platform when that's not what I had signed up for originally. I may still reactivate it in the future, but I just wanted to take a break for a while to focus on other things. 

For now that means you'll be hearing a lot more from me right here on my blog and hopefully more on Youtube as well! I'll continue to post updates on life in the Airstream and more healthy recipes will be coming your way this week so check back in for more soon!