Life with the land
We steward 33 acres of second and third growth redwoods two miles from California’s Mendocino Coast, 10 minutes from Albion, 20 minutes south of the village of Mendocino, and 3 hours north of San Francisco. Living here under the coastal redwoods is very humbling, and SCF is an especially good spot to feel your small place in the big cycle of life on earth.
Old logging roads and foot trails criss-cross south facing slopes from sunny meadows, gardens, orchards, communal outdoor kitchen, and dance deck on top, to eight furnished hand-crafted commune cabins each nestled in their own nook of the woods, across a ravine that bisects the land to abandoned off-grid cabins, and finally down to Big Salmon Creek in the valley.
Tending a cabin fire is big part of daily life during the shorter days and cooler nights from September to April, staying warm and dry with wood we harvest from the land (though just two miles from the coast we rarely get below an occasional frost at night). The winter is a special time on the land for lovers of lichens and funghi, as the rains bring bursts of exuberant life to the forest floor. In spring the orchard fruit tree blossoms are popping while we prepare the gardens and start seeds. Summers days can bring chilly dramatic fogs rolling in and out or warm sunshine, usually staying in the mid 60’s and rarely getting much above the low 70’s. In the fall we gather seeds to sow the following season and press apples which we transform into our own apple cider vinegar.
Questions of quotidian domestic life are fundamental at Salmon Creek Farm. What are the local and global implications? It can also be very sensual living this close to the seasons and the land...
︎ ANIMALS: For many reasons SCF is strictly vegetarian. Many carnivorous visitors have found it to be a helpful place to experiment with a fully plant-based diet for the first time.
︎ FOOD: We eat with the seasons and aim to grow, forage, and preserve as much of our own food from the land as possible and invite everyone eating from the land to participate in that seasonal process.
︎ WASTE: We do not provide receptacles on the property and guests are responsible for their own ‘trash.’ We strive for zero waste, shop for minimal/no packaging, and compost zealously.
︎ HUMANURE: All cabins have cute outhouses with sawdust lined humanure buckets that are emptied regularly to nearby compost sites where it transforms into the richest soil on the land, and after a few years is spread around as mulch at established fruit trees.
︎ WATER: Our water is collected from a spring on the land where it is filtered and pumped to the top of the ridge where it is stored, treated, and gravity fed to all of the cabins and gardens.
︎ SHELTER: Our cabins were all constructed with scavenged wood, windows, doors, and fixtures in the early 1970’s. We have continued in that spirit, also working with wood sustainably harvested and milled from the land.
︎ HEAT: To stay warm from October through April we burn wood sustainably harvested wood from the land which we chop and cure throughout the year.
︎ FURNISHINGS: Local thrift stores have been the source for most of the cabin furnishings, with a special focus on ‘natural’ materials like woods, canes, ceramics, cottons, wools, etc. and promoting the re-use of local materials and products that still have life.
︎ PLASTICS: Just no. But once you try to completely eliminate them from your life, you realize it’s virtually impossible these days.
As the climate is changing, we change, and as with everything, we do what we can, just trying to move with intention in the right direction...