Shortly after we moved in in late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic began. We could not have moved at a better time! Having nature and space all around us was key to maintaining our mental health during those early months of the pandemic and later into 2020 and early 2021. Our appreciation for Silver Rock, and the land around it, soared to new heights!
The property helped the boys adapt to home schooling. They quickly took on an in-depth study of the developing ecosystem of our man-made, seasonal pond (a rain garden designed to catch and filter ALL run off from the property on it’s way back to our aquifer). That first spring brought the arrival of countless species of native critters: rough-skinned newts, salamanders, 3 types of frogs, dragonflies, water beetles, mallards, and the list went on…38 species of animals and plants all together when their cataloging was done. We started to notice mosquitos laying eggs (we worried about that) but then the bats arrived in significant numbers and helped themselves to all the hatchling blood-suckers. The cats enjoyed watching from the bedroom windows. We’ve had no significant issues with mosquitoes over the year, phew. Thank you frogs, thank you bats.
The Barred Owls have celebrated the end of our construction by taking up position in the woods adjacent the house and calling to each other all night across the meadow. Between them, and the vocal coyotes (who’ve made a habit of using the east side of the house as a super highway between 9pm and 2 am) we’ve been amazed just how active the property is at night. Deer often sleep in the meadow or just outside the kitchen. They leave tracks and nibble-pathways through the yard. The meadow (mostly a mix of low-growing clovers, english daisy, yarrow, and dwarf rye grasses) is a haven to deer, bees, and small critters. The song birds like to hide in the tall stems and poke their heads out occasionally when looking for seeds. The meadow requires no fertilization or special care as it is self-fertilizing, tolerates loamy/acidic soil, and needs little water to stay green. It’s also slow growing and we only mow once every 4-6 weeks. We are quite happy with it so far.
On the interior, the house continued to need serious attention after we moved in (finishing interior elements, tiling showers, building stairs to the loft, finishing trim, etc…). Conquering that large to-do list during a pandemic was nothing short of daunting. But, it’s now April 2021 and we feel much more settled with the state of the house and it is very easy to live comfortably in. Here are some photos of the interior in recent times.
As you can see, we are finally living the dream…while the Living Building Challenge was no cake walk, we feel really good about where it has brought us and life we’ve created here. Building a home with a limited array of high-quality materials, finishes, and furnishings has brought a sense of ease and simplicity. Stay tuned for updates on landscaping and gardens.