By Patricia Belyea
WAUCONDA WA The US Census Bureau defines The Frontier as an area with a population density of less than 2 people per square mile. And that’s where I’m living these days—in Wauconda with the ground squirrels, deer, and bears.
And down the road, the range is dotted with thousands of head of cattle.
Wauconda is located on State Route 20 in the Okanogan Highlands of eastern Washington. The hub of the town—a cafe, post office, convenience store, and gas station—is currently an abandoned collection of purple buildings.
Our log home, 10 miles north on Toroda Creek Road, is pretty remote by urban standards. The drive time to a grocery store is 35 minutes. If we go east, we shop in Republic; west, we shop in Tonasket.
A mining town, Republic looks like a set for a cowboy movie. It has a City Hall which seems a little grandiose for a population of 1000.
I rent my teaching studio in Republic, driving over Wauconda Pass to get there on workshop days.
A great amenity in Republic is the high-speed internet so I can broadcast my workshops with ease. (At our Wauconda home, we have satellite internet which is spotty at times.)
The very best thing about Tonasket is its Farmers Market. Smallholder farmers bring their fruits and vegetables into town on Thursday afternoons—from mid-May through October.
“I just picked that this morning” are words that make my heart sing. Shown here are Ton and Bodie of Leaping Sheep Farm with fresh flower bouquets and vegetables, and Ruay of Dharma Farms with her produce and delicious Thai tea.
Each season is experienced fully in Wauconda:
Winter is cold with Arctic winds blowing down from Canada, and lots of snow.
That’s followed by the Season of Mud when the Big Melt turns everything into muck.
The growing season of Summer is short. Between the frosts of early June and early September, three months are available to nurture tender indigo plants.
Fall comes early. The underbrush of the forest turns russet and a chill hangs in the air.
A New Adventure
Our rural home in Wauconda home was originally our getaway place when I worked in the city. Now, sixteen years later, it’s my full-time residence as we have sold our family home in Seattle.
Being a country mouse suits me right now. It may seem a little late in life to head away from all the amenities of an urban center. But, what better time to live life fully than today? (Don’t fret, I have flight insurance in case Michael or I need to be airlifted to a hospital for a medical emergency.)
Where’s Okan Arts?
Victoria, my daughter and business partner, runs the Okan Arts Online Shop. She’s moving (destination soon to be revealed) and the shop will move with her. So Victoria is also embarking on a new adventure!
As already announced, our fabric shop is closed until the first week of January 2022. We appreciate everyone’s patience as Victoria relocates and sets up our shop again.