As a Portland landscape designer I’m in and out of 2 or 3 homes a week. It’s fun to see how people live so I figure it’s only fair to share how I live and many people are curious about living in a floating home. I can also brag about my partner Bob’s amazing design/build skills by sharing the before and after photos.
There are a lot of wonderful things about living on the water but watching the river and the weather play together is the best. Most of the time they play nicely but sometimes, like last winters snow, was quite challenging. Too much snow on one side of the house creates a tip and after a day or two of the eggs cooking on one side of the pan everyone gets a little crabby including our cat Cracker Jack.
The best part is that everything in the sky, clouds, sunrise colors, and geese heading south is duplicated in the water. This includes the eclipse in August of 2017. There’s a photo that got away. The wind typically doesn’t rock the house, usually it’s a boater going by too fast creating a wake that rocks the house, but when we have gusts and white caps, I swear I can feel the soul of the wind. Weather is intimate down on the water.
We have a resident blue heron who likes to scare people at dusk by flying low and silent until he is just overhead of an unsuspecting landscape designer trudging down the dock toward home. He makes that low gruff and very loud Heron squack. This is followed by another loud noise or two as I retrieve my belongings from where I threw them when I was startled out of my revere. So far I’ve never tossed my car keys in the water but its been a close thing. Car keys go in ones’ pocket upon departure from the car.
We have regular visits by Stellar sea lions especially when the salmon are running. They are curious and a bit snoopy. No photos but great stories of sea lions stealing from fisher folk in boats and on the bank.
I’ve enjoyed our old goose couple for many years now but haven’t been able to get a hold of her eggs for artistic flights of fancy for a few years. We have otters who mate under our house every late spring. This ritual goes on for about 5 days. It is not quiet. We have bats and mud swallows and they have a schedule for coming in the spring and leaving in late summer or fall. The diving birds come in mid fall and stay for a good part of winter. There are two kinds of owls and a particular owl couple who sit on each end of the marina and talk half the night. Their hoots are mostly pleasant sounding. There is quite a menagerie and I feel so close to nature here.
Practicalities of River Life
Yes, we schlep our groceries and everything else down to our floating home with a rolling cart. One lives very close to ones’ neighbors down here but so far its been a happy chummy place when you want chums and plenty of privacy when you don’t. I’ve met amazing and dearly memorable people.
Once we get home we don’t want to leave so most of the time we don’t. Why would we leave to go somewhere when we can be here?
Best of all I have a wonderful view of Sauvie Island and the river. I’m sure the river has a very positive influence on my life to include my Portland landscape designs.