We met Dennis while wandering on the Olympic Peninsula. We spotted his horse trailer turned home while walking to a waterfall; Dennis invited us in. (Dennis was gathering wood to heat his outdoor shower when he saw us - it was a perfect bit of timing on our part, ten minutes later and this story would have been a bit different!)
Dennis has 40 acres of pure Washington wonder, with rainforest-like conditions and streams full of salmon. He has spent the past twenty years building his home and learning about permaculture. He constructed a yurt against the river, carefully skirting building codes that disallow permeant structures. Much of his building skills were self-taught, picked up during his time in the Peace Corps.
Dennis continues to learn, preferring to live with, as opposed to against, the land. His roofs are living, covered in wildflowers. His guest home is a traditional Plains style teepee. His composting toilet pulls on lessons learned from time spent in both Jamaica and Mexico. The walls of his more permanent structures are built from straw and mud.
The more we travel, the more folks we meet who are redefining the idea of houses and home. From houseboats to cabins, to vans and yurts - home is, as the saying goes, where the heart is.
Brinnon, Washington. May 2018.