Cultivating Land, Body & Soul

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” -Alfred Austin
“Sustainability” is a buzz-word these days usually applied to either environmental issues or to managing one’s time and work/life balance so that “it’s sustainable” (when it usually isn’t).
What creates true sustainability?
Supportive communities and individuals who contribute to those communities. As much as it is appealing to follow the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” model, and “do everything yourself,” that’s the path to burnout – and is a fallacy. To realize the dream of being independent entrepreneurs with our own bed and breakfast, took the cooperation and support of many people who have become a part of our tribe.

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade. -Rudyard Kipling

One member of our tribe is Israel – who maintains the gardens and helps with all aspects of the grounds. He brings a wealth of information about the plantings of the property from having worked for the previous owners for the past 20 years. Israel is a legal immigrant who started at 16 years old, knocking on doors in the area and offering to work on people’s yards. From that humble beginning, he now runs a successful business and employs three people. His former instructor for English classes is also a long-term client.
Our gardens are a major feature of Dungeness Barn House – in addition to vegetable plantings, we maintain an ornamental garden with roses inherited from the former owners who transplanted the roses from their parent’s garden. Israel’s favorite feature of the garden is those roses – whose fragrance permeates the air. These traditional plantings are integrated with more modern gardening concepts – including vegetable plantings as ornamental beds.

“Garden as though you will live forever.”-William Kent

Being a part of a community is a long-term commitment – and requires an investment of time and energy over a span of years. Gardening is an art form that evolves over time – and encompasses a wide range of variables from seasonal changes to the maturity of individual plants. The metaphors between communities and gardens are interconnected.

There is a bond that happens between the property and the people who put their love, blood, sweat and tears into it. The land binds us together across generations of owners and caretakers who collaborate to create a beautiful and functional garden. We are joined by a common love of the land. A thriving garden is a reflection of the community and our mutual understanding and respect. In caring for our garden, we also care for ourselves.

“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” -Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Can Do with Su – Raised Garden Bed Instructions

Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with purple cabbage

Su is the mastermind behind all of the building projects at Dungeness Barn House. She applies her talents and skills from working at Habitat for Humanity and her own construction business to create original designs.
When asked “What do you like about building?” Su’s philosophy of designing and building is to create something out of someone’s idea but that they didn’t know how to make – and “…make it happen. It makes me happy to see them happy with the final result.”

Which is a good thing because Clare is always thinking up new challenges for Su!

Clare wanted raised beds to be designed so that she could “… still garden at 80.” Waist high, and made of materials that will weather well over time, with a deep base to allow for the roots to grow. Bales of straw at the bottom provide organic matter that decomposes into a rich mulch and holds moisture. The beds are drip irrigated because as Su puts it: “I didn’t want want to spend all day watering the garden.” Whatever your age – making gardening easier and being able to easily access the plants (and weeds!) can make the difference between a garden that is maintained over time, versus one that gets neglected because it’s not “user friendly.”


Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with nasturtium

The raised beds are planted with a wide variety of vegetables – from potatoes to lettuces, spinach and heirloom-variety tomatoes. Guests are fed from the garden and from local farms from whatever is in season. The Dungeness Barn House chickens supply the eggs!

From the gardens of Dungeness Barn House

Late summer and early fall is the height of the growing season in the Dungeness. Hardy crops: potatoes, garlic, spinach and kales can be harvested even into the early winter months.

Peas and cucumbers are trellised from four corners of two of the larger beds.

Dungeness Barn House raised beds in early spring

Sequim is a cool-weather growing climate – and because the Dungeness Barn House is located on a high bluff waterfront, there are additional challenges of wind and salt air. The gardens are sheltered behind the buildings, where it’s warm enough for roses to bloom in a mild winter.

Dungeness Barn House – raised beds, sheltered

This design is flexible; make one, see how it goes and add on.

Happy gardening!

Dungeness Barn House Raised Bed

Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast at Two Crows Farm
Raised Garden Beds

So my beautiful and wonderful partner/wife, Clare, decided she wants to be able to garden when she’s 80…and figures since she won’t be able to get on her hands and knees any longer, (or most likely won’t be able to get up if she did get down there), she asked me to make these raised beds for her. Now, she can garden (and possibly with her walker later in life) standing upright and the boxes make it easy. So I’ve tried to put together what I did and some of the tips I found while making them for her. I love her creative energy. She’s always got something new for me to try and make.

Materials needed for one 3 x 5 box:

8 – pressure treated 2 x 4 x 8 (base structure)
2 – doug fir 1 x 2 x 8 (trim boards)
2 – corrugated metal (patina or rusty if you like) approx. 27” x 16’ long
2 – bales + 2 flakes (straw per box)
3” screws (make sure for use in pressure treated material or they will rust)
1” screws for metal corrugated roofing (small rubber washer attached)
6 p nails 1 1/2” long
Landscape fabric (under the boxes and over the straw)
1 yard (approx.) (Organic) Soil


4 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber
4 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber
8 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber
2 – 1 x 2 x 32 3/4” doug fir
2 – 1 x 2 x 55 1/4” doug fir
2 – 27” x 56 3/4” corrugated metal
2 – 27” x 31 1/4” corrugated metal


Take 1 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber and attach to the inside end of 1 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber with the screws. This forms and “L” shape. You will repeat this step 3 more times. Once you have 4 “L” shapes you will connect 2 of them together to form a box ( [] ). Repeat with the remaining 2 “L” shapes. Now you have 2 boxes.

Take 2 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber and screw them together for the side corners (long side to long side of the lumber). Repeat 3 more times. You now have all the side corner pieces ready to install on the boxes.

Toe nail the side corners to the boxes with the 3” screws. (I placed the side corner cuts opposite of the way the cuts were for the boxes so it would be stronger and it helped for screwing on the metal later.) (I also found it was easiest to screw on one side at a time to the bottom all four corners and then flip the entire unit onto the top (which is now laying on the bottom) and then screw it into place.) (It forms a 3 D box). After all the corner sides are screwed on the box, it should be pretty sound and you are ready for the metal.

Install the long metal on the long sides first with the metal screws. Then attach the smaller sides with the metal screws. (again, I found it easiest to place the boxes on their sides so I wasn’t crawling inside to try and attach the metal to the lumber) (learned that the hard way, ha!) Once all sides are attached place the box upright and you are ready to install the trim.

Since the metal sticks out a bit and can be very sharp, I used the 1 x 2 to hold it in place and protect the edge. Using clamps to hold the 1 x 2 and the metal close to the 2 x 4, nail the 1 x 2 to the 2 x 4 holding the metal in-between. (I used my pneumatic nailer for this, you could also use screws if you don’t have a nailer, although you might need to pre-drill so the wood doesn’t split) Either way, once this step is completed all the way around the top of the box you are ready to install the straw.

Take landscape fabric and place where you are going to be putting your boxes. I use 20 p nails 4” long and fender washers to hold down my fabric as we have a lot of rocks and harder soils. Once that is down and you’ve placed your box where you want it take 2 bales of straw and place side by side inside the box. You will find that there is a gap at the end or they look short and they are, that’s where the 2 flakes of another bale will fill in. Then cut some of the landscape fabric to cover the top of the straw to prevent it from sprouting up into your box. You’re now ready for soil.

It will take not quite a yard of soil per box giving you about 8” – 10” of planting depth. As the straw decomposes, you can fill the space with more soil, compost, manure etc. Thus, reviving the soil each year. You are now ready to plant.

Have fun and enjoy!


On a separate note, I installed a drip watering system on a timer so I’m not spending hours (although I’d like to sometimes) watering the garden. So far, it’s worked out great.

Any questions you can reach me on my cell at 360-821-9294 or leave a message. I’ll get back to you.

Happy Gardening!

It’s All about Food and Art in October on the Olympic Peninsula

Two specials to choose from in October at the 

Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast

Fall Food & Art Tour – Sequim to Port Townsend

plus $25.00 gift card.

Oct 7th-9th 2016


The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival
Oct 7 – Oct 9 · Port Angeles, WA
Looking to get away before the holiday rush?

We’ve got just the ticket for you!

Visit the beautiful Olympic Peninsula this fall from Friday thru Sunday, October 7th – 9th, 2016 for a package to see and experience historic Port Townsend, the Port Townsend Farmers Market, Artist Studio Sale at Greybird Barn and stay at one of the two best waterfront Bed and Breakfasts in Sequim. This en suite, 2 night – 3 day retreat is offered for only $550.00 for double occupancy. Single occupancy please call the B & B of their choice for details.

Start now by making your reservation at either; Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast at Two Crows Farm or Greenhouse Inn by the Bay . Then leave the rest up to your innkeepers to make this a fun and exciting weekend getaway.

Some things to look forward to…

Port Townsend Farmers Market & Artist Studio Sale at GreyBird Barn!

Upon your arrival Friday, at the Dungeness Barn House B&B or the Green House Inn on the Bay B&B relax and enjoy wine and appetizers. take in the views, stroll the gardens and beach.  After a great nights sleep, you will awake to a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast. Next you’ll be transported in comfort by a professional shuttle service to beautiful and historical Port Townsend’s Farmers Market. See local foods grown and harvested along with arts and crafts. After leaving the Farmers Market, you’ll be shuttled to The 7th annual “Artist Studio Sale at Greybird Barn” in Port Townsend where local artists are set up to show their goods. You can use your $25.00 gift certificate (one per room reservation) while at this show and purchase some of those holiday gifts early. Then you’ll be shuttled back to the Bed and Breakfast where you are staying for wine and heavy appetizers. Enjoy another wonderful nights sleep and Sunday breakfast before departing for home.

Space is limited, so make your reservation now!

To book your package weekend:

go to either Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast at Two Crows Farm (or Greenhouse Inn by the Bay)

Be sure to mention that you are wanting to be a part of the Food and Art Tour in either your online reservation, online contact, or phone call message.


Come for the Food, Stay for the Fun!
Join us October 7-9, 2016 for the 15th annual Festival

Stay at the Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast and enjoy Crab Benedict for breakfast before attending the Seafood Festival.

Join the fun at CrabFest, one of the most acclaimed food festivals in the country! The festival celebrates not only the aquaculture, agriculture and maritime traditions of the breathtaking Olympic Peninsula, but brings food, art, music, Native American activities, and children’s events into one spectacular 3-day event for everyone! Located on the gorgeous Port Angeles waterfront next to Olympic National Park and a short ferry ride from sparkling Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the event celebrates the world-famous Dungeness Crab, named after the nearby village of Dungeness, and the bounty of the sea. Featuring 14 restaurants, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, Chowder Cook-Off, the Grab-a-Crab Derby, local wine and beer, craft and merchant vendors, live music, and many more events. Rain or shine, this is the “party” of the season and, admission, as always, is FREE!

We are delighted to announce that Master Chef Graham Kerr will join us on Sunday at the Chowder Cook Off. 11:00 to 2:00.



Lilacs were glorious this year

Our Lilacs were simply beautiful this year.  Different colors, different size trees and bushes, but all stunning.  Especially under our Sequim “Blue Whole” sky this spring.  And to get to walk around all of the raised beds and green house having Lilacs surrounding the east and west sides….



The nicest thing about Lilacs is that they are not only lovely to look at but they are fantastically fragrant.  And to be working in the garden and veggies WHILE being surrounded in the sweetness, it just doesn’t get any better.



The fun part has been seeing that our new chickens are enjoying the Lilacs too.  Between the Lilacs and the cows in the field, there’s a lot to explore if you’re a chicken at the Dungeness Barn House B&B.  Or a guest!

Lavender in your garden

Not all Lavender is created equal.  Meaning that not all Lavender can be used in foods and beverages.  For our B&B-shared recipes please be sure to use Culinary Lavender. There are a few different Lavenders that will work but my most successful foods and beverages have come from using Royal Velvet or Hidcote Blue.  I like Culinary Lavender so much that I always have at least one plant in my yard, from which I can harvest fresh buds for in-season cooking and baking THEN utilize the remaining Lavender buds to dry for off-season divine food creations.  Culinary Lavender has great flavor plus it holds it’s bright color.  


Lavender doesn’t have to be in rows, on mounds, or just at lavender farms.  I love placing my Culinary Lavender IN my mixed flower beds, as boarders, and surround it (but not too closely) with annuals, perennials, and evergreen plants (Sarcococca).  In the photo above I’ve created a foundational carpet of bright green and yellow with Creeping Jenny.   Off to the sides of the Hidcot Blue Lavender I’ve installed a variety of different colored ornamental grasses; some spiked (Japanese Blood Grass on right) and some flowing and draping (on left).  I love pops of white and yellow (Fever Few, short and tall poppies) in beds where I have planted dark and rich colors like those of the Lavender plants and my other blue/purple plantings (dwarf iris, Walkers Low cat mint, Veronica, Blue Panda, Pansies, etc).  If well planned, those things surrounding your Culinary Lavender will be in their glory about a month before your Lavender.  Then those plants nearest your Lavender can be cut back to allow room for your lavender to expand in June and July.  Then after cutting your bounty of Culinary Lavender in July there will be room for some of the other plants to expand again and get closer to the neatly mounded Lavender plant that is finished until next year. 

Enjoy your yard and try some Culinary Lavender soon.  

If you prefer, purchase pre-packaged Culinary Lavender at any of the Lavender farms or stores in Sequim or online.

Our B&B Apron Story and Stylings

Clare loves aprons and she wears them A LOT.  Clare and Su work together to design apron styles that are functional, practical, and “barn-worthy”.  Clare wears her apron all day.  Starting in the morning to cook breakfast, in the garden, and even trips to the grocery store.   After many guests inquired about the aprons that Clare wears they decided to sell aprons at the B&B.  There is a fun selection to choose from.

Why aprons you might ask?

Clare, like many people and professionals have done for centuries, wears aprons as more than a way to keep clothes clean while they work.  Clare likes to wear aprons as attractive fashion accessories or as a part of her daily clothing.  She likes them so much that she designs and sews many of her own aprons (directly below).

Linen logo apron front

Linen logo apron front


Linen logo apron front

Linen logo apron back



Front of black rimmed pocket apron

Front of black rimmed pocket apron

Back of black rimmed pocket apron

Back of black rimmed pocket apron




















There isn’t a lack of apron ideas when you look for patterns or browse Esty or Pintress.   Aprons are in vogue and even better–they are retro-chic.  And wouldn’t you really EXPECT to see someone who owns, lives and works in a barn to be wearing amazing aprons?  Of course.


Here are some choices for you to consider if you want to take an apron home with you during your next visit to the Dungeness Barn House B&B at Two Crows Farm.

Apron front with crisscross back ties and patterned print

Apron front with crisscross back ties and patterned print


Apron back with crisscross back ties and patterned print

Apron back with crisscross back ties and patterned print




Denim wrap-around apron with pockets (front)

Denim wrap-around apron with pockets (front)


Denim wrap-around apron with pockets (side)

Denim wrap-around apron with pockets (side)


Sunflower apron front

Sunflower apron front


Sunflower apron back

Sunflower apron back


Sunflower apron marking

Sunflower apron marking

Our friend Tammy recently found the very first aprons that she and her sister ever made.  They were inside of her mom’s keepsake box.  For many beginning sewers, one of their earliest sewing projects is an apron (4-H club, home and family life classes, at the side of an experienced family member).  Tammy’s mom is the one who taught her to sew and after learning sewing basics on simple items like place mats and pin cushions it was an apron that was the first garment she learned to make.




Church Lady Apron pattern

Church Lady Apron pattern

Over the years our friend Tammy has gifted a handful of her friends and relatives a home-made, reversible apron from her favorite pattern called “Church Lady Apron”.  She said, “Don’t even try to get me out of the fabric store when I’m on an apron mission.  I get into all sorts of other elements like prints, wovens, color combinations for the reversibles, …. ”    Tammy recalls playing dress up with her mother’s mother’s old and worn out homemade apron that she’d pulled out of rag bag when she was younger than five years old.  “Passion is passion, even for aprons.”


So if you share this apron-passion at least one of the many aprons we sell with SPEAK TO YOU!