A grain silo-turned-observatory towers above an old manure lagoon, now a tranquil pond and habitat for native birds. Goldfinches, red-winged black birds, and hummingbirds flutter from tree to flowering tree. A telescope on the deck peers into an osprey nest. Bee boxes sit stacked under a pear tree, swarmed by tiny pollinators.
These 89 acres weren’t always teeming with wildlife. Over the last two decades, farmers and conservation advocates Steve Hallstrom and Cecelia Boulais have stewarded this land, producing food for their community and bringing ecological health to its surrounding fields, forests, and waterways.
Steve and Cecelia’s introduction to food production began in the Snoqualmie Valley, where they grew vegetables and plants at a small-scale while balancing their day jobs. “Sometimes we’d be out there in the dark, harvesting and listening to the owls,” Cecelia remembers fondly.
Newly retired and frustrated by the McMansion-friendly land-use policies cropping up in King County at the time, Steve and Cecelia were ready to relocate and fully scale their operation. Cecelia was called to move somewhere reminiscent of her South Dakota childhood, a place where she could “see the open sky.”