It’s raining and blustery this morning. Again. Although 10-day forecasts are notoriously unreliable in these parts, each time I check it there is one sunny day in 10. As I am both a fair-weather adventurer and a fair-weather gardener, at least this time of year when I am also content still to be cocooned with indoor projects, it’s a problem.
Last Monday Flutterby—my new monarch orange Nissan Rogue—and I headed north and west for a hike on the Olympic Peninsula, the first of what I hope will be a weekly adventure from now into autumn. (Read that one here if you missed it). I huddled inside the next three days as the spring monsoons drummed on the roof and spattered against the windows and the valley below the house turned to lake.
Friday we got a bonus sun day, warm even. I should have been fixing my garden gate, planting the beets and potatoes, cleaning up the property from the winter storms. But after an aggravating visit to my mother, full of demands and accusations and her own grumpiness, I was in a rainy mood and blew off the beautiful day. I stayed inside finally energized to do projects I should have been doing over the winter. (What a lot of shoulds in this paragraph.)
Yesterday I got a reprieve, another unexpected sunny day. And a Monday, adventure day! But there is all the work to be done outside. What to do? I check Weather Underground. The next predicted sunny day is a week from Thursday. I compromise: both/and.
I run out to the Manor first thing and find Mama alone in the dining room still dawdling over her scrambled eggs while a staff person vacuums around her. We walk a lap of the hall then return to her room to listen to bad knock-knock jokes from Alexa. “Alexa, tell me a funny joke!” “I don’t understand that,” Alexa retorts. As pissy as Mama was on Friday, she is sweet today and when I take my leave we are both in a good mood.
I spend three hours working outside, then shower and eat lunch. At 1:30 Flutterby and I head out across the lake in the valley. I look at this valley everyday, from the vantage point of the hawks and eagles, but rarely am I down in it. We cross the water and head into the hills, traveling south across the Alpha-Centralia Road, an I-5 alternative to get to US Hwy 12 that goes to the mountains. (See it winding up the hill in the photo above?) My destination is Mossyrock to see if the DeGoede bulb farm is in riotous tulip color yet. I’m quite sure it’s not, but it’s a pretty drive, which is the point of this shunpike adventure.
As we roll along, south and east, I decide to go somewhere else first, in the delicious freedom of being master of my destination. I have driven by the road to Mineral, (population 202 in the last census) countless times on my way to Mt. Rainier, but I’ve never driven into the town. It is home to the Mineral School, an arts residency program in the former elementary school. It is also home to what was the smallest post office in the country (retired now), according to a friend who delivers mail in the Seattle area.
I stay on WA 508 to Morton. We travel through bucolic farmland and wind through deciduous and hardwood forests, not yet showing much in the way of spring green despite all the rain. I round a curve and run into Herself, having forgotten she would be here.
I wait 20 minutes for a work crew to clear the road of a dead fallen maple trunk, finally getting one massive end lifted in the jaws of the bulldozer and chainsawing it into manageable chunks. In all that time only a handful of cars were lined up on both sides. This is rural Washington.
I’m enchanted by a watery grove of birches filled with the bright golden bloom of skunk cabbage. I pull off the road and revel for a few minutes.
In Mineral, I stop at Mineral Lake and feast my eyes on Mother Mountain. Now I’m sorry I didn’t blow off the driveway cleanup and head up to Paradise early—another hour away—which according to the webcam yesterday looks to have a couple feet of new snow. I haven’t been up there in the snow since the then boyfriend, later husband, and I took his Mid-west parents up for a fourth of July picnic, eaten in the parking lot because everything else was still under the white stuff. That was more than 40 years ago. Next time. I make a date with Flutterby.
We turn back toward home and skip over to Hwy 12 in Morton, heading back toward Mossyrock. There are no tulips yet, just vast fields of promise. That visit to Paradise will be timed to the bloom, perhaps at the end of the month. I’ll keep an eye on the 10-day, check the webcams, watch the farm’s Facebook page, make a plan; and then wait for what really happens. I guess this is what retirement is: not without work and responsibilities, but with opportunity to blow it off and live into spontaneity. Life is short, eat dessert first.
#ilovewhereilive, Adventure Log, Grays Harbor, Mt. St. Helens, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Olympic Mountains, Pacific Ocean, Salzer Valley, Seminary Hill Natural Area, sunrises, Three of Earth Farm, Three of Earth Farm Airbnb, Westport WA
It’s been an aggravating week of technology failure, including (still unresolved) loss of internet at home. On the up side is WiFi is back at the Manor, and along with it, Alexa is back in Mama’s room. She loves Alexa. Visitors are treated to her rendition of Star Spangled Banner. Now I just have to learn how to program her to do things that Mama would enjoy and that would be helpful. More technology. Ugh.
I’ve had a full two weeks of guests in the Airbnb, a good thing; and lots of cleaning, laundry, and baking.
The happy news is the rains stopped on Monday and rather than do the yard and garden work that is getting out of hand, I got out of town for a drive through the valleys of Lewis County to Grays Harbor and the edge of the continent.
And a best friend from Raleigh made a 24-hour visit on her way to British Columbia. On the way from and back to the airport, we stopped at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. In between walked in the woods behind my home. We talked and talked, diving quickly into the depths of our lives. I love where I live. And I miss my dear friends. A few hours with Grace reminded me of the loss.
And then there is this…
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We are in a full-on, two-fisted grip of the rainy season here in SW Washington. As a true Northwesterner, I love it. The sunbirds leave for warmer climes, but I am content to wait for it to come to me. The winter rains foretell the verdant greens of spring and summer; indoor projects get done so I can spend summer outside.
I’m less crazy about the wind—living on the side of a water-saturated hill, surrounded by old trees—and it has been windy. A tree fell the other day (the only one that has fallen, at least since I’ve been back here). I heard the crash just before I was to leave for Seattle for time with the littles. (Have you ever heard a tree fall? It’s very loud. I often wonder what the rain forest and mountain forests sound like during a winter storm.) I envisioned something across the driveway, blocking me in. I donned my rain jacket and rubber boots and pushed my way through wind and rain to investigate.
It was the deciduous tree that fell two or three winters ago and was caught by other trees on the way down. It’s been leaning at a 45 degree angle ever since. It wasn’t endangering anything, so I had let it be. Nature will do what nature does. And now it’s down, and available for firewood, should I want to pay someone to cut it up.
Meanwhile, my Airbnb is hopping. Thirteen nights booked in January. The twin cities are a popular destination even in the dead of winter! I got the loveliest review in my in-box this morning from Alex, a young doctor from Madison, Wisconsin who was in town for a job interview. (Through his Airbnb bio, I learned a new term: locum physician.) He interviewed in Chehalis for a permanent position.
I traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the first time, and Gretchen’s lovely apartment was everything that I hoped for that captured the vibe of this part of the country. I’ll tell you my routine yesterday. I usually sleep poorly, but I woke up well-rested because the bed was comfortable and I stayed warm all night. I woke up before sunrise and ran down the hill that her home is perched on overlooking a green valley. I got coffee at Jimmie’s on Tower (damn good coffee) and jogged back as the sun rose. With the mat she provided, I did some yoga on the bluff and just chilled for a couple minutes…something I forgot do for many months rushing from one task to another. I then ate the absolutely delicious (healthy but hearty) breakfast of a homemade muffin along with homemade apple sauce, yogurt and granola (I now have a new favorite breakfast). I got ready for a job interview in the right head space…and I got an offer just after the interview! If you want authenticity, special artistic touches and the sound of wind passing through firs as you drift off to sleep, this is your place!
Isn’t that beautiful! It made me teary. The summer calendar is now available! You can read about Three of Earth Farm and book dates here. If you are local and have friends coming to town, let them know. (Oh! I have just been officially designated a “super host” by Airbnb! How great is that?)
#notreadyforspring, #ThreeofEarthFarm, airbnb, heather, Mt. St. Helens, Notes from Three of Earth Farm, Salzer Valley, sedum, Seminary HIll, signs of spring, Three of Earth Farm, Three of Earth Farm Airbnb
#Not Ready for Spring
It’s been a soggy January, but the Pacific Northwest does not disappoint: there are always some spectacular mid-winter days. This is the weekend. The forecast today was 59 balmy degrees.
I cleaned the roof, utilizing my new ladder. Abandoned splitting wood, couldn’t do it even with my new ax, and hauled more small stuff down from the woods up the hill instead. Since I was up there, I cleaned out the frozen chard in the garden and the dead pineapple sage and pulled weeds out of the root vegetable bed.
It was a lovely day, and it was good to be outside; but I am not ready for spring yet. My cocoon is still cozy and my wings aren’t ready to fly. Besides, I have fire wood. But there’s another day of sunshine, and I’m not working this one. Tomorrow I’m going on a wee adventure: sunrise (?) at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. The rain returns on Monday.
Happy Santa Lucia Day.