A July Letter from Lance

Friends,                                                                                                                                                        July 18, 2019

The halcyon days are here.  I had no idea how sweet the weather is around here in Summer.  The highs are in the mid-’70s, and the lows hover around 60.  Winds are light and variable.  And we are in the growing season with sunrise at 5 am and sunset at 9 pm which gives us 16 hours of daylight, and you can add a half-hour of twilight at dawn and dusk.  The result is extraordinary growth out in the fields.  Three weeks ago the corn shoots were tiny three-inch plants.  Driving out into the country now we see corn stalks as high as our waist and lush rows so green they almost look blue.  The potato fields are also covered in soft purple flowers – I had no idea potato plants created such lovely flowers.  Signs are up all over for “U pick-em” blueberry and raspberry farms.  The harvest has begun, and fresh berries are cheap at the local grocery stores.  Small farm stands are also common with signs that advertise local cherries at two dollars a basket.  A small sign caught my eye on one country lane: “free rhubarb” with an empty basket sitting underneath it.  The raspberry festival kicks off this weekend in Lynden.  They close off the main street and set up basketball courts for three on three teams, and it’s real competition at all age levels.  Seems strange for this Dutch themed/settled town with giant windmills on main street and the Dutch bakery producing fabulous treats to be so into basketball, but they love it and have the same games and celebration every year.  Driving out into the back roads is colorful as wildflowers are all over.  Some fields are covered in small yellow blossoms that look like tiny buttercups.  We don’t know the names of those beauties or the name of the purple spikes that grow in abundance on the verges.  My favorites are the white morning glories that are common and despised by the locals who call them “bindweed” because they choke out anything growing with them.  The almost magical sight are the fields of lavender that a few local farms have growing behind their house.  Lavender is common here in all the neighborhoods, and this year it seems even more beautiful than last year, Leslie noted.   We’re excited that Leslie’s cousin, Jane, will be here this Saturday and stay for a few days.  She lives in Dallas and is looking forward to being out of the Texas heat, and to come play with us.  So, we’ll hit the store today, and stock up on goodies and I’ll make some veggie soup with all local stuff that’s fresh.  Everybody in Texas should get two weeks here every Summer just to chill out.  Someone needs to explain it to me how the government sets milk prices.  Did you know that?  The latest figures just came out, and they are up a bit from last year.  Dairymen get $1.40 per gallon for their milk; last year it was $1.31.  Fixed prices are also set for butter ($2.40/lb) and cheddar cheese( $1.80/lb).  These current figures barely cover the cost of production and are one reason the number of dairy farms is declining in this area.  And that’s sad.  The event I missed and would like to have seen took place in a little town, Burlington, last week.  “The Colt Starting Challenge brings together five horses, 5 round pens and five horse trainers who “gentle, start and ride five unbroke horses.”  Most folks think of Seattle and the big companies that live here and don’t realize this is still cowboy country and part of the wild west. We see lots of horses grazing in pastures on the back roads.  I just got the data I need to write my 2020 Datebook and will be working out the details and dates over the next few weeks.  I say little about the people we meet and live around, but one detail caught my attention last week that highlights the energy and awareness of so many of the folks who live here.  Back in Texas, the graffiti in the men’s restroom is lewd and something you wouldn’t want your mother to see.  Here in Birch Bay, I found a different kind of message in the men’s room.  Sprawled out in big letters, the message said:  Save the Planet!  With an exclamation mark!  Hope Mercury Retrograde isn’t causing you too much trouble.  Big changes ahead in August and all point to an enjoyable month. The next Mercury Rx begins on Halloween and ends on November 21. Mark your calendar. Leslie and I send you peace and love from Birch Bay, Washington.

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