Friends, April 9, 2018
I dumped three inches of Winter from the rain gauge last week and looking out this morning I see that there is now another inch of rain in the cylinder. Hard winters across the country this year means cloudy days and rain in western Washington. Temperatures are very mild, in the 40-50’s. Today we get lucky and hit 66 which feels fabulous, and we’ll take PBJ sandwiches and grapes to the Peace Portal Park and enjoy the flowers and ocean view. And when it rains, we are still in Disneyland - but now the “Big Bud” is on. Naked raspberry vines have a light green scattering of new leaves. Daffodils are all over, even volunteers on the verges of I-5! Our maple trees have green buds the size of your little finger. And we saw on tv news the tulips are out and fabulous. Suspect we’ll be there soon. I missed seeing a strange event last month. Mt. Baker belched a big blast of gas and steam visible down here in the lowlands, as they call our area. This is a frequent occurrence they say and reminds us that this huge, cupcake snow cone mountain that’s only 30 miles away is an active volcano. “Added value” is how Leslie describes this local mountain when driving down Bakerview Road (they aren’t kidding) and this inspiring snow covered upside down cupcake fills half of your windshield. Being an active volcano, the state agency is going to drill five deep wells nearby looking for a source of geothermal energy to make electricity. The local university is involved, too. The topper here is flowering cherry trees all over town. It’s weird to me that folks in a sturdy evergreen world would plant flimsy but beautiful flowering cherry trees. They love flowers here, and the nurseries are back open with new faces and colors. Leslie has the front flower bed in good order waiting for warmer days. In other places we lived, temperatures rising brought Spring. Here, it’s the increasing daylight that generates new leaves on the berry vines because the temps have remained constant over the last three months, but now we get 13 hours of daylight, and it will grow to 16 hours mid Summer – a big reason things grow so well here. So, Spring here is a little sneaky. And we were surprised. All of a sudden abundant dandelions sparkled on green lawns while apple trees are beginning to bloom as we cruise down the back roads. We check them all out and so enjoy the drive through the open fields, farms, ranches, orchards, dairies, dark forested stretches and magnificent estates perched high on the hill. Lots to see on every road and then more when you go back the other way and see the other side of the street. Two farms we spotted on the back roads make artisan cheeses with the milk from their cows, and it’s about as pure as you can get. Local healthy stuff is always available here – the public demands it. I was unaware of the Orca pods that return to the Puget Sound each year – amazing animals and in recent decline. So the Gov passed a law to do things to protect them and to help increase their numbers. I want to give you the words of the Suquamish tribe Chairman who testified to the commission writing the law: “The orca whales are vital to our culture and spirituality as we are the first people on Puget Sound. They act as sentinels, observing our behavior and its impact on the health of these waters. They bless us with their presence and depend on us to keep our sacred pact with the Creator to care for this beautiful land.” Reading this makes me cry. The passage of the Orca bill does highlight the fact that environmental concerns are top shelf here. And I also like that we get to hear from all the tribes and get their point of view. We should all be listening.