Lance’s September letter………….

Friends,                                                                                                                 September 7, 2017

The pictures on TV of Harvey's destruction of our old stomping grounds, Rockport, and the worry for our friends in Corpus Christi took their toll on both of us over the last few weeks - tears came along for the ride. But we also had great relief that we were NOT there. We had been through two hurricane evacuations when we lived in Lamar and knew the gut wrenching fear of watching a red ball of hate on the weather channel radar get closer and closer. And leaving with the kitty in the bathroom and no way to know if our house would still be there when we got back. Horrible experience. And now again in another state. We send our prayers to them all, and we know how awful it is.

What helped take our mind off of the storm was a visit from Leslie's cousin, Jane, from Dallas. She's a lovely Cancer we chauffeured around the three little towns nearby. Our address is Blaine which is a charming little town built on a ridge top overlooking a small marina and bay. It's a fabulous setting for a bar that hosts poker games every Sunday - 25 bucks and you get into a real Texas Hold 'Em Poker tournament - deal me in.

Ferndale is also about 8 miles down the road. Good grocery store there and huge baskets of pink petunias on every street lamp. Lynden is also nearby and is the city founded by the Dutch with the two 42-foot windmills in town. The real action around here is in Bellingham, Pop. 100k, which is 15 miles south of us. The original courthouse from the last century is still strong and an anchor to a sweet downtown area. The main street is tree-lined Railroad, and it lays out and feels exactly like Berkeley in the 1960's. Pizza, crepes, bagels, burritos, elk burgers-lots of choices in the small store fronts/joints all catering to the 20k students at Western Washington University who come down from the hills to check out the used clothing stores and coffee shops - the buildings on their campus are scattered on a forested hillside overlooking the bay - fabulous. We like to hit the Bagelry for a light lunch and pick up bagels for tomorrow's breakfast. The Russian meat pies are also great to take home - lots
of Russian folks here - you can't miss the accents. At the end of Railroad St. is a steel-beamed building with a glass roof and huge glass garage doors that are open in the sunshine and closed in the rain. This is where the Saturday Farmer's Market is held. Jane loved the crowd and goodies to see and taste. We then took her to Taco Lobo, our fav Mex spot.

Having Jane light up at the Farmer's Market and reviewing with her all the things we love about Western Washington was good medicine for seeing the sadness on tv. The one spot she missed was the local bar with 15 pinball games upstairs. Old technology is my strength. I hung out at a bowling alley in my younger years and would watch this big dude (he was 16) play a pinball game and win free games - I copied his style of when to hit it and how to use the flippers and developed into a minor league pinball wizard. I searched every spot in Corpus Christi, and there wasn't one pinball game in town. Here I have 15 to choose from, and there's another pinball emporium on the other side of town I haven't checked out yet. Diggity. It's therapy to me, and I solve the problems of the world keeping the steel ball moving - the payoff is a loud "KNOCK."  Which means I scored enough to win a free game. I always like to leave a free game ready in the machine when I leave cuz I know some young kid like me will go down the row of machines and hit the free game button on each one just to see if someone left one still to play. And bingo, he will get a free game that I leave and be smiling that someone was so dumb to leave it in the machine. It's a great feeling I remember well - miracles do happen.

5 thoughts on “Lance’s September letter………….

    1. Leslie McLaurin Post author

      Hi, Bridget, good question, I didn’t realize the letters weren’t in the Lance’s Letters folder! I just moved them all so you can read them all for this year. When I have some time I will post more. Thanks for letting us know!

      Reply
  1. Nicole

    Thanks for these letters Lance! I love hearing your “voice” while I read them. So glad you were not in S. Texas for Harvey. I’m also surprised not to hear of any fire problems where you guys are now…. is my geography off? I thought the whole NW was suffering fires.
    Take care of each other!
    xoxo
    Nicole

    Reply
  2. sandra L Alvord

    I just adore reading your letters Lance! Thank you for always making me smile even if the day is a Quack! Hahaha. Your perspective on things is always a breath of fresh air. I live where it is nice and dry in California, but seeing the plight of those in Texas & Puerto Rico touched my heart as well.
    The world is truly a much smaller place and I am sure I am far from the only one who added prayers for protection to the over flowing basket.

    Your work & your letters do make a difference, and I am very grateful to be a long time member!
    Thanks to Leslie as well for all the multitude of things she does!
    You are both appreciated!

    Reply
  3. lance Ferguson

    thanks Nicole and Sandra…no fires close by,Nicole…thankfully….and now it’s falling leaves and lovely here…i appreciate your feedback…will keep the “Pine Cone Chronicles” coming…

    Reply

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Lance’s August letter……………………..

Friends,                                                                                            August 18, 2017

Leslie came through the door wide-eyed.  Back from her stroll around the neighborhood where she meets all of the neighbors, she told me about an amazing scene.  To set the stage we live in a small gated community surrounding a golf course that has been abandoned.  The grass has grown up in a wild way, and there is a big pond in the middle of the property where the Canadian Geese hang out.  Huge trees border the far side of the old course and that’s the area where Leslie met two elderly sisters who lived in a house that backs up to the old course.

In one woman’s hand was a plate with two raw chicken legs.  Leslie asked about them and the woman said:  Watch.  She heaved the chicken leg out into a clear spot of grass between houses.  In a flash, a bald eagle swooped down and grabbed the meat just as it hit the ground and flew off.  This happened within ten feet of Leslie who said she could hear the wind in the eagle’s wings and see the powerful talons close up.  Turns out this is a tradition that the two sisters inherited from previous owners.  The eagles have a nest way up in the top of the big trees and are given food every day so that they will hang out and raise their chicks literally in the woman’s backyard.  I’m hoping to catch a feeding one of these days.  I’ve seen one bald eagle in the trees over Dakota Creek which is nearby, but never as close as this.  Amazing.

Sign of the week at a local feed store:  Beginner bee hive kits on sale. No thanks.

The big event this week is the Northwest Washington County Fair.  Fun, fun… the fairgrounds sit in the middle of Lynden, a little town founded by the Dutch, that’s about ten miles down the road.  Dutch? Yup…two 42 foot windmills in town, one a coffee shop and the other is an inn.  The Dutch bakery is big trouble if you like sweets.  The Dutch cleaners are next door.    Big baskets of colorful flowers are on every light pole.  Flower beds bursting with color greet you on all the street corners in Lynden.  The Fairgrounds take you back to times long ago with shady tree-lined paths and small buildings open at both ends.  Horses, cows, bunnies, chickens and “the collections” building were all points of interest to us.  Smiling faces and positive energy under sunny skies and a high of 73 degrees made the day a real joy.

The Eclipse brings a powerful two week period in your life to plant seeds and to turn over a new leaf.  Got kids?  Talk to them and propose they write down what they want to do and make happen in the future…that little seed can do a lot in the days ahead.  As times change.

Peace and Love,  Lance

2 thoughts on “Lance’s August letter……………………..

  1. Christine

    A woman moved across the street from me and she decided to buy multiple bee hives and make lots of honey. Now my bird bath is filled with bees swarming to drink the water in it and the birds I loved are gone. I can’t go in my yard anymore because bees are constantly swarming and swooping everywhere in large, large, scary numbers. You are right about the hives Lance, people buy them and don’t know what they are doing. I don’t know what to do. I pay taxes to live here too, maybe its a big can of wasp killer, I hate to say it.

    Christine

    Reply
    1. Katherine Relf-Canas

      Hello,

      I am not sure where you live, but if you do some research you are likely to find a bee keeper who can rid you of the bee problem you have. Killing bees–pollinators–is already taking place on such a great scale with dire consequences that killing them is the last thing you want to do. Bees are necessary; bee keeping is not for beginners without experts at the ready to help them. Maybe your problem (way back in August) has been solved already, but bees are so necessary–and we need them in order to maintain our food supplies and to pollinate good vegetation. I’m sure you know this, but I just want to put in a plug for bees since talk of killing them is an outdated method in our fragile ecosystem with so many people taking great pains to draw attention to their endangerment and to the consequences of not having bees around. Nature needs bees. You are part of that cycle, too, and so are your kids, if you have kids, etc., etc., etc.

      Reply

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LOOKING AHEAD TO SEPTEMBER:

Uranus is on stage again this month—changes are in the wind. And it’s likely an important truth will come out as well. Mercury is finishing up his Retrograde cycle that started in August and as he slowly stations in the heavens, he makes a lovely trine to Uranus that is in power over the first six days. Mercury stops on Sept 5 and resumes direct motion holding on to the positive energy in the trine for at least another day. Uranus rules the truth and usually brings an unexpected point of view. This is a good period of time to plan your future, or to schedule important matters. New ideas/connections that come to you could be winners—take notes, investigate new options/possibilities in Sept. Mars links up with Mercury and also trines Uranus as the month begins. Venus will also trine Uranus on Sept 17.

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LOOKING AHEAD TO AUGUST:

Heads up! The most difficult marker in the Skywatch this month turns exact on Aug 4 as Jupiter in Libra squares Pluto in Capricorn. The energy in this square promotes overindulgence in every way possible: promises, expenses, expectations, on and on. This square has been “creeping” into power over the last three weeks, and we’ve seen it before. This is the last pass. But caution lights are up in the face of this square. Jupiter rules the law, travel, foreigners, and bullshit. Pluto rules death/rebirth and the positive side of this square is to end something detrimental to your mission in life FOR GOOD!

This message to teenagers is: clean up your room and take out the trash. (I can hear my father’s instructions from long ago.)

Most helpful is that we have two more powerful Eclipses in the heavens and both are connected to other planets in positive trines. Yes, yes, yes. The Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse on Aug 7 makes a lovely trine to lucky Jupiter. We only get four Eclipses a year usually and they are the most powerful New and Full Moons.  Their connection to the other planets varies and is a determining factor in whether the Eclipse is helpful or is “A bad Moon rising.” Jupiter helps you make a graceful exit wherever needed and encourages you to think of your future—how long will you put up with a person or situation that does not fit into your future plans?

The Solar Eclipse and New Moon this month on Aug 21 makes a very tight trine to Uranus, the planet that rules changes. Note events around these lunations. Endings and conclusions—“I love you”—the words shine in the face of a Full Moon. Seeds planted in the dark of the New Moon are power packed with the Sun and Moon together in the same spot in the Zodiac. This pair will encourage and help to expand/grow your new plans and initiatives as the Moon gains light in the heavens in the days ahead. Bottom line: this is an excellent month to end the unnecessary crap in your life, and to begin something unique, experimental and outside the box from your own creative gifts. This is the time to speak up and to place your order. Just double-check the details.

Complication. Mercury turns Retrograde on Aug 12 in home sign Virgo. This Rx cycle is not difficult as the Twins make no squares or challenging aspects as they back up on the bases. However, Mercury backs into Leo on Aug 31 and will end the Rx roaring like a Lion on Sept 5 after meeting Mars in the heavens and making a trine to Uranus. This is a power packed ending to the Rx cycle after a fairly quiet beginning.

A sextile in astrology is a 60-degree angle between two planets and signals a time of opportunity here on Earth. Lucky Jupiter and realistic Saturn form a sextile in the heavens on Aug 27. This marker fills the space left by the Jupiter square at the month’s beginning and will be in full power even with Mercury Rx. Good timing is a hallmark of this marker—tune in to opportunities that come up during this sextile as this is when you meet the person who can help you—Jupiter is in Libra, the sign of partnerships. It also signals a very good time for starting new classes this Fall and all matters ruled by Jupiter.

Saturn leaves his Retrograde cycle and resumes direct motion on Aug 25. He turned Rx on April 6 and now kicks on the green lights to put new energy into priority ambitions over the next eight months. You may have to wait until Mercury turns direct in motion to get any satisfaction from Saturn’s revival. Capricorn and Aquarius birth signs ruled by Saturn, especially.

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The June letter from Lance…………………

Friends….                                                                                                June 10, 2017

We’ve been here one year today.  It’s been an amazing experience moving about as far away from the Texas Gulf as possible and still remain in the USA.  I was worried about the weather and whether I would like it.  I’m part lizard and love the heat.  But I had to admit the combination of heat and humidity in Texas was really hard to live with.  Add a million mosquitoes to the heat and Summer was really no fun in Texas – we lived in air conditioning all the time, and kept the windows closed.  Here it’s all different.  We’ve had the hardest Winter on record, and it was fun.  A few really cold days, some snow, and a new coat – not a big deal and not painful.  The climate here is amazing.  The Ocean modulates the temperatures – our high is around 70, and the low is 50.  No wind at all, which is one reason this temp range is extremely comfortable.   We’ll hit the 80’s this Summer, but the nights cool off and the evening breeze is welcome.  So, the windows are open most of the time, and the house smells fresh – it’s great sleeping weather.  The Sun is up at 5 am, and we get 16 hours of sunshine during Summer days.  That’s one reason everything grows like crazy here.  It is cloudy a lot, but the rain here is gentle and doesn’t interfere with shopping and getting around.  We have four different cities close by including the big city, Bellingham, pop. 190K, just 15 miles away, where we can get everything we need.  There’s not much in Blaine, but Lynden and Ferndale have stores and restaurants and lots of color.  Both cities have huge baskets of flowers hanging from the light poles on all the main streets.  Leslie has been doing her share of planting flowers around here.  Two pots of yellow Margarite daisies, blue lobelia, orange marigolds, and miniature white daisies sit on each side of the garage.  The front bed has nasturtiums lemon thyme, delphiniums, snapdragons, chives, and radishes flourishing.  In the back yard, Leslie created a new flower bed against the fence and planted ivy which is growing up and covering the fence.  Petunias and impatiens also planted there are in full color with bright faces.  So, you can see that Washington agrees with Leslie and she is in heaven tending her garden and flowers.  And driving the backroads with me.  We are in two lane heaven and always drive into Ferndale using just quiet country roads that cut across the ridge tops and dip into valleys with miles of green fields and cattle grazing.

The strawberry crop is coming in now; it’s late as we had a cool Spring.  The raspberry vines now look like huge bushes with twice as many leaves as last month.  Hundreds of white bales of hay dot some fields.  Farmers wrap a bale of hay in white plastic sheets so it will not get moldy and can bet stored outside in the rain.  In the distance, these white bales look like huge marshmallows covering the hillside.  And at least one, and usually two or three dairies will also be snuggled in between the raspberry fields and the long arms of the dense forest that never gives up the right of way.  It’s an unusual mix of land use, topography, and natural scenic beauty – we always leave the map at home, but Leslie is a superb navigator and rarely makes a wrong turn as we explore the back roads.  Lots of new roads left, and that makes me happy.  I actually like the weather here.  When the Sun is out, it is glorious.  The rain is gentle, and it’s never cold.  The people are friendly and generally happy to be here; the two safest cities in Washington are Ferndale and Lynden – our area.  We are really lucky to be in this part of the state, thanks to Pete, Leslie’s Son, for leading us here.  Seattle is not too far away but of no interest as we get Seattle tv stations and see the traffic and hear about the gang activity.  We like living in the sticks and driving the back roads into town.

 

Love,

Lance

4 thoughts on “The June letter from Lance…………………

  1. Georgia

    Just a heads up … ivy on the fence is beautiful, but in some parts of western washington it is considered an invasive plant … mostly because the climate suits it perfectly and it migrates very easily into the forests with the right amount of sunshine … crowding out the native plants …

    Glad you are both are enjoying your new place in the universe.

    Thanks for all your insights, too.
    G.

    Reply
  2. Janet Dutra

    Lance your letters are so colorful I can almost feel the sun and smell the light rain! So happy you and Leslie are enjoying that part of our beautiful country. Hope you are extremely well and keep your letters coming.

    Love/Light & Blessings,
    J

    Reply

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Lance’s May Letter……………..

Friends,                                                                                            May 12, 2017

Paradise is regained!  The explosion of green everything and so many flowers you couldn’t count are all a colorful splash of joy in our neck of the Great Northwest.  Even the dandelions were magnificent…pure yellow sunshine faces almost covered the hillsides and pastures:  millions and billions of gold flowers made a rainy day much more fun.  Flowers are everywhere.  Go to any grocery store, and you walk around fifty trays of flowering plants, tomato starters – all waiting for a home.

And you can be sure Leslie got her share and is now Farmer LuLu.  The tomatoes (four varieties) are planted in the big tubs with basil and placed on the side yard where we get the most sun.  Nearby she planted runner beans, carrots, and Italian broad beans.  Plus chives, thyme, oregano, dill, and parsley.  Her idea of a garden is what she calls The English  Garden Cottage look: colorful and messy. To that end, she planted daisies, white and blue lobelia, marigolds, impatiens and more that I can name.

Folks here plant flowers right and left, and it’s a joy just driving down the streets in Blaine as so many yards have fabulous tulip displays and gardens/yards.  However, a juvenile black bear was also spotted in this little town last week.  We live about ten miles away from the spot so we are not worried and the authorities said just leave him alone and he’ll drift back up into the forest.

Driving the back roads now is paradise.  Every tree and shrub in the forest now have new leaves, and the dense wall of foliage is in every shade of green there is.  Just three weeks ago the raspberry vines were naked sticks.  Now they have an eight-inch collar of new green leaves covering every stalk.  The Kodak moment on our last drive was spotting a pair of Canadian geese with five fluffy chicks following them – both mom and dad were herding the group and feeding.  Leslie’s favorite spot was a small pasture where we could pull off the road and see a flock of sheep and the new lambs munching the new grass.  Covered in soft light brown down, you just wanted to get in there and kiss them on the nose.  A black lamb was there, too, and it made me realize what the black sheep of the family really means.  Duh.

The drive takes you into the heart of the forest and up on ridges where you have a fabulous view of the valleys below – some lucky folks have their house perched on the top and have a view that is breathtaking.  We also see driveways leading into the forest, but you can’t see where they go and it makes for a very private setting for the houses there.  Once we get off the ridge tops the two-lane farm road cuts across a huge swatch of farmland with acres and acres of raspberry vines and then further down the road is a dairy-farm with weathered red barns and big farm houses surrounded by green, green fields of alfalfa hay that’s almost knee high now.

Along the way, we see little huts or lean-tos by the road in front of some houses – shelter for their kids waiting for the school bus in the rain.  And it’s easy to spot the old timers as their houses have two chimneys and moss on the roofs.  There’s usually a huge woodpile near the house, too.  Lots of pastures hold horses here along with cattle, goats, sheep and llamas who have a dumb look on their faces.We also pass blueberry farms, some with hives of bees sitting on the edge of the field to make sure every plant gets pollinated.  In the background we see the snow covered mountains and it amazes me that the diversity of topography in this area is so great.  The ridge lines are steep, and the views are stunning, but when you get down to the valleys, the land is flat, and the soil is fertile.  The forest is always nearby, and we both love every part of the drive and the land here.  Then add that everyone plants flowers and hangs flower baskets from their front porch roofs and we are in heaven.

However, puff goes the dandelions, and now there are millions, billions, trillions of seeds blowing in the wind – next year’s crop of gold is guaranteed.

One thought on “Lance’s May Letter……………..

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