February Letter from Lance…..

Friends,                                                                                                     February 21, 2017

Big time Winter here in Western Washington….coldest December on record and we were snowed in for three days…only 6 inches of snow but it melted and became ice at night…we finally got out one afternoon and got supplies.  We fed the birds and critters.

Leslie took down the Christmas wreath on the front door, brought it inside and strung apple halves on it smeared with peanut butter and covered with bird seed then hung it on the fence in our back yard.  Suddenly we had a hungry crew out there snarfing the apples, including two seagulls who weren’t interested but wanted to see what was going on.  A wood duck came by, too, and he scooped up the birdseed in the snow.  By Sundown the apples were gone, so she reloaded it for the next day.

We were cozy and cooked up a storm and really enjoyed the beauty of the snow-covered trees and yards.  Now, we have rain and will set a new record for the month – the old record was 8 inches and we are already there.  We don’t mind the rain as it is still so beautiful here – the snow-covered mountains turn pink and magical in the fading sunlight at dusk.  The good news is that the days are getting longer at 2 ½ minutes a day and when the Sun is out, it is glorious.

Check out the park just down the road from our house at www.birchbaywebcam.com.  The beach in the foreground extends out 50 yards from the shore at low tide which gives us a huge area to dig for clams and walk.  Lots of wandering two lane roads here and one of our faves goes to Sumas, pop 3,000 or so.

After driving out of the hills we come upon acres and miles of farm land.  The topography amazes me as there is so much valuable farmland and pasture flat as a table just before you get to the forested foothills of the Cascades and snow covered mountains.  Dairy farms line the road and you can smell them way before you get there.  Something like 100 small dairy farms just in this county.

So, when you get to Sumas, signs are up:  Milk @ $1.99 a gallon, butter for $2.49/lb.  The Canadians live four miles away in Abbotsford, BC and come across the border to stock up on these goodies and gasoline, all much higher where they live.  There’s a big train yard there, too.  Filled with stacks of lumber that comes in from Canada.  Trains are everywhere carrying wood, oil, and coal.  The locals are fighting the coal shipments as they are so dirty.

It’s nice to live in a blue state where they really care about the environment.  In the cities, there are two signs before you cross a bridge over a stream.  One sign names the stream.  The other sign has a picture of a fish and the message:  This stream is in your hands.  Enough said.

They serve tartar sauce with fries here.  But I haven’t seen one state flag.  They are everywhere in Texas.  Not here.  The only flag they fly other than the Stars and Stripes is the one for their pro football team, the Seahawks.  The Mexican food here is better than we had in Corpus Christi – amazing and delightful.  In general, everything is much more sophisticated here and our state leaders were the first to fight Dump’s immigration orders.  Bravo for Washington!  Bottom line:  we have been acclimatized by the cold north wind out of Canada and snow, and now really enjoy the normal temps of 50 in the afternoon and the low of 40.  it’s also amazing how temperate this area is for being so far north due to the ocean current nearby – it rarely freezes.  And on the radio, the CBC, cousin to the BBC) broadcasts informative stuff, but I have to get used to the Celsius temps- “what? It’s only going to be 5 degrees today”  cluck, cluck, cluck.  We’re happy and staying.

3 thoughts on “February Letter from Lance…..

  1. Sandy

    The Birch Bay view from the link you gave us was beautiful – but it was just an addition to the already WONDERFUL images you give us with your stories!!! Thank you! Loved the kind gesture of Leslie’s apple slices with peanut butter and bird seed for your wild visitors!
    Enjoy it all….it sounds like your health continues strong – and your new home is ideal!!!

    Reply

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New letter from Lance………..

January 23, 2017

Friends    

First, I’d like to thank all of you who sent me cards, love, and prayers for recovery.  It worked and I’m back in the saddle, able to type again (my left hand was semi-paralyzed) and busy working on charts and catching up with office matters.

Second, I want to apologize for the late arrival of this issue of Skywatch – time got away from me and I’ll be certain to get the next issue to you earlier in the month.

We’ve had the coldest December on record in Washington this year.  All the big storms usually start here and move east.  We had a fabulous dusting of snow earlier in the month and lows in the teens…brrr…but now are back to normal highs of mid 40’s.

The morning routine here is the same whether there is snow on the ground or it’s just raining.  Leslie first brings in the feeders for the hummingbirds – one species of hummers winters here.  The feeders were frozen solid on the coldest days, so Leslie thaws and refills them – a hungry hummer is waiting for her and eagerly gets on the landing perch to fill up when she arrives with fresh nectar.  Next, Leslie feeds the rest of the “livestock” as she calls them.  A wicker hamper by the back sliding glass door holds bags of goodies.

She begins by opening the peanut bag and throwing several handfuls of goobers out on the patio.  Then she gets the bag of wild birdseed out and spreads it on the grass for the sparrows and the little birds.  And last, another bag in the hamper comes out and it is full of oily, black sunflower seeds which are also thrown out on the patio.  I sit at the dinner table with the sliding glass door behind me…and by the time I finish my first cup of coffee, we have a backyard full of guests.Leslie whistles when she throws out the goobers and in less than ten minutes more than a dozen hungry jet black crows show up for the peanuts and will grab three at a time in their beaks and fly off.  And then here come the clowns, gray squirrels Earl and Pearl joined by their dark cousins, Blackie and son Bubba who sit on the steps of the patio and eat sunflower seeds for almost an hour.  Meanwhile, the little birds are gobbling up the seeds out in the grass and staying away from the fat crows. It’s a fun, three ring circus every morning.

Something strange happened after the snow melted, The grass in everyone's front yard was green!  This kind of grass is mossy and soft and delightfully green when watered on these Winter days.

The Kodak moment we got while driving the back roads was seeing trumpeter swans out in the barren fields.  I saw two, while Leslie saw more than 30 in one spot.  They are the largest birds that can fly with up to 10-foot wingspan, pure white bodies, and jet black beaks.  They don’t like heat and so stay mostly up north in Canada.

Apples, Apples, we got apples up here.  And the locals have just introduced a new variety.  It is harvested late in the season “and has a tartness that is balanced by sweetness and noticeable apple freckles’ is what the press release says.  They are called Crimson Delight.  And I have no idea what apple freckles are.  Sweet and tart at the same time?   Sounds like “alternative facts”, doesn’t it?

Ah, the Sun is out today…the weather folks here call it “sun-breaks” and we’ll enjoy the ride to the post office, seeing the blue waters of the bay, the green line of pines and huge firs and cedars standing along the roadside, and in the distance, the white capped Cascade mountains and mount Baker.  White, green and blue – the colors so pure we never tire of driving into Blaine to get your mail.  And we thank you again for all your support and sweet notes.

12 thoughts on “New letter from Lance………..

  1. Beth Haggerty

    Lance and Leslie,

    Thanks for “transporting” us all into your exhilerating life. It is a wonderful antidote and inspiration to all of us who are continuing to attempt to process our lives within a new historical moment.

    Beth

    Reply
  2. Sandy

    Amen to Beth’s comment about the delight from your stories and descriptions – and a salute to your full and continuing great health!!!!!
    Mad Magazine craziness has infused our world. It would be so peaceful to ignore but your words and celestial advice give us hiking poles to stay upright and engage.
    Thanks so much…..

    Reply
  3. Lauren Blaurock

    It’s so good to hear from you. I’m very thankful that you’re back in the saddle. Thanks to Leslie for keeping it going
    Love you guys
    Lauren

    Reply
  4. Barbara

    So happy to hear how well you are doing Lance, what a wonderful way to start your day!
    Love to you both, Barbara

    Reply
  5. Barbara

    I have missed a whole lot of the story… am happy you both are together enjoying a new venture in your lives. I know Lance, that you are getting the best in medical care but wonder if you have experienced Acupuncture for issues like your arm etc?? If not, I HIGHLY recommend you consider it. Most reputable Acupuncturist take insurance so would be really affordable. As a Doc of Holistic Health, was my first thought when I read your “Letter”.. Hugs, well wishes to a continued recovery and know that You have support group that is sending both of you Love and Healing Thoughts!

    Reply
  6. Lance Ferguson

    yes, I have had acupuncture treatments in the past….however, didn’t need them this time as
    i worked and worked on my fingers and got my feeling and strength in them back.
    thanks for all your notes…and clucks…i can feel the positive energy.

    Reply
  7. Gorgegoddess

    Those freckles are cellular openings called lenticels. They allow fruit to “breathe in” oxygen and “exhale” CO2. The lenticels also allow fruit to lose water. Plants have an open circulation system, not like vertebrates’ closed circulation system (blood). Plants need to lose water to pull nutrients from the soil to leaves and fruit.

    Reply
  8. Baraka

    So happy to hear that you are so much improved. I wish I could spend a morning watching your guests enjoy the bounty you and Leslie share with them! May every day be a good day for yo.

    Reply
  9. Billy D

    Lance, if you need something to do with all those apples, try the Apple Lady’s Apple Cake recipe from the Paris Cookbook. It’s easy to find on the Internet, easy to make and almost totally healthy.

    Reply
  10. Pete and Karla

    We’re so pleased to hear of your recovery as we love you and your work. Great to hear of Leslie’s dedication to feeding the wee ones who rely on her for their breakfast each day. Blessings and gratitude to both of you for all you do.

    Reply

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A Letter from Leslie…….

December 17, 2016

A note from Lance:

I’m going to take a little break so Leslie will be posting this month’s letter to you all.  We have had quite the month, she will tell you all about it and what’s going on here in Birch Bay.

And from Leslie:

As Lance said we have had quite the month and felt we should let you all know what has happened.

Lance had a massive stroke early Thanksgiving morning (1:30am).  I knew what had happened and called 911 right away.  Bless those boys for getting here within minutes, and we were on our way to the hospital in Bellingham where he was admitted and sent right to ICU.  It was touch and go for a while, first reports were not favorable and the doctors thought we should plan for the worst.  Unbelievable.

But one young, optimistic Neurologist came into his room, calmly closed the door, got right in his face and yelled “Lance! Wake up! Come on! Wake up!”  And sure enough, he rallied, like he had just had a very deep sleep.  And I told him, “the Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins game is on in an hour, so you better get this sorted.”  Game time, he was sitting up, watching and cheering for his beloved Cowboys.  Thank God they won.

So, two days in ICU, two more on an observation floor and home we went with a walker and all the medical “stuff” that goes along with a stroke victim.  We have had lots of support, Home Health Services have come almost every day.  In fact, they just released him yesterday.  They have all come in and said the same thing.  “You are doing fine, call us if you need anything.”  And all the medical equipment is now stored away.  I knew he would be fine when I fussed at him to use the walker, which he picked up and carry across the room.

So, what was going on in his chart you will probably be asking.  But first let’s look at the Skywatch for that day.  Some damn fool astrologer wrote:

Not the usual energy in today’s Thanksgiving Skywatch.  Morning hours are good for getting the pies done as the Moon trines Mars at 12:40 pm CST. But Jupiter and Pluto form a square in the heavens at 4:42 pm suggesting things don’t go as planned this afternoon and evening.

And what was in Lance’s chart?  Pluto square the Moon (quack) and Mars opposite Pluto (double quack). The good news is he also had Jupiter conjunct the Moon.

And what was in my chart? Uranus square the Sun.  I was thinking a possible culinary disaster not a full blown medical event.  But it’s over, he rallied, and life goes on.

He has had little residual effect from the stroke, which was right side, so his left side was affected.  He of course is mad that he can’t type well with his left hand and his speech is a little slurred, but he is back to doing readings and just finished January Skywatch.  This guy is a real trooper.

The weather has also taken an unusual turn.  We have had snow and freezing conditions for almost a week.  As I write this the temperature is 17 with a real feel of 8 with snow flurries.  Not quite what we expected here, but we are still grateful to be here in Birch Bay!

This cold snap has created somewhat of a crisis for the hummingbirds here. The Anna’s species live here year- round, and this cold weather is almost too much for them.  Lots of us get up right as the sun comes up to bring in the feeders which are frozen solid and refill for the day.  On a local birding Face Book page someone showed his “hummingbird warmer” – a cookie sheet covered with an electic heating pad.  Brilliant!

So, it’s been a rather exciting first six months here in the Pacific Northwest. We are grateful to be here where we are safe and well cared for.  And we are grateful to all of you, who show such great support for Skywatch.  We appreciate your love and prayers and good energy.  If you are so inclined, please send Lance a card, or note.  Our home address is: 4804 N. Golf Course Drive, Blaine, WA 98230.  Sending each and every one of you our very best wishes for a Happy New Year.

17 thoughts on “A Letter from Leslie…….

  1. Christine

    Lance and Leslie,

    Nous t’aimon
    pour tout ce que tu es,
    tout ce que vous avez ètè,
    et tout ce que vous êtes encore à être.

    Never forget that.

    Reply
  2. Sally Aderton

    Leslie and Lance,

    You and your wisdom make my life better every single day. As I have had the privilege to know Lance’s voice, when I read my Skywatch daily, it is more like Lance is reading it to me. I love that!

    Here is a cyber note sending you the biggest smile from my heart. I can muster. These are not the easiest times on the Earth but she still keeps spinning and the stars keep shining so I think we will keep on, keeping on.

    It is love that gets us all through. I am sending you the biggest smile from my heart.

    Always Your Fan, Sally

    Reply
  3. Pamela

    Leslie…thank you so much for sharing with us!
    What you give to us all is very special and I know I speak for us all when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart! Wishing you peace, strength and healing

    Reply
  4. Patte

    I read the daily every morning, and am not surprised that Lance was able to wake up, get up, and get moving. He just needed a little nudge…
    I’ve been through the same thing in the near past and have had to give up my working life totally. But you’ll find that you will recover better if you take it easy, don’t do too much every day and enjoy your life moment to moment, day to day and not worry about tomorrow.

    My love and respect to you both!

    Reply
  5. jane dann

    Lance and Leslie,
    My love, thoughts and prayers are with you.
    You enrich my life, I’d be lost without my daily Skywatch….. and I think Lance still has way too much to do….so, it’s not his time!
    Know how much you both are appreciated and cared about.
    Peace,
    Jane

    Reply
  6. Pat

    Hi Lance and Leslie,

    Sending positive thoughts, love and light to you!

    Hope each day brings more health & well-being.

    May this yuletide grace you with healing joy and
    peace,
    Pat

    Reply
  7. Carol

    Lance and Leslie,
    It is a testament to you just reading what everyone wrote.
    I read the skywatch everyday, you all have added to my life in so many ways.
    I hope your recovery is swift, but as one said, and do rest and sleep.
    Your body will heal with that rx.
    May you have a lovely holiday season with family and friends.
    Your reader and follower,
    Carol

    Reply
  8. Sandy

    We love you, Lance and Leslie,
    You are BOTH troopers of the highest order – and we all ( who so enjoy Lance’s wise words daily) are grateful for the caring and commitment you give to Skywatch – and the model of a great, loving relationship you teach us!
    I can speak to Lance’s resilience and devotion. He completed a reading for me ridiculously soon after he came home – unbeknownst to me. I am grateful that Lance and Leslie let everyone know what happened – to allow us the chance to support him with our prayers, love and words.
    I am AWED at the story of the angelic neurologist who yelled at Lance.
    May angels hang with you for the rest of a LONG LIFE TO COME!!!!

    Reply
  9. Tippy Trevitt

    Oh My..Busy daze….Sorry to hear this news, but ever so happy Lance is recovering nicely….Rocket speed….keep healthy and Blessedly together..xo.. TT

    Reply
  10. Wendy

    Dear Leslie and lance,

    Shock & Awe. Uranus and Jupiter. So glad The big Protector won. What Sandy said- you are both Troopers of the highest order! I can’t explain my feelings of gratitude that you are with him. That love has found you in eachother. I just love you guys! So glad I got to know Lance in his many visits to Peace of mind Center in Shreveport. He’s the Best. Thank you for all you do Leslie and the share, so important to know! All Love & Light & prayers are with you both! Geaux Cowboys!

    Reply
  11. Janet Dutra

    Bless you, Lance and Leslie. Thank you for the update. I am so grateful for all the work you do and happy to be part of the Skywatch family.

    Lance, I am so happy that your recovery is phenomenal! You are a real trooper! Please take care and continue to get healthier.

    Leslie, God Bless you for all you have taken on. Lance is so lucky to have you has his partner. We all are.
    Love/Light & blessings to you both. Wishing you a joyful, loving, happy and healthy New Year.

    Reply
  12. Lelle

    May you both have strong, healthy bodies and a very happy, joyful long life.
    re: stroke…you may want to look into CoQ10…
    Peace.
    Lelle

    Reply
  13. Julie

    Dear Leslie and Lance,
    Thanks for keeping this letter from December up as I’m just now reading it and wouldn’t have wanted to miss the news.

    I’m hoping Lance is continuing his recovery and by now is as good as new. Hugs to you both for I know this was quite an ordeal for Leslie, too.

    The Skywatch dailies and Datebook make an important contribution to my life and I’m glad I’ll be able to count on them from now on. Lance, keep up the good work!

    Reply
  14. Linda Martinez

    Dear Lance and Leslie,

    I just read the news. Thank you both for all that you do! I am so glad you two have each other. I am very fortunate that I have seen Lance in action. I too hear his voice when I read my skywatch. It really has made an impact on my life. It will be a sad day when you two go on your journey to the other side of life, but a joyous day for you, freedom of bondage of the physical body. I know that you two are angels here on earth. Love to the both of you. Lance grow stronger every day…. Leslie stay strong as you always have been. Love is strong and healthy!!
    Have a bountiful 2017 with health, time and love.

    Reply
  15. Lance Ferguson

    a big thanks to all of you who leave these kind words to Leslie and myself.
    the good vibes and love really help me stay strong and bring me back to the keyboard
    with a smile and desire to keep you in the know about the planets and signs.
    It’s wonderful to know that my work helps you navigate the highs and lows…
    And it feels like we are all family…it does…
    Leslie feels the same way…and we both are thankful for your support, cards and mail you’ve sent.
    And i’m on the mend…working on February action . As times change.

    Reply
  16. Kathleen Nicholls

    I just read this news. My husband had a stroke two years ago Easter. He is doing great! I am so thankful for you two. You are in my healing prayer as I meditate each morning. Take it easy as you are God’s blessing right here on planet Earth. Wrapping you in LOVE!

    Reply

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The November Letter…..

Friends,                                                                                  October 21, 2016

To all our print subscribers: Sorry we are late this month.  Our printer shot craps and that’s why your mailing label is so funky.  A new printer comes in a few days and we’ll get December’s issue out to you in better shape and a timely fashion.  This is a good reason to become a member on the site – you can get access to the monthly issues faster not waiting for the mail to bring you Skywatch.  But I do understand if you like to get mail.  I do.

We dodged a bullet with the weatherman predicting we would be blasted by an early Winter storm last week.  It rained and we had 40-50 mph winds which blew the leaves and pine needles out into the street.  But no real damage came from it, and we didn’t lose power – that’s the most important part.  It is so beautiful now with the maples, birch trees and several other trees I can’t name yet all turning brilliant red and yellow as their leaves scatter in the breezes.  Having a wall of pines and evergreens as a backdrop makes it even more dramatic.  We love it here.

An article I read explained something we discovered here in Birch Bay.  The author says that when people have “awe” in their lives they are happier, friendlier, more creative and have better health.  Awe comes in many flavors as some folks find it in music, sports, art, mathematics – and in our case, we find awe in the extraordinary beauty that surrounds us here.

I haven’t even told you about the mountain.  When the clouds part, Mt. Baker commands the view you have looking east.  At nearly 11,000 feet, this snow covered, sleeping for now, active volcano is a majestic presence in the not too distant skyline.  The Nooksack Indians called the mountain Kulshan which translates into: White Sentinel.  Kulshan is the highest point of the Cascade Range that circles Birch Bay and is only about 40 miles from our house.  The clouds also become another mountain range as they tumble and move across the sky.  To us, there is awe is every direction.  The sky here is bigger, wider, longer and always in motion with the San Juan islands parked in a cold, blue sea underneath the clouds out beyond the Birch Bay.  The mountain, the valleys, the farmlands, the islands, the forest and heavens make this place The Great Northwest.  And it is.

I missed the Oktoberfest in Deming earlier this month but will catch the next one.  Just 325 folks live there but they have the Deming Log Show Grounds where they hold events to raise money for “busted up loggers.”  This year was the 34th edition and featured the Swiss Alpine Horns and the Tirolean Dancers.  I’m going next year.

Apples are still being harvested but you don’t really need to buy them.  Just get out on the little two lane farm roads and you’ll pass apple trees here and there on vacant properties with a good crop on the ground and still on the tree.  Johnny Appleseed must have lived here.  It’s mushroom hunting time now.  Several varieties live in the forest including lobster ‘shrooms and chanterelles.  The list I saw had 32 different kinds of ‘shrooms that can be harvested and eaten here.  However, there was a big warning in this article on identifying the mushrooms carefully as at least 8 deadly poisonous types are also on the forest floor.  Yikes!

You don’t have to guess - I’m out on the back roads and it’s so fine.  Two lane heaven.  Speed limit is 50 mph.  In 10 minutes I climb out of a sweet valley and enter a dark stretch of the forest with huge pines blocking the sunlight for a few minutes.  And suddenly I’m climbing, climbing and find myself on a ridge top nearly 1,000 feet above the valley floor – the vista is incredible and I see why some families have carved out a little piece of land that gives them a view that leaves you breathless.  While others have a winding drive way that leads back into the trees and total privacy as their house and yard is somewhere in the forest beyond sight.  Leslie and I are both in awe of all we see here driving down these two lane roads.  I think we’ll live longer hanging out in the Great Northwest.  We never knew awe like this before.  We’re staying.

11 thoughts on “The November Letter…..

  1. Mika

    Thanks so much for sharing your awesome inspirational feelings and vivid descriptions of fall.. Here in the city with all the dense election energies has been challenging… it truly is uplifting to be reminded of the peace here on earth. Thank You and Happy Healing

    Reply
  2. annabel prindle

    Hi Lance: I love your letters! I also read that article on “awe” – I believe firmly in trying to stay in a state of awe as often as possible! So happy for you and Leslie in your beautiful new surroundings. I now cover the state of Washington for my job and I hope to one day meet you and Leslie in person – when I travel north!

    Reply
  3. Kathleen

    Thank you for the nature musings like music to the ears and how wonderful to see and experience your awe through your eyes .. keep em
    Coming …

    Reply
  4. kathleen hallinan

    Hi lance my birthday is November 12 did I miss the ” if your birthday is this week ” also where are your musings on the election ? I saw it then lost it again.
    Thank you …

    Reply
  5. Lance Ferguson

    birthday reports are in the member’s section for members….

    enough election stuff for me…one piece on Trump is above.

    I”m done with it all.

    Reply
  6. Beverly Marshall

    Love, love, love your letters Lance!
    I feel like I’m driving in the car with you,
    your words and descriptions are awe inspiring.

    Thanks!
    Bev

    Reply
  7. Julie

    Hi Lance,
    Please provide the link to the article on “awe”. I’ve found a few with similar sentiments but aren’t sure it’s the one you mean.
    Thanks.

    Reply
      1. Julie

        Hi Leslie,
        It’s in the November Letter that I read, “An article I read explained something we discovered here in Birch Bay. The author says that when people have “awe” in their lives they are happier, friendlier, more creative and have better health.”
        Can you please give the link to the article Lance read about “awe”?
        Thanks.

        Reply

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September Letter from Lance

Friends, September 13, 2016

A change of seasons is in the air here in Birch Bay. A small flock of 10-15 Canadian Geese have been hanging out in a small pond nearby. Their “honks” are strong and we love to see/hear them fly over. Leslie says that what we are hearing is mother talking and showing the kids how to fly and eat. I think she’s right. Yesterday they were flying in formation for the first time. And here we are on the other side of great migrations that are just getting underway. Where we used to be at the end of the journey, now we are at the beginning.

I saw my first flying “V” formation of ducks heading south yesterday. As you know, I can’t tell north from south and never could. But God bless these new cars that have a compass so I knew north from south. (and it still baffles me why cars didn’t have compasses in the ‘60s) The Kodak shot of the week was from the hill overlooking the back bay where a crowd of about 1,000 ducks were massed in the shallow waters. And nearly all of them had their heads in the water and were loading up on groceries preparing for the long trip south.
The leaves are turning in the birch and maple trees already. Pumpkins are nearly ripe in all the local gardens. Folks here have big gardens where they can and most of them plant at least two rows of flowers along side the tomatoes and vegetables. They plant flowers in the flower boxes and hang huge baskets of flowers on their porches. And all kinds – 15 different colorful faces in the front yard in a common occurrence. I’ve never seen such displays. Really beautiful.
And now it’s apple harvest time. I counted 14 different varieties of apples from local orchards in the grocery store last week. Apple cider, apple brandy, apple vodka all are products made from the harvest. And it’s been a very good year for farmers here as the harvests of berries, apples, corn and potatoes have been better than average. The old timers tell me that means we are going to have a hard winter and Mother Nature is preparing for it with the abundance.

We did have some fun at the local Indian casino where Leslie thumped the penny slots and walked away with 60 bucks. We aren’t big gamblers but she has the touch from time to time. And last week I saw where she had Jupiter trine Jupiter = luck trines luck. So we went to the Silver Reef, run by and on the land of the Lummi Indian tribe. Lummi rhymes with yummy. We had a little lunch and Leslie was hot, sure enough, and she won back the twenty bucks I lost and came home with a little cash. Not many people have the good planets and signs that favor gambling. She didn’t know she had it until one day many years ago when I talked her into going to a little bar where they had slot machines. She hit three jackpots in less than an hour – and walked away with about 300 bucks. That day I saw Jupiter meet her Venus, the ruler of money and figured she could win. You don’t get many of these high luck days but she does get another set of them in Nov and we’ll be back to the casino. She is a real hoot when she wins and I love to see her smile. And she gets it: don’t play unless we have lucky Jupiter on our side.

I don’t have her lucky touch and so still haven’t won in a local bar’s Sunday Texas Hold ‘Em poker games. You’d think just because I was born in Dallas I could win the damn game. I’m not giving up. One last note: I’m almost finished with the 2017 Datebook. I’ll probably wait until the end of Mercury Rx to finalize it. So, it should be ready for your perusal in early Oct. Cost is $25 which buys you a lot of information and it comes as a pdf or hard copy – same as last year. I’ll let you know when it’s done. Venus Retrograde is one new element in the Skywatch in 2017. Then Jupiter enters Scorpio. Saturn enters Capricorn. And times change.

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The August Letter

Friends,                                                                                  August 12, 2016

As it turns out Birch Bay is the favorite Summer getaway spot for the locals in western Washington.   Wide, wide beaches appear at low tide that welcome kids, families and folks digging for clams.  The limit is 20 clams per digger; take your wife/buddy and get 40 and that’s enough for a good dinner.  A small “Funland” with go carts is nearby and there is a nice sized water slide park with a swimming pool just down the street from our neighborhood.  Four small restaurants are here and lots of parking spaces.  Our little neighborhood sits on the hill overlooking these beautiful beaches and blue waters.  Leslie pointed it out:  there are no corporate businesses here – it’s all mom and pop and low key.  And no crowds.  It’s Mayberry.

Blaine is our address as that’s the closest town – it’s a short 10 min drive to downtown, pop. 3,700 or so.  The northern city limit sign for Blain is next to the border of Canada.  The city’s motto:  Blaine is where America begins.  There’s a cool bar there with Sunday afternoon Texas Hold ‘Em poker games.  Twenty five bucks to buy in and play – I’m not telling them I’m from Texas until I take their money.  Winner of the game gets 400-500 bucks as they have 20-30 players filling three tables.  Blaine has a nice marina with about 100 boats and a cool park for the kids.

I can really feel being on the West Coast again.  I lived in LA for 7 years.  Lived in SF Bay area 15 years.  And now coming back here I realize the differences in people and tastes more clearly.  There is so much more sophistication here, even in backwoods northern Washington.  Every Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at here is better than any we ate at in Corpus Christi.  Same thing with other cuisines.

Flowers are everywhere.  Huge, three foot baskets of flowers are on the light poles in all the little cities and fabulous.  Plus, people here are into growing things and the flowers in front yards here will blow you away.  They plant trees here, in the middle of a forested region.  There are very few fences between houses and farmlands.  Instead they plant fifty evergreen trees a foot apart and create walls of green that grow and grow – everything that grows here, GROWS here.  The soil is a sandy loam and looks like cocoa powder.  It drains quickly and the potatoes love the freedom to grow which is why so many are planted here.  Just order hash browns with your breakfast and you get a plateful of local spuds and they are damn good.

The people here are happy.  It’s immediately noticeable on the street and in the grocery store.  They are not friendly like we are in Texas.  I remember when I first got to LA and gave a nod and “howdy” to a stranger they jumped back like I had a knife.  Same thing here.  The Canadians are even worse and lots of them are about.  Noticeable is that the young women here walk with strength and kindness – they are not hooked into the glamour game.  Most of the children are enjoyable to be around as they seem grounded as well.  And there is no real crime. I don’t lock cars or doors or even worry about it.

The peach crop was big and tasty this year which prompted Leslie to buy a half case and do some magic – the jars are on the counter.  She made some pickles, too.  All because of Joe’s Garden.  Bellingham is the big city close to us, about a 20 min drive.  And in city limits is Joe’s Garden, about 20 acres of organic veggies and this is where you buy it from the farm.  Lettuce – 99 cents.  Onions, garlic, blueberries, carrots, celery – there’s a roomful of produce that we stock up on – it’s like having your own vegetable garden and fabulous.

Pete baptized me by buying me a growler.  Nope, it’s not a dog.  It’s a heavy stainless steel container I take to the mini-marts where they fill it with craft beer, the good stuff.  And obviously save using a bottle or cans that need to be recycled.  Sunday is growler day for both of us and we get it filled with local brews.  Yum.

Joining the two crows in the back yard is a black squirrel – nose to toes.  Never seen one like it.  So, Leslie buys five pounds of peanuts to keep Blackie and the crows fed.  It’s her Cancer instinct.  She’s delighted to be here.  So am I.  As times change…

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