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.
The heat is on. We begin the
month with a New Moon in fiery Leo joined by Venus, Mars, and Mercury, all in
the sign of the Lion. Add Jupiter, now
in fire sign Sagittarius, to this group, and we have a preponderance of fire
signs in the Skywatch encouraging all of us to spend time in the Sun and to
adventure and play in August. Las Vegas
and amusement parks are Leo’s favorite playgrounds - I suspect crowds will fill
both arenas. The sign that rules our
children and the child inside us all sparks a creative and playful attitude in
most folks. Romance and sexual attention
to others are also sparked by planets in the sign that rules France and
heroes/lovers, Pepe le Pew and Inspector Clouseau.
Adding more energy to romances and marriage
proposals in August, Venus and Mars will travel through Leo hand in hand for
most of the month, then enter Virgo and conjunct on the 23/24th. Mars eagerly reaches for Venus with love and with
passion, but he can also be selfish and impatient by starting an argument and a
fight with his loved ones. Challenges in
relationships are most likely when the Full Moon in Aquarius on the 15th
opposes both planets in the heavens. A
sweeter connection and fabulous day to propose marriage or any other important
request appears on the 30th when a New Moon in Virgo conjuncts both
Venus and Mars in the Skywatch while the Moon trines Saturn and Uranus. It’s a day of Grace and an especially good
day for initiating new plans and putting your wishes and needs out on the
Jupiter ends his four-month Retrograde cycle that began last April on August 11th.
And again, green lights come on for travel, expanding your field of interests
and handling all legal matters—all Jupiter ruled.
was providential. That’s how Leslie
describes good things that happen to us.
And it was providential that granddaughter Ellen flew in to see us on a
business trip at the end of May. Ellen,
related to Leslie by blood and to me by love, is a high tech wiz and a fiery
Aries, good with machines and fixing things. She got on Leslie’s computer and
discovered that the hard drive was about to poop out. Quack, quack, quack. But she saved the day by saving all Leslie’s
info, including this mailing list, and transferred it to a new hard drive which
she installed on our kitchen table. Then she helped me set up my new software
and computer – help you know I really needed if you read last week’s
letter. On Sunday, she joined me in the
poker game I play at a local bar. And she did really well. At the end of the game, there were four
players left: Bob the nice guy, John the whiner, Ellen and me. Of course, she was born in Texas and still
lives in Austin, so our game of Texas hold’em poker is something she has a natural
instinct for. We hated to see her leave but know she really loved our spot in
Washington and will be back. Right now
we are in a heat wave with temperatures setting new records up and down the
coast. It’s much worse in California and
even Oregon while we don’t suffer badly with a gentle sea breeze keeping the
air cool and fresh even while the Sun is really hot. It’s amazing to me how hot the sun is
here. On days when the temperature is
just 65, the warmth of the sun when it’s out, makes it extremely
comfortable. We’ve had good and bad news
from the natural world. The bad news is
that more than 70 gray whales have died and washed up on our beaches of late. No
word from the scientists on why it’s happening.
The good news is the birth of a new baby orca we see swimming next to
mom in the Salish Sea. And the new baby appears to be in good health and will
survive they say. Our place is
surrounded by color and lovely flowers Leslie has cultivated over the last
month. Huge purple and white delphiniams
rise up high into the sky from the garden floor and delight us from the front
yard and through the living room windows.
Mike and Dave, our neighbors, have a tomato growing contest every year
and the heat is on. But the strange
thing is Leslie has more tomatoes on her vines than they do. However her best plant was given to her by
Mike who sneaks over and waters it surreptitiously– the whole thing is too
funny to me, but I will eat their success and hope all have a good crop to
harvest. Leslie has the love that makes
flowers, veggies, and me, strong and
grow. This same energy makes her fairly
lucky at slots, too. Some people have it,
but most don’t. I tried to help several
gamblers way back when I first realized the magnitude of information available
from astrology. We tried buying stocks,
too, using their incorporation dates as birth charts. Results were not great – we lost a lot of
money. What is available to see in a
birth chart is the ability to do something: paint a picture, build a house,
write a book. But you can’t tell the
design of the house or subject of the book from the chart. There are definitely hints in the rest of the
chart and the houses that hold planets give another kind of clue. The example is Leslie, who has a very strong
Venus in Leo, suggesting a love of games, beauty, and being as artistic as she
can in day to day living – Venus also attracts love and money. A key to her story is that her Venus is in
her 8th house = money held by others. And it works out in her life, in one way, to
be lucky at gambling. She won’t come and
play poker; her game is the penny slot machines. And the second thing we can see in astrology
is timing. We always wait for the good
aspects in her chart and the Skywatch to hit a local casino. That’s why the Skywatch is so important – the
energy in the sky acts like a trigger to the current energy in your chart. Watch what happens when there are Mars
squares in the heavens, even to the Moon.
People that are already angry will act out and release their Martian
fire. When there are good Venus aspects
in the Skywatch, Leslie has better luck than usual if her chart is already
happy. Does she always win? No.
Some times are much better than others and some are providential. We enjoy the ride.
Practical, realistic, grounded. These are the attributes
of earth signs in astrology which dominate the Skywatch in May. Hope you can
get your hands into rich dirt and plant a garden this month as we see the Sun,
Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto all traveling through earth signs Taurus
and Capricorn. It’s rare that we see six planets in earth signs at one time.
This situation kicks on green lights for making important purchases and
decisions around your home or office in May.
The New Moon on May 4 is also in Taurus setting up a very good day and following a two-week period of time to plant these seeds and to convince your teenager to open a savings account for the new car she wants to buy.
I’ve found the end of the world – get a new
computer. Way, way more buttons and clicks
than I can understand. Quack, quack, quack.
However, I am blessed with a wife who can set me up and show me the way
to computer heaven – my actual arrival date is still uncertain but I do know
Leslie will get me there in this decade. Times change. I remember starting to analyze data and writing
the first Skywatch report on Jan 1, 1979 on a portable electric typewriter
sitting on the kitchen table in San Ramon, California. I still have some very fragile and yellowed
pages from those days sitting in my files.
We’ve had a wild streak of weather and it seems like the whole country
has, too. We had a HEAT WAVE last
week. All caps due to daytime high
temperature of 85 degrees in Seattle (breaking old records) that sent all the
tv weather folks into a frenzy,
apologizing to listeners for the discomfort of such a difficult day. As
Texans we had to laugh at that response to what would be a lovely Spring day in
Austin. But since we live at the coast,
our highs didn’t get to 80 here and we had a sweet onshore breeze – making for
a chamber of commerce day. However we
have learned that many locals are uncomfortable and hate temperatures above 80, some even cooler. Times change – it’s cooled off and now we
have the rain again which the farmers need. News is not good in the raspberry fields as
farmer’s report that they have lost 30% of the berry crop due to damage to the
canes from the last and late Winter storm that blew in out of Frazier Valley,
Canada. Luckily the Blueberry crop was
not hurt but you can expect to pay more for raspberries this year. The sunshine
and rain has encouraged a marvelous and colorful display from all of the pots
of flowers Leslie has planted over the last two weeks. Pick a color and you’ll see that face in the
dozen or so pots on the back porch or the half dozen pots lining the walkway. How
rare is it to have a computer wizard who also grows flowers and keeps us
surrounded with color and joy? I do feel
very lucky to have Leslie in my life. And there is more color about. The entire
area is blessed with huge blooming hydrangas in red, white, pink and orange
walls of color. Fabulous wisteria and lilac trees in full
bloom also add color to our meanderings on the back roads. Most
of all we love driving through patches of the forest which separate farms and
houses – it is a wall of green everything and dark cool moments of incredible
beauty and peace before we break out
into the sunshine, pastures and open fields.
I find it really odd that we have big hills on some roads, the forests
in stretches and mountains in the background of our vision but that we will then suddenly drive out into huge patches
of flat, treeless land where the farmers grow alfalfa and corn and where red
barns and moo cows reign. At a cost, the
rich, funky smell of these dairies preceeds your arrival and makes you thankful
that the folks who bring you milk and ice cream can live in this atmosphere. You might not want to. A change of seasons also means that the
Bellingham Farmer’s market is back in full operation. This is a Saturday event we love to shop.
The same farms are there every year; our fav is Rabbit farms ( “a hop
above the rest”) where we buy lettuce, leeks and anything that looks good. All yummy and organic. It’s like a carnival scene with performers
playing all kinds of instruments entertaining the crowd and hoping for
donations to their open instrument cases. Leslie and I usually start the shopping with a cheese
pretzel and an iced coffee.
We then check out all the booths and load up our Trader
Joes bag with local produce and other goodies we find. Food choices go from wood fired pizza to BarBQ
to empanadas which Leslie loves and usually gets. The Summer fun season has begun. We are so blessed and happy to be here.
I need some help.
When you send me a check, please tell me what it is for. Renewal?
Datebook? A friend’s
subscription? My retirement? And I’ll be certain to fulfill your requests promptly. Thanks for your support and love.
April 16, 2019
“I’m just shocked!”
That was Leslie’s comment as we drove through the neighborhoods and back
roads this week. The reason: Spring snuck in and pulled the blossoms on
the cherry trees out into full display three weeks ago. Daffodils are smiling now, and so lovely in
the front yards of houses on nearly every street. New leaves are covering the raspberry vines,
and our maple trees behind the house are filled with light green new
leaves. It is amazing how fast Spring
showed up on the Washington
coast. The forest is coming alive again
and filled with new growth. And the tulips are in full glory in all colors now
– we’re off to see the big tulip fields tomorrow. It’s just an hour away and an incredible
sight. You can check it out at www.lovelaconner.org. And friends, we are so far north, just 20
miles from Canada says the freeway sign, it is shocking how fast Winter left,
and the green revival has begun. We’ve
had a week of rain, too, which never really adds up to much – just two inches
in the rain gauge after all the drippy days. Our neighbor hates this weather and takes his
trailer and dog to the California
desert for the Winter months – he just got back yesterday. We don’t mind at all since the rain doesn’t
really interfere with our daily activities, and we are homebodies who enjoy
cooking, hanging out and feeding the birds and squirrels in our back yard. Look out in our front yard, and you’ll see
Leslie’s flowers: pansies, primroses, English daisies and more in full
bloom. I never knew how much these beautiful
flowers could brighten my life. And they
do. Thank you, Leslie. We get the Seattle tv stations and watch the saga of the
big city every morning. The traffic is beyond
horrible, and the homeless situation is worse.
Friends ask if we check out the sights there and the answer is no
thanks. We love being on the farm roads
that rise and fall through the gentle hills and pass farms and pastures with
spring calves staying close to momma.
Often there is nobody on the road in sight so we can dawdle and enjoy
the view and count the chickens in the barnyards at our leisure. And now the dandelions cover the vacant
fields and verges. And actually, they
are beautiful. Bright golden faces, millions and billions, rise up from the
dark green grass and give us another kind of Spring display. The best thing we’ve done of late was to get
a freezer full of beef from a local rancher.
We cooked a roast last week, and it was fabulous, and we don’t have to
worry about baddies in the meat that can make you sick. This man also grows asparagus, and we’ll get
a fresh batch from him for our Easter meal.
Ah, life in this country is wonderful.
We both think this move was the best thing we have ever done. It’s no wonder so many people live a long
life in these parts. I’ve been seeing a
brilliant man who specializes in acupuncture and Chinese herbs for more than a
This situation came about from Leslie’s prompting, and she
was right. Scott has done much more for
me than the dermatologist who couldn’t fix a skin problem and has helped heal
up a serious infection on my leg that the doctors who saw it couldn’t remedy –
they told me to put ace bandages on it, and all that did was cover it up. I realize it’s different strokes for
different folks, but I do want to report that this kind of treatment has helped
both Leslie and me tremendously with no side effects. We’ve all got a good period of time coming up
for financial decisions, buying and selling and putting more bucks into our
pockets in May. Read ahead and put Venus
in Taurus days ( May 15 to June 8) to good use in your life. As times change.